Snowmass voters face big choice in recall | AspenTimes.com

Snowmass voters face big choice in recall

Jill Beathard
Snowmass Sun

By now, registered voters in Snowmass Village should have received ballots in the mail for an election to recall Councilman Chris Jacobson.

The day of the recall election, the first in Snowmass Village's history, is Oct. 13, but Town Hall will only serve as a drop-off location for mail ballots that day, not a polling place.

The recall effort was launched by residents Jim Hooker and Fred Kucker, both former elected officials of the village, after Jacobson was arrested for drunk driving on June 26 and subsequently damaged the jail cell he was being held in to the tune of almost $15,000, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff's Office.

"The grounds on which recall is sought include the actions of Council Member Jacobson the night of his arrest for DUI as well as his subsequent actions while incarcerated the same evening to be unworthy of a Town Council Member and such actions that evening have brought disgrace to the Town Council and this community," reads the petition.

Town Clerk Rhonda Coxon verified at least 256 of the 323 signatures on the recall petition. Two-hundred forty-two signatures were required for an election to be called.

Jacobson has not attended a council meeting since a protest period for the recall petition ended with no protests filed. He told fellow council members he was going on a vacation and would return Sept. 15 but was still absent during last week's meeting. No one on council or town staff has heard from him; his attorney, Arnold Mordkin, has only said that he is in communication with Jacobson. He has not responded to inquiries from local newspapers.

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Snowmass Village voters will be asked two questions on the recall ballot. The first will ask if Jacobson should be recalled from office, and voters will be asked to check "yes" or "no."

Should the "yes" votes outnumber the "no" votes, then election judges will count the number of votes cast for three candidates vying to replace Jacobson. Those are residents Tom Goode, Richard Goodwin and Jamie Knowlton.

Voters can choose a candidate regardless of their first response.

The Snowmass Sun asked five questions of each of the candidates to help voters determine who would be the best replacement if Jacobson is recalled. Jacobson was also emailed questions but did not respond.

For more information about the election, call 970-923-3777.

Tom Goode

Do you agree with the recall of Councilman Chris Jacobson? Why or why not?

It is unfortunate that Chris finds himself in this situation, but given his unwillingness to step down and yet his abandonment of his responsibility to stay involved in the position to which he was elected leaves me no option to agreeing that the recall election is appropriate.

Why are you running for Snowmass Village Town Council? What relevant experience do you bring to the table?

I have been involved for over 20 years in not only the Snowmass community but in our larger community as well. My involvement with the Board of Appeals and as chair of the Planning Commission has given me insight and experience in dealing with our town's concerns and issues. My interest and passion for the town of Snowmass Village moves me to continue my service in the expanded role of Town Council.

Related Colorado has an application before council to amend the current entitlements for Base Village. What does Base Village mean to Snowmass, now and in the future?

It is in our town's, our residents' and our visitors' best interests to complete our Base Village vision and project. Without this completion our desire to become a world class destination for both winter and summer will never be accomplished. The current application and its entitlements are under review now to examine potential improvements to ensure Base Village vibrancy and desirability – it is crucial that we continue to move forward in this effort.

What is the council's role in helping Snowmass' businesses be successful year-round?

Council is a key player in ensuring the success of Snowmass Village's businesses. It, however, is not the only player and must rely on the voluntary boards and especially the marketing and tourism group as well. We have seen a strong increase this summer in our occupancy levels, and council must continue to be an enabler for the town and its support groups to be successful.

What else do you want the voters of Snowmass Village to know about you before Election Day?

As I have already mentioned I want people to know of my continued passion and dedication to the quality of life here in Snowmass Village and my ongoing commitment to do everything in my power to provide my total focus on this effort.

Richard Goodwin

Do you agree with the recall of Councilman Chris Jacobson? Why or why not?

At this point yes because he has missed so many important meetings. Why has he missed these I do not know.

Why are you running for Snowmass Village Town Council? What relevant experience do you bring to the table?

