Candidates flood Vail race at last minute
Three residents announced their candidacy for the Vail Town Council at the last minute Friday, widening the field for the November election to three incumbents and five challengers.Paul Rondeau, 68, a retired IBM employee; Dave McDougal, 27, a bartender at Blu’s Restaurant; and Kim Ruotolo, 35, who works multiple jobs, all filed petitions with the town clerk Friday in the hours before the 5 p.m. deadline.”I think it’s important to have balanced representation on the council, and I did not yet see a working mother with young children who lives in the town running for council,” Ruotolo said Friday night.Rondeau, a frequent letter writer to the Vail Daily on town issues and attendee at council meetings, said he’d like to add a vote to his voice.”I finally said I should put some energy directly into it, compared to being on the sidelines,” Rondeau said.McDougal, the youngest candidate, said he wants to ensure there’s a balance in Vail between being a ski resort and a neighborhood.”They say if you bitch about something, you should probably go out and do something about it,” McDougal said. “You get tired of hearing people complain about the lack of leadership the town has shown and the direction the town is going in.”I think we need to strike a balance in between a ski town and a ski resort,” he said.These challengers join incumbent town councilmen Bill Jewitt, Greg Moffet and Rod Slifer in a race that includes two other challengers: Mark Gordon, 40, who works for Vail Resorts as a lead foreman at the company’s communications center in Lionshead and Kent Logan, 59, a retired investment banker.Rondeau said he was inspired by Logan’s candidacy.”I felt that Kent Logan, as an individual, has a lot to offer,” Rondeau said. “He’s an individual I think I can relate to.”In the days before the deadline for filing, however, three other Vail residents flirted with filing nominating petitions but bowed out after deciding they lacked the spare time required to do the job.Chris McDonnell, 26, who works for Vail Resorts as a public safety officer at Bachelor Gulch, said a heart-to-heart conversation with his wife led him the decision.”I ran into the problem of not having enough time to dedicate,” said McDonnell, adding that 20 to 30 hours a week is more than he is ready to commit at this stage of his life. “If I do something, I want to do it right. I’m going to let this one ride.”Peter Cook, a retired East Vail resident and a member of the board of directors for the Vail Recreation District, said he “didn’t have the time right now to properly devote” to town business. From what he’s seen at regular meetings, council members need to study how to lessen the time required.”They are shooting in the dark a lot of time, with no staff recommendations,” Cook said. “This town has become so bogged down in rules and regulations. The way it is now, you want to get anything done, you have to go around the council.”Colleen McCarthy, 50, owner of the Baggage Cheque in Vail – and opening a new store in Edwards – agreed.”I just don’t have time to do it right,” said McCarthy, who ran unsuccessfully for the council in 1987. “It’s become a full-time job, but that’s what staff is for.”Perhaps some potential candidates took to heart comments made late last month during a political discussion that centered on the time and dedication required to be an effective leader. Merv Lapin, a Vail councilman from 1988 to 1996, said there’s “a big learning curve” early on in one’s political career, and a lot of time is spent just learning how to do the job.Lapin credited the two mayors with whom he served – Kent Rose and Peggy Osterfoss – with being organized and helping keep the time requirements from getting out of hand. Still, doing a “good job,” he said, requires 25 to 30 hours a week.Sybill Navas, who spent eight years on the council herself – as well as on a multitude of special commissions, boards and task forces – said Thursday that being a member of the Vail Town Council “requires as much time as you’re willing to put into it.” She said she spent an average of 20 hours a week, “sometimes more,” on town business, which makes it “extremely difficult” to hold down a job.”The system we have makes it difficult for many people to do it,” said Navas. “I mean, my daughter went from 3 years old to 11 in the time I was on the council. You’re taking time away from your family, and the time given to the town can be resented by the family.”Despite the time commitment, Ruotolo said, she hopes to keep Vail a lively town.”I want the town to be vibrant and exciting and interesting, and I think there are a lot of ways we could that would not lead us down that road and a lot ways that could less us down that road,” she said.Vail Daily reporter Cliff Thompson contributed to this report.Vail election informationImportant dates- Sunday – Last day a person can move into a municipal precinct and become a resident for the purpose of voting in the upcoming election.- Monday – Last day to register to vote as a Vail resident.- Oct. 14 – Last day for write-in candidates.- Oct. 23 – Early voting and absentee balloting begins.- Oct. 31 – Last day voters can request an absentee ballot, either in person or by mail.- Nov. 4 – Election Day. Polls at the Donovan Pavilion are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.To be eligible to vote in the Vail elections, a person must be:- A full-time resident with a current, legal address in the town of Vail for at least six months.- 18 years old or older.- A U.S. citizen.- Registered to vote in Eagle County.