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Meet the Candidates

Welcome to the great 2009 Crested Butte Town Council election. Over the next month, the Crested Butte News will give you a chance to meet the candidates. Sort of like speed dating for those that can vote in town. We hope this helps.      —Mark Reaman

 

MAYORAL CANDIDATE

Leah Williams
Occupation: Community volunteer
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: 16
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod? “Big Trouble,” Trout Fishing in America (Yes, all three were Trout Fishing and yes, this does identify me as an “obsessive” grandparent.) I thought with luck it might have been a Nanci Griffith tune.
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months as mayor. What action would you prefer?
As mayor, my main goal is to serve with a high functioning council who works well with staff, community and each other to make decisions based on the greatest good for the greatest number. As candidates we run for different reasons. A diverse community elects us. Once seated as a council, we serve the entire community. To make this work, communication with staff and each other is critical—the staff has the institutional knowledge that is critical to good political decisions. In six months I want the council to be comfortable following agreed upon procedures that help us get this job done.
The Town is currently working on a Parks and Recreation Master Plan. Public input is a critical aspect and is currently under way. For years we have talked about what we want, need, can afford, can’t afford with our limited space. In six months I want the council to have approved the Parks and Recreation Master Plan with staff and council using it as a working document.
The poor economy requires additional demands on staff, council and residents. Current indicators point to a long period of high unemployment. Crested Butte has conservative financial policies, which we are benefiting from. In six months I want the council to have a clear understanding of the impact of the local and national economy on town finances and continue with a conservative response.
Exciting ideas? No. This internal, basic structure lays the groundwork for good decision-making about residents’, the council’s and staff’s exciting ideas.

 

 

TOWN COUNCIL CANDIDATES

Guy Ciulla
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: I will be living in Crested Butte for five years in January.
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod? a) “Trinocular” by sts9, b) “This Must Be the Place” by Talking Heads, c) “Colorado” by Lotus
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months on the board. What action would you prefer?
a) Getting a new covered ice rink. The new rink in Gunnison has stimulated around $5 million down valley. A new facility would bring in people from out of town in the winter during non-peak times. This translates into full hotels, restaurants, and retail shops—not only providing more money for the businesses and employees, but also generating sales tax.
b) The greening of Crested Butte. What can we do as a town to reduce our carbon footprint? Looking into ways we can functionally and affordably use wind and solar power. This covers both business and residential. Also trying to get a provider to recycle our clear and green glass as well as our plastics other than 1 and 2.
c) Elk Avenue (and other shops in town). How can we stimulate the local businesses? We have many empty spaces on Elk Avenue. A few of them have been unoccupied for years such as the Penelope’s building. What can we do to fill those spaces with amenities that people need and use. Also, how can we help the existing stores and shops (restaurant, retail, lodging).

 

Jay Harris
Occupation: Culinarian at large
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: Been in Crested Butte since 1994
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod?: Top three iPod tunes: “No Speak No Slave,” the Black Crowes; “Soulshine” by Warren Haynes; “Take 5” by Dave Brubeck.
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months on the board. What action would you prefer?
I would like to see the new council reexamine all energy efficient guidelines as they pertain to historic and non-historic buildings.
History is important but our environment means more, so there has to be new compromise. Solar is not ugly and should be encouraged at every home.
As a former restaurateur, I firmly believe payment in lieu of parking must be reexamined. Where does the money go and why must it be so difficult for new restaurant owners to get their start in Crested Butte? This seems very anti-business to me and many other business owners. Again, I stress reexamine, not reinvention.
Third, I see a need for a rec center/sports center. This is a sore spot for many, but I believe by expanding the indoor winter activities in town we can increase our winter sales tax revenue while enabling more activities for all ages.

 

Don Haver
Occupation: Retired: RJR Nabisco Inc./R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: Purchased a home in 1999 and moved to Crested Butte in 2002
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod? I don’t own an iPod, but my top three most played songs may be: “Eight Days a Week,” The Beatles, “Good Lovin,” The Young Rascals, “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg,” The Temptations
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months on the board. What action would you prefer?
Develop a written vision of what we want Crested Butte to be and then develop long-term and short-term plans defining what we need to do to guarantee this vision. We (the community) first need to determine what we are and what we currently like about our town. We have a special town with unique qualities that we need to recognize and support as we continue to grow. We all know examples of what we don’t want to be. What do we want our town to become that will provide us with a sustainable economy so that we can continue to enjoy all those things that we all treasure about Crested Butte.
Begin working closer with the Chamber of Commerce and the Tourism Association to determine what can be done to build upon our current activities (festivals, events, etc.) during our slower times to increase tourism to our town. In doing this, it is also critical that we insure these activities continue to be of great enjoyment for those of us who live here. The sales taxes that our restaurants and businesses collect pay for the services we enjoy. Successful businesses are also able to sponsor our events.
Work with our new Mayor to improve the efficiency and outcome of all council meetings, work sessions and other public meetings in the Town of Crested Butte.

 

Brian “BT” Kilkelly
Occupation: Right now, a cook at The Last Steep, and a driver for Alpine Express
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: It has been seven years in the Gunnison Valley.
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod? Unfortunately I do not own an iPod, however the top three played cassette tapes in my car are “No Alternative,” a 90’s alternative compilation, “Dear Science” by TV on the Radio, and “Rock of Ages” by The Band.
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months on the board. What action would you prefer?
A local solution to provide accessible and affordable medical care through some form of community co-operative clinic.
To take a more firm position on Snodgrass. The data that is currently available suggests that ski area expansions don’t work for the long term. How sustainable is this proposed expansion for the community as a whole when our town is viewed as a mere asset by the current owners, CNL Financial Group (a real estate development company).
The town of Crested Butte may need to rethink the main forces of its economy. The current over-reliances on tourism and second/third homeowners leaves the community in a very vulnerable position, we need to think of how to protect ourselves in this fragile economy. Especially in light of the fact that the ski product has been and most likely will be a declining industry. As far as which action I prefer, I would be excited to hear and participate in the discussion regarding issue 3. 

