Answer to the mystery of recall petition signer is close to home
October 3, 2005
When prominent Republican Mark Gould learned Monday who had signed his name on a petition seeking to recall District Attorney Colleen Truden, it turned out he knew the person well.After all, Gould named him.”The moral of the story is don’t name your kid after you,” Gould said with a smile Monday afternoon, after the mystery over the petition’s signing had been solved.A phone call to Mark Gould Jr., who is away at college, ended several days of wondering by Gould over how his name was ending up in news stories about people who had signed the recall petition.Gould’s name stood out because he’s a former chairman of the Republican Party in Garfield County. Truden also is a Republican.An Aspen Daily News article listed Gould as a signer of the petition, identifying him as a contractor and prominent contributor to the Republican Party. The Associated Press picked up the story.Trouble is, Gould – at least the contractor and big-time GOP backer – didn’t sign the petition. And he spent the weekend trying to assure fellow Republicans that he didn’t.”There are very few people that it bothers, but the people that it bothers are dear to my heart,” he said. “… It just hurts that I’ve got to go around making 40 phone calls to the 40 people who really care what I think, and tell them it wasn’t me.”Who it was remained a mystery to Gould until Monday.”I envisioned somebody writing my name and putting my address down there just to make me look bad,” he said.It also was possible that the petition didn’t include a Mark Gould. But recall organizer Sherry Caloia said Monday she remembered seeing the name as signatures were being gathered.Later Monday, she found the page with the signature. She said Martin Beeson – who is running to replace Truden if she is recalled – collected the signature. Caloia didn’t think Beeson knows Gould or would recognize him.”It meant nothing to him,” she said.She invited a reporter to look at the petition page Monday, and on it was the name Mark Gould Jr.Told of that, Gould noted, “I’m not a junior.”But his son is. And the address accompanying the signature was the same as Mark Gould Sr.’s.One phone call between Gould and his son confirmed that his son had indeed signed the petition.Mark Gould Jr., 21, also is Republican. Gould said he doesn’t hold it against him that he signed the petition.”I give my children free rein to be free thinkers and that doesn’t bother me at all,” Gould said.He said he also feels better knowing that it was a simple case of confusion instead of someone falsifying his name.Truden was unavailable for comment Monday. Assistant District Attorney Vince Felletter questioned the worth of publishing the names of those who signed the petitions, “as if that means something,” he said.”This to me is nasty politics, but it’s just my opinion,” he said.Others who reportedly signed include prominent Republicans Dick Stephenson and Wayne Rudd, Silt Police Chief Paul Taylor, several area police officers and elected officeholders, and even two Aspen journalists who have written about the recall effort. The state recently decided the petitions had enough valid signatures to force a recall election. Felletter said people sign petitions for a variety of reasons, and should be free to do so without their names being published. But if a story is to be written, it also should point out some people who didn’t sign the petitions, Felletter said.In this case, count Mark Gould among them. Mark Gould Sr., that is.