section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send
us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.
Struggling with the
Durango residents may be
interested to know of the City's complex and legally questionable
election law regarding ballot initiatives, referendums and recalls.
Having 30 days to secure the signatures of 553 qualified city
voters may not sound like a formidable hurdle and normally it would
not be a daunting task. But you probably have never tried it in the
City of Durango.
Some weeks ago, Friends
of the Animas Valley contacted City Clerk Linda Yeager regarding
the timetable and process for filing a responsible growth petition.
During those discussions and since, Ms. Yeager has been
consistently helpful, professional and accommodating. Let's mention
here that she is not responsible for writing the City's election
law but is responsible for its implementation.
According to the City's
election law, the process to petition our local government presents
unusual obstacles as it hampers a citizen's ability to participate
in the democratic process. Here's how it works: Not only must a
volunteer petition circulator be identified before (in this case)
initiative language is submitted to the clerk, but those volunteers
must also sign a notarized affidavit in order to pre-qualify as a
bona fide petition circulator. Once those volunteers have signed
up, no other volunteers may participate at any time during the
signature gathering period. The City's process is much like putting
the cart before the horse and is hardly an example of democracy in
action if not downright unconstitutional.
The usual process is
similar to how the County conducted the DMR petition drive; that
is, with a stash of petitions easily accessible to any qualified
voter who wished to participate. Anyone who wanted to jump in at
the last minute was free to do so. Once the initiative language and
affidavits of over 35 qualified city voters were approved by the
city clerk and city attorney, we were off and running oops or
so we thought until the morning we arrived at City Hall to pick up
the initiative petitions.
Instead of receiving a
bundle of petitions to be distributed according to one's ability
and passion to secure petition signatures, we received petitions
labeled for each volunteer with space for only 30 signatures each.
After a lengthy and cordial conversation with the city clerk in
which we agreed to disagree, we were refused additional petitions
with the assurance that we could have another set of petitions with
30 spaces if we did not accumulate the necessary signatures by the
July 12 deadline. In a second conversation later that afternoon, we
were again denied additional petitions.
By the end of that
weekend, some of our volunteers had already collected the
signatures only to be
left with no additional petitions to circulate. Meanwhile, the
clock is ticking. In other words, given the assumption that 10
percent to 15 percent of all petition signatures would be invalid
for a variety of reasons, we would have little if any "cushion" to
be sure we had 553 valid signatures.
Hopefully, you've been
able to follow this tortuous explanation which any average citizen
would find as convoluted as the first day in Russian 101. The
bottom line here is that the City has no legal statutory authority
to withhold petitions from the public or to arbitrarily assign 30
or 50 or 75 as the magical threshold number.
The City has just
responded that they will provide another set of petitions of 30
signatures each. Still, one can only surmise that it is not in
their interest to encourage a public discussion on their plan to
urbanize Durango to a population of 40,000.
president, Friends of the Animas
A real politician to support
Many people I've spoken
with lately say they're not too excited by John Kerry, but they'll
support him anyway. Jim Hightower (formerly a Nader guy, back in
2000) said it best: "We'll get Kerry to the White House even if we
have to drag him there like a bag of cement."
If you're tired of
feeling that way about politicians, if you wish there were someone
real to support, then come to a breakfast for Mike Miles on
Tuesday, June 22. Running as a strong, progressive Democrat for Ben
"Lake Nighthorse" Campbell's seat, Miles trounced his competitor at
the recent state Democratic convention. Miles is honest, open,
passionately patriotic and convinced that his combination of
experience West Point honor student, Army Ranger counter-terrorism
expert, Vice Consul in Poland and Russia, educator/superintendent
of a middle school in Colorado Springs gives him the insight and
ability to represent us wisely in Washington. I agree.
I challenge all of you
to show up. Do something really positive for democracy: Join Mike
for breakfast at Christina's on Tuesday, June 22 at 7 a.m. Ask him
lots of questions, and you'll be amazed at the honesty and
integrity with which he answers them.
See you there!
Durango women dominate
Years and years ago when I
was competing in high school basketball, my female teammates and I
dreamed of the day when we could play in gyms like the boys, with
lines of bleachers stuffed with fans, functioning lights and
scoreboards, and roadworthy buses. The boys ALWAYS traveled in
style; they never had to battle to get five matching uniforms
moments before tip off. The local newspaper covered all the boys'
sports, while we would get the occasional blurb. It certainly is a
good thing that the times have changed for women's sports or
About 100 women showed up
to race the Iron Horse this year. There was a female from Durango
who finished in the top three of every single category that day.
