Post Independent Opinion: Arensman best for Ward 1 council seat
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
This year’s Glenwood Springs City Council election comes down to one set of opponents in Ward 1, incumbent Russ Arensman and challenger Ted Edmonds.
With single candidates running for the Ward 3 and 4 and at-large seats, those elections have been canceled. Incumbent Dave Sturges and council newcomers Mike Gamba and Todd Leahy take office without a race on April 14.
In the Ward 1 race, the city is in the lucky position of having two excellent candidates running. We would feel comfortable with either one taking office, but our endorsement is for Arensman.
We favor Arensman for his depth of experience in city government, for his thoughtful approach to issues, for making economic recovery the city’s top priority, for his pursuit of clean energy, and for his hopeful vision for Grand Avenue.
In making this endorsement, we are aware that we are passing up a strong candidate. Edmonds’ attention to the city budget is impressive, and his criticism of the city’s ambitious projection of a 9 percent increase in sales tax revenues makes us worry about cuts the city government may be forced to make later this year.
However, taken as a whole, we believe Arensman is the stronger candidate, and the person who can readily collaborate with other council members, city staff and the public.
Arensman comes to this race with eight years of city government service – four years on the planning commission prior to four years on City Council. He projects an attitude of openness, flexibility and thoughtfulness, and he is a good listener.
Clear about the need to strengthen the city’s economy and create jobs, Arensman supports a post-recession economy based on sustainable industries such as health care, tourism and web-based services. He has worked hard to focus city resources and energy on reinvigorating the downtown and redeveloping the confluence area.
Arensman is a champion for developing geothermal resources, particularly in the confluence area, and strongly supports boosting the city electric utility’s share of wind energy. Edmonds is a supporter as well, and is calling for the city to explore off-site solar farms such as those now being built for Holy Cross Energy customers.
The two also share the view that Grand Avenue is destined to remain the route for Highway 82, and that building a bypass on the railroad corridor is not a viable or appropriate option. Arensman also brings a note of hope, based on a recent corridor study, that Grand Avenue conditions can be improved using techniques other than building more traffic lanes.
Overall, Arensman has the experience, the leadership and the vision to serve Ward 1 on City Council, so we endorse him in this race.
We also urge Edmonds to give the city the benefit of his business experience and critical thinking by volunteering to serve on the city’s financial advisory or tourism boards, and look to another run for council in a few years.
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The Glenwood Hot Springs Lodge experienced vandalism in the form of significant water damage after a man removed a pipe valve with a fire extinguisher flooding four hallways. The lodge however remains open and operational.