Unaffiliated candidate is best choice for Eagle County
October 30, 2006
Eagle County voters have three good choices in the race to fill the open seat on the Board of County Commissioners. Our recommendation is Roger Brown, who is running as an unaffiliated candidate.Brown has a worthy record on important Western Slope issues. He fought water-thirsty developers and bureaucrats in Denver from diverting every last drop of water to the Front Range. He also successfully lobbied the state Legislature to pass the law that established minimum stream flows.As a resident of the Eagle River and Colorado River valleys for 40 years, he has been able to observe (and document in a book) the destructive effects of uncontrolled development in the Vail-Gypsum corridor. His candor in a recent interview with The Aspen Times was refreshing: “We have a mess,” he lamented. Brown made it clear that he would resist further development of subdivisions in the middle of nowhere, and argued that the county commissioners should respect master plans and zoning recommendations crafted by various communities around the county.Democrat Sara Fisher has been an excellent Eagle County clerk. She is also the only candidate to visit this side of the county, attending two contentious regional planning board meetings on a big development proposed in El Jebel.Republican Tom Edwards is more willing to consider remote subdivisions on the apparent belief that they can provide affordable housing. This thinking likely will produce more of the same in Eagle County – large subdivisions in the middle of nowhere. Eagle County has enough of those.We struggled between Fisher and Brown with this endorsement. What tipped the scales for us was Brown’s willingness to admit that the current situation in Eagle County is untenable and must be fixed.Vote Roger Brown for Eagle County commissioner.Eagle County Referendum 1AEagle County voters are being asked to approve a tax increase to fund early childhood education.Currently, Eagle County spends almost no local money on programs designed to improve the education and welfare of its youngest citizens. The county government, according to an article in the Vail Daily, currently counts the federally mandated food stamp program as one of its “child services.”Pitkin County’s experience with its KidsFirst program is worth considering. Although day care remains a challenge for parents, the program’s support for day care providers and parents makes life a lot easier. It’s an example of tax dollars well spent.Vote Yes on Question 1A.Eagle County Question 1BVoters are asked to give the thumbs-up or thumbs-down on a proposal that would convert Eagle County government to home rule. Home-rule governments have more say over how things are run, and typically have five elected county commissioners instead of three. The idea of five county commissioners is particularly attractive for those of us living on this side of Eagle County, because it vastly improves the chances of Basalt/El Jebel representation on the Board of County Commissioners. Having five commissioners also will add more points of view to policy discussions and land-use decisions. Vote Yes on Question 2A.Carbondale Question 2FOK, we’re cherry-picking here by stepping outside our election coverage area, but this is one of those ballot questions that deserves comment. The town of Carbondale is asking voters for permission to borrow up to $1.8 million to build two solar energy facilities. Together, they would produce 250 watts of electricity that can be used in town or directed into Xcel Energy’s grid. If approved, this question would allow the town to take concrete action to reduce its reliance on coal-generated electricity. There is no tax increase associated with this question.Vote Yes on Carbondale Question 2F.