Four years ago, I felt there was a disconnect with the Town of Telluride's leadership, the community, and our values. I felt that the Mayor and Town Council weren't listening to the citizens. I was fed up with attending Town Council meetings and would often leave more frustrated than when I had arrived. So, I did what representative government asks of us: offer myself up for public service and run for election.
As it worked out, my feeling was validated by the community, and in a highly contested election (despite the lack of endorsements from both newspapers), I was solidly delivered into public service.
One of my strongest platforms is conservation: preserve that which is important to the long term viability of our community. Telluride's cachet is a product of the passage of time, both by Mother Nature, who has sculpted the landscape, and man, who has created the built environment. It is a special place, and if this valley didn't lure many of us here, it has had an enduring attraction that has convinced many of us to stay.
Our town, dwarfed by the commanding peaks around us, is nestled at the end of the Valley. Unlike many of the places each of us has left, our town feels as if it belongs here, as if it has been a natural evolution. It is modest in size, does not sprawl, is easily walkable and bikeable, and hums with activity. Thanks to the vision of many who have served in government before me, we, as a community, have recognized the need for stewardship and have chosen to preserve the 100-year-oldbuildings, as they contribute to our experience. As a National Historic Landmark District, our buildings are part of that seduction of Telluride: it is the mountains that tower above us, not the buildings.
As such, my voice, as a town councilman, has called for renewed preservation. As I write this, after an engaged process mainly in the last four years, we are close to adoption of a new survey of our historic resources, an all important check-in with how we've been doing with our stewardship. It has mixed news: we are preserving the historic fabric of our town but our rules are allowing an erosion of that which cannot be replaced. With that knowledge, we need to refine our tools to better manage what is precious to us.
In that regard, the town is also close to adoption of new "Historic Standards" that will help us accomplish this goal. Also a product mainly of countless meetings by the Planning and Zoning and the Historical and Architectural Review commissions under the advisement of Bob Mather of the Planning Department, this revision should help us better care for our historic assets. But….
Historic preservation means nothing if we don't have a livable planet. We, as a council, have made great strides in this direction. With the help of EcoAction Partners and the guidance of Karen Guglielmone of Public Works, your town government has reduced its energy use significantly. We have also committed to cleaner, renewable sources of electric power: the Wes Perrin Solar Array at Society Turn, a new micro-hydropower facility at our new water plant being built at Pandora, and purchasing even more solar power by buying panels at the new solar farm in Paradox (which you can do, too).
Telluride is a unique community with the capability to be a leader locally and globally. My hope has been and continues to be that we can protect both our environment and our town's specialness. We can lead by example: economic vibrancy and vitality are synonymous and compatible with care for the environment and the planet.
All the above is a product of the government being connected with the citizens. This council has been more open to hearing the public, and we have acted in response to many of your requests. And if you haven't checked out the town's website, please do: it can easily help you stay more connected and even give feedback to your government.
Now, we have an election before us to select citizens from our community to represent us on Town Council. I opted to step forward for public service because I had fresh energy and passion to make our government better. I have served fouryears with that in mind. I am not a politician: I was simply taking my turn at helping get your voice heard and acted upon in Town Hall.
If what I have shared with you resonates, perhaps this is your opportunity to step forward and offer yourself as a candidate for Town Council to help shape Telluride's future. Perhaps it is now your turn to bring those qualities to serve our community. It is now my turn to take a break and attend to some other passions.
If you are interested in answering the call of democracy, you can pick up a nominating petition from MJ (our beloved and soon-to-be-retiring Town Clerk) at the Old Town Hall (kitty-corner from The Cornerhouse Grille). Do it now, because you only have until August 26 to return your petition (with signatures).
I thank the citizens of Telluride for the opportunity to contribute to stewarding Telluride's special character and vibrancy, with gratitude for the many voices that help shape the future of this community, and indeed, the world.