Candidate profiles: their backgrounds |

Candidate profiles: their backgrounds

Aspen, CO ColoradoWith Election Day on May 8 and absentee voting under way, today marks the first installment of a five-part questionnaire for the Aspen mayoral and City Council candidates. This series of questions will run all week, concluding Friday.

Name: Bonnie BehrendAge: 52Occupation: television broadcast pro- fessional and freelance writer Family: married; no children.Years in Aspen: eight total; 1990-96 and back from New York two yearsEducation: Kiplinger Fellow, masters in journalism, bachelors in organizational communicationsVolunteer/board experience: No boards. Past volunteer experience Buddy Program gala at Boogies 2006, Everybody Wins New York reading to inner city school children.Have you ever been arrested? Not yet. What makes you more qualified to be Aspens next mayor than your opponents? I am not part of the history of the problems or a political insider. Im independent-minded, without desire or ability to gain financially or politically from the job of mayor. I see this position as an opportunity to serve. As a nationally and locally known career journalist, I am trained, educated and practiced at listening and taking concerns of residents to City Hall. I have a national and local profile in news audiences who can and do trust me. Im also honored with enormous support in television news departments around the country and in national news audiences who want to see one of their own in this position. I suspect the publicity I would bring to the table could only help all Aspen area business interests.

Name: Michael C. Mick IrelandAge: 57Occupation: substitute teacher, attorney; consultant/researcher on resort issuesFamily: seven sisters and brothers; one sister (Molly Ireland) and niece (Katie Bird), nephew (Jack) and brother-in-law (Don Bird) in AspenYears in Aspen: 28Education: B.S., psychology, University of Illinois; law degree with tax emphasis, University of Colorado at BoulderVolunteer/board experience: Winternational ski races; Aspen Times Five and Buddy Five footraces (director), Three Rivers Football (assistant coach), Aspen youth baseball (coach), Aspen Buddy Program (legal counsel), Roaring Fork Legal Aid (board and volunteer), University of Colorado Legal Aid program, Aspen Citizen Blue Ribbon Financial Committee (citizen), Aspen/Pitkin Housing Authority (chairman, member), Pitkin County Financial Advisory Board (chairman, citizen appointee), Intermountain Transportation Planning Commission (Garfield, Eagle, Summit, Lake, Pitkin counties, elected by members), Rural Resort Region (chairman, founding member, same five counties), Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers (trail building), Gov. Ritters Transportation Finance and Implementation. Have you ever been arrested? Back in my Jack Kerouac period, I was arrested for hitchhiking in Montana, Colorado and Florida, and charged with traffic violations that resulted in total fines of $35 and great memories. What makes you more qualified to be Aspen’s next mayor than your opponents? I have a vision for Aspen that is shared by a majority of its residents, and I have a skill set to make the vision a reality for this community. From my opponents over the years, I have learned hard lessons in the value of humility. I am proud that many of those former critics are today counted among my personal friends, supporters and campaign contributors. Finally, I believe that even my most severe detractors have not claimed that I have ever used public office for personal financial gain or acted other than in the public interest. These personal characteristics are as important to me as any technical skills or academic insights I might contribute to the public process.

Name: Tim SemrauAge: 54Occupation: owner of plan/design/build firm specializing in green affordable housing; co-owner of two local retail stores; single dad; husbandFamily: wife, Heidi; children, Nicole and Erik Years in Aspen: Moved to Aspen in 1986; never intend to leave.Education: University of Illinois, University of Arizona, University of Life. Volunteer/board experience: City Council member 2001-05, chairman of housing board, member of Planning and Zoning Commission, CORE board member, board member of ABIL, kid team coaching. Have you ever been arrested (if yes, please explain)? Woke up in a garbage dump in Mexico after a college party at Arizona State University; cant remember if I was actually arrested.What makes you more qualified to be Aspens next mayor than your opponents? Im the only candidate with real-world Aspen life experience combined with extensive public service. This background provides the problem-solving skills necessary for good leadership. I believe hardworking citizens, grounded and experienced in many areas, should step up and lend their common sense to government. After my last term on City Council, I stepped away voluntarily for two years so I wouldnt lose my real world talents by the institutionalization that happens after years of elected office. The most important challenge is how to wisely manage Aspens prosperity and desirability, a task beyond the usual government thinking.

