Letter: Move Basalt forward

Why I support Rick Stevens for mayor:

It has been hard to watch Jacque Whitsitt conduct herself as mayor of Basalt for the past few years.

Since the $5 million bond issue was passed 2-1 five years ago for the Pan and Fork, she has broken the law, has disregarded the will of the people, labels opponents who disagree with her as “greedy developers” who want to bring mass development to Basalt, and has accused the majority of her fellow councilmen as supporting “unmitigated growth.” Simply not true.

I’m not aware of one single commercial building built in downtown Basalt in the past seven years other than the Rocky Mountain Institute, a nonprofit. So just how big can the downtown core of Basalt become? It can’t grow toward Ruedi past a barbershop, it can’t go west past the Rocky Mountain Institute, and it can’t go toward Aspen beyond the bridge before the 7-Eleven. By its very nature, downtown Basalt is always destined to be a small and charming town. Can it be infilled with good planning? Absolutely. That is what the Pan and Fork park, in conjunction with the commercial parcel, is all about — the chance to seek a small, upscale hotel, a bar and a restaurant, bringing people to the core, providing jobs and generating tax income for the town. This would help fund many things, including employee housing and day care facilities, and bring vitality and identity back to downtown Basalt as a gathering place.

Jacque’s plan is to build an event center. How many event centers make money on a year-round basis versus a hotel? To do that and kill the commercial development could cost the people of Basalt as much as $10 million. That’s $6,000 per household in taxes when Willits is already planning a major event center.

The issue of the “petition” is another example of our mayor’s disregard for the law. The town’s attorney determined it was not legal, due to timing, to put on the present ballot. It was determined to be against Colorado laws and our own laws. If it is put on the ballot, any resident could sue the town. Jacque voted for it anyway. The other council members recognized it was against the law and not within their fiduciary duty. Only Jacque voted to risk a potential lawsuit and break the law.

This week, Jacque planted her yard signs all over public property, and the town had to remove them. It is against the law on public property in Basalt. As mayor, she should know this.

Mike Scanlon, one of the best town mangers Basalt has ever had, has worked tirelessly and moved the will of the voters forward in a proper and legal way. He removed the trailers and relocated families with compassion to help create the Pan and Fork. However, I cannot think of one single thing Jacque has done to bring vitality back to the downtown core.

If you want Basalt to move forward, I urge you to vote for Rick Stevens as mayor.

Norm Clasen