Valley residents relying on Fisher
November 9, 2006
Fans of representative government on the Roaring Fork Valley side of Eagle County were disappointed by the results of Tuesday’s election. A proposal to switch to a “home rule” system of government, and thus gain a commissioner to represent citizens on this side of the geographically divided county, was defeated at the polls.Among other things, home rule would have expanded the county board of commissioners from three to five seats, and one of the five districts attached to those seats would have consisted of the county’s southwestern, Roaring Fork portion.On this side of Cottonwood Pass, the idea of home rule was approved by 60 percent. In the Eagle Valley, however, home rule only carried 46.5 percent of the vote. With just under 20 percent of the total Eagle County population, the Roaring Fork side simply doesn’t have the electoral firepower to sway countywide elections.Opponents of the change advised voters to “Stop Home Rule. Protect Your Rights.” It’s hard to know whether this vague scare tactic swayed the vote, or whether citizens on the Eagle side rejected home rule because they simply didn’t care about the representation issue. They already have three commissioners from their side of the county, so why would they care?For the people of Basalt, El Jebel, Missouri Heights and other Eagle County portions of the Roaring Fork Valley, however, home rule’s failure means that they’ll have to place their trust in someone on the other side of the hill. And historically, there has been a disconnect.Fortunately, the winning candidate for Eagle County commissioner, Sara Fisher, has pledged to listen to her Roaring Fork Valley constituents, and possibly hold office hours in El Jebel to stay in touch. She even attended a recent planning meeting on a controversial El Jebel-area development.This newspaper endorsed one of Fisher’s opponents, but we thought long and hard about endorsing Fisher. We liked what she had to say about growth management and political representation. She was also an able county clerk.Given the unfortunate failure of home rule, we hope Fisher stands by her campaign statements, and takes the time to know and understand her Roaring Fork constituency.