Signs of the times in Basalt with mayor’s race
The Aspen Times
The battle for Basalt mayor has spilled from the letters to the editor and the debate halls to the streets.
Basalt Town Hall was asked Monday to investigate allegations that several yard signs planted by supporters of incumbent Jacque Whitsitt’s were in the public right of way. Sensing the hottest of political hot potatoes, Town Manager Mike Scanlon assigned Police Chief Gregg Knott to conduct an impartial investigation.
Knott found that yard signs by both Whitsitt and challenger Rick Stevens were in the public right of way, Scanlon said. Both candidates were informed of the minor infractions and given options on how to proceed.
Each candidate had to address about 20 signs, according to Scanlon.
Stevens chose to relocate the existing signs farther onto abutting private property. He said some of the signs needed to be moved two or three feet in areas where it was difficult to ascertain the boundary between public right of way and private property.
“It took me about an hour to move them all,” Stevens said.
Whitsitt elected to have her offending signs scooped up and dropped off at Town Hall. A supporter picked them up for redistribution on property that was clearly private.
Whitsitt said she stressed to supporters to make sure the signs were placed on private property, but sometimes it is tough for the average person to know where the line is, she said.
In a sure sign of small-town politics, a race where there are two well-known candidates squaring off, emotions sometimes get carried away. Both candidates have had legally placed signs disappear.
“Signs are getting stolen,” Whitsitt said. “It’s a silly game.”
Ballots were mailed Monday for the town’s April 5 municipal election. In addition to the mayor’s race, six candidates are running for three council seats. There are no (yard) signs of strife in the council race.