Steamboat Springs City Council re-election bids are unclear

Medical marijuana likely will play key role in ballot decisions

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— Much remains to be decided about this November’s city ballot, including which Steamboat Springs City Council members will seek re-election. There’s little doubt, however, that medical marijuana will play a key role come fall.

The terms of four council members expire in November. Of the three reached by phone Monday, none committed to a re-election bid.

Appointed council member Bart Kounovsky, chief operating officer of Colorado Group Realty, said he’ll likely launch his first campaign after replacing former council member Jim Engelken in September.

“When I was appointed, they asked me that (election) question and I told the council at the time that I would very much consider running when the appointed term was up,” Kounovsky said. “I’m still heading down that path of very seriously considering running.”

Kounovsky holds City Council’s lone two-year at-large seat. Should he seek a four-year seat, he’d run in District 2, to represent the area of the city near the base of Steamboat Ski Area. Council members Meg Bentley and Kenny Reisman currently represent District 2. Reisman’s term expires in November 2013, while Bentley’s expires this year. She could not be reached Monday to discuss her election plans.

Council member Jon Quinn was hesitant when asked about a re-election bid.

“I have not made up my mind for sure, but I have been leaning toward not running again,” said Quinn, who represents southern Steamboat’s District 3. “I really enjoy the role of City Council and it’s really stimulating. It’s really, really interesting and it’s going to be a difficult decision for me either way.”

Quinn noted that he had one child when he ran for office in 2007. He now has a second daughter. He also cited the time demands of his job with Northwest Data Services.

“Other things may have to take priority,” Quinn said.

Councilman Scott Myller, an architect, also said business concerns will play into his decision of whether to seek re-election. He represents District 1, which includes western Steamboat and much of Old Town.

“I’m thinking about it,” Myller said Monday about a fall campaign. “I haven’t decided.”

Regardless of who’s on the ballot, City Council’s unanimous support May 17 for placing a ban on medical marijuana businesses before voters in November put that issue at the forefront of the upcoming campaign season.

Like City Council’s much-debated approval of the Iron Horse Inn purchase in 2007 and the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation in 2009, the medical marijuana industry appears to be the premier issue of local campaigns in 2011.

“Absolutely,” Quinn said about whether the topic will be key for city voters this fall. “No doubt. I think as people are looking at their options, they’ll certainly be aware of the medical marijuana issue on the ballot, and my hunch is they’ll have done their research on where people stand on dispensaries in particular and on medical marijuana in the community.”

City Council voted against a ban, 4-3, in front of a packed Centennial Hall on May 17.

Bentley and Myller supported a ban, along with council member Walter Magill. Quinn and Kounovsky voted against a ban, along with Reisman and City Council President Cari Hermacinski.

In addition to finalized ballot language, City Council will discuss June 7 whether to allocate sales tax revenues from the medical marijuana industry to teen programs and youth education efforts. Also on the table that night will be whether to ask voters in November to approve an additional sales tax on the marijuana industry for those youth-related causes.

Myller noted that medical marijuana will be far from the only issue in City Council debates this fall, given the tight city finances amid an uncertain economy.

“If I do run, it seems like it’ll be pretty easy to say we balanced the budget in the hardest economic time of the last 30 years,” Myller said. “I kind of think this council has been hit with a lot of hard issues and I’m pretty proud of the way we’ve handled them.”

— To reach Mike Lawrence, call 970-871-4233 or email mlawrence@SteamboatToday.com

Comments

Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

I do not think balancing the budget will be given much credit by the voters because city council had no choice but to balance the budget and the cuts were not that dramatic (demonstrated how much fluff is in budget) or controversial.

I think that many voters will think the city council fundamentally ignored their constituents and mishandled the mmj issue. That revoking mmj businesses should not have been a close vote and should not have been put on the ballot. The SB 700 opponents had to gather signatures on a petition while city council punted and put this to a public vote.

I look at the recent voting history of SB and see a place that is not conservative. But also has little tolerance for social nanny liberals (Iron Horse or affordable housing requirements, imposing historical preservation on property owners) which suggest to me that SB has a strong libertarian tendency. So I think the mmj ban is going to lose badly and no one supporting it will be elected to city council.

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pitpoodle 2 years, 11 months ago

“If I do run, it seems like it’ll be pretty easy to say we balanced the budget in the hardest economic time of the last 30 years” It's easy to say - except everyone knows you had no choice but to deal with the budget because you had no money. Without that little fact of life, you'd still be spending money like there's no tomorrow. It's a good thing SB 700 failed at the polls otherwise who knows how much more we'd be in the hole (not to mention the Iron Horse fiasco.) The next thing is to have Ms. Hermancinski vote yes for the ban so she can be on both sides of the issue. Yeah, thanks city council.

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sledneck 2 years, 11 months ago

Tell it, Poodle. It's like a locked-up prisoner bragging about not robbing any banks lately.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 11 months ago

Scott Wedel, Pit Poodle, and Slednek for City Council.

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1999 2 years, 11 months ago

good grief...a bunch of entirely unwarranted back patting by our city council.

Scott...you wouldn't know a hard issue if it came up and bit you in the rear.

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Brian Smith 2 years, 11 months ago

The_Pirate, that sounds similar to Council and there thoughts on the Noise Ordinance...what a crock.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

The_Pirate, You neglected to note Cari's spectacular saddling of both sides of SB 700 by being personally on one side and professionally obligated to be on the other. Or however she phrased it.

Or maybe this time she thinks she voted on the side that is going to win the election so she doesn't have to invent a way to be on the winning side.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

The_Pirate, Since when is a funny joke not worth repeating?

