Durango voters are choosing from among seven strong candidates with different backgrounds and priorities to fill the three City Council seats up for election,
All seven want to work see the city’s vibrant downtown return, favor supporting small business and know that the homelessness challenge is important. All praise Durango as a special community in which to live and to visit.
The Herald’s editorial board endorses Olivier Bosmans and Seth Furtney for two council seats. Melissa Youssef should keep her seat for a second term.
Bosmans has had 20 years’ experience in multinational construction development including contract management, acquisitions and legal needs, and is an environmental consultant. He has an engineering degree and an M.B.A. and has served on La Plata County’s Planning Commission during the time it rewrote the Land Use Plan, a complex, collaborative community process.
The development of Durango Mountain Park on Ewing Mesa, MidTown improvements and the likely second water treatment plant all would benefit from Bosmans’ skill sets. He has knowledge and experience in arenas such as greenhouse gases, water quality and water treatment.
Furtney has spent 20 years as a large contract manager, first for the U.S. Air Force and then for the federal government. He owns commercial property in a couple of Colorado towns and views himself as a partner with his tenants. He prides himself on being a good negotiator.
Furtney served on the city’s Parks and Recreation Commission for five years. He would upgrade city infrastructure, including broadband, and favors a second water treatment plant. Flexible accessory dwelling unit requirements could add to attainable housing, as would building on city-owned lots. He also says that while NIMBYs’ (Not In My Back Yard-ers’) concerns should be heard, they shouldn’t be able to stop significant community projects.
Youssef has proven herself, in her four years on the council, to be an excellent communicator, leading in-person conversations large and small and using email to advocate for city initiatives. At times, she appears to know as much as city staff members about issues under consideration, providing both street-level and 30,000-foot perspectives.
During her term, the former city manager exited abruptly; charges were brought against the finance director; a new city manager was hired; and COVID-19 erupted. Those kinds of events build judgment and leadership. Youssef values the new strategic plan, will work to create workforce housing, add to local economic strength, reduce carbon emissions and improve fire mitigation.
Our choices weren’t easy, as we found all of the candidates to be motivated and committed to improving Durango.
Jessika Buell’s incredible energy and savvy as owner of three small businesses, here and in Santa Fe were impressive.
Frank Lockwood energized the Durango Area Tourism Office while he was its head and has served Durango in many other ways.
Lisa McCorry’s concern for our most vulnerable residents and for the environment were right on target.
Harrison Wendt’s hopes for marginalized people and awareness of income disparity were appealing.
But our council is made up only of five seats, three of which are open. We endorse Youssef for her experience and skills evident in her service to date, and Bosmans and Furtney for the breadth of their business management backgrounds and valuable experiences on city and county commissions. All three have solid ideas to make Durango an even more appealing place to live and visit.
Whether you agree with our choices or not, we encourage you to exercise your franchise. Ballots are being mailed today; be sure to return yours.