Name: Torre. I was born Ronald Wayne Maranian III. I was nicknamed Torre weeks after I was born, I have always been called Torre, so with my parents consent, I decided to change it legally.Age: 37Occupation: Current Aspen City councilman, formerly Plum TV on-air host, Aspen Club head tennis pro.Family: Single with no children, but dating a wonderful woman, Erica Smith. My mother, father, and sister and her husband, and my two nieces live near Evergreen.Years in Aspen: 14Education: I attended Florida State University. I graduated with my A.A. degree, studying psychology and fine art. Volunteer/board experience: I am a member of the Aspen Elks Lodge. I deliver lunches for Meals on Wheels. I served on the Red Brick Center for the Arts board, the RFTA board, Northwest Colorado Council of Governments and Club 20.Have you ever been arrested? No.What makes you more qualified to be Aspen’s next mayor than your opponents? I am the only candidate that can create an inclusive, cooperative community-based leadership, immediate entrance solutions, slow growth and environmental policies.

Name: LJ ErspamerAge: 62Occupation: RealtorFamily: wife, Marcia Poutous of 20 years; Kai Erspamer, 18-year-old, freshman, engineering major, University of Denver; Teo Fabi Erspamer, 16-year-old, junior, Aspen High School.Education: cum laude graduate in associates arts, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, Calif.; finished junior year in accounting, Long Beach State University.Have you ever been arrested? (no answer)Volunteer/Board Experience: Snowmass-Wildcat fire department, former president; Snowmass Ambulance District organizer; Aspen Professional Ski Patrol Association organizer and first president; International Speed Skiing Association treasurer; original organizer of the North American Telemark Championships; Aspen Junior Hockey, former vice president; Friends of the Aspen Sports and Recreation Center vice president (ice rink fundraising group); Citizens for Parks and Recreation president (pool funding group); Leisure Pool Citizens Committee president (leisure pool funding group); U.S.A. Hockey supervisor of ice hockey referees, Aspen; Colorado High School Activities Association supervisor of high school ice hockey referees, Western Slope; Aspen School District Accountability board member; Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission member; Past Citizen Volunteer of the Year for the city of AspenWhat makes me more qualified for City Council than my opponents? After living in this valley for more than 36 years, 26 of them in the city limits of Aspen, I have had the privilege of serving on several boards and committees. I have a proven track record of accomplishments in organizing events and groups like SPARC that built the Aspen Recreation Center. The City Council recognized my organizing skills and community dedication by awarding me the Citizen Volunteer of the Year award for this accomplishment. My logistical and organizational skills are second to none. My experience as a truck driver, carpenter, river rafting company owner, fire and ambulance service, 25 years of ski patrol work, avalanche technician and community activist has given me the opportunity to gain valuable experience and get to know most people in Aspen. My work ethic, experience and vision have given me the practical knowledge to complete many undertakings and tasks. I have a sense of what it takes to get the job done, as well as the energy and determination to follow through. My biggest asset is organizing and respecting the chain of command to make sure all levels of an organization contribute at their highest level. Coming from the northern Minnesota iron mining area, I have developed a strong work ethic and high standards. Serving in the U.S. Army in Vietnam, 1967-68, has proved my loyalty to my country and willingness to serve at the highest level. I have old-time values with new-age ideas to move this community forward. My 36 years in the valley, and 26 of them as an Aspen resident, show my commitment in the long term to focus on what is best for our community.

