Mixing election metaphors… baseball, cooking and candidates

This is going to be a close election in Crested Butte. Three of the four council candidates will end up sitting at the table and, frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if the fourth, whoever it ends up being, loses by one vote. I think the library expansion issues (1A and 1B) are in the same boat.

An effective council is like a good seafood stew. It might smell a bit but it takes different ingredients to make it a success and it can hit the spot. The flavors have to mingle and complement each other. Even if you have the best tasting ingredient in the world, if that’s the only ingredient you throw in the pot, it will taste bland and sit in the fridge uneaten.
The candidates running for council each bring their own unique ingredient to the kitchen. Aaron Huckstep will be the mayor. He is the steak in the stew, the halibut in the cioppino. Given his performance during this campaign season, we think he’ll provide a strong and positive taste in whatever dish is served up this coming Tuesday and beyond. We look forward to Huck sitting in the middle seat and being a face for the town.
Glenn Michel can add a stable, calming base to the broth. Owen is like the ingredient you have used in past recipes that will bring a, shall we say, slightly left-wing but proverbial Crested Butte flavor to the main course, so you want to throw it in the pot for familiarity.
McGruther and Matusewicz are the spice. Both can make the dish interesting but McGruther I feel is like accidentally spilling too much chili powder (organic and from the farmers market, of course) into the pot. While a little of the seasoning can be good for the stew, put in too much and you’ll end up spending a lot of time trying to counter the overpowering taste.
Matusewicz, on the other hand, is a spice that maybe hasn’t been tried before but with the right amount, suddenly it takes a good cioppino to the next level of taste.

To mix metaphors, while all the candidates had a good game at last week’s Candidate’s Forum, you judge a ball player over the course of a long season.
Michel and Owen have been in the big leagues for a while. Michel has chaired one the hardest boards in the valley, BOZAR. Michel’s record has shown he is a low-key, smart and steady influence. He is intelligent and open-minded and admits he has a lot to learn at the council level but wants to put in the time and effort. I get the feeling he might have to be nudged to think out of the box sometimes but his stabilizing influence is one ingredient needed for a council stew if it is to ultimately be a success.
Owen has been under the gun at the County Planning Commission for years. Owen is comfort food. Despite his protest over the perception, he carries a bit of an old-school, no-growth patina. But he contends that he wants to see the economy in Crested Butte grow again and wants the town to have a better relationship with local businesses, including CBMR. He realizes the environment around here is not only pretty but good business. Owen is a guy who is very visible in the community and is very willing to listen to his constituents. When things have gotten testy at the Planning Commission, he has demonstrated an ability to remain cool under pressure and take some lonely stands. While I realize he will sometimes vote in ways I wouldn’t, he will be a good representative for the town.
McGruther, on the other hand, would probably vote more often along my political lines but he has shown a regular tendency to go overboard. His “I know best” energy can oftentimes leave a weird aftertaste with people. While hitting what I think was a solid triple at the Candidates’ Forum, over the long run he has come across as unbendingly strident in his beliefs and not always respectful of the people on the other side of an issue. While a vociferous, combative presence may be effective at times, it doesn’t work well for someone who ultimately will have to represent a community with varying opinions and beliefs. Given the reality that most local issues come in shades of grey as opposed to easy black and white questions, Crested Butte politics is more art than science. McGruther consistently contends he’s a science guy and his energy can perhaps be used more effectively for the community in other forums.
Matusewicz is the surprise ingredient in the cioppino. Throw him in the pot and you get something interesting as well as substantial. He has advocated looking at issues from new angles and he’s actually come up with practical ideas. For example, in the affordable housing fee debate, he hasn’t gotten bogged down simply in the debate of whether or not the fees are too high; rather, he has looked for a way to solve multiple issues within the debate while honoring the need for affordable housing. He has suggested an idea to spread out the burden and generate significant funds for housing. That thought process is impressive. He would also bring a numbers sense to the council. Smart, nimble and young, Matusewicz could add a constructive spice to the new council.

The voters are the ultimate cooks in charge of this kitchen, so take the time to throw in your own ingredient. I think every vote will really count in this election.
The three most effective votes would probably go to Owen, Michel and Matusewicz.

We are in an election period. Most people have probably voted by now. I miss an official Election Day. If you haven’t done so, drop your ballot in the mail by Friday or drive it down to the Blackstock Building in Gunnison across from the post office. It must be there before Tuesday evening and there are extended hours. In fact, it will be open this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and open until 7 p.m. on Tuesday, November 1.
Exercise your right to shape a small town. It really does matter.

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