Mooney to run against Clapper for commissioner
Aspen Times Staff Writer
Both incumbent county commissioners up for election this year face lively, and perhaps stiff, challenges for re-election.
Mick Ireland and Patti Clapper will each have at least one opponent to deal with come Nov. 5, and Clapper may end up in a three-way primary election.
So far, Ireland is facing opposition from local gadfly and political commentator Ramon Duvernay, while Clapper will be running against real estate broker and longtime planning and zoning commissioner Tim Mooney.
The deadline for submitting petitions to run for five elected seats – two county commissioners, assessor, clerk and recorder, and sheriff – in Pitkin County is this afternoon at 4:30.
If elected, Duvernay said he is going to “put the smack down on this pro-rail bullshit that’s going on.”
To do that, he plans to turn the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority board of directors into an elected board made up of citizens. Currently, RFTA is overseen by elected officials from seven jurisdictions who are appointed to serve on its board.
Duvernay said the real solution to transportation lies in housing. He said he would support an aggressive building program to create more affordable housing. And he said he would also consider imposing rent controls, but is unsure whether it’s possible in a Republican state like Colorado.
Duvernay also said term limits is a top priority.
When Ireland came out in support of a ballot measure last fall to remove term limits on county commissioners, Duvernay warned of a “Micktatorship.”
“That’s one of the biggest problems – all this hookin’ up. And they’re hooking themselves up, not anyone else,” Duvernay said.
“I’ll work with any group who wants to put term limits on all elected offices,” he continued.
Duvernay recently suffered a stroke and was hospitalized for several days. He was released from Aspen Valley Hospital on Wednesday and is recuperating at home.
Ireland, a local attorney and two-term incumbent, has long been known for protecting the environment through land-use regulations and supporting the construction of affordable housing. Although he was not available for comment yesterday, Ireland has said in the past that he is ready for whatever challenge Duvernay presents.
The District 2 Democrat said last month that when he originally ran for office in 1994 he promised to protect the environment, restrain growth and build affordable housing, and he sees more work ahead in all three areas.
“We’ve made progress on all those things, but I think they are certainly related and there’s more to be done,” he said.
In District 1, which includes Aspen and the county’s east side, challenger Tim Mooney says he is running because the timing is right for him to become a public servant.
Mooney said he is taking on Clapper simply because they happen to live in the same district. “I like Patti Clapper. I voted for Patti Clapper. I support Patti Clapper,” he said.
Mooney has served for nine years on the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission. He also spent two years on the board of the Aspen Ski and Snowboard Club.
He said at this point he is still putting together a platform, but he intends to focus on making the county a sustainable community.
“I feel that is a real important aspect of what a county commissioner’s job is,” he said.
“I’m not really sure he knows what a commissioner does,” Clapper said yesterday afternoon.
The longtime resident of Smuggler trailer park said her platform would touch on a number of issues. She said work as a county commissioner over the past four years has given her knowledge of airport regulations, the land-use code, health and human services, transportation, the budget, water law and cooperation with other governments, among other things.
She said she believes Mooney will be running a one-issue campaign aimed at the Aspen Skiing Co., which fired him last fall after he was caught removing trees and brush from a small section of woods adjacent to Ruthie’s Run.
“I have the benefit of not having another job, like selling real estate,” Clapper added.
Clapper cut her teeth politically in the late 1980s and early 1990s by taking on the Environmental Protection Agency over its decision to declare her neighborhood a Superfund cleanup site. In 1998, she narrowly defeated Tom McCabe, now an Aspen city councilman, for her seat.
Her issues for the upcoming election will include the county’s practices in applying the land-use code. She said it needs to be done fairly and evenhandedly, and she intends to make sure it is.
“I don’t think the code is unfair,” she explained. “It’s how it is implemented and the way this board [of county commissioners] makes its decisions on land-use applications,” she said.
Clapper said that if she’s re-elected she plans to lobby the state Legislature to allow local communities such as Pitkin County to adopt a real estate transfer tax.
Mooney and Clapper may be forced into a primary election in August if former Aspen City Councilwoman Georgeann Waggaman throws her hat in the race. According to Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder Silvia Davis, Waggaman has the paperwork she needs to file her candidacy.
As of yesterday, Waggaman had not returned her petition. She could not be reached for comment.
As of yesterday afternoon, Assessor Tom Isaac, Clerk and Recorder Davis, and Sheriff Bob Braudis had all been certified as candidates for re-election, and it appears they will run unopposed.
The election is Nov. 5.
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