From Darkness To Light

30 Sep 2014

City Official: barrage of identical email responses on possible trail closures a distraction

Posted by Adam Howell

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Emails submitted by readers of Horse Gulch Blog to the City of Durango about the possible closure of seven popular trail segments on city lands has elicited a written response of disapproval from the receiving official regarding the submission format.

From left to right, Kevin Hall, Mary Monroe Brown, and former County Manager Shawn Nau at a meeting on a proposed road connecting Ewing Mesa with Grandview, aka the Grandview Connection.

From left to right, Kevin Hall, Mary Monroe Brown, and former County Manager Shawn Nau at a meeting on a proposed road project that would connect Ewing Mesa with Grandview, aka The Grandview Connection.

Assistant Community Development Director Kevin Hall is the city official receiving the emails from mostly local citizens in resistance to the possible closure of trail segments that two city boards will be considering at a joint board meeting on October 27.

Hall wrote me yesterday to ask that the petition format be changed in such a way as to allow all of those agreeing with the wording to sign on and let it be submitted once, in the end, instead of individually with identical messages, as has been mostly true since the petition was created.

While most of the emails submitted were identical to the wording written into the petition plugin on this blog, those emails are indeed coming from people other than this blogger, leaving a digital trail that cannot be discredited, nor erased (each letter sent to Hall is also sent to this blogger), for the Natural Lands Board and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board to read before they meet together in October.

Let me know what you think about the ethics of using the submission format of the petition letter in question and whether the city should be accepting and acknowledging emails with the same wording from multiple individuals. Please vote in the poll below.

First, please read Hall’s letter to me, followed by my response that I sent back to him.


While I appreciate your attention to and participation in the trails discussion, I don’t much care for the barrage of identical emails that I am receiving as a result of your blog petition. Your analysis has been duly noted and will be considered.

I request that you modify your petition so that it is submitted once rather than each time someone supports it. Each email you generate takes time out of my day that could otherwise be spent on other things, like working to review your input. If I get an individualized email from someone, I will take the time to provide a thoughtful response. The emails that you are generating do not warrant such a commitment.


Here was this blogger’s reply:

I don’t think that you need to develop a thoughtful response to all of the emails that you are receiving regarding the proposed trail closures. A simple, “Thank you for your input,” or “I copy that,” or “Your feedback will be considered in constructing our policy for properly managing the trail systems on city lands,” would be enough to convey acknowledgement.

Many of the people giving you feedback are locals that have had positive experiences on these city trail segments that the city is considering closing. Their feedback should not be considered a distraction to you, even if those sending the letters happen to agree with the same exact wording that I used to convey my opinions on saving these trails.

Furthermore, my petition might erase all of the names in its database if I switch over to a setting that collects the signatures for a final submission to you. A future petitioning format could use a list of signatures that you would find less distracting, although I’m not so sure that you or the city boards would acknowledge any of our opinions individually, if I was sending the petition with signatures solely from my email account.

Really, I have no idea if these people’s input will make there way to the boards before their joint board meeting in October. I’m a bit hesitant to promote saving these trails through the format that you’ve requested when I’m not expecting any of the board members to reply individually to our requests–even if we’re all saying the same thing.

Adam Howell

Horse Gulch Blog

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2 Responses to “City Official: barrage of identical email responses on possible trail closures a distraction”

  1. I can appreciate Kevin’s concern about the email barrage, but at the same time, I think that individual points of contact like that lend a legitimacy and urgency not presented by a single document with a number of signatures (this is local politics, not the constitution 🙂 )

    Either way, keep fighting the good fight man, you do such a great job!


    Jerry Hazard

  2. Thanks for the feedback again, Jerry!

    I agree, and I can see how the email barrage could make it easy for Hall to lose other important emails coming in, as he probably has a busy email account. Sorry about that, Kevin.

    Let’s hope that the voices of all INDIVIDUALS are heard by the city regarding these proposed trail closures, even if most of them are saying the same thing.


    Adam Howell

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