 

Roland Mason
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: I was born in Gunnison and have lived in the Crested Butte area for over 33 years.
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod? “Big Iron” (remake) by Mike Ness, “Steve McQueen” by the Drive-By Truckers, and “The Gangs All Here” (remake) by The Dropkick Murphys.
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months on the board. What action would you prefer?
The three issues I want to discuss and act on have already come before the Town Council.
The first issue is the Foothills Annexation.
I support the annexation as long as Crested Butte does not shoulder the responsibility of adding more living units to the town. The proponents should have the burden of providing adequate water rights, upgrades to the sewer plant, and suitable space for parks. The proponents should also comply with existing town building codes and regulations.
The second issue is the Parks and Rec Master Plan. The council should assess the Master Plan and find the top priorities. I feel we need to take steps forward to create an affordable, efficient, and useful rec area.
The third issue is the Sixth Street Station.
This development is in the planning phase. This will be the largest project in the town city limits to date. It will change the area near the Gas Café significantly. The recent sketches show encroachment of the structure onto town property. I do not object to an underground parking structure, which will go under town alleys. I do object to allowing the developers to use town property on the surface level. Town Council should not set precedence for future businesses to exploit.
Thank You and Vote Roland Mason for Town Council!

 

Jim “Deli” Schmidt
Occupation: Driver, Alpine Express
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: I’ve been here a mere 33 years, coming in the summer of 1976, Arts Fair weekend, on my motorcycle.
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod? “Walkin’ Blues,” Eric Clapton
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months on the board. What action would you prefer?
I would like the council to commit to renewable energy. I would like to see the public works buildings and the bus barn covered with solar panels to reduce the town’s electric bill and its dependency on outside energy. We should ask the town staff to explore all and any grants available to reach this objective. Four years ago, when I was Mayor, the town explored the possibility of a mini-hydro electric plant. I would like to see if technology has made this practical.
I would like to complete the north/south trail on the Verzuh annexation before it is completely forgotten about. It would run between Elk Avenue and the school east of the development and should not cost that much. I would eventually like to see the Mt. Crested Butte Rec path connected with Skyland with paved, widened trails so people pulling kid carts with their bicycles can get off the road.
The Sixth Street Station project needs to be addressed and looked at in the context of town. It seems to have been overshadowed by the Foothills Annexation. I have concerns about both projects. The paper has asked which action we prefer. It is imperative that any council member examines all the public input on any project and examines all the options and alternative plans before making a decision. I have always done so in the past and would do so in these instances.

 

Phoebe Wilson
Occupation: Owner/bartender of The Dogwood Cocktail Cabin
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: 4.5
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod? Zap Mama, “Rafiki”
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months on the board. What action would you prefer?
Firstly, as a small business owner I would like to oversee the development of a cohesive, long-term economic strategy for this town. I feel that it is essential for our future as a community that we promote and encourage an innovative and dynamic local economy. We also need to enhance and capitalize on our uniqueness, for this will provide the fundamental basis for vital and sustained growth. Furthermore, the Town needs to engage and have a constructive synergy with Mt. Crested Butte to better coordinate mutual goals and long-term plans.
Secondly, I personally feel that we need to address the increasing inequities that growth is fostering within our local community and the broader Gunnison valley. I would like to see a greater emphasis on the representation and support of those whose livelihood is the foundation of our economy. We need to provide affordable opportunities for members of the laborer force and small entrepreneurs alike, to live, and thrive within the boarders of our municipality.
Third, as a member of Town Council I would like to promote of a new sense of community self-awareness. Our genesis as a town, a community, and our socio-economic culture are both distinct and unique-that’s what we all love about it! I do not believe that we could ever be a replica of Aspen or Vail. We are Crested Butte! We need to look within to find solutions for the issues that face this community now and in the future.

 

John Wirsing
Occupation: Self employed/construction
Number of years in Crested Butte/Gunnison Valley: 12
What is one of the three most played songs on your iPod? “Loner,” covered by The Grand Noodle Connection. But mostly I listen to KBUT.
Name three issues you want the council to discuss and take action on in your first six months on the board. What action would you prefer?
 I think one of the most pressing issues is the Foothills expansion. A decision needs to be made soon so the developer can move forward one way or another. If the town needs to expand, it makes sense to expand in that direction. But, does town need to expand? At the past few meetings there has been no resident to step forward and say “Yes, I want this.” But there has been a lot of opposition. If it is to be annexed, I think it would be advantageous to somehow gain the Spann property as well and work in some plans for future parks, a school site and rec center locations.
A second issue is economic sustainability. I would like us to attract more businesses that have the ability to work remotely or via the Internet. If you could live anywhere and create software or be a consultant, why not live in paradise. It would fill empty homes and office spaces, and they would spend their money in local stores, shops and restaurants. We try to attract tourists for a few days to spend their money, why not attract professionals that can live anywhere and will create jobs as they need help.
Third, I would like the results of the Parks and Rec Master Plan prioritized and put into action. I think the plan process is very beneficial and to see it enacted as funds become available will be awesome.
 

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