Heated Falls Vote Set For Tuesday

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Green Mountain Falls Town Manager Robert McArthur photo by Rick Langenberg

by Rick Langenberg:


Election 2014

The long-awaited mayoral and board of trustees duel in Green Mountain Falls in only days away, with voters gearing up to cast their ballots next Tuesday (April Fool’s Day).
At issue are a mayoral spot and three trustee positions in one of the most heated GMF showdowns in recent memory. The results of the April 1 vote will play a major role in determining the future of Green Mountain Falls, and whether the current status quo course is maintained, or whether big changes will occur.
Meanwhile, in Woodland Park, on April 8, voters will pick a mayor and three council members and decide on a ballot issue giving city officials more leeway in how to spend its annual lodging tax. But unlike Green Mountain Falls, the WP ballot has no contested races.  However, Councilman Gary Brovetto, a big proponent of the Main Street and Creative Art District efforts, has announced a last-minute write-in candidacy for mayor against incumbent Dave Turley. Brovetto’s name won’t appear on the ballot and voters must add his name to their ballot if they support his bid.

Green Mountain Falls

The main focus of Tuesday’s election hinges on the mayoral battle between incumbent Lorrie Worthey and challenger Jane Newberry, the current mayor pro tem.  This marks a fight between two candidates who have vastly different views on some key issues, such as deciding the fate of future law enforcement in GMF, appointing a new town manager, dealing with social media and citizen input and even handling infrastructure improvements.  TMJ outlines their respective candidacies in this week’s issue.
The race has also attracted much attention due to the fact that this is the first time in recent history that two women have vied for the town’s top leadership position. Also, the two have frequently clashed at regular trustee meetings, especially in the last nine months.

Local voters also will pick three trustees among a field of four candidates. The board contenders include incumbent Margaret Peterson and challengers Michael Butts, David Cook and Chris Quinn.  This is a much leaner list than several weeks ago, when the town received petitions from seven candidates.
Peterson, a long-time resident and civic volunteer was appointed to the position a year (see related letter to the editor). Her views are closely aligned with those of Newberry and the majority trustee members.
The challengers, though, are more critical of the current board and especially the way the marshal’s department was dismantled and how a new town manager was appointed. 

Both Butts and Cook tried to seek the seat during the previous appointment process a year ago, following the resignation of a former trustee. Cook is a retired school principal and Butts works as a sales manager for an industrial supply company in Colorado Springs. Quinn is employed as an administrator with Colorado Springs Utilities and previously worked as a utilities planner in Tampa, Florida. All of the trustee candidates, while expressing different views on several contentious issues, would like to see more town unity and improve the atmosphere at regular meetings.    

A candidates’ forum, held last week, outlined some of their views (see related story). The polls will be open on April 1 at town hall (the Joyland Church) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 684-9414.
For Green Mountain Falls residents, this will serve as the first of two elections.  Voters are also scheduled to head to the polls on May 20 to decide the fate of two recall petitions, filed against current trustees Ralph LoCascio and Howard Price, and a resolution rescinding a previous ordinance establishing the position of town manager.

In Woodland Park, the election picture is much milder, with yet another shortage of contested races inspite of a number of key issues. Incumbent Dave Turley is seeking a second term as mayor and council incumbents John Schafer and Ken Matthews, who were both appointed to their slots, are running, along with newcomer Noel Sawyer.  All candidates will most likely be elected to their seats. The only challenge, and it’s a modest one, involves the election for mayor, with Brovetto mounting a last-minute write-in candidacy.
A candidates forum was held last week in Woodland Park that outlined some of the key issues (see related story).  The city, in keeping with its customary practice, will run its election through a mail-ballot format. For more information, call 719-687-9246.