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Our View: Vote independent: ‘yes’ for Turner

Jack Turner

Two La Plata County commissioner candidates will work within the guardrails from different perspectives: incumbent Democrat Clyde Church to continue the wide breadth of work from four years in office; and Brad Blake, out of office for a term, and re-energized to make county government work more quickly with reduced regulations.

The third candidate, independent Jack Turner, advocates for risk-taking in decision-making and moving significant projects along. Turner would reshape a land use planning approval process to be sensitive to developers’ time and costs.

Blake, a Republican and former owner of multiple small businesses, would apply the historical tone – but not the extremes – of that party to the issues and decision-making: small, more efficient government, caution about any tax increase.

Blake was a commissioner when the previous land use plan blew up, with neither property owners nor developers happy with contents heavily shaped by an outside consultant. Now, he wants to make changes to the subsequent plan created in-house, reducing regulations and, for example, diminishing the importance of neighborhood compatibility. Potable water is his focus, too, as the critical underpinning of residential development. Loma Linda, along state Highway 172, south of U.S. Highway 160, should be receiving either City of Durango or La Plata-Archuleta water service rather than relying on possibly problematic individual wells, he says.

Church has applied a steady, thoughtful hand to myriad county activities and initiatives. He is an engineer and was a senior large-corporation executive. In the early 2000s, he was a Republican living in Iowa and working for a popular Republican governor. Church switched to Democrat when the Tea Party came along. Too extreme, he says.

Turner faults the county for being too cautious. He’s willing to take the risk of getting something wrong in order to move ahead. The recreational plan, then construction at Durango Mountain Park (on Ewing Mesa), for example. Let’s get going, Turner says, even on a portion of the property, even on a small scale.

Turner shows no sign of political ideology. Instead, he applies high energy and drive. The independent label very much suits him.

Turner lost a race for commissioner two years ago by a handful of votes. Impatient, he relocated to position himself for this race and, again, gathered the required signatures, praising the process for putting him in contact with so many residents.

The percentage of independents, the unaffiliated, is increasing in Colorado as it is elsewhere. The party extremes must be playing a role. And independent is popular with younger voters.

In wanting to be a leader with the independent tag, Turner is riding a growing wave, one that is disrupting conventional political thinking, and he is doing it with insight and energy.

Church would continue the steady pace of successful La Plata County government; Blake would bring always important ideological diversity.

Turner would push boundaries, probably bursting through a few of them, and urge changes and to move more quickly in several directions. There are risks to that but the successes could be greater, and sooner. We like that.

Vote “yes” for Turner for La Plata County commissioner.