Q & A with 5 of 11 Carbondale Trustee candidates | PostIndependent.com

Q & A with 5 of 11 Carbondale Trustee candidates

Jeremy HeimanSpecial to the Post Independent

Five positions on Carbondales seven-seat Board of Trustees are being contested in the April 6 election. A field of 11 candidates is vying for those five seats. Two incumbents and one former trustee are among those on the ballot. Carbondale Trustees serve four-year terms.Were featuring five of the candidates today. The remaining six will be profiled in Fridays Post Independent.Carbondale voters will also decide two ballot issues in this springs election, and that story will be published on Monday.Stacey Patch BernotAge: 25 Occupation: Self employed, owner of Grounds and Gardens, a landscape business.Previous elected offices: NoneVolunteer projects: Carbondale Parks and Recreation Commission, Chair, member for four years; member, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce.Years in the community: Fifth generation native.Family: Husband Mike Bernot, son Hayden, 5, daughter Kendall, 3Why are you running for this seat? I feel like Im not being represented by the trustees.What are the three biggest issues facing your community? Improving our towns financial situation and its accountability to its citizens, working to accomplish the goals of our comprehensive plan, and working with the Roaring Fork School District to better our schools, since a town is only as good as its schools.What do you hope to accomplish in this position? Id like to accomplish a sense of teamwork. I feel theres a lot of divisiveness in town, even on the board. Id like to see the board function better as a whole. Id like to utilize the town staff more efficiently. We have a great town staff.What makes you the best person for the job? Im a Carbondale business owner and homeowner, but I also have a historical perspective that will help me in working hard toward benefiting the town in the future.Lynn BurtonAge: 54Occupation: Newspaper reporterPrevious elected offices: NoneVolunteer projects: Volunteer DJ on radio station KDNK, co-author of KDNKs bylaws, member of first Glenwood Springs Summer of Jazz Board of Directors, Carbondale Mountain Fair volunteer.Years in the community: 14Family: Not marriedWhy are you running for this seat? As a newspaper reporter for more than 15 years, I covered hundreds of Carbondale Town Council meetings. As a result, Ive got a pretty good understanding of how the town operates. Thats important.What are the three biggest issues facing your community? The general fund budget, the general fund budget, the general fund budget.What do you hope to accomplish in this position? After four years, I would hope to see the towns general fund budget in better shape then it is now.What makes you the best person for the job? Im not. But I understand how the town works better than most of the other challengers.David CliffordAge: 34Occupation: Photographer, photo editorPrevious elected offices: NoneVolunteer projects: Donates photography of events for nonprofits such as the Carbondale Clay Center and the Gabriel Foundation.Years in the community: 2Family: Wife Rixt, no children.Why are you running for this seat? Because Carbondale is a great town. It has great mountain town charm. Id like to see Carbondales growth reflect that.What are the three biggest issues facing your community? Growth that reflects the community, bringing in recreational dollars and tourist money, and fiscal responsibility.What do you hope to accomplish in this position? The river park would be a great boon for this town. Trail connections, too. Id like to see projects brought to the table that stand out from the others. Id support unique ideas that make Carbondale stand out.What makes you the best person for the job? Im young. Im not a politician. I have a fresh set of ideas. Im open minded.Ed CortezAge: 51Occupation: General contractorPrevious elected offices: NoneVolunteer projects: Carbondale Planning and Zoning Commission; Board of Directors of radio station KDNK; member of the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce; member of Carbondale Council on Arts and Humanities; graduate of Roaring Fork Leadership, 2000; past president of the board of directors of Asistencia Para Latinos; member of the Stepstone CenterYears in the community: 9Family: Wife Shonda Cortez; no childrenWhy are you running for this seat? Carbondale faces changes that need to be addressed immediately. Our town is at a crossroads in its plans to balance economic and residential growth.What are the three biggest issues facing your community? 1. Economic growth. Commercial growth needs to catch up with the recent residential explosion. 2. We have to heal from the divisiveness of the past. 3. We need to focus on developing our downtown historical core.What do you hope to accomplish in this position? In reference to economic growth, I have a thoughtful approach to development. I support the towns recent legislation creating thresholds for Carbondale. If elected, I want to reopen debate on building caps.In reference to previous divisiveness, the new board needs to work in a unified way if we want to succeed. The downtown historical core is critical. During last years referendum vote, the Economic Development Committee put all its eggs in one basket, and they dropped the basket. They must refocus and work toward development of the downtown core.What makes you the best person for the job? I believe in the future of Carbondale. I believe I have the experience, the desire and the willingness to face the challenges that will face Carbondale for years to come.Russ Criswell (incumbent)Age: 56Occupation: Snowmass Ski Patrol, self-employed plumberPrevious elected offices: Carbondale Town Trustee, four years; Carbondale Home Rule Charter Commission.Volunteer projects: Carbondale Environmental Board; Carbondale Economic Development Council; Healthy Mountain Communities Board; board of La Misin newspaper; Bookcliff Council for Arts and Humanities; Carbondales representative for the formation of a regional housing trust.Years in the community: 25Family: Linda Romero Criswell, daughters Miah Wheeler, 27, and Chamisa Blackmon, 25, son Ben Wheeler, 21.Why are you running for this seat? I want to help preserve Carbondale as a good place to live and work, guided by principles of smart growth, while maintaining the small town scale and unique character of this place.What are the three biggest issues facing your community? 1. Establishing a community vision of what Carbondale wants to be. 2. Growth. 3. Economic stability.What do you hope to accomplish in this position? I hope to be a part of the important visioning process that will bring us together as a community and help us put together a plan for what we want to see here in the way of growth and amenities. I want to continue my efforts to establish affordable housing locally and regionally. I want to expand Carbondales revenue sources. I want to be a part of developing Carbondales potential in recreation, arts and related commerce.What makes you the best person for the job? I am committed to this community and its citizens. During my term in office I have continued to educate myself by taking courses in government, mediation and leadership.Contact Jeremy Heiman: 945-8515, ext. 534jheiman@postindependent.com

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