Noisemakers of 2007
December 27, 2007
They didn’t rise to the level of newsmaker in 2007, but Bruno Kirchenwitz, Toni Kronberg and Steve Campbell made some noise. Here’s how:
Toni Kronberg has been a fixture at Aspen City Hall for years, using the “public comment” period at the outset of every council meeting to weigh in on everything from pools to buses to development to housing … the list goes on and on.
“Sometimes she makes sense and other times not,” said Mayor Mick Ireland, who is vigilant in keeping Kronberg to the three-minute time limit for public comments to the council.
Public comment apparently wasn’t enough for Kronberg, however, so she ran for City Council this past spring. She garnered enough votes to get into the runoff election against Steve Skadron, who ultimately won.
It was during the last few weeks of the campaign that controversy engulfed Kronberg, who is now being investigated by the District Attorney’s Office for allegedly lying about living in the city limits of Aspen, a requirement to run for office. Kronberg claimed to live in a home in the Oklahoma Flats neighborhood, but was regularly seen in Aspen Village, a trailer park in unincorporated Pitkin County, where she claimed to have an office.
Kronberg recently disclosed that she is now a paid lobbyist on city matters, presumably paid by private citizens. Who Kronberg works for remains a mystery, but she apparently has picked up another job ” as a security officer on the late-night buses downvalley.
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Bruno Kirchenwitz landed in the middle of the illegal immigration debate as the apparent target of a shooting at the Basalt 7-Eleven on June 26.
Kirchenwitz, who is vocal with his anti-immigration opinions, often wears a baseball hat that says “Border Patrol.” Two Latino males showed up at the store, where Kirchenwitz used to work, to complain. The men were later suspected of returning that night and spraying the front window with bullets, somehow avoiding a clerk and patrons. Kirchenwitz was off-duty by that time and had returned home.
Kirchenwitz was outspoken about how Basalt police handled the investigation. He felt they let the suspects slip through their fingers. One was in the country illegally and likely fled to Mexico.
The incident inflamed the immigration debate in Colorado and the acid-tongued Kirchenwitz became the darling of talk-radio shows in Denver.
Is hate speech free speech? A video that Glenwood Springs resident Steve Campbell brought to Aspen’s public access station, GrassRoots TV, put that to the test.
The station, founded in 1971, prides itself on principles of free speech and providing access to all.
But “Judea Declares War on Germany: A Critical Look at World War II” denies conventional wisdom about the Holocaust, and its producers are under a judicial gag order in their native Australia because of the perceived anti-Semitism of their views.
Campbell, founder of Citizens for 9/11 Truth, had brought other films to the station that it televised. But when GrassRoots’ director John Masters saw the title of Campbell’s most recent submission, he balked and took the matter to the nonprofit station’s board.
After holding a public meeting on the topic, GrassRoots TV board members refused to air the film, declared it “obscene” and crafted a policy to deal with such matters in the future.
“I hope there’s controversial stuff on GrassRoots, particularly in opinion and political programming,” Masters said in the wake of the controversy. “But hopefully it’s another 35 years before we have to deal with this policy.”