Out of the hospital

An old editor once told me about reporting the news: “If you put people in the hospital, you better take them out.” Well, we thrust you into the issues surrounding the Nov. 2 election, so we’re gonna get you out with a rundown of the results.

Locally, the most contentious election was that for the Durango School District 9-R School Board (now there’s a sentence we never thought we’d have to write).

The 9-R election, however, reflected a national trend where school boards have seemingly become the center stage for culture wars on topics like how to teach children about race and whether schools should implement COVID-19 protocols.

Though school board elections are supposed to be nonpartisan, three conservative candidates – Donna Gulec, Dean Hill and Kristina Paslay – banded together as a three-piece ticket, vowing to challenge things like mask mandates and critical race theory (which is not taught in 9-R schools).

These newcomer candidates, however, were handily beaten in this election by what was seen as their “progressive” counterparts.

In District A, 9-R incumbent Erika Brown received 8,407 votes to Paslay’s 3,346. A third candidate, Catherine Mewmaw, ran in this district and received 1,137 votes.

In District C, Rick Petersen, also a newcomer, beat Hill 8,681-4,105. And in District E, 9-R incumbent Andrea Parmenter beat Gulec by a vote of 8,961 to 3,870.

Now, can we make school boards boring again?

Also, all three statewide ballot measures failed. 

• Prop 120 would have reduced property taxes for multi-unit housing and hotels, but not for single-family homes. And, the reduction in taxes would have  hit to schools and fire districts.

• Prop 119 would have raised marijuana tax sales to fund out-of-school programs. However, opponents argued it would undercut already underfunded public school districts to fund private companies with little oversight.

• Amendment 78 would have created a new process for how the state would spend some federal funds.

La Plata County had 42% voter turnout, high for an off-year election. “I’m very happy voters turned up,” said La Plata County Clerk Tiffany Lee.

Good job, you did it.

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