Maybe a comment like "She will not be taking position on both sides of this issue,at least until there is a poll indicating the other side might win"

Oh well, so many choices. Will we be seeing an article from the "archives" on how dispensaries introduced the previously highly illegal schedule I narcotic known as marijuana to the good citizens of Steamboat unfortunate enough to have medical issues?

Or one inspired by the good doctor Victory whom noted in another post, this area has quite the problem with chronic injuries. Hmm, and other ski area towns such as Breckenridge have similar issues. So, maybe a Ms Dimwatts would conclude from that the need to ban skiing because of the all the chronic injuries it causes to locals.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 11 months ago

Scott Wedel, Pit Poodle, and slednek for city council. I can not run because I live in the county and no one could beat any of the commissioners. The voters of this county made a big mistake when they eliminated term limits for the commissioners. If you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Somebody famous said that but I do not remember who.

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

The_Pirate, Here is final idea for a story.

A true history of marijuana in Routt County. How Don Nord was the first marijuana user, was busted by federalized local officers, won in court and was of only a few local marijuana users until dispensaries were legalized. Which then allowed the thousand or so locals previously suffering untreated chronic pain were finally able to get relief. Only for image consultants to become worried that having so many local patients sent a bad message that skiing causes chronic injuries. Thus, the image consultants want to ban mmj so that the image of skiing as a healthy sport can be restored. The 1,000 or so local patients suffering from severe medical issues also sends a bad image and so will be killed.

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Rob Douglas 2 years, 11 months ago

I agree with those who say Scott Wedel should run for city council. Indeed, I want to challenge him to do so. In fact, I publicly state that if Wedel runs and wins I'll pay $5000 to his campaign. Of course, Wedel won't run because he's an intellectual and physical coward. And, Wedel knows that everyone in Steamboat would learn that he has no idea what he's talking about and never has - just as folks in Oak Creek have learned over the years. In fact, in all the time I covered the Steamboat Springs City Council I never once saw Wedel in the chamber at a meeting - much less approach the council and put forth the nonsense he spews on this blog. Why? Because he's a coward. So, again, if Wedel summons the courage to stop hiding on these pages and mounts a campaign and wins, I will pay $5000 to his campaign fund.

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jerry carlton 2 years, 11 months ago

I will donate $5.00 to Scott's campaign if he will run, win or lose. I will also donate $5.00 to sledneck or Pitpoodle if they run. On second thought, I will donate $10.00 to sledneck as most of the time I agree with his posts.

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pitpoodle 2 years, 11 months ago

Go for it, Scott. You can beat any of these losers. Do you live in the city?

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sledneck 2 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the offer jc but thats one thing thats not gonna happen. Besides, I would probably be too tempted to use the $10 to pay off my girlfriend!

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SMRFF 2 years, 11 months ago

Jesus, Rob! Has Scott been sneaking around with your wife? You sound like a 10 year old who just had his favorite toy taken away.

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StopTheBrutalChemtrails 2 years, 11 months ago

Who cares about medical marijuana? Let's up the amount of fluoride in our water ! ! Please chity council, can we sheep have more toxic poisons put in our water?

Dr. Paul Connett, Professor of Chemistry at St. Lawrence University in New York, who is the Executive Director of the Fluoride Action Network, is largely responsible for raising awareness to the dangers of fluoride in Canada. Earlier this year, the Calgary city council voted 10-3 to remove the toxic substance from the city’s drinking water. Connett is attempting to repeat this success elsewhere in Canada as well as in Austin, Australia, and New Zealand.

In addition to dental fluorosis, the irreversible condition caused by excessive ingestion of fluoride during the tooth forming years, numerous studies have conclusively demonstrated that fluoride is responsible for a number of serious diseases – including bone cancer, arthritis, lower thyroid function, and disruption of the pineal gland and its production of melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate the onset of puberty. Alex noted studies revealing how fluoride is responsible for the early onset of puberty in girls and effeminacy in boys.

Dr. Connett also mentioned recent studies that prove fluoride’s primary and sole benefit to teeth comes from topical application to the surfaces of teeth and not from ingestion through water and food. The dental research community now admits that fluoride has little effect on preventing cavities in the pits and fissures – the chewing surfaces – of teeth where the majority of tooth decay occurs. In short, there is absolutely no dental benefit, as often claimed, when fluoride is ingested.

“Deadly Fluoride: Hoax on the Run!” is an excellent primer on the numerous dangers of fluoride. It also provides an update on anti-fluoride activism and the ongoing effort to have it removed from water systems, food, and most perniciously from baby dietary products.

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sparkle 2 years, 11 months ago

Oh, I love it Rob, when you get mad and start name-calling. Did somebody say something bad about your co-host, Cari? Take a big breath...in through the nose, out through the mouth. now, don't you feel better?

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Scott Wedel 2 years, 11 months ago

Rob, Name calling? What making fun of Cari and mocking the anti-dispensary arguments hurts that much that you resort to personal attacks? Boy, I wish I was as brave as you.

So I do and know nothing? I spotted Oak Creek Ordinance 609, recognized the danger to property owners, contacted fellow commercial property owners informing them of the ordinance, held a background meeting with SB Pilot reporter Nicole Inglis, requested public records regarding OC electricity and I think it is fair to say that I generally led the successful repeal effort for ordinance 609.

And promising a campaign contribution after the election is pointless except for an early start for a reelection campaign. And no person would take such a large campaign contribution after wining a local election.

BTW, I will not run because I recognize my limitations and I would not do well working with people making convenient but illogical compromises. I like disagreeing too much to go around pleasing people.

But I know our comments are heard because I have been called by people to explain things that I posted arguing that made no sense. And obviously even the Rob Braveheart Douglas reads if only to occasionally get so upset to go on a rant when unable to educate and shame us all with his immense knowledge.

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