Menconi recall: ‘Full speed ahead’ | VailDaily.com
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Menconi recall: ‘Full speed ahead’

Daily file photoA group hoping to recall Democratic County Commissioner Arn Menconi, right, says its campaign officially began Tuesday.
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EAGLE ” Opponents of County Commissioner Arn Menconi filed paperwork to remove him from office Tuesday, saying he doesn’t care about what voters want.

The group ” represented by Mike Reid of Vail, Susie Wendt of Edwards and Tom Chastain of Avon ” submitted a statement giving reasons why Menconi should be recalled.

“Menconi believes only his agenda matters, not voters’ desires. He failed to allow voters to vote on his latest entitlement program,” the statement said, apparently referring to the county commissioners’ recent approval of $822,759 for early-childhood education.



Neither Wendt nor Chastain returned phone calls Tuesday. Reid, who has said he will only respond to the Vail Daily via e-mail, did not immediately reply to an e-mail sent Tuesday.

The group needs to gather 4,367 signatures to force a recall vote, and the group has said it wants the recall question to be part of the November election so it won’t cost extra money.



The signatures would have to be gathered over about the next two weeks to get the question on the November ballot, Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Teak Simonton said Monday.

“It is still possible,” Simonton said. “But the timeline is tight.”

Reid said Monday that a special election at a later date ” at a cost of up to $37,000 ” would be all right.



“Even if, for reasons beyond our control, the recall questions are not on the Nov. 6 ballot, we believe that the majority of residents of this county will have absolutely no objection to spending about 90 cents per resident for the opportunity to participate in this wonderful exercise in democracy,” Reid wrote Monday.

One of the group’s reasons for recalling Menconi is that he