I believe one of the biggest issues facing our Village is the underdevelopment and vacancy of existing Real Estate in Base Village. With that said, I bring to the table 40 years as a builder and developer, with real estate expertise. I have built over 5,000 residential units, developed 15,000 lots, sold to other builders, constructed three shopping centers and two country clubs. I understand Related's game plan and I don't like it. There are other pressing issues such as being recognized as a "green" town and I am very passionate about this goal of making Snowmass Village the greenest village in America and am actively contributing toward this cause.

Related Colorado has an application before council to amend the current entitlements for Base Village. What does Base Village mean to Snowmass, now and in the future?

Well, who is Related Colorado? The application is from Snowmass Acquisition Co., that's supposed to be a subsidiary of the "mothership" Related in NYC … a $2 billion company, by the way. What evidence do we have to tie all of this together? If elected I will look into this further for the benefit of the town of Snowmass Village.

What is the council's role in helping Snowmass' businesses be successful year-round?

Council must demand, as our planning director says, "financial guarantees" for any new buildings or we're liable to have more uncompleted buildings. If the economy goes south once again, so will Related.

We need to make our pristine town more appealing to the visitors, by making our village the "Greenest Village in America" we and Skico should be able to attract more guests and therefore more business.

In addition, I believe that there needs to be more effort and thought put into travel and tourism. Snowmass Village has always catered to families with young children. Perhaps we should be expanding our marketing to a larger demographic.

What else do you want the voters of Snowmass Village to know about you before Election Day?

I am advocating that we fight global warming so that we can say "Snowmass Village is the greenest village in America." Skico can advertise that Snowmass mountain is the "Greenest Mountain in America, even though it is white!" To achieve this goal, The Goodwin Foundation is contributing money to CORE to help pay for home and business Energy Assessments. Please do your part by getting an assessment from CORE, 970-925-9775. I retrofitted my home, and I am saving 50 percent of gas and electric cost.

Jamie Knowlton

Do you agree with the recall of Councilman Chris Jacobson? Why or why not?

Mr. Jacobson's personal issues have become a distraction and impacted his ability to perform his duties on council. The review and approval of Base Village needs a fully engaged council. The town deserves representation that is respectful and capable of dealing with the important issues it will be facing. I wish Chris well on his journey.

Why are you running for Snowmass Village Town Council? What relevant experience do you bring to the table?

Snowmass Village is my home, the Roaring Fork Valley is where I grew up and I want to give back to the community that has helped me grow. I see an opportunity to apply my legal background, my community involvement, including the town Planning Commission, the Aspen/Pitkin County Affordable Housing Board, the Financial Advisory Board of Aspen and my love for the mountains and skiing as strengths that I bring to the existing Town Council. I would be honored to work alongside the range of experiences currently sitting at the council table.

Related Colorado has an application before council to amend the current entitlements for Base Village. What does Base Village mean to Snowmass, now and in the future? 

Base Village is necessary for Snowmass to stay a competitive world class resort. Completing Base Village is necessary to revive Snowmass Village businesses, real estate and moral. The approval of the amended application will allow the Aspen Skiing Co. to build its signature Limelight Hotel and the Sunrise Co. to build a private residence club similar to its sister project in Aspen, the Dancing Bear, beginning next year. This overdue upgrade to our resort community is vital for the future success of Snowmass Village.

What is the council's role in helping Snowmass' businesses be successful year-round?

Council's role in re-creating the marketing department and electing savvy community marketing board members has helped bring more fun events and ultimately more business to Snowmass Village. Extending similar events into the shoulder seasons will help ease the stress of the seasonal nature of our resort economy. However, to continue building Snowmass's brand as a unique and special destination resort, the town and local businesses need to work together to provide experiences that attract visitors with a value that makes guests want to return. I see council continuing its marketing effort and facilitating business flexibility through suitable municipal support.

What else do you want the voters of Snowmass Village to know about you before Election Day?

I was born in Aspen, the son of a 10th Mountain Division soldier, Steve Knowlton, the original owner of the Golden Horn Restaurant in Aspen. I am an ex-ski racer turned lawyer and married to Gwyn, who has a restaurant of the same name on Snowmass mountain. We live in Snowmass Village, and I have a private law practice in Basalt.