Name: Andrew KoleAge: 57Occupation: writer, TV host and entertainment marketing consultantFamily: son, Matthew, 33Years in Aspen: nineEducation: business degree and 35 years working NYC, L.A. and Miami.Board Experience: CCLC, four years; volunteered marketing and fundraising consulting time to numerous nonprofits, including GrassRoots TV, Buddy Program, Theatre Aspen and the animal shelterHave you ever been arrested? NoWhat makes you more qualified that your opponents? I bring to City Council a skill set that includes: being well-informed, having the ability to look at all sides of an issue, being an excellent negotiator, having a relationship with locals, second-home owners and visitors, and the ability to ask good questions and tough questions when appropriate. Additionally, with no family encumbrances, I can devote the enormous amount of time required to be effective.

Name: Toni KronbergAge: 52Occupation: owner of Water Babies Swimming, emergency medical technician/paramedic, equestrian exerciserFamily: single; three wonderful sisters, one great brother and lots of nieces and nephewsYears In Aspen: 32 Education: Farleigh Dickinson University, Teaneck, N.J.; University of Colorado, Boulder; Swedish Medical Center, Englewood (paramedic license); CMC, paralegal certificate.Voluntary/board experience: Mountain Rescue Aspen, 17 years; Mountain Ambulance, 15 years; Aspen Area Community Plan Committee; Aspen Area Community Plan Transportation Committee; petitions for a new James E. Moore swimming pool and ice skating rink, 15 years plus; petitions for a outside swimming pool and expansion of the Rio Grande skateboard park; 1978 recreational committee for a new swimming pool; 1999 parks and recreation bond for recreation center and 12 other recreational capital improvement projects; Gentlemen of Aspen rugby team, 10 years; EMT/physio event coach, 24 Hours of Aspen Ski Race, five years; volunteer trainer/coach for individuals and teams in football, volleyball, swimming, skiing, triathlon; volunteer water therapy for spinal cord injuries; volunteer for numerous ballot questions and associated special events: Aspen Recreation Center, fundraiser for hot tub, Sunday Community Bonfire; numerous petitions: visitor center referendum, Corduroys Halloween in Library Park Plaza, Save the Library Park Plaza Easter Egg hunt, recycle program ordinance, recycle center referendum, Entrance to Aspen ballot question, Lets Vote on annexation of Zoline Ranch for Burlingame Affordable Housing, Lets Vote on pending Civic Master Plan; volunteer at senior center; volunteer homework sessions with at-risk kids; volunteer swim coach, University of Colorado at Boulder, local swim clubs and high-altitude swim training clinicsHave you ever been arrested? Yes, misdemeanor.What makes you more qualified for City Council than your opponents? My experience and success rate in turning many of the communities dreams into realities, which I have listed above. I have listened over the years and worked shoulder to shoulder with many people to reach solutions supported by the majority of Aspen. Even when told, No, give up! on your dreams, I continued onward, took the high road and continued on with my efforts because I knew I was fighting for the good things. Those good things became realities. Only candidate who has attended every City Council [meeting] on the newly cleaned up land use code.

Name: Michael OSullivanAge: 47Occupation: self-employed, painting contractor and property managementFamily: Wife, two girls ages 8 and 1.Years in Aspen: moved here in 1976, went away to college and then five years as a stockbroker; back since 1990Education: undergradate in business administration, minor in economicsVoluntary/boards: N/AHave you ever been arrested? No.What makes you more qualified for City Council than your opponents? I think I could bring a new perspective to current council and contrast the other candidates. Having moved here in the mid-70s, I have a historical perspective on the growth and change that has happened in Aspen. Another contrast is the fact that I have two young daughters that are going to grow up here. Another qualification is my local business that requires the use of an automobile in and around town. Not everybody can roll out of bed and walk to work. Having a family and local business can help bring balance to current council.

