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Letters – March 31, 2022

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Dear Carbondale voters

As a resident of unincorporated Garfield County, I do not have the opportunity to vote in this election, however, if I did, I would vote to re-elect Erica Sparhawk: a proven leader, rooted in compassion, integrity and community, with the skills to ensure Carbondale recognizes and meets the variety of challenges facing our town.

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I had the opportunity to work together with Erica throughout the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic via our respective positions on the Carbondale Emergency Task Force, where leaders from various community efforts were gathered to ensure the town was meeting the needs of all of Carbondale’s residents. In those Zoom calls, Erica showcased assets I find most beneficial and collaborative in a leader: she was inquisitive, compassionate and energetic.

As Erica pursues her second term as a trustee, she has highlighted some of the issues she’s most interested in solving with the community, including affordable and attainable housing, raising up the issues facing our most vulnerable populations and the ongoing battle with climate change. Erica takes her trustee seat with grace, dignity and curiosity, her humility has been an incredible asset to the town for four years and I’m hoping you’ll vote her in for four more.

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Sydney Schalit, Satank

Support for Frosty

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As a 19-year resident of Carbondale, I would urge Carbondale voters to cast their vote in the upcoming election for Frosty Merriott for town trustee!

Just a few of Mr. Merriott’s outstanding qualifications are: (1) beginning in 1998, and for several years, he served on the town’s Environmental Board; (2) for 18 months he was a member of the Carbondale Economic Roadmap Committee; (3) he served as chairperson of Carbondale’s Planning and Zoning Commission; (4) he was elected by voters in 2008 to serve a two-year term as a town trustee, then elected for two more terms until he was term limited.

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I could list many more qualifications of leadership Frosty has demonstrated in service to the town of Carbondale, but at this point I’m sure you can appreciate what a valued resident Frosty has been, and will be, to our town. I would also note that Frosty has owned and managed, for 24 years, a CPA firm located here in Carbondale.

Stan Kleban, Carbondale

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A new voice for Carbondale

Jess Robison is the best candidate for Carbondale town trustee. Jess was raised in the Roaring Fork Valley and has a deep appreciation for the character of our town that we all know and love. Because of her varied work experience, she understands how to bring people together in a collaborative environment to find solutions in ways that make everyone feel included, and she amplifies all voices.

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Jess understands the complex nature of land use and affordable housing construction, specifically in the Roaring Fork Valley. She brings a decade of board experience, including 10 years on the Pitkin County Telecommunications Advisory Board, where she has spent time listening to the unique needs of radio stations and how to make sure that all residents of the Valley have access to news and emergency communications.

Jess is a hard worker, a good listener and values a healthy democracy. I am certain her leadership skills will serve Carbondale and my fellow residents well.

Don’t forget to vote on April 5 and, when you do, choose Jess.

Kris Jewkes, Carbondale

Support for Laird

Here are a few reasons why I am supporting Colin Laird in his run for the Board of Town Trustees. Colin is a person who, I think, exemplifies the idea of giving back to the community. The Lairds have been our neighbors since they built their straw bale home in our neighborhood in 1991. For many years, Colin coached kids’ soccer.

He helped found The Sopris Sun and was a founding member of the Third Street Center. He has some creative ideas about creating more affordable housing through funding from the public and private sector. I believe he will work hard to make that a possibility. Much of his expertise lies in community development.

Colin is a diligent advocate for environmental sustainability. His main way of getting to work, managing the Third Street Center, is by bicycle. Even in mid-winter, when the temp is very low and the snow is flying, I have seen him pedaling his stretch bike to work. This is a man who talks the talk and rides the ride.

He is a man with the foresight and the ability to manage the challenges our town is facing now and in the future. Please vote for Colin Laird for Carbondale trustee.

Larry Tallmadge, Carbondale

YES on A

In listening to the Candidates Forum, there are a couple of questions/points raised by the candidates I would like to address.

(1) Allocate the Rec Tax to other purposes: The Citizens have voted twice to allocate a half-cent sales tax for recreational purposes. The trustees cannot simply reallocate these monies overriding the voice of the citizens. Therefore, this money cannot be used for housing, climate, transportation, or other town needs. This is the perfect way to fund the pool WITHOUT RAISING TAXES. There is a design option to add a second story to the Aquatic Center building, which could be used for employee housing, income generation via rentals for professional office space, exercise classes, community meetings, etc. Conscientiously planning this facility could help achieve other town priorities without choosing one over the other.

(2) Location: A thorough public input process has been conducted and the Sopris Park location was deemed the most suitable. The location behind the Rec Center was rejected for several reasons, here are a few. It would eliminate any future expansion of the Rec Center and it would eliminate a considerable amount of currently available public parking. Construction costs would be higher since a remodel of the Rec Center would be needed to accommodate entrance and accessibility to the pool, locker rooms, etc. The view of Mount Sopris, and accessibility to Sopris Park were highly rated by pool users. Residents who live adjacent to the Rec Center expressed concern about noise levels, traffic, etc.

(3) Footprint: The main addition, which would expand into Sopris Park, would be the splash pad. This would become an amenity to the park as it could be accessed when the pool was closed.

(4) Net Zero: This is possible and could be addressed as we move into the actual design phase.

(5) Upgrade the existing pool: Options have been vetted and experts have said that this cannot be done. Current technology will not mesh with 40+ year-old infrastructure. This pool will not be repairable or usable within the next five years. It is not ADA compliant and is nearly impossible for anyone on crutches or using a wheelchair to enter the pool and use the toilets and other locker room services. Take a virtual tour and see for yourself: www.carbondalerec.com/existing-pool-conditions/

Carbondale’s Town Pool is a community resource. It serves all ages and demographics. It is affordable, easily accessible by foot, bicycle, and circulator bus. Knowing how to swim is a life survival skill. Swim Lessons are affordable and accessible to all ages and income levels. It provides jobs for lifeguards and swimming instructors. It offers a safe, wholesome outlet for teenagers to socialize with friends. It assists seniors in remaining healthy, active and engaged. It helps create family memories and offers stress relief and fun for all. It is a benefit that positively supports society.

VOTE YES on A — it is a great way to fund a much-needed resource for people of all ages and socio-economic backgrounds.

Hollis Sutherland, Carbondale

Tags: #endorsements #Hollis Sutherland #Kris Jewkes #Larry Tallmadge #pool #Stan Kleban #Sydney Schalit
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