After Thursday night's candidate forum at Christ Church I have decided how I will vote and why. A couple of our candidates remind me of Ted Cruz, the Tea Party member from Texas. It is just that they are Tea Party members from the left. They create a non-real crisis in order to have a platform to run on.
One of the ‘make believe’ current crises is our historical integrity as a National Historic District. Glider Bob, as he says is the last line of defense against the historical bogeyman. I can only guess that he means developers and Realtors. Who else would it be? Chance Leoff said at the candidate forum that Realtors want to loosen the HARC guidelines and that he is also the best line of defense so you, the public, should elect both of these people.
There is just one problem with that position. In my 30 years of living in Telluride I have never heard one Realtor ever suggesting that the historic and architectural review committee guidelines should be loosened in any way. So that is just an out-and-out fabrication on Chance's part. What I have heard is that with 14 months of backup applications at HARC, that there is a significant amount of subjective review that has been way too difficult for projects to get through the process. Again, what I do hear is the guidelines should be clear, should be nonsubjective and followed by the members of HARC just as well as the members of the public. Therefore, I cannot support either Glider Bob or Chance Leoff for manufacturing a crisis that does not exist. The National Forest Service says Telluride is a model of historic preservation. Telluride should be proud of that achievement.
David Oyster did a pretty good interview at the forum and does talk about creating a better economy but with not much specifics. It takes year-round good paying jobs in order for someone to be able to a young family to be able to financially survive here and raise their children. Promoting tourism is great but that only creates eight or nine months' jobs at best and most are not that good paying. My biggest concern with David is just what he alluded to is a weakness. He tends to be hot tempered and can get confrontational and at times not be very open mind to a difference of opinions. We have tried David before as a town council member and I do not think it was particularly successful. We need some new people and fresh ideas. And that leads me to Mark Buschieb.
Mark has a great heart. Most people love him and appreciate his volunteer work, but Mark does not have any fresh new ideas of how to improve the economy, get better paying jobs, or assist in affordable housing. I really appreciate Mark's sincerity but I am not convinced that he is a good choice this election.
That moves me to Rusty Scott.
Rusty Scott was not at the forum. Rusty in my mind is exactly the kind of young energy we need on town council but I was concerned he was not at the forum. If he cannot make the forum how is he going to make all the meetings that are required of town council members and hold down a job? It is tough. I appreciate him trying. Rusty says affordable housing is a big part of his platform and I think that is great. There are just two problems with that. You cannot afford affordable housing if you do not have a good paying job. Good paying jobs have to come first. The second is, in order to have affordable housing you have got to have land and the town of Telluride does not have any inexpensive land. The greatest opportunity we had for that was the Valley Floor 571 acres but that all went for open space. So the idea of affordable housing in or near the town of Telluride is probably lost most likely except for a little bit of infill here and there. I support Rusty in this election but I would like to hear him be a little more realistic in his goals, not just what he dreams of doing but what is possible.
That leaves us with three other candidates all of whom I support. Anne Brady has been well respected in two or three different careers. She is open minded and hard working. My only criticism for Anne is I would like to see her push back a little bit more on radical illogical ideas that come up at town council occasionally. I would like to see Anne more pro jobs and pro economy. She is a great listener. I would like to hear her speak up a little more.
That leaves us with two fresh candidates that have great potential. First, Todd Brown, because of his business background and because he can add an element to town council that it is sorely missing; a well-educated business person that has been successful in business and has concrete ideas about how to improve the economy. Second, Jenny Patterson, because she has lived here long enough to understand the next generation needs an economic chance to raise their families in the Telluride region. She was also instrumental in leading the campaign for regional transportation.
My last thoughts are these: The greatest disappointment of the candidate forum and the interviews in the newspaper is for what was not discussed. In the last five years of recession 80 percent of the foreclosures were locals, hard working locals that have been here and many for years. Many of those locals were in the construction and real estate industry. Not one candidate talked about healing that industry or how we can assist it and grow it back to its significant part of our economy again.
Construction jobs, carpenters, plumbers, electricians and all of the other subcontractors that go with the second home industry provide good paying year round jobs. Everyone wants to diversify but no one talked about an industry and business that has been here for 40 to 50 years and will be for another 40 to 50 years. There is great opportunity for the future for those that want to improve the economy. Let's get some fresh ideas. Let's get some fresh leaders and let's not elect people that preach fear mongering just to try to get people's votes.