The headlines the next day should have read: "Durango Women
Dominate." But instead, none of the women's results were even
posted in the Durango Herald. Meanwhile we got a play- by-play of
the pro men's race and a full page of men's results. Within this
two-page article, there were two sentences mentioning the women's
pro race where three Durango women placed in the top four. What
fantastic stories could have been written about the underdog, Irene
Merier, who broke away and crushed the field and all the other
women who hammered their way to the finish lines. But hey, we all
know reading about men's sports is just plain more
Sex in a Small Town The man's
Dear Editors:I read the letter "Sex in
a Small Town" (April 29) some time ago, and I thought I would take
a shot at giving a guy's perspective (assuming the prior author was
female trading in your "strappy 5-inch heels" in some places does
not always dictate gender).
Like the prior author, I
also moved here from a "larger" city (given Durango's size, I
suppose that could be anywhere). Having settled in, being single
and looking for fun, I decided to try out the local "scene." To set
the stage a little, I'm an active guy who happens to have a mostly
office job. So early on, a number of observations (and sage bar
advice from those in the "know") became acute:
1. Change your style or
you will never fit in. (For me personally: "when in Rome" was for
Roman times; my "style" is my style).
2. The dating experience
so far with Durango women has been: "Painted-nails-and-reruns"
their major daily activity being TV; or "The Teva Crew" - very
active, very outside women with men's hands (And makeup? You feel
like you're more likely to get the response: "Do they sell that at
Gardenswartz?"); or "The Birkies and Dreads crowd" just not my
type; and A few wonderful women mixed in between.
3. The apparent truth of
the prior author's words: Fear of the big "R" (for a brief recap:
Relationships + Rumors = Reputation. Or another way of saying it:
As a single female in Durango, avoid relationships, friendships,
dating or any semblance thereof, for fear of creating a
Reputation). I envision single, lonely, frustrated women home
alone, fearing the big "R." This would explain why I have had more
sex on the first date in Durango than anywhere I have lived. This
also explains why there is the belief that there are few single
women in Durango they are apparently at home, trying to avoid the
big "R," watching reruns, perusing Match.com, or (god forbid)
taking that giant leap and actually placing a Match.com ad as
anonymously as possible, as if anything in Durango could be
Looking for a big city
fix and relief (appropriate word) from the dating scene in Durango,
I was ripe for the plucking when some friends from Boulder assured
me that there were plenty of women in Boulder who wear fingernail
polish and running shoes ALL at the same time! And with the Bolder
Boulder Memorial Day event, it was a great time to meet some of
these creatures (who seem so otherwise elusive in day light in
Durango). For anyone who has not experienced the Bolder Boulder not
to take anything away from our great Iron Horse it is a spectacle,
event and active persons Mecca with nearly 40,000 runners, all of
whom meet at the end of the run at the Buffs Stadium for a good
time and shaved legs everywhere! (Fortunately over half are female
and generally wear nail polish).
As part of the pre-race,
pre-weekend festivities/warm-up party, my friends introduced me to
a few of their single female friends who were running the race.
Perhaps it was the love-starved look in my eyes, perhaps it was a
"small town" kid with "big city"experience, but finding a playmate
for the weekend proved to be a joy in perusing the deli
Whatever the reason,
what followed with wild abandon a flurry of firsts: an enclosed
stairway at the stadium, the parking lot of a popular restaurant
just off of Pearl Street, the outdoor hot tub at a well known
resort (to remain unnamed for fear of limiting future
possibilities!) clearly an experience so wildly far from
possibility in Durango. Andappropriately so: A guy might get a
"Reputation" for such behavior in Durango.Coming back to Durango
from such a hedonist weekend felt like a bit of culture shock so
what does a guy learn from this? Don't make the mistake of looking
for a relationship in Durango you'll be cut off. If you're "hanging
out" with someone, avoid suggesting anything remotely resembling a
relationship you'll be cut off. Assume that whoever you are
interested in already hasyour bio (AKA a verbal dossier of your
Reputation). Avoid Match.com it just provides more evidence for
your bio. Think of Durango dating as a cocooning, nocturnal event,
behind closed doors in the dead of night. Date Farmington women
they don't care about their Reputation.
So what does a guy who's
learned to avoid all the "R" pitfalls take from all this? The sex
is definitely hot in Durango, and it's Bolder in