Four Glenwood seats up for election
GLENWOOD SPRINGS There are four seats up for election for Glenwood Springs City Council, and things are a little hazy on who will run.One incumbent and one citizen have filed notice of intent to run for the Nov. 6 election.At Thursday’s City Council meeting, Mayor Bruce Christensen announced he would probably run again, while councilors Chris McGovern, Joe O’Donnell and Larry Beckwith announced they probably would not.City clerk Robin Unsworth said Christensen and Dave Sturges are the only people to have signed a notice of intent to run so far. Petitions can begin circulating on Aug. 7, and they must be returned with 25 signatures of Glenwood Springs registered voters by 5 p.m. on Aug. 27. Some seats require signatures from a specific “ward” or section of town. The at-large seat can get signatures from voters living anywhere in the city limits.Sturges, a 29-year resident of Glenwood, worked as an attorney for most of his career. He’s sat on the city planning and zoning commission for about five or six years and served on the transportation commission for several years.”I think I’m ready to move up to the council level,” he said. “I think there are a lot of challenges in how do we preserve this sense of community amidst high demand for growth.”Among the big issues he sees in Glenwood’s future are dealing with transportation challenges and continuing development of the city’s confluence plan.That plan is for development of the area north of Seventh Street where the wastewater treatment plant currently is. The city plans to remove the plant and construct a new one in West Glenwood in the coming years.”I’m very passionate about this community,” Sturges said. “We may disagree about how to preserve it, but I think we all bring a passion to it.”Russ Arensman said he is considering running, but it’s too premature to discuss it right now. Arensman, a 10-year resident of Glenwood, was on the planning and zoning commission for four years and is on the city’s ad hoc energy commission, he said. Arensman worked as a journalist most of his career and recently took a telecommuting public relations job with a San Francisco-based technology and public relations company.Current council members had their own reasons why they didn’t wish to run again.”It was a really neat experience and I think I did the best for the community that I could, but it’s just such a time-consuming operation and I did my share – let somebody else,” Joe O’Donnell said.He encouraged people to run, saying they would learn a lot about how the government works.Larry Beckwith said, “I served my time. … I had the opportunity to serve, and I am grateful for that.”He believes it’s important for people to run in order to allow the public a chance to make decisions and have choices.Chris McGovern said she’s probably not running again.She added that City Council, like pretty much all government bodies, takes a lot of ridicule.”I think that there has been a real loss of civility in our culture,” she said.But she said one nice thing about her experience on the council is that each person has a real sense of respect for others’ views, despite occasional differences of opinion.She didn’t think there was a lack of interest in public policy, but most people are just too involved in their day-to-day activities to commit to running for City Council.In 2003, two seats were uncontested while two other seats were contested. In 2005, three seats were uncontested, according to Unsworth.”I hope honestly that there’s competition for the seats that are open because that usually gets a better discussion of what people are thinking,” Sturges said.Unsworth said if someone wants to run, they need to contact her and sign a notice of intent to run and get a copy of the fair campaign practices act.
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