Aspen Times endorsements: Tennenbaum, Grauer and Infante for Basalt town council
Basalt’s election for three council seats is really pretty simple. Voters who think the current board has done a good job can keep the two incumbents seeking re-election in office. Those who think it is time for a change have four challengers to pick from.
Fortunately, this election presents an opportunity for a blended approach. We’re endorsing incumbent Councilmen Gary Tennenbaum and Bernie Grauer as well as challenger William Infante.
Tennenbaum often served as the rudder for the council over the past four years. Whenever it was adrift, he would step in to get it back on course. He’s respected by other members of the council and has shown an ability to work with everyone.
Grauer occasionally misfires on issues or his approach, but he is not afraid of changing a position when new information comes to light. He also is about as well-prepared as possible for a small-town elected official. He does his homework and articulates his positions.
Infante has impressive service with the U.S. State Department and United Nations, including considerable work in economic development in Eastern Europe and East Asia. He would bring a fresh perspective to Basalt, and during the campaign he has demonstrated an ability to span political factions. That’s sorely needed right now.
Frankly, Basalt could not go wrong with any of the six candidates in this election.
The other three candidates — Ryan Slack, Todd Hartley and Carol Hawk — have displayed some admirable qualities during the campaign.
The incumbents get the edge because they have demonstrated a slow, well-thought-out approach to growth and development over the past four years. They approved tweaks to the Willits Town Center approvals that allow the project to advance to the final stretch, they have approved vital affordable-housing projects and both are on record for supporting a reasonable mix of park and development on the former Pan and Fork site.
Basalt needs a reasoned approach to growth, as its checkered land-use history attests. Prior administrations made too many knee-jerk decisions. That’s how a town ends up with a tire store and gas station at its main intersection.
Also in this election, Basalt voters will decide if a new $2 tax should be applied to cigarette packs as well as a new 40 percent tax on other tobacco products. We support the proposal, which would make Basalt the second town or city in Colorado, after Aspen, to implement a local tax. The funds would be devoted to existing programs to help people prevent or end addiction.