Recall petition submitted, Jacobson says he won’t resign
The Aspen Times
A petition to recall a Snowmass Village town councilman facing criminal charges was submitted Monday hours before he stated publicly that he intends to stay in his seat.
The 325 signatures were submitted by petition committee members Fred Kucker and Jim Hooker, both former Snowmass elected representatives. The signatures have to be certified by the town clerk, but Kucker said he feels confident there are at least 242 valid signatures, the number required to launch a recall election.
With a margin of error of 83, “I would hope we didn’t do that badly,” Kucker said.
According to state law, once the signatures are verified, a protest period is allowed, and then the elected official in question has five days to resign in lieu of holding an election. If no resignation is submitted, an election date will be set no sooner than 30 days nor more than 60 days after Monday’s date.
At Monday’s council meeting, Jacobson, who faces charges following a June 26 drunken-driving arrest, made it clear he does not intend to resign. Reading from an almost-three-page typed document, Jacobson made comments about the different types of damages elected officials can cause and alleged a conflict of interest on the part of Mayor Markey Butler, who is executive director of the nonprofit HomeCare & Hospice of the Valley.
He named several groups he said have made donations to the nonprofit, including Related Colorado, the local branch of the company that owns Base Village through a subsidiary; Aspen Skiing Co., which is under contract to purchase a lot in Base Village and build a hotel there; and East West Partners and Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate, both of which were founded by developer Harry Frampton, who recently led the council on a tour of Beaver Creek. The town of Snowmass Village has given the group grant money, and Hooker and Kucker have donated, as well, he said.
“You have never even commented on or disclosed these relationships,” Jacobson said. “I have to ask that you disclose all of your conflicts of interest to the public and consider recusing yourself from the Base Village and entryway projects and their review process.”
He also brought up a lawsuit alleging ex parte communications on the part of some council members, including Kucker and Butler, during review of a different Base Village application last fall. Jacobson alleged that the suit has cost the town $34,000 to date.
“I plan to stay on council and represent the people that voted for me,” he added.
Butler, who in another council meeting asked Jacobson to consider stepping down, did not respond to his comments during Monday’s meeting.
Jacobson appeared in court Monday and is set to return Sept. 8.
Round and round we go
Monday was the first regular meeting in which this stage of Base Village review was considered. The hearing focused on transportation issues, primarily a roundabout planned for the Brush Creek, Wood and Kearns roads intersection that has come into question over the past several months.
When the Planning Commission considered the topic, it initially wanted to try an interim solution, but in its third meeting on transportation issues agreed with the developers that it would be more sensible to build the final infrastructure the first time. Consultants hired by both the town and Related agree that a roundabout would most improve traffic flow and safety through the intersection.
On Monday, most council members supported the roundabout so long as the design does not take away the upper entrance to the gas station and addresses safety concerns for pedestrians.