Freedman targets Duroux’s record on Basalt growth
Basalt mayoral candidate Anne Freedman continued a campaign strategy last night of attacking her opponent’s voting record on growth issues over the past six years that they have served together on the Town Council.
Freedman took a couple of opportunities in a candidates forum to try to show how she and Leroy Duroux differ on growth and development. Duroux has spent the past nine years on the Town Council. Freedman has been on the board for six years.
They have squared off repeatedly on votes over the years. Now they are squaring off in the mayor’s race.
“We are not Tweedledum and Tweedledee,” said Freedman, providing the only spark in an otherwise placid, some would say dull, forum for the two mayoral and five council candidates.
The debate was held at Basalt Middle School and taped by Access Roaring Fork, Channel 17. It will be shown three times daily until election day.
In addition to Duroux and Freedman, the forum featured council candidates Laurie Dows, Bernie Grauer, Mark Kittle, Jim Paussa and Glenn Rappaport.
Freedman charged that this election is really how Basalt will grow. She claimed that Duroux favors letting the free market dictate how much development Basalt allows while she has already shown “backbone” by being tough on growth. She vowed to continue to “fight for Basalt citizens” by being wary of new projects.
Freedman could be taking a risk by aggressively going after the easy-going Duroux. She is already battling a reputation of being confrontational, like when she recently called for the recall of the elected members of the Crown Mountain Recreation District. She later retracted her statements and apologized once again last night for suggesting the recall.
But Freedman didn’t back away from slamming Duroux’s record. She noted that she voted against a proposal for Riverwalk that was larger than the downtown development recently built. Duroux voted for it.
Freedman voted for a 5,000-square-foot cap on homes because she didn’t want to see second homes like those in Aspen being built in Basalt. She noted that Duroux was the only board member to vote against the cap.
Duroux wouldn’t take Freedman’s bait and engage in debate. Freedman attacked Duroux’s record during her closing comments in the forum. Duroux followed immediately after with his closing comments but he wouldn’t address issues she raised.
“If that’s the road she wants to take, that’s fine with me,” Duroux said after the forum. “I’m not going to walk down that road.”
Instead Duroux stressed in his comments that he’s worked all his adult life to try to build a better, stronger community in Basalt through cooperating with other people. He said that he has been involved in numerous community and civic organizations and built strong ties with many people. That would benefit the town with him as mayor, he contended. Duroux said he was a better listener than a talker and that he would have an open-door policy where he would welcome anybody’s point of view.
He was clearly trying to contrast his cooperative style with Freedman’s more confrontational approach without referring to her directly.
The candidates also briefly discussed the mysterious disappearance of Freedman’s yard signs in the last week. Freedman said half a dozen signs have been stolen and one was “mutilated.” She specifically said she doesn’t think Duroux had anything to do with the thefts but that it was an “overzealous” supporter of his.
Duroux simply noted that he made sure he put up yard signs on private property with the permission of the owners. Freedman said she did to.
The current mayor, Rick Stevens, attended the forum but stayed out of the fray, even though his name was mentioned.
Freedman noted that she voted with Stevens on the Riverwalk and house-size cap issues. Her point was accurate but ironic. Stevens and Duroux have been closely allied on most issues over the last nine years. Nevertheless, Stevens said he isn’t endorsing anyone in the race.
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