As Bob Godwin noted at the Crested Butte News Candidates Forum on Thursday, October 18, we are fortunate to have five qualified and enthusiastic candidates running for Town Council. In recent years, we’ve often been plagued with either no race or races that hardly qualified as real contests. In this case, these candidates have stirred authentic debate about where Crested Butte is heading and for that, I thank each of them. Their passion about this town is inspiring and contagious.
My first endorsement goes to Town Council candidate Kimberly Metsch. Throughout this race, I’ve heard Metsch referred to as a frontrunner and for good reason. Metsch has shown that she’s willing to do her homework even before she sits at the council table and has displayed a real passion for communicating with citizens. While she hasn’t established much more than a broad platform, what she lacks in specifics she’ll make up for in drive and objectivity. Metsch deserves your vote in this election.
My second endorsement goes to Bob Godwin. I had some initial concerns about Godwin’s candidacy because I found his answers in this publication’s "Meet the Candidates" section to be rather terse. However, in speaking with Godwin and hearing him at the Candidates Forum, I believe Godwin represents something that’s increasingly rare—a true conservative.
I think Godwin will do his best to ensure that the Town remains careful with its residents’ dollars while working to maintain what we value about Crested Butte—the community. A former town council member and mayor of Mt. Crested Butte, Godwin says he’s a staunch supporter of economic development—something the town will need in the coming years if sales tax revenues do not continue to flourish.
Godwin says he is willing to entertain Crested Butte Mountain Resort’s plans to expand onto Snodgrass Mountain—but he’s not willing to give the resort total carte blanche. It’s a view that I think is reasonable. While I don’t necessarily agree with all of Godwin’s politics, a diversity of opinion on Town Council will only yield better decisions. I encourage a vote for Godwin.
My final endorsement goes to relative newcomer Reed Betz. Of all the candidates, Betz has the biggest ideas—including making Crested Butte the first town in North America to be totally energy self-sufficient. Betz’s dreams are so big that I questioned whether it’s possible to get them done—and whether Betz will become discouraged if they don’t prove to be easily accomplished. However, Betz says he’s willing to work through the process and accept smaller projects on the way to his larger goals —like mounting a campaign to replace incandescent bulbs with compact florescent light bulbs in every building in Crested Butte. I believe big goals are how big changes get accomplished—and every council should have a dreamer. For this reason, I encourage you to vote for Betz.
Town Council candidates Todd Carroll and Dan Escalante have both run solid campaigns, of which they should be proud. Carroll in particular has demonstrated a true commitment to public service and a passion for arts and recreation that I hope he’ll continue to pursue. In Escalante’s case, I feel as though we’ve been present for his political awakening. I hope he will keep drawing on his newfound passion to ask the tough questions and keep us all on our toes.
In addition, I’d like to say congratulations to mayor Alan Bernholtz, who will be elected to his second term.
When Bernholtz first ran for mayor two years ago, I doubted that he could transform himself from a popular but capricious Town Council member into the leader this town would need. He has proven me and other naysayers wrong by displaying commitment to the job, objectivity, humility and patience. I look forward to seeing what he’ll accomplish in his next two years in office.
Finally, I’d like to say thank you to the three Town Council members who will be departing from the council chambers—Bill Coburn, Ron Chlipala and Margot Levy.
I’ve always thought that Coburn holds his cards pretty close to his chest, but one thing I’ve never doubted: He has the best interest of Crested Butte in mind. Thank you, Bill, for your service on Town Council.
During the last four years, I have appreciated Chlipala’s willingness to hold up his hands and say, "Guys, I’m not sure we’re doing the right thing." Even when he was in the minority—as he often was—Chlipala often steered the council to a better decision. Thank you, Ron, for your constant vigilance for people who work and play here.
In recent years, Margot Levy has taken her place among Crested Butte’s stateswomen. She’s been a tenacious defender of the environment and has fought for housing to keep local residents here. More recently, she became the senior council member—carrying with her invaluable institutional knowledge that helps us remember how we got here. Margot, your presence in the council chambers will be greatly missed. Thank you for your service.
Election season is reaching fever pitch in town and it’s time to make a choice on who will fill the chairs emptied by these great politicians. You’ve read my picks and now it’s time for the citizens of Crested Butte to make their own. Good luck to all the candidates and don’t forget to vote.