Runoff election pivotal to Silverthorne’s future
Political dissension<even at a small-town level<is like that little dose of anxiety we get with our morning coffee.We feed on it.That small shot of caffeine-like high is exaggerated by differences of opinion and a passion for one’s convictions.Tuesday, many Silverthorne residents<and its unincorporated neighbors<experienced political dissent in the form of an election.This highly contested and oftentimes emotional election has sparked a feud<leaving two distinct sides: support for two large development projects or against.Silverthorne’s election resulted in one town council incumbent, Tim Theis, not being reelected. Voters chose to put newcomer Howard Hallman on the council, along with incumbents Fran Penner Ray, Dave Koop and Peggy Long.The mayoral seat still is up for grabs. Neither incumbent Lou DelPiccolo nor contender Sheila Groneman received more than 50 percent of the votes for mayor. Bob Kieber, the third candidate for mayor, acted as Silverthorne’s version of Ralph Nader, capturing nearly 17 percent of residents’ favor.So now, Silverthorne is facing a mayoral runoff election May 7. It stands to be one of the most important elections in the town’s recent history. In Silverthorne, the mayor is the swing vote, voting only in the event of a tie.We’ve heard more than once in the past several weeks the need for a better understanding of the issues that face Silverthorne.Sometimes though, personal differences or even outright dislike for the person on the other side clouds the debate. In one recent town council meeting, one person was so impassioned about the town’s transportation plans he exclaimed the “council will have blood on its hands” if they voted in favor of it.This election, at times, has reached new proportions of nasty. Dirty little games of politics that make even Pat Buchanan look angelic. The thing is, the nastiness has come from candidates’ supporters too.Politics as usual? We hope not.Town staff contends the Silver Mountain Village development is the only way<particularly financially<to provide services the area needs and wants. SANFRG (Silverthorne Area Neighborhoods for Responsible Growth) doesn’t see it that way. In fact, its members are adamantly against the proposal.Our disappointment lies in the possibility that the caffeine-like high we get from this election will wear off and Silverthorne residents will become complacent about the May 7 mayoral runoff election.With only one-third of Silverthorne’s registered voters participating Tuesday, we wonder if that number might shrink in a month.Mayoral candidates DelPiccolo and Groneman should continue to voice their opinions loud and clear. There’s no room for shrinking violets during election time.No matter how black and white an issue may seem, a hard lesson in life is that sometimes people simply never will agree.But, while minds may not be changed, they could be opened. At the very least, some people may at least rearrange their prejudices.
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