Commish candidates address Copper audience |

Commish candidates address Copper audience

summit daily news

Summit Daily/Kristin Skvorc

COPPER MOUNTAIN ” The two county commissioner candidates, Democrat Bob French and Green Party Doug Malkan, took different approaches to let people know what they stand for as they kicked off the 2006 Summit County Candidate Forum at Copper Mountain Thursday morning.

French, the incumbent, told the about 100 audience members that he wasn’t going to talk about himself or his background. Instead, he reminded people what he has done and where his focus is now.

The Materials Recovery Facility, a recycling plant, and the acquisition of the Golden Horseshoe, 1,800 acres of land that is preserved as green space, were two of the projects he was part of.

One of the proposals on the ballot that French backs is the housing initiative, a tax that will help Summit Housing Authority facilitate permanent funding for affordable housing.

“It is desperately needed to make sure policemen, firemen and teachers can live here,” French said.

Also, French said he feels that mass transit options for Interstate 70 need to be looked at and Highway 9 needs serious attention. The problem is that money is not available from Colorado Department of Transportation, and there is not much the commission can do about that, French added.

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His opponent is in agreement on the need for an alternative public transit on the interstate.

Malkan describes himself as an environmentalist, and said he is in favor of clean energy like solar and wind power for all government buildings.

Additionally, Malkan spoke a little about his education and background. He is a certified public accountant which makes him “qualified to oversee the county budget to look for efficiency and waste in spending taxpayers’ money,” he said.

Malkan said he disagrees with the current county commissioners on major issues. The first of which is the proposed biomass plant.

It is “really just a solid fuel incinerator” that will create air pollution, he said.

French supports the biomass plant, saying it will not hurt the air quality and is a step in the right direction for helping fix the problem the mountain pine beetle created.

When a question was asked about the beetle problem, the candidates had varied responses.

French said it is part of a natural process and there isn’t anything that can be done to solve it.

Malkan said fire is an important issue that goes along with the beetle problem. He told the audience that he asked a forest ranger about controlled burns and found out they had been planned, but not done.

“What we’re not seeing enough is the natural role of fire,” Malkan said.

Another hot topic, Colorado Mountain College, came up.

French said that is a Frisco Town Council issue, while Malkan said he opposes it at the peninsula because the recreation area is a “jewel of open space.” However, he would support the college at another location.

“There’s five locations that are good besides the peninsula,” he said.

Following the commission race candidates, the two running for Summit County Treasurer presented their ideas.

Candidate Bill Wallace, who is currently a county commissioner, said he has a background in math and he knows how to invest well.

When asked why he wants to leave the commission, he replied that he has worked with the county treasurer, thinks he could serve well there and that he knows he is qualified for the position.

His opponent, Jack Taylor, said he has 20 years of financial management experience and that he is familiar with local government because many of his clients have been local governments.

“I’ve never in my life had a net loss from investment personally or professionally,” Taylor said.

Lory Pounder can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13624, or at

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