The Goode guy wins in Snowmass
October 19, 2015
A resident of the Roaring Fork Valley for more than 40 years, Tom Goode is already well-known to many people in Snowmass Village.
Many of them expressed their confidence in his leadership, as well, when they elected him to be their newest Town Council member Tuesday. Goode received 341 votes to replace Chris Jacobson, who was voted out Tuesday in the town's first-ever recall election.
Goode will be sworn in Nov. 2. Although the town originally anticipated swearing him in at the council's next meeting, which is today, state law requires a 10-day gap after recall elections, according to a statement released Wednesday.
Born in New Jersey, Goode was a schoolteacher and football coach when he decided to take a year off to ski in Colorado, moving to Snowmass Village and taking a job at the Crestwood. That was in 1973.
"I skied every single day that season," Goode said. "I accomplished what I came to do, and I never left."
Having grown up in his father's plumbing business, Goode started one of his own, now known as 10th Mountain Plumbing. Goode was also a ski instructor for many years.
"Like everyone, I worked a lot of jobs," Goode said. "The object back then was to ski every day."
Goode, who raised a son and daughter here, later put his passion for prep football to use as a coach again, first in Basalt and later in Aspen, where he helped regenerate the dormant program in 2002. Now, he officiates games throughout the Western Slope.
"I can't think of a better place to be on a Friday night than on the field with the kids," he said.
A member of the Snowmass Board of Appeals for 33 years, Goode joined the town Planning Commission in 2014. He ran for Town Council when Markey Butler vacated her seat to become mayor last year, but he said he didn't run for a seat during the regular election because he wasn't sure at that time what the community was looking for.
But after going through two phases of the review process for the current application to amend Base Village, "I feel better about what the community is after," he said.
Goode said it seemed misleading that Related Cos. would go through that process with the Planning Commission and Town Council only to announce after approval of its preliminary-plan application that it would be selling Base Village to East West Partners, a developer with projects in multiple ski-resort towns. He said he isn't familiar with East West Partners — none of the Planning Commission members attended a trip the council took to tour Beaver Creek with East West's founder, Harry Frampton, in July — but he's looking forward to learning more about it.
The town has to ensure that the community is protected regardless of what's going on with the applicant, Goode said. A priority for him that he also championed as Planning Commission chairman was financial security for the project.
A chairman as soon as he became a member, Goode said he's comfortable with that kind of role, having been a facilitator so often in the past.
"I really feel I'm going to miss those guys," he said. "I'm really proud of what that board did."
Goode ran ads in local newspapers and hung out at the Snowmass Village post office to meet voters, he said. He didn't go door to door like fellow candidate Jamie Knowlton, who brought in 257 votes in the recall election.
"I really think the world of Jamie," Goode said. "He would be great in this position, as well."
"I really thought we had two good choices (in Knowlton and Goode), which is a plus for Snowmass Village," said former Mayor Doug Mercatoris, who wrote a letter to The Aspen Times supporting the recall and Goode's candidacy. "But I felt Tom was the right man at the right time to get us back to a council that is collegial that works together."
To Mercatoris, better known in the village as "Merc," that was the problem with Jacobson, who fought hard when in the minority on issues such as the hiring of a new town manager and the approval of a vesting extension for Base Village last year. Mercatoris likened Jacobson's approach to that of certain polarizing members of Congress.
"That's not the way that it should be in Washington, D.C., and not the way it should be in Snowmass Village," Mercatoris said. "I think if he had participated in the meetings in a collegial manner after his legal difficulties, I might have considered not recalling him, but he didn't do that. My vote was not contingent … on his legal problems."
By that, Mercatoris was referring to criminal charges Jacobson faces following a June 26 drunken-driving arrest, when he also is accused of causing $15,000 in damage to the Pitkin County Jail while being detained there. After news broke of the criminal-mischief charge related to the damage — a felony charge because of the dollar amount — a petition was filed to start a recall election.
On Tuesday, the final day of the mail-only election, 623 of 682 ballots cast favored recall. Fred Kucker, a member of the petition committee, said Thursday that 17 people helped circulate the recall petition but that none of them campaigned for the actual recall election.
"I think the results of the ballot speak for themselves," Kucker said. "Over 90 percent of the voters agreed that Chris should be recalled. I think Tom Goode is an outstanding replacement and will be very instrumental in helping the council get through a critical time for the town."
As of Sept. 11, there were 2,178 registered voters in Snowmass Village. About 1,000 people voted in the last Town Council election in 2014.
Mercatoris, Snowmass Village's longest-serving elected official, is no stranger to local elections and wasn't surprised by the number of ballots cast in this special election.
"Whenever you have an off-congressional or off-presidential election, you have a lesser turnout, and when you have a lesser turnout, the people who feel strongly about the issue are the ones that show up," Mercatoris said. "I think the result would have been the same — I think he would have been recalled — but it would have been nicer if there had been a bigger turnout."
Fifty-seven voters opposed Jacobson's removal, the same number that cast votes for candidate Richard Goodwin to replace him. (The votes weren't necessarily on the same ballots.)
Goodwin ran to replace Jacobson even though he initially said he didn't favor recall because he agreed with the embattled councilman on several issues. After Jacobson alleged ex parte communications on the part of two council members during review of the vesting application last fall, Goodwin filed a lawsuit seeking to nullify its approval.
But once Jacobson stopped showing up for Town Council meetings — he's missed eight in a row without giving a reason to either the council or the press — even Goodwin told the Snowmass Sun he favored the recall.