Trustee challenges incumbent for Carbondale mayor
CARBONDALE – Michael Hassig is seeking a second four-year term as Carbondale mayor, but is being challenged in the April 4 municipal election by one of his fellow town board members, Trustee Russ Criswell. Hassig, a former longtime Carbondale Planning and Zoning Commission member and chairman, was elected mayor in 2002.Criswell was first elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2004 for a second four years as trustee. If unsuccessful in his bid for mayor, he would continue to serve another two years as a trustee.Name: Russ CriswellAge: 58Occupation: landlord, mediator, child and family investigator for the 9th Judicial DistrictFamily: wife, Linda Romero Criswell; three step children, Miah Wheeler, 29, Chamisa Blackmon, 27, Ben Wheeler, 23How long lived in Carbondale? 27 yearsWhy are you running for mayor? I don’t feel that our current mayor is in touch with the majority of the people of Carbondale. I hear from my constituents that Carbondale wants to maintain its present charm, scale and rate of growth. They say they want size caps on buildings, they do not want to end up like “everywhere USA” with big boxes, national chains everywhere, absentee business owners. My constituents want their mayor to be in touch with them. They want a mayor who will do what he says he will do. They want leadership that will get things done, a leader who honors the people more than the “process.” I will honor the people, I will listen to the people, I will come up with ways to finish the process with implementation.Previous experience: Carbondale Board of Trustees, 2000-present; Healthy Mountain Communities Board, 2001-present; Carbondale Board of Economic Development 2003-present; Carbondale Environmental Board, 2000-present, Carbondale Home Rule Charter Commission, Nov. 2002-May 2003; Mission Communidad board, 2001-03; Bookcliffs Council of Arts board, 2001-03, and current member; CCAH board, 1996-99, and current member; Carbondale Master Plan Steering Committee, 1997-99; Mountain Fair board 1992-96; Mountain Fair volunteer, 1979-2005; Glenwood Arts Council, current member; Carbondale Recreation board, 1988-1991; KDNK DJ, 1983-1988, current member; Friends of the Hot Springs founding member, board 1983; served on citizens group for RTA 1997-98; served on Pioneer Project in Carbondale, 1991; Regional Housing Authority Task Force 2002-05; Mt. Sopris Nordic Council, current member; Economic Roadmap Group, trustee liaison 2004-06; Leadership Aspen, graduate class of 2001; over 60 hours of leadership training from the Colorado Municipal League; volunteer as a mediator for YouthZone and GarCo County Courts, 2004-present.If elected, what are your goals for the town? Promote Carbondale Improve transportation – in town for bikes, pedestrians, cars and buses, and valley-wide via trails and mass transit. Increase citizen participation in decision making. Create the community center/non-profit center/business incubator project at the old elementary school. Strengthen partnerships with other local governments, especially the school district, Garfield County and the fire district. Continue regional governmental cooperation. Increase the possibilities of affordable housing. Make the Gateway Park a reality ASAP. Establish “safe routes” for our kids to get to school. Make it safe for all of us to cross Highway 133. Listen, listen, listen.Any changes you’d like to see? Several: To have the discussion at our meetings stay more on track. Several members have a tendency to take off on tangents that are not relevant to the items at hand. They need to be gently reminded to stay on task. To have simultaneous voting. These can be by electronic device with the results read by the town clerk after all have voted. This will eliminate being influenced by the trustee voting before you. A better way to control the flow of discussion. There are devices that will signal when each of us wishes to speak and the order that the request has been made. Our current system is haphazard at best. Along those lines, to keep the trustees attentive on the meeting, not talking to other people present during meetings Honor and respect our volunteers more.Biggest issue you see facing the town right now? The ways to implement the wishes of the people, expressed both from elections and the Roadmap Group recommendations, to establish caps on the size of new developments, to establish the future wants and needs of the town, make plans for funding these needs, and to make them regulations.Do you feel you have the time to commit to the board, ie. meetings, special meetings? I have demonstrated my time availability and commitment to this in the past and will continue to do so.What qualities do you feel you will bring as an elected official? I listen to people and try to frame their ideas into workable solutions through collaborative work with my fellow trustees, town staff, and our advisory boards. I am not afraid to make decisions. Nothing that