Pitkin County: Owsley vs. Roy | AspenTimes.com
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Pitkin County: Owsley vs. Roy

John ColsonAspen Times Weekly

PITKIN COUNTY In Pitkin County District 3, incumbent commissioner Michael Owsley is being challenged by former county commissioner Shellie Roy, in a reprise of the 2004 race in which Owsley unseated Roy.Both candidates have been in the Aspen area since the 1970s, both have established fairly well-known identities in their service on the Board of County Commissioners, and both believe they have the countys best interests in mind as they campaign.But thats where the similarities end.Owsley, 59, has lived in Aspen and Woody Creek since 1970, mostly in Aspen and now exclusively in Woody Creek on property that has been owned by the family of his wife, Ann, since the 1950s.He has been a carpenter and a cabinetmaker and, for the past 20 years or so, has been a job supervisor for the ACME Construction Co.Roy, 56, moved to the valley in 1975 and has worked mostly in jobs involving real estate in one capacity or another, whether as an agent (she currently works for the brokerage firm of Chuck Frias), a lender, a title worker or as a planner for the Aspen/Pitkin County Planning Department.My whole life has been real estate, said Roy, who served two terms on the BOCC, from 1996 to 2004.

The two have fairly divergent opinions about the main issues underlying their race for the BOCC.For Roy, the main target is to unseat Owsley because of what she termed his quiet nature. He doesnt speak up, and I think thats a key function of the commissioners, bringing new thoughts, new ideas to the table.She also believes the county has neglected what she sees as its primary role, to offer guidance to neighborhoods, towns and cities as they make decisions about land use and other matters. They seem to have dropped the ball in the things that affect people, like transportation and housing, she said. These days, they seem to concentrate mostly on the environment.Plus, Roy reiterated a complaint she has voiced in candidate forums, Fifty percent of the job is going to Denver to attend and take part in various meetings of committees, task forces and other state-level functions. And he seems reluctant to take on those assignments.Owsley admitted that he has no state-level committee work or other assignments (he is not, as incorrectly reported earlier, a liaison for Pitkin County to the Colorado Counties, Inc. organization). Rather, he said he concentrates on serving on local boards and committees. Those include the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (RFTA), the Aspen Chamber Resort Association (ACRA) and the Ruedi Water and Power Association.As for Roys charge that he refuses to accept assignments to state-level duties, Owsley said, there are no state assignments. There are some committees that people are on that are sort of lobbying committees. He simply prefers to focus on local issues, he said.Owsley said the main issues that he sees in the race have to do with philosophies about growth.Shellie has never been a strong proponent of the Urban Growth Boundaries, which establish zones around cities and towns that are deemed appropriate for higher-density development than the rural parts of the county.I am a strong proponent of preserving the rural areas of the valley, he said, emphasizing that he supports maintenance of the UGB lines as strictly as possible.Another issue, he said, is their differing views on a proposed sales tax hike to raise money for a new Healthy Rivers & Streams Fund, which goes to the voters on Nov. 4.She said its useless, Owsley said of Roy, quoting her characterization of the proposal during a recent candidate forum. I think its going to be very useful for the county and the future of water in the county.And finally, Owsley said of Roy, She is a pro-growth advocate, and Im not.jcolson@aspentimes.com


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