On Nov. 1, the working people and retirees of Steamboat Springs will have an opportunity to gain better representation on the City Council. As most of you already know, the council has been dominated by the Chamber Resort Association, which has managed to have at least a 4-3 majority of its members or sympathizers on the council for many years. This assured that its agenda -- uncontrolled growth, access to tax money, passage of the URA without a public vote, Triple Crown subsidy and contract extension without a public vote, etc. -- would happen.
The chamber becomes a highly focused Political Action Committee at council election time. By mustering its membership, their families and employees to vote, it becomes a potent voting block capable of swinging an election. Its members contribute generously to the campaigns of its chosen candidates. For example, one candidate in the 2001 election received more than $9,000; another nearly $8,000 ---- several times more than each of the other candidates. Some of the contractors, developers, real estate brokers, speculators and lenders gave as much as $500 each.
Voters can do several things to help sort out the candidates most likely to represent them: study their positions on the leading issues, ask around about their affiliations; note the newspaper reports on the size and origin of campaign contributions.
It will take a big turnout of us ordinary voters to get a council majority elected that can re-orient the direction our town is headed. Please take the time to vote. Early voting is easy and convenient -- Oct. 17 to 28.
Omar M. Campbell