Roger – over and out |

Roger – over and out

John Colson

Local columnist Roger Marolt backed out of the race for mayor of Snowmass Village on Tuesday, joking that the prospect that he might actually win influenced his decision heavily.His decision leaves a two-way race for the seat between the incumbent and a challenger. The election is Nov. 7.”I’ve talked to a lot of people since I shot off my yapper,” he said in a telephone interview, referring to his Aug. 19 announcement that he would seek the mayor’s job.”And it sort of scared me,” he continued. “It appeared that I had at least a respectable chance of winning.”The problem with that, he said, is that after talking with current and former Snowmass elected officials, he decided he simply did not have the time or the outlook to do justice to the position.”The job takes 20 to 40 hours a week,” he said, which he said is about twice the time commitment he had envisioned.Plus, he said, former Mayor Jeff Tippett told him someone who has “a really positive outlook and vision for Snowmass Village,” must fill the mayor’s job, or else it ends up being “just cleanup work.”Marolt found he agreed, and said, “A lot of my concerns are water under the bridge,” meaning that if he won he would be doing exactly what Tippett referred to – “a lot of cleanup work” to fix what he regarded as past mistakes by the Town Council.In an open letter to village residents (see today’s Letters to the Editor), explaining his withdrawal, he outlined some of what he views as mistakes:”The building code was thrown out in Town Council’s sanctioning of the gigantic Base Village development. The voting process was tainted in gaining ‘voter’ approval for it. Precedent has been set, and the 200,000-plus square-foot Center project, minuscule by comparison, is a forgone conclusion. There is a good chance that the town’s only gas station will be squeezed out as a result. The town entrance project is under way and hugely over budget. Future fiscal responsibility is in serious question over the proposed construction of a new Town Hall. I believe the town manager’s job needs to be more clearly defined and more carefully monitored so the person in that position is not dictating policy, in fact or appearance.”He also was highly critical of recent news that Intrawest and the Aspen Skiing Co. are about to sell their interests in Base Village to WestPac led by Pat Smith, which also is poised to own the Snowmass mall and the Snowmass Center, which Marolt lamented “will bring 100 percent of the town’s retail space under the control of one organization!”But his decision was more the result of personal considerations, he said, including the realization that taking the job of mayor would mean he would no longer have time for treasured pastimes, such as coaching little league, or writing a weekly column for The Aspen Times.”I should have thought it through more before I announced,” he admitted, although he pointed out in his letter that “I clearly stated that I have no particular desire to be mayor, I do not have the time to be mayor, and I possess no political experience for the job.”It would not be fair or ethical to continue in this election process knowing ahead of time that I cannot possibly carry out the duties of the mayor’s office,” he concluded in his letter. “I respectfully withdraw my candidacy.”He said he expects some criticism for his actions, which he will accept “with as much grace and dignity as I can,” and added that he might stay away from “The Andrew Kole Show” on GrassRoots Television. It was Kole who suggested he run for mayor, he said, during the taping of the show Aug. 19.”I think I’d better,” he said with a laugh. “It’s really dangerous to go on that show.”Marolt’s withdrawal leaves two men contesting for the job of mayor – incumbent Doug Mercatoris and Reed Lewis, owner of the Daly Bottle Shop liquor store. Both have taken out petitions from Snowmass Village.John Colson’s e-mail address is