Editorial: Freedman served Basalt well
Anne Freedman ended an incredible run of public service in Basalt this week when she turned in her anticipated resignation from the Town Council. We want to acknowledge her for 15 years of dedicated service.
Freedman was never shy about speaking her mind on the council, even when she knew her opinions and decisions wouldn’t be well-received by developers or some other party appearing before the board. She did them a service by not keeping them guessing about where she stood, like so many other elected officials.
Freedman stands barely over 5 feet tall, yet she regularly displayed the confidence and bravery of a giant. She would frequently cut to the heart of an issue and volunteer to offer an opinion first when it came to council deliberations. She avoided confrontations with her fellow council members but never backed down when she felt that her stance was justified. Freedman didn’t need to wait and see which way the wind was blowing to reach a decision.
Voters appreciated that. She won elections in 2000 to a two-year term and in 2002 to a four-year term. She lost a mayoral bid in 2004 to formidable foe Leroy Duroux. Freedman left the council in 2006 because of terms limits but was elected again in 2010. She is resigning one year before her term expires. She and her husband, Phillip, are moving back to New Jersey after both experienced health challenges.
Freedman recently raised eyebrows in the council chambers when she noted that the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park, which the town government co-owns with a nonprofit organization, is substandard housing. In fact, she said, the mobile-home park doesn’t meet the standards of some housing she has seen in Third World countries. The comment demonstrated that she could take a critical look at the government’s own actions.
On the other hand, she and Phillip are the kind of community supporters upon whom business owners in a small-town depend. Shopping locally isn’t just a catchy phrase for the Freedmans. They back their words by spending their dollars in local restaurants and shops. And up until recently, the 75-year-old Freedman could frequently be seen on the slopes of Snowmass.
Freedman also has demonstrated widespread community involvement. She served as an elected official on the Colorado Mountain College board of trustees. She volunteered time on a citizens’ advisory board at the Basalt Regional Library and, as a Basalt council member, she served on the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s board of directors.
When Freedman first was appointed to the Town Council in 1998 to fill out a term, some critics quietly grumbled about an “outsider” holding such an important position. She was an academic who was raised in New Jersey and a recent retiree who landed in Basalt after a career as a university professor in Chicago. Her style grated on the nerves of some council members and observers, in large part because she didn’t bow at the altar of development.
Freedman assimilated well. Her contributions will be missed.