Valley helps fuel home rule campaign
EAGLE COUNTY Campaign finance reports show Roaring Fork Valley residents in Eagle County are throwing their financial support behind a ballot initiative to switch the style of government.Citizens for Home Rule, an issue committee promoting the change, collected $2,335 from 21 residents of the mid-Roaring Fork Valley during the first reporting period, which ended April 5. The committee’s report was filed with the Colorado Secretary of State.Only five residents of the Eagle Valley contributed to that committee during that period, but they were bigger spenders. Their contributions totaled $3,650, the report showed.”I think it’s very ‘grassrootsy’ over on this side,” said Jacque Whitsitt, a former Basalt town councilwoman who is helping with the campaign.Whitsitt contributed $500 to the campaign. Other contributors from the Basalt and El Jebel area included Emma resident Anne Clapper, $200; Bill Efting, Basalt town manager, $25; Tiffany Ernemann, former Basalt councilwoman, $250; Julie Fox-Rubin of Basalt, $100; Anne Freedman, former Basalt councilwoman, $100; and Doug Graybeal of Missouri Heights, $100.Other contributors from the valley included: Susan Hassol of Basalt, $100; John Katzenberger of Basalt, $50; Cathleen Krahe of Missouri Heights, $60; and Basaltines Ann MacLeod, $50; Dick Merritt, $25; Sue Mozian, $75; and Jim Paussa, $50.Top contributors of home rule from the Eagle Valley were Sandra Donnelly of Edwards, who gave $2,000, and Harry Frampton, a developer with East West Partners, who gave $1,000.Citizens for Home Rule started the reporting period with $2,291.54 from a failed campaign to get the measure passed last November, according to its online report. The group collected $5,985 in the latest period to boost its coffers to $8,276.54. No expenditures were reported through April 5.A committee fighting the proposed change in the style of government, Citizens for Responsible Government, collected $2,600 for the campaign through April 5, its report showed. It spent all but $40.No residents from the Roaring Fork Valley contributed to that group. It collected its funds from seven residents of the Eagle Valley. Seeme Hasan of Beaver Creek was the major contributor with $1,000. Former Eagle County commissioner Dick Gustafson contributed $200 to the cause.Eagle County currently has a statutory-style government that follows rules laid out by state law. Switching to home rule would allow customization in ways such as expanding from three to five commissioners.Supporters tout that increased representation is a key reason to support the change. Foes counter it will add too much to the cost of government.A similar ballot question failed in the November election, when the packed ballot featured the presidential race.”It got a little lost last November,” said Don Cohen, who is helping coordinate the pro-home rule campaign. He believes the May 1 special mail-in election is grabbing more attention.The committee spent $6,000 in November’s failed effort. Cohen said it has collected about $10,000 for this effort. Updated campaign spending reports must be filed Friday.Cohen said a significant amount of contributions flowed to the organization since April 5. “The late money has come in from this side,” he said. Some people wanted to see how aggressive the campaign was run before donating funds, he said.Whitsitt said the group’s campaign funds were spent in recent days on fliers that were mailed and delivered door-to-door, advertisements in newspapers and on radio, yard signs and for voter lists for sophisticated target campaigning. Proponents have tracked who hasn’t turned in a ballot and they are calling people identified as likely supporters to get out and vote.The campaign has been more lively in the Eagle Valley, where more opposition has surfaced. “They have so much negativity to fight over there that we don’t have here,” Whitsitt said.Scott Condon’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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