Aspen Times editorial: Vote Bill Kane for Basalt mayor |

Aspen Times editorial: Vote Bill Kane for Basalt mayor

Basalt will have a new mayor for the first time in eight years and just the third mayor in 16 years on April 7.

Three candidates threw their hats in the ring and all are veterans of Basalt town government. Bill Infante is a current council member, Bill Kane is a former town manager and Rob Leavitt is a former councilman and current member of the Basalt Planning and Zoning Commission.

Basalt is fortunate to have three solid choices. Bill Kane earns our endorsement because of his breadth of experiences, proven leadership, knowledge of both the private and public sectors and for a temperament well-suited to these times.

Kane served as the Basalt town manager from 2009 to 2012. Much earlier in his career he was the planning director for Aspen and Pitkin County. He has also worked in the private sector for Design Workshop, where he remains a consultant.

As the town manager in Basalt, he helped get the train rolling to acquire the Pan and Fork Mobile Home Park and successfully purchased the part of the site closest to the Roaring Fork River for a park. The initiative to develop the other half of the property fell off the tracks after his departure and finally got approved this winter.

Also as manager, he crafted town government actions that helped get development of the Willits Town Center project restarted after the financial pain of the Great Recession.

Kane has demonstrated himself to be a man of vision and he is smart enough to stay out of the way of a talented staff who will handle the details.

On growth and development, Kane recognizes some important factors in the state of the midvalley — people are fed up with traffic and other effects of growth and they want to preserve small-town character. He accurately stressed much of the growth potential around the town has been extinguished through conservation easements the town helped Pitkin County and other partners acquire. He has vowed to focus growth at the old Clark’s Market site and other “infill” properties where urban services are available.

Basalt is in the unfortunate position where a few people with massive grudges and vendettas dominate the political discourse. Kane has the ability to transcend politics and be a leader for all. He cannot be pigeonholed as a pro-growth or anti-growth.

After our board met with all of the candidates, we endorse Bill Kane for mayor in the April 7 election.

The Aspen Times editorial board consists of publisher Samantha Johnston, editor David Krause and reporters Rick Carroll, Scott Condon and Carolyn Sackariason.