Meet the Basalt Town Council candidates
Ryan Summerlin March 18, 2014
Editor’s note: Five candidates are running for three open seats on the Basalt Town Council in the April 1 election. Coverage by The Aspen Times throughout this week will focus on major issues facing the town. The coverage starts today with the candidates’ biographies.
Name: Richard Duddy
Occupation: Real estate 2005-2013
Neighborhood: Gold Rivers Court
Public/civic experience: KNFO Radio Show: We did the show for free and made sure that it was based on a non-commercial free education for listeners. Hundreds of locals listened and thanked us for the information they received.
Tom Baker Night: Hosted the night that recognized our town manager in one of the most community-centered events I have seen in Basalt.
Bistro Politics: As a true alternative public service, I created a local environment at the Bistro that was committed to people talking politics in a non-critical setting. Free glass of wine for the Town Council and the developers after the Tuesday night meetings and all teachers.
1973-1979, analyst and vice president, American Management Systems; Technology Consulting Firm, 1980-1992; president and CEO, Excalibur Technologies Corp. Software company creating systems for U.S. and Japanese industrial companies;1993-2004, owner, Bistro Basalt; 2005-2013, real estate.
Reason for running: I think I can help. After being here for 20 years, Basalt is my hometown. I know a lot of voters from my 10 years as a restaurant owner on Midland, eight years in Basalt real estate and five years as a local radio show host. I think the Basalt voter is as smart as it gets. I think I can help voters directly influence decisions. I know the issues. As the owner of a local’s favorite restaurant I got know people and the issues Basalt has seen in 20 years. Then being in real estate and the rental business during the boom and crash years provided me with a frontline view of how that affected my fellow citizens. Using modern communication, I think a dynamic citizen’s feedback forum is possible. For starters. … Send any questions or comments in confidence to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Name: Bernard “Bernie” Grauer
Occupation: Retired, corporate pension investment sales
Family: Married with adult children
Neighborhood: Elk Run
Public/civic service: Chair of the Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission: I have served on P&Z for over 6 years.
Chair of the Basalt Kilns Committee: We helped secure over $300,000 in matching state funds to rehab and preserve the charcoal kilns (cones) in Arbaney Park.
Trustee of the Basalt Regional Library District: I was elected twice as the treasurer. Using my background in corporate finance and investment I assisted in refinancing the district’s bonds and having its credit rating raised, saving taxpayers $500,000 over 13 years.
Reason for running: I’m fired up to become part of a council that will take Basalt over the tipping point to economic and cultural vitality, while preserving its small town character.
Name: Mark Kittle
Occupation: I am currently employed by the town of Snowmass Village as the chief building official, and in that capacity I feel I have the experience and understand the many aspects of land use and development, which could be beneficial to the many decisions upcoming in the governance of Basalt.
Family: I have lived in Basalt for most of my life. I was born in Glenwood Springs and my family has been in the area for over 100 years.
Neighborhood: The current location of the Roaring Fork Club was our family’s ranch, and I presently live at the old homestead location where my grandfather was born.
Public/civic experience: I served on Basalt Town Council from 2004 to 2008 and have been on the Board of Directors for the Basalt & Rural Fire Protection District since 1998.
Reason for running: I am passionate about the projects slated for the future of Basalt and would feel privileged to participate in the process of moving our town forward in a cost-effective, reasonable and sustainable manner.
Name: Jeff Orsulak
Occupation: Project manager, designer, planner
Public/civic experience and reason for running: At a young age I quickly learned that the foundation for a great community is participation. This realization coupled with the great example set by my parents led me to get involved at an early age. Whether it was volunteering as a soccer coach or serving on my first community board while still in high school, I believed in participating in my community early and often. These values have carried over into my adult life professionally, designing strong communities and buildings with the small-town character, and in my personal and civic life once again volunteering as youth coach and serving on the Mid-Valley Metro District Board for the past 10 years.
Name: Gary Tennenbaum
Occupation: Assistant director for Pitkin County Open Space and Trails.
Family: Married with one child
Neighborhood: Elk Run
Public/civic experience: I was elected to Basalt Town Council in 2006 and served one term. I am currently on the Eagle County Open Space Board representing Basalt. Working for Pitkin County for the past 12 years has given me an opportunity to work with government agencies from all over the Roaring Fork and Colorado River Valleys.
Reason for running: I feel Basalt is at an amazing point in its history and I have the experience to assist the town to connect with its citizens, schools, and businesses to plan appropriately for the future. We have a prime opportunity to create the best plan for both ends of Basalt to keep each part unique. Providing great access to our rivers, open spaces and trails is my passion and career and we have an opportunity to really enhance recreation for all Basalt residents.