Three City Council seats up for election in Glenwood Springs
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” Three Glenwood Springs City Council seats are opening up for an April 7 election and one controversial candidate from the past wants to be on board.
An “at-large” seat is the only contested race so far. Steve Bershenyi, a blacksmith/artist who ran unsuccessfully for the Garfield County Commission last fall against Commissioner John Martin, competes for the seat against David Blazier, who ran unsuccessfully in the fall 2007 City Council election against Councilor Dave Sturges.
Blazier was criticized for what some called his extreme views during his unsuccessful run in 2007. But he said the criticism was unfair and some city councilors may have been stifling the democratic process. Sturges crushed Blazier in the vote by a 1,274 to 186 count. Bershenyi lost to Martin by an 11,030 to 10,680 vote.
Councilor Dave Merritt holds the ward five seat and cannot run again due to a term limit. Councilor Dave Johnson has not taken out a petition for re-election to an at large seat.
Councilor Kris Chadwick is seeking a currently uncontested re-election for the ward two seat that includes a northwest area of Glenwood Springs, according to city clerk Robin Unsworth.
Leo McKinney picked up a petition for the ward five seat Wednesday. He is the chief financial officer and an owner of the Glenwood Springs Harmony House, which provides the elderly and the physically challenged with assisted living options.
McKinney spent around 10 years as a teacher and has written articles published in print and on the Internet, including in the Mountain Parent magazine.
All the seats up for election are for four year terms. City councilors receive $500 per month and the mayor gets $700 per month. There are two City Council meetings a month, plus councilors usually serve on two other advisory boards or commissions.
Christensen said reviewing large amounts of material the weeks of City Council meetings can be a “fairly intense” time commitment, but helping plan for the future and solve complex problems can be rewarding.
“When you’re elected to City Council in a large way you get to be even more involved with planning for the future of Glenwood,” he said.
The deadline to return petitions to run for City Council is 5 p.m. on Jan. 26. But it’s possible to run as a write-in candidate later.
Blazier, who’s worked in the hospitality industry, driven for Colorado Mountain Express and lived in Glenwood Springs for around five years, portrayed himself in the last election as the younger, different candidate who sought to infiltrate a city government he said was an old boy’s club. He was publicly criticized by some city councilors in part over his past letters to local newspapers. In the letters, Blazier criticized baby-boomers and once said in satire that they should be killed off so younger people can live their lives. His arrest in 2000 at the Hotel Jerome also came to light. Blazier said he was unfairly blamed for a confrontation with another customer.
Oil and gas development was among Bershenyi’s top issues in his County Commission campaign. He said on http://www.stephenbershenyi.com that it’s an important part of the economy but the county needs to forge a more equitable relationship with the industry. He called for fair and transparent county rules that would hold energy companies accountable, mitigate their impacts and protect the property rights of landowners. He also said the county needs to implement a policy to acquire and preserve open space, and it should strengthen its affordable housing requirements, among other issues. Bershenyi was born in Glenwood Springs and returned to the valley in 1995 after almost 30 years on the Front Range.
Blazier said in a newspaper question-and-answer article important issues facing the city were: Balancing the need for labor and management for industry and the need for a healthy, decent town for the older residents and established families; figuring out where to route traffic strangling the city; helping families survive in an inflationary environment; improving day care; and improving housing.
For more election information, contact city clerk Robin Unsworth at 384-6403.
Contact Pete Fowler: 384-9121
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