Magnuson’s no joke, but Braudis a better choice | AspenTimes.com

Magnuson’s no joke, but Braudis a better choice

Who would have expected the 2006 Pitkin County sheriff’s race to stir up so much talk or to draw national attention? A political newcomer who isn’t even a sworn police officer challenges a popular incumbent sheriff, and it becomes one of the most interesting contests on a crowded November ballot.Most of the credit for the debate – both the relevant aspects and the bizarre – must go to Rick Magnuson, the Aspen community safety officer who had the guts to challenge Sheriff Bob Braudis in the first place. At first many Aspenites thought Magnuson’s bid a joke, given his part-time occupation as an artist. But Magnuson took the race seriously; he probed Braudis’ record and questioned his policies, he proposed initiatives of his own, he forced Braudis to react, to defend his record and to run an election campaign for the first time in years.Magnuson also made mistakes; he used devious means to push Braudis’ recent stay in a drug and alcohol treatment center into the public eye. Nevertheless, he gave us the first sheriff’s race we’ve had in some 20 years, and he deserves a great deal of credit for running an aggressive campaign.We’re not endorsing Rick Magnuson, however, because we feel we already have a solid, upstanding sheriff with a deep understanding of Pitkin County. Bob Braudis is an intelligent, compassionate, community-minded law officer who runs a well-trained, competent staff of deputies. We think he’s the right sheriff for Pitkin County.Having his leadership scrutinized during this election may have pointed out some things that Braudis can do better; we think he could forge stronger bonds with the local schools, for example.That said, we don’t see the need for a change in leadership in the sheriff’s department. And we’re not sure that Magnuson has the experience or credentials for the job, at least not yet.It’s worth noting at this point that we applaud Braudis for addressing his drinking problem, and that his stay in a treatment center didn’t play a major role in our decision on this endorsement. Similarly, we didn’t spend a lot of time discussing the recent Magnuson art project that showed him masturbating on camera. These things gave outside news outlets the opportunity for some stories about “offbeat” Aspen, but they don’t have much to do with local law enforcement.Vote for Bob Braudis for Pitkin County sheriff on Nov. 7.Snowmass Village Town CouncilWe think Snowmass Village is a town in need of a change on its governing board. The town is going through huge, disruptive changes, the Base Village development has divided the citizenry and many feel the board is out of touch with its constituents. Political newcomer Reed Lewis can bring a fresh viewpoint to the town board. Arnold Mordkin is an independent thinker who often brings a healthy, dissenting view to the council.Vote for Reed Lewis and Arnold Mordkin for the two seats on the Snowmass Village Town Council.