Tag Archives: Saguache election

Latest News – February 8

Two Votes Determine Saguache’s Dunn Purchase

By Kathy Bedell © Saguache Today

There’s no doubt that the concept of every vote counts is alive and well in Saguache Today, as it only took two votes to deny the Town of Saguache’s  purchase of the historic Dunn Block Building in today’s special town election. The “nays” won at the polls with 72 votes cast against the measure, to 70 votes in favor of the purchase of the Dunn Building.spacer

Pictured (left to right): Carla Quintana, Kathy Geddes and Kate Vasha do their part for democracy with their service as Election Judges in The Town of Saguache special election regarding the purchase of the historic Dunn Building. By a two vote difference, voters denied the purchase. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

Pictured (left to right): Carla Quintana, Kathy Geddes and Kate Vasha do their part for democracy with their service as Election Judges in The Town of Saguache special election regarding the purchase of the historic Dunn Building. By a two vote difference, voters denied the purchase. Photo: Saguache Today/Kathy Bedell.

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The response to the vote weighed in on social media quickly, with one reader posting on the Saguache Today Facebook Page:

Very disappointed here. I wonder what motivated people to vote against the betterment of our little town and what they think ought to happen to the building…just let it continue to deteriorate? To become a pubic nuisance? A hazard? Home for squatters? Or are folks simply inclined to say no because…you know…. The gument is out to get ‘em…take their money.

While other residents saw the Town’s plate as full with keeping up with basic services, in addition to the sizeable water and sewer project scheduled to begin in the Spring, and the ongoing Vista Grande situation. Another reader posted:

I am against buying. There are other things that need to be done in this town. Why can’t we have our streets fixed right? Or is that too hard?spacer

Saguache Works continues to thrive as a private/ public partnership on 4th Street in downtown saguache. Photo: Saguache Today.

Saguache Works continues to thrive as a private/ public partnership on 4th Street in downtown saguache. Photo: Saguache Today.

spacerAnd while a “no” ballot didn’t necessarily signal an anti-growth/improvement sentiment, emotions generally run strong directly after such a close vote.  Saguache Today offers other options that are still on the table for the Dunn Building Block. In an interview with Saguache Mayor Greg Terrell before the election results were tallied, he explained how the conversation even started with the purchase.

The historic Dunn Block Building in downtown Saguache.

The historic Dunn Building in downtown Saguache.

The Masons had been contacted by a number of private interests, according to Mayor Terrell. However, the organization expressed they were concerned about whether or not those parties had the funds to actually restore the building and since none of the perspective buyers seemed to have a solid plan in place when pressed for more details about how they were going to “fix it up,” the Masons approached the town.

“The Masons saw the Town as being able to take this on and run it to completion,” explained Terrell. It seems, the group figured that the Town of Saguache had the most opportunity for grants and funding through state historical entities and family foundations/trusts. However residents wanted a place at the discussion table and forced the hand of the Board of Trustees last fall by having the decision be put to a vote of the people.

That answer was no, but only by a couple of votes. And while the public may not be interested in becoming the new owner of the historic Dunn Building, clearly there has been interest expressed in the private sector. With the recent sale of The Saguache Hotel (story coming) and the continuing success of Saguache Works, which is quicklyelection_ballot_saguache-today emerging as a leader in how public/private partnerships work best,  it’s safe to say there is still good will and positive momentum working its way down 4th Street in Saguache Today.

In other Town news, Mayor Greg Terrell told Saguache Today election evening at the polling place that he has NOT able to confirm that the contract presented to Lawyer Karen Lintott for the position of Saguache Town Attorney had been accepted, signed and returned. A requests for proposal (RFP) for a new attorney was issued by town officials earlier this year. That decision, explained Saguache Mayor Greg Terrell, was prompted per the recommendation of the town auditor, who explained it’s a healthy part of checks-and-balances for municipalities to issue RFPs for a number of town positions including legal counsel.

So stay tuned as to what will happen with legal counsel, as the six Saguache Town Board of Trustees (Loren Aldrich, Susan Collins, May Engquist, Wyoma Hansen, Janice Torrez, and Amber Wilson) move forward, along with Mayor Terrell into this next chapter of Saguache history.

Latest News – December 14

Saguache Election Ballots to Be Bi-lingual in 2017

New data released earlier this month from the U.S. Census Bureau will require Saguache County to provide election ballots in Spanish in order to be in compliance with the Voting Rights Act (VRA).

Resident Byron Smith casts his ballot in last April's Election in Saguache. Starting in 2017, ballots for Saguache County will be avaialble in Spanish, as well as English.

Resident Byron Smith casts his ballot in last April’s Election in Saguache. Starting in 2017, ballots for Saguache County will be avaialble in Spanish, as well as English.

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. It was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson during the height of the Civil Rights Movement on August 6, 1965, and Congress later amended the Act five times to expand it.

Saguache was one of three San Luis Valley counties, the list also including Costilla and Conejos counties, which will be operating under that provision until after 2020, when the next census is conducted. Although for Costilla County it is not a change per se, as this area already operates under these VRA requirements.

On December 5, the U.S. Census Bureau released a list of 263 jurisdictions across the nation that must provide language assistance during elections for groups of citizens who are unable to speak or understand English adequately enough to participate in the electoral process. These determinations are pursuant to specifications, as amended in July 2006, in the Voting Rights Act.

The list, published in the Federal Register, identifies which jurisdictions are covered by Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act and must provide language assistance for Hispanic, American Indian and Alaska Native, and Asian language groups.

The Saguache County Courthouse, is the home of the Saguache County Clerk and Recorder who runs local elections. Photo: Saguache Today.

The Saguache County Courthouse, is the home of the Saguache County Clerk and Recorder who runs local elections. Photo: Saguache Today.

The Census Bureau has made these determinations following each decennial census since Section 203 was enacted in 1975. In 2006, Congress specified that the Census Bureau use statistics from the American Community Survey following the 2010 Census to conduct these determinations every five years. The determinations released today use data from the 2010-2014 American Community Survey 5-year estimates.

The 263 covered jurisdictions make up 3.3 percent of the 2,919 counties and 4,943 minor civil divisions that comprise the political subdivisions in the United States which were calculated for the Section 203 determinations. There are 68,800,641 eligible voting-age citizens in the covered jurisdictions, or 31.3 percent of the total U.S. citizen voting-age population.

The 2016 determinations found a total national population of 21,739,327 voting-age citizens subject to minority language assistance that reside in the 263 covered jurisdictions, compared with 19,209,431 and 248 jurisdictions in 2011, an increase of 13.2 percent. The determinations found a total of 16,621,136 Hispanics, 4,760,782 Asians, and 357,409 American Indian and Alaska Native voting-age citizens in the covered jurisdictions.

A complete list of which jurisdictions are covered, including which language minority groups are included, can be found in the Federal Register Notice.

In support of this Federal Register Notice, and as done with past publications of the Section 203 language determinations, the Census Bureau is releasing a set of public files presenting the underlying data used to construct these determinations.  This file and information about this file can be downloaded from the Census Redistricting Data program website.