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Mayoral runoff election crucial

Whitney Childers

My mother always used to tell me to never lose sleep over work. But, lately, I can’t seem to practice her sage advice.

As a community newspaper, we constantly question whether we are doing enough to inform residents about town government decisions and, of course, election issues.

Pondering whether we are adequately meeting readers’ needs has been keeping me up at night.

Today marks just one week until the Silverthorne mayoral runoff election. Unfortunately, I have a feeling voter participation will be sparse. In addition, many people who vote will not be making an informed decision.

In the Silverthorne election April 2, one voter told a reporter they voted against a candidate because of one statement they read that was attributed to the candidate in a newspaper story. The voter hadn’t read any other related stories, listened to election coverage on the radio or attended a candidate forum.

It’s true, many of us just don’t have the time to inform ourselves to the fullest about each candidate. We rely on door-to-door campaigning or talking to our neighbor about which candidate they are supporting.

And, sometimes, we get sucked into believing broad sweeping statements about a certain candidate – statements that exaggerate the truth.

Silverthorne Mayor Lou DelPiccolo and Councilwoman Sheila Groneman face each other in a runoff election next week. Both have experienced the frustration of being “labeled.” And, sometimes, the newspaper is blamed for perpetuating those labels – whether by writing stories explaining or clarifying the accusations or printing advertisements from those endorsing candidates and opposing others.

Newspapers tread a fine line between informing or persuading readers. While our goal is to report on issues we view as important, ultimately, readers dictate how and what we report.

It’s a symbiotic relationship at its best.

In this most recent controversial election, Silverthorne is torn on growth and how best to plan for it. And, because growth is at the forefront of this election, we have to address it. We have to break down the complicated language surrounding development plans, get to the heart of what each candidate believes and try and dissolve the “labeling” that so often is introduced into campaigns.

One question we recently asked DelPiccolo and Groneman is if this election – or runoff election – is strictly about how each candidate will vote on growth issues? Do the results of this election represent a make-it-or-break-it turning point for the future of the town?

Both said “no.”

Part of me agrees with DelPiccolo and Groneman. Both candidates have ideas and goals that encompass growth and related issues, but they also have a vision for the town that doesn’t hinge on whether or not Silver Mountain Village is annexed.

Both understand the world – or Silverthorne government – will continue with or without them.

Both candidates agree the runoff election is extremely important, but I would argue its overall impact is essential to how decisions will be made in the future.

After all, we wouldn’t be having a runoff election if Silverthorne residents supported one candidate’s ideology on growth or development – specifically Silver Mountain Village.

So, I suppose I’m asking readers to meet us halfway. Do your part to get informed and stay informed. Educate yourself about each mayoral candidate. Call them, ask them out to coffee or re-read past stories we’ve written about the election and the candidates’ platforms (we have copies available).

There are four important stories and/or columns every Silverthorne voter should read before the May 7 election: a two-part series about each mayoral candidate, published April 25 and today; an overall story on the election and background to appear in Friday’s edition; and columns written by each mayoral candidate for the Friday opinion page explaining why residents should vote for them.

This mayoral election is important to the town of Silverthorne. Choosing the best candidate to lead the council into the future is a responsibility that shouldn’t be taken lightly by residents.

Whitney Childers is the editor of the Summit Daily News and may be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 227 or wchilders@ summitdaily.com


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