we do as policy is so important that it cannot be undone, except doing nothing.I am first an advocate for my constituents, and secondly a facilitator. I am a working, extensively trained and experienced mediator and negotiator, and I will bring those skills to the work as mayor.I do what I say I will do. I believe in doing town business appropriately, in the open, at town meetings, not in smoke-filled bars late at night. I know Carbondale, and the people of Carbondale. I spend time in town and I listen. I am honest and have integrity. I am open minded. I have passion for Carbondale. I am experienced.Favorite pizza topping? Roasted garlicHobbies? Tennis, cross country skiing, fishing, hiking, reading, hanging with Linda, going to the movies, helping out friends, gardening, projects, brainstorming, breakfast at the Smithy, camping, photography … not in this order.Favorite TV show/movie/book/author? With all that’s out there, get real, a favorite? Latest book: The European Dream; last good movie I saw: “Match Point” by Woody Allen; don’t watch enough TV to have one; favorite author: an unpublished novelist, Linda Romero
Name: Michael HassigAge: 54Occupation: architect, partner in A4, an architecture firm located in CarbondaleFamily: wife (and business partner), Olivia Emery; son, Christopher, 18How long lived in Carbondale? 14 yearsWhy are you running for mayor? When I was elected mayor I took an oath to protect the health, safety and welfare of the people of Carbondale. Every decision I’ve made, and every vote I’ve cast has been towards that goal. In the deliberations of the Board of Trustees and in public meetings I’ve worked hard to assure that all voices are heard, that people are treated in a fair and respectful manner, and that the board devotes appropriate consideration to the issues at hand.Carbondale’s more than just a place on a map or a collection of buildings, roads and sidewalks – it’s a web of relationships, histories, ideas and dreams. The Carbondale I love values self-reliance, hard work and responsibility, but beyond that it values tolerance, diversity, cooperation and caring. How we treat one another is the true measure of our community. As a designer, planner and small businessman I believe my technical knowledge and skills contribute to the Board of Trustees. More importantly, though, I believe that my willingness to listen, my commitment to dialogue and consensus-building and my understanding of the broad challenges we face as a community makes me a better choice for mayor.Previous experience: Mayor, 2002-present. Carbondale P&Z 1993-02, chairman 1995-02.If elected, what are your goals for the town? Given Carbondale’s setting, its history and traditions and its engaged and knowledgeable citizens, I believe we can serve as a model for how to address the challenges of the next century. Compact, thoughtful growth and development, energy efficiency, respect for the natural environment, respect for economic and cultural diversity, commitment to education – these are how we should measure our success.Any changes you’d like to see? I’d like us all to keep in mind that the values we share as a community are more important than any of our minor disagreements. Passions run high because all involved care deeply about the future of this town. I’d like us to remember that we’re all in this together.Biggest issue you see facing the town right now? Carbondale’s a desirable place to live. This desirability will only increase in the coming years. This translates into ever increasing land values and corresponding pressures for growth and development. Reconciling the community values of openness, tolerance and diversity with the pressures for development will be one of the hardest and most pressing issues.Do you feel you have the time to commit to the board, ie. meetings, special meetings? Yes. I’m a self employed businessman. I have an extraordinarily supportive wife and very patient business partners who’ve allowed me to juggle my schedule as the job of mayor has demanded.What qualities do you feel you will bring as an elected official? Commitment. Patience. Open-mindedness. Clarity.Favorite pizza topping? Peppino’s oil & garlic sauce, with spinach & peppersHobbies? Hiking, flyfishing, reading.Favorite TV show/movie/book/author? Fiction: novelists Richard Powers and Patrick O’Brian; nonfiction: biologist Richard Dawkins
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Glenwood Springs and Garfield County make the Post Independent’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Each donation will be used exclusively for the development and creation of increased news coverage.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Messaging from CDOT changes, but Independence Pass is noted as closed on its website but not for mudslides
Independence Pass east of Aspen is listed as closed according to the state’s transportation department, but the road was not shut down Wednesday because of mudslides but rather to lessen traffic.