Name-calling not a way to win voter support

Stupid. That’s what Bill Webbe, president of the board of directors for Hermosa Cliff Fire Protection District, called me and my neighbors (“Fire district votes to keep term limits,” Herald, Nov. 7). Webbe said he is “confused” about why district residents voted not to lift term limits for our supposedly elected board. He might not be confused had he shown the slightest interest in what the residents of the district think.

Since Hermosa Cliff was folded into Durango Fire & Rescue Authority 10 years ago (a decision that the voters were not consulted about), there has been no election for board members.

That’s because upcoming open seats have been a well-guarded secret with only the minimal legal notice published. When there is an opening, the fire chief and the sitting board members hand-pick someone from among their cronies to fill the seat.

When there is only one candidate for an office, no election is held. When no election is held, there is zero chance of getting a board with any independent thinkers on it and the chief can count on rubber-stamp support. Not one of the current board members was elected by a vote of the district residents.

The ballot measure proposed that these hand-picked, rubber-stamp, unelected board members be allowed to hold office indefinitely. That is why I voted against it. That does not make me stupid.

In the last 10 years, residents of the Hermosa Cliff District have received no communication from our board about its meetings and actions, how it is spending our tax dollars or what kind of service we are getting in return. The proposal to lift term limits was not announced to us. It was a complete surprise when we saw our ballots. There was no informational mailing, no public meeting, not even a robocall.

Webbe says we were stupid for voting against it. Next time he could try informing his constituents in advance why they are being asked to vote and giving them reasons for voting yes. It will get him a lot further than calling us names.

Kitty Benzar


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