Opinion | Susan Knopf: Can you hear the rumble? | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Susan Knopf: Can you hear the rumble?

Susan Knopf
For the Record

The Dillon Town Council and Dillon voters seem to be at odds. As the Town Council makes one unpopular decision after another, residents are taking names, gathering strength and getting ready for the next election.

For the record, the anticipated 2022 election will be the first in Dillon since April 2014. Then, just 155 of 858 eligible voters cast ballots, according to Town Clerk Adrienne Stuckey.

The Town Council has made decisions that raised the ire of town residents. Locals tell me the Town Council decided:

  1. To consider moving forward with converting free parking to paid parking. The proposed vendor will keep half the fees. If you thought there was a lot of illegal parking at the Dillon post office before, just wait.
  2. To legalize walk-up marijuana dispensary windows.
  3. To bulldoze the town’s core park and numerous trees — the town claims no more than 60, but one resident claimed it was in the hundreds. Even though the community was involved with the decision they were shocked to see so many trees come down.
  4. To continue considering negotiations with Ice Castles for future installations, a private company doing business on public property and receiving utility discounts. Reportedly, the only thing stopping it is the town raising $2.7 million needed for the infrastructure, according to a proposal from the company earlier this year. Why should it cost us money to lease public land to a for-profit company?

Did you hear they discussed paving the stand-up paddleboard parking lot adjacent to the beach in a work session? Yeah.

“We’ve been accused of being obstructionists,” said Kevin Stout, one of the few Dillon residents willing to go on the record. Apparently, there has been some retaliation for speaking out. Stout calls it “backlash.”

Stout said, “Walk-up windows are irrelevant. The issue was how blatantly the town ignored the people. … We need to balance economics, growth and tourism with the needs and desires of the people who live here.”

Stout further stated, “We’ve got some people who work for this town who are tremendous, and we’ve got some people who … have damaged relationships with residents. … We’ve got some people on the Town Council who don’t care what the voters want. They think if they do good stuff, the voters will benefit. … Dillon needs more elected officials who feel accountable to residents.”

For the record, in 2018, the Town Council approved monthly pay increases for newly elected officials: $500 for council members and $1,000 for the mayor.

So if you live in Dillon, and get 25 registered Dillon voters to sign your petition, you can be a member of the Dillon Town Council. You will have an opportunity to improve communication with residents and to right the mistakes of the past.

Dillon’s issues are emblematic of our ongoing struggle to be heard by our government.

On July 31, more than 100 people gathered at the Summit County Community and Senior Center to talk with the Colorado Independent Redistricting Commissions.

The current preliminary map puts us in Congressional District 3, represented by gun-toting, QAnon-supporting Lauren Boebert with an 11-point Republican advantage. The shock Saturday was the number of Republicans who welcomed her representation.

Unfortunately, we won’t have the 2020 census data until Aug. 16. The commission announced this week they won’t release new maps until Sept. 5. And the final maps go to the Colorado Supreme Court on Sept. 28. We have less than 23 days to make sure we get the representation we deserve for the next 10 years.

I wrote to the commission’s public relations staff, “The proposed calendar is inappropriate and unprofessional.” Why does staff get more time than the public?

It’s just like the Peak gravel pit proposal. The state staff recommended approval of the permit that failed to meet state reclamation guidelines and failed to meet the applicant’s reclamation goals. When locals objected, the staff testified they would need more time to refute the public.

Experts testified that the proposed gravel mine would drain 30% of our water, require $180,000 paid yearly to compensate for evaporation and interfere with a busy wildlife migration corridor. The applicant and state employees objected, but they were unable to refute the information.

Why must we, the voters, do all the heavy lifting? When will our state staff work for us?

Why do we continually have to fight our government employees to be heard, valued and served? This is a government for and by the people. Will someone send our staff an email and straighten this out?

Susan Knopf / Summit Daily News

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