Grenda jumps back into political fray |

Grenda jumps back into political fray

Janet Urquhart

Citing citizen dissatisfaction with Snowmass Village government, mayoral hopeful Ted Grenda is promising change as he makes his second run for the post.

Grenda, 74, was elected to a two-year term as mayor in 1996, but did not seek re-election in 1998; then-Councilman T. Michael Manchester won election to the post. This time, Manchester faces challenges from Grenda and Johnny Boyd.

Grenda has stepped back into the political fray because, he said, the town needs a more responsive government.

He is one of a slate of candidates that also includes council hopefuls Dick Virtue and Paul Fee. They are calling themselves Candidates for Change.

Spurring Grenda’s bid for mayor were the results of a poll of 106 Snowmass residents that was commissioned, he said, by the Aspen Skiing Co.

“I got quite interested when I found 63 percent of the populace said government was ineffective and 81 percent said government was not responsive to citizens’ views on certain issues,” Grenda said.

That unresponsive attitude, he said, was driven home when he and others urged the Town Council to put a proposed multimillion-dollar parking garage and transit plaza before the voters.

“The council was reluctant, though it was pretty clear the populace was pretty unhappy that the government was proceeding on this matter,” he said.

The project’s fate remains undecided, and it will likely be supplanted as the most pressing issue in town by the Skico’s anticipated proposal for a base village development that will transform the resort.

Grenda is promising an objective review of the project. He doesn’t want to see it get bogged down in a contentious review, but he said he won’t roll over and play dead for the Skico, either.

“I recognize the importance of this project to Snowmass Village. I’ll do everything I can to accelerate it, but I will not sell my soul to the ski company,” he said. “We [Candidates for Change] don’t want to provide a blank check, but at the same time, we’ll be reasonable.”

Grenda, who served on the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission from 1994-96 and joined the council’s Financial Advisory Board after his stint as mayor, said he didn’t seek re-election in 1998 because he felt he was an outsider on the council after beating the favored candidate, Councilman Doug Mercatoris, for the post.

“I never really felt they were willing to cooperate and work together,” he said.

As for other issues facing Snowmass voters, Grenda said he supports formation of the Rural Transportation Authority to fund expanded mass transit in the valley – “so long as it doesn’t become a railroad.”

He also backs the citizen initiative on the Nov. 7 ballot that proposes capping town spending each year at 40 percent of the town’s general revenue, unless voters authorize additional spending. The parking garage proposal spurred the measure.

A pair of Snowmass ballot questions that would increase taxes and allow the town to take on additional debt to build a municipal swimming pool and purchase the Rodeo Grounds also have Grenda’s support.

Grenda, a retired New York state school superintendent, purchased a home in Snowmass in 1983 and has lived in the town full time since 1990.

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