We all know this is the year for elections. This is the year to vote for Mayor, County Commissioner, and Sheriff, among others.
The general feeling of the community seems to be: we want transparency, change and HOPE.
In light of this, on Feb 2nd, I put an idea out here to the community that we hold a “town hall” type meeting, where current candidates would field questions from the public as an event that we, the people, could engage with the public officials we rarely know much about. The response was OVERWHELMING! So many of you thought this was a wonderful idea and asked how you could help facilitate. Inspiring community support!!
I reached out to the town to ask if they’d be willing to donate the space for an open event that benefits the community like this. I also reached out to both candidates for Mayor to ask if they’d be willing to participate.
Sara Cole, the write-in candidate, responded with: “This is a great way to engage with our community members. The more we know how to help our community the better we can be.”
Shari Pierce, current town council member and candidate for Mayor, replied with: “Thank you for the invitation, but I will decline.” I did express my disappointment and inquired why she would decline the opportunity — no answer.
Because one candidate is unwilling to participate, the town manager proceeded to deem this “one candidate’s meet and greet” vs. the intended event the community desired — a town hall forum where candidates could connect with the people, address concerns and field questions. And as “one candidate’s meet and greet”, she didn’t feel the town would support hosting such an event.
I find it INCREDIBLY disappointing that the only official candidate for Mayor is vying for the public vote, but is refusing to participate in an event fielding the public’s questions in an open format where everyone could come together, learn and benefit. In contrast, the write-in candidate is excited and willing to connect with the community!? It’s also disappointing the town manager feels it only appropriate to offer to “host” if both candidates participate — both were invited and the public desire was overwhelmingly positive.
Please strongly consider contacting the town manager to encourage this event to happen. Email her: Email her: APhillips@PagosaSprings.co.gov.
Please strongly consider an email to candidate for Mayor, Shari Pierce, to encourage her participation in this event. Email her: SPierce@PagosaSprings.co.gov
It would seem they make think I’m alone in my desire for an event like this. I know this is not true — what better way to kick off the election season!? Maybe a flood of community desire will sway the situation!
I also will bring the concern up at the next Town Council meeting on March 1st and invite you to join me there. An event like this is not an unusual request in an election year and I firmly believe this would be an asset for our community both now, and moving forward to the other upcoming elections in November — a true effort to bring the community together, encourage open communication and transparent intentions. I sincerely hope the candidates for Sheriff and County Commissioner will be more willing to participate in an event like this for benefit of our community.
If you are interested in still helping make something like this happen, let me know. I plan to move forward with the idea, with the willing candidate, in great hopes the other will change her mind.
Those who have already reached out last week to help, THANK YOU!
Our voices matter.
Our community matters.
I believe we can do better, Pagosa!!
Other council members to contact can be found here: PagosaSprings.co.gov
Submitted By: Bethany Jones