Name: Dwayne RomeroAge: 42Occupation: co-owner of a start-up business in the development management field (Steeplechase Partners). Family: Married for 16 years (Margaret), raising three young daughters Perry (6), Grace (4) and Abigail (2).Education: B.S. in engineering management, U.S. Military Academy (West Point, N.Y.); masters in business administration, Harvard Business School.Years in Aspen: the Roaring Fork Valley for 10 years; Aspen for 3.5 years.Voluntary/Service Boards: I am deeply committed to the notion of service above self. This has been the overarching theme for my personal and professional life, and my record bears this point. I have a deep and well-rooted commitment to public service, including: Past president, Leadership Aspen/Roaring Fork Leadership Board, 2003-04; Roaring Fork Leaderships Alumni Award recipient for 2005Current board director, Aspen Fire Protection District (2005 to present)Current president, Aspen Historical Society (2004 to present)Current board director, Aspen Rotary Club (2001 to present)Current board director, Aspen Highlands Village Master Association (1999 to present)Co-founding member, Aspen Business Improvement LeaguePast president, Aspen Highlands Commercial & Residential Metropolitan District (1998- 2003) Have you ever been arrested? Yes, DWAI in 1998. Community service performed. A good lesson learned. What makes me more qualified for City Council than my opponents? It is the unique combination of 1) the leadership skills, abilities, creativity and expertise, coupled with 2) the ability and the know-how to get things accomplished. Many of the candidates possess one or the other I am uniquely qualified in that I have proven myself in both areas. My track record of service provides me with a deep understanding of the difficulties and challenges of good governance, and has equipped me with the tools and experiences to take on a leadership role on our council. Combine this with the fact that I am connected and engaged here my wife, Margaret, and I are raising a family of three daughters, I co-own my own business, and I am serving my community so I know and appreciate the unique challenges that much of our community faces. I am distinctly qualified, genuinely motivated and sincerely ready to help our town tackle our current issues, as well as to help shape our future visions and aspirations.

Name: Steve SkadronAge: 44Occupation: principal of Skadron Marketing Group, an Aspen-based advertising agency, I started four years ago.Family: singleYears in Aspen: 12 (arrived Dec. 15, 1995)Education: MBA, with a concentration in finance, from Northeastern University, Boston; BSB, University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management, Minneapolis.Have you ever been arrested: Not that I recall. But I need to be careful. The way I ride my bike around town, disregarding traffic laws, I probably should be. And yes, Ive biked on the mall.Volunteer/board experience:Im completing my fourth year on the City of Aspens Planning and Zoning Commission, a responsibility that has brought me up-close and personal with the dynamics of city government and helped me gain an expertise on a wide range of issues.I serve as the treasurer of Hunter Creek Condominium Association, Phase III.Ive volunteered with a variety of nonprofits over the years, including Ride for the Pass, Grassroots Aspen Experience (Aspen Youth Experience), Aspen Jewish Congregation, Food & Wine (committee chairman), Comedy Festival and a host of others.What makes you more qualified than your opponents? My graduate education in finance, professional strategic marketing background and years of service on P&Z qualify me to be a more effective councilperson. Im the only candidate who has spent the last four years learning the dynamics of city government, studying development projects with diligence, listening to each and every point of view, constructing arguments pro or con, and presenting myself in a public forum sincerely, with trust and without bias. Its easy to say, I have a vision. Its a lot harder to stand up and fight for it in public debate. Ive done it effectively for four years.

Name: Michael WamplerAge: 57Occupation: self-employed owner, Aspen Velo bike shopFamily: Two sons: Peter, 12, and Luke, 9; both attend Aspen public school systemYears in Aspen: 30-plus years in Aspen (28 inside actual city limits)Education: B.S., accounting, Indiana University, 1974Voluntary/board experience: N/AHave you ever been arrested? I have never been arrested.What makes you more qualified for City Council than your opponents? What makes me unique from my fellow competitors is the fact that I have been an Aspen retailer for over 22 years, and have extensive experience with young locals, second-home owners, and tourists because of the nature of my business. In addition, my accounting background will help with the extensive financial nature concerning the enormous budget the council deals with on a daily basis.

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