Jake Wolf: Election shows Avon events’ importance
AVON — Mayor Pro Tem Jake Wolf is calling his re-election a reaffirmation of the fact that arts and entertainment are important to Avon voters.
Wolf received more than 1,000 votes on Tuesday, the most of any candidate in Avon history, and followed the late night of vote counting up with an 8:30 a.m. appearance the next morning on local radio station KZYR.
“I couldn’t live with doing it the way everybody else does, because that’s not me,” he said of his campaign, in which he raised no money, spent no money and engaged in no community canvassing efforts.
During the candidate forum and in the council meetings that followed, Wolf said transparency between the town manager and the Town Council had been an issue affecting the town’s event portfolio. Wolf said Wednesday that voters also believed transparency in event vetting was an issue and his vote totals were a mandate to “keep a close eye on events.”
THE EVENT WOLF
Wolf cited issues surrounding the WinterWonderGrass Festival in Avon, and the Kaaboo festival in San Diego, as two areas where he felt more disclosure would between the town manager, himself and the rest of the council would have been appropriate.
“In WinterWonderGrass, we were told everything was going fine and we had no need to worry, and then we lost the festival,” Wolf said. “Then I found out through back channels that the town manager had attended Kaaboo following the loss of WinterWonderGrass. I feel she should have at least told me that was in the realm of possibility.”
The Vail Valley Foundation last week confirmed that bringing the Kaaboo festival to Eagle County isn’t a possibility at this time, when the Avon town manager attended this year’s festival it had not yet been ruled out.
In an interview with the Vail Daily last week, Avon Town Manager Virginia Egger said she had informed council member Sarah Smith Hymes and Mayor Jennie Fancher about her town-funded trip to Kaaboo, but did not tell Wolf.
“There was nothing to report on,” Egger said. “I work for seven not one … I went to the mayor because when I was asked to go out to Kaaboo I said I’m going to fly this by the mayor, which I did.”
Egger said she also attended a Neil Young concert in Telluride in early October.
“Town Council says town staff (should) continue to try and work to attract concerts and art festivals and major events,” Egger said. “We are in discussion with a larger producer, looking at this venue.”
Wolf said moving forward, those are discussions he wants to be a part of.
“I think this election shows I have mandate to keep a close eye on events, and that’s what I intend to do,” he said.
‘IT’S TIME, GET TOGETHER’
Egger said following the election, a retreat with herself and council would be good.
“It is not correct to expose an investor when there’s nothing,” she said.
On KZYR Wednesday morning, Wolf referenced the conflict with Egger regarding events.
“We put this message out to people … to help with our events process, and we didn’t get a great number of responses,” Wolf said.
Wolf said moving forward, he wants to better include the community in the event planning process.
“I think now we’re in a position where, look folks, it’s time, get together,” he said. “Let’s put a committee together and really look at what we want the future, or at least the next four years, of the town to look like in terms of having these events.”
The Austin family has always believed in supporting their community through food education, which is why it was an easy decision for them to begin partnering with The Community Market, a local hunger relief project, to improve access to local produce for low-income individuals in Eagle County.