Kids program at heart of recall |

Kids program at heart of recall

Melanie WongVail, CO Colorado

EAGLE COUNTY A $1.5 million childhood development program funded partly with county money was the last straw, said supporters of recalling County Commissioner Arn Menconi.When a tax aimed at raising about $3 million a year for early-childhood programs was voted down in November, Menconi showed he did not care about representing the people by creating Bright Start, said Don Donnalley, a retired Edwards resident. Though the failed tax originated with Menconi, Bright Start was created by a unanimous vote of the Eagle County Board of Commissioners, which also includes Sara Fisher and Peter Runyon. Bright Start, which received more than $800,000 from the county, also will be funded by grants and contributions form the community. The goal is to raise $1.5 million. Basically he has told voters he doesnt care, and thats just not right, Donnalley said.Supporters of the Committee to Recall Arn Menconi have been gathering signatures around the county to force a recall election. No petition has been filed at this point, according to the Eagle County Clerk and Recorders office. Petitioners the Daily spoke with refused to comment on how many of the 4,367 signatures required the recall committee collected. For a special election that would take place toward the end of the year, the signatures would need to be submitted by Sept. 17. The special election could cost as much as $37,000. According to the Colorado Secretary of State Elections Center, the committee had a total of $3,190 in contributions as of Aug. 15. Retired Edwards resident Christopher Hall said the early childhood development program allows people to dodge the responsibility of caring for their children.Hes a bloody socialist, said Hall, who has lived in Eagle County for 45 years. I dont like to see him setting up a socialist state. Hes setting up an entitlement program over which taxpayers have no control, and he did it after it went to public vote. Our tax money can go to more advantageous places. Other recall supporters did not disagree with the objectives of the program, but with the fact that county dollars are funding it. I have no problem with people who need help with caring for their kids, but Arn should have started a new nonprofit for it, said Edwards accountant Kay Caspersen. She said she thought the public should have gotten to vote on the money the county spent to conserve Bair Ranch in Glenwood Canyon and Eaton Ranch in Edwards. I have nothing against Arn Menconi personally. I just dont agree with his choice of programs, said Caspersen. The $2 million that county contributed to preserve Bair Ranch was approved by Menconi and former commissioner Michael Gallagher. The $6 million the county contributed to create the Eagle River Preserve park at Eaton Ranch was approved by Runyon and Menconi. Donnalley said Menconi has a long history of using county money irresponsibly, citing buying Prius cars and repaving the Colorado River Road for his bike ride when it didnt need repaving as several examples.Menconi was a proponent of buying the Prius hybrids for the county fleet, but the spending was also approved by Runyon. Menconi is a Democrat who was first elected in 2000. He is serving his second term, but term limits prevent him from running again in 2008. I dont care if he has a day left, Donnalley said. Caspersen said a recall would get (Menconi) out before he can spend more money without our permission as well as send a message to the other commissioners and local officials.Recall supporters said they have no preference for who would replace Menconi.Our position is Anyone but Menconi, Caspersen said. I have no preference for a Republican or a Democrat. I just want him to know he cant run over the will of the people.

A list of people whove contributed to the effort to hold a special election to recall Eagle County Commissioner Arn Menconi. Listed are the name, hometown and amount: 1. Charles Seibert, Golden, $1002. Christopher Hall, Vail, $1003. Fred Green, Edwards, $2004. Gary Feldman, Vaill, $305. Gerald dooher, Edwards, $1006. James Donnalley lll, Edwards, $507. Joan Christeleit, Gypsum, $1508. John Phelps, Vail, $5009. Kay Caspersen, Vail, $5010. Ken Wilson, Eagle, $10011. Kurt Brosig, Edwards, $4012. Larry Whitesell, Gypsum, $2513. Lewis Mazzuca, Edwards, $10014. Mark Kolakowski, Vail, $15015. Mary Lou Murphy, Eagle, $25016. Michael Lederhause, McCoy, $15017. Monica Ofarrill, Vail, $20018. Oscar Sevilla, Vail, $3019. Richard Delia, Avon, $20020. Sandra Skiles, Burns, $10021. Susan Wendt, Edwards, $1522. Tom Chastain, Avon, $50023. Tom Korchowsky, Vail, $50This list can be found in the Election Center of the Colorado secretary of states Web site, Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or

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