Estes tops small field in Gypsum election
Karen and Scott DeLuca almost didn’t make it to the polls on time. But they were among just 150 Gypsum residents who voted in Tuesday’s municipal election.
And the vast majority of those who voted cast ballots for new blood – sort of.
Chris Estes, who served on the town board in the 1990s, regained a seat with 122 of the 146 valid ballots cast.
In second place was incumbent Gary Lebo, with 99 votes, trailed slightly by fellow board member Tom Edwards, with 97. Incumbent Tom Kelly, who got only 55 votes, finished fourth and out of the running in the four-man field.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Chris again,” Lebo said Tuesday night. “Chris brings a lot of water smarts, agricultural smarts to the council.”
The voter turnout represented only about 8 percent of the town’s 1,800 registered voters. “The turnout has been really sad,” election judge Vieva DeGraw said. “I don’t know if people think things are going all right or if they just don’t care.”
The low turnout may have been due to the lack of candidates, although the 2004 municipal election was somewhat busier than the last time voters picked a town board. In 2002, there were only as many candidates as seats available and the town canceled the election outright.
“Is that all there is?” asked Jean Estes, mother of Chris. Asked why she thought so few candidates were seeking council seats, Jean Estes said, “It seems things are going pretty good in town now.”
Another voter disagreed. Chris LaVenture and her husband Tom recently reached an out-of-court settlement with the town to conclude a dispute over lights at Gypsum’s athletic complex above and to the east of town hall. In that settlement, the town agreed to purchase the LaVentures’ home, which is next to the ballfield.
“I wish we’d had more choices,” Chris LaVenture said. “If more people got involved, maybe we wouldn’t have some of the problems we’ve had.”
But, Lebo said, virtually no one was willing to step up. Just a couple of days before the filing deadline, Lebo and Edwards were the only candidates who had turned in their paperwork. “After all we’ve been through with the LaVentures and Chatfield Corners in the last few years, I’m surprised no one else came forward,” Lebo said.
For the DeLucas, owners of Buka’s Deli in Gypsum, their ballots gave them a voice in the town’s affairs, they said. “I think people complain too much and don’t do anything about it,” Karen DeLuca said. “If you’re not part of a solution, then don’t complain.”