Silt municipal election features two slates of trustee candidates
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
SILT, Colorado – When the candidates for the Board of Trustees here face off at a forum tonight at Town Hall, it could appear to observers to be an episode of the game show “Family Feud,” in which two families competed against each other to win prizes.
That’s because two slates of candidates have emerged in the election, each with its own mayoral hopeful and each with several aspirants hoping to win seats on the board.
And to add spice to the race, Silt style, one of the factions is accusing the other of being aligned with the principles of the national Tea Party movement, a notion that at least two of that slate’s members have denied.
The two opposing camps came to light during the Board of Trustees meeting on March 8.
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During the “public comments” section of the agenda, three candidates aligned with Mayor Dave Moore as the “Save Our Silt” (SOS) slate stood up and announced, on camera, their intentions to run as a group.
In addition to the mayor, the Save Our Silt slate includes Rick Aluise, Bryan Fleming and Paul Taylor, and is the slate said to be aligned with the Tea Party.
A short time after Taylor, Fleming and Aluise spoke, a couple of candidates from the opposing faction spoke also, using the same public-comment segment of the meeting.
The second group – incumbent trustee Bobby Hays, Mark Rhinehart, Bob Shively, Toni-Marie Yorty and incumbent trustee Meredith Robinson running for mayor – is unofficially known as the “Sensible Solutions for Silt,” or S-cubed, according to Rhinehart.
“We’re still thinking about it,” Rhinehart said of the group’s political moniker, or lack of one, explaining, “We’ve been talking about it, as to whether we’d even dignify it [the SOS title] with a reply.”
At the board meeting, Trustee Nicky Leigh questioned the use of the public-comment section of the meeting for political campaigning, but the mayor and town attorney Gene Duran told her that the town codes do not address the issue. In addition, the mayor maintained that it is viewed as an acceptable part of the town’s political culture.
Both the mayor and Aluise, responding to a reporter’s questions on Tuesday, denied that they are allied with the Colorado Tea Party, although the mayor conceded that “there are some principles of the Tea Party that we subscribe to,” such as cutting and balancing the town’s budget.
Aluise adamantly denied being connected to the Tea Party, or to any other party, calling himself “unaffiliated.”
“I’m not even sure of the political party affiliations of those with whom I am running,” Aluise added in an e-mail. “We simply have the same concerns for our town.”
On the other side of the political divide, candidate Rhinehart said he and his group, S-cubed, have talked of declaring themselves in sympathy with the fledgling Coffee Party.
Founded by a filmmaker as an “alternate flavor to the Tea Party,” according to one news story, the Coffee Party gives its mission as encouraging civility in political discourse and honoring diversity of opinions.
Where the SOS group already has printed lawn signs and other campaign literature, according to the mayor, Rhinehart said he and his cohort are conducting “a grassroots campaign,” walking around town and talking to residents about the issues facing the town.
Tonight’s candidates forum, sponsored by the Silt Chamber of Commerce, starts at 6 p.m. in the council chambers at Town Hall, 231 N. Seventh St.
All nine of the declared candidates, for mayor and trustee, are expected to be present.
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