Rifle municipal election getting interesting | PostIndependent.com

Rifle municipal election getting interesting

Heidi Rice
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

RIFLE, Colorado – With nine candidates and two ballot questions, Rifle’s municipal election on Sept. 8, is beginning to look interesting.

And although Rifle City Council members did not agree with the wording on the two ballot questions, the city attorney has advised that the wording on the ballot must be the same as it appears on the petition.

There are four city council seats open and three incumbents are seeking re-election. Two of the incumbents, Mayor Keith Lambert and Councilor Alan Lambert, are going for a third term while Councilor Jen Sanborn is seeking a second term. Incumbent Beth Bascom, who holds the fourth vacant seat, is not seeking re-election.

Six others are also vying for the at-large seats. They include Linda Twidwell, Randy Winkler, Daniel Alvis, Ronald Byrd, Douglas Winters and Fred Schultz.

Along with the council race, longtime resident and former mayor, John Scalzo, has successfully put two questions on the ballot – one of which asks to approve term limits for city council members of two four-year terms. Scalzo received the required number of signatures on the petitions and turned them in to city hall last month.

Scalzo claims that he’s seeking the term limits in order to keep the same people from running over and over again and give somebody else a chance to serve.

“Ben Franklin said that you should never make a career out of politics,” Scalzo quoted.

In opposition, Mayor Lambert has pointed out that voters already have the ability to vote a councilor out if they don’t think he or she is doing a good job and that the city formerly had term limits, which voters opted to do away with in 2006.

The second ballot question proposed by Scalzo seeks to form districts within the city which would be represented by each council member, along with the at-large seats. The current council members live in the north, east and west parts of the city. The south portion of Rifle is mostly commercial.

At a regular council meeting in July, council members did not agree with some of the wording on the proposed ballot questions. However, deputy city attorney Jim Neu said that the wording must remain the same as it was signed by the petitioners.

“We’re not allowed to change anything from what the petitions say,” Neu explained. “What these petitions do is change the (city) charter and it will be on the ballot as is.”

Scalzo says that forming districts will allow a better representation of the city on the Rifle City Council. Those in opposition say it will restrict voters’ ability to elect the best candidate, rather than one from a specific district.

“The way the charter is written in now, the seven council members can choose to have districts,” Neu said.

Keith Lambert says he believes districts have a place – but that the city is not large enough yet to warrant districting.

Scalzo says it’s up to the people to decide on either issue.

“Whichever way it goes, it will be what the people want,” he said. “It’s not what I want – it’s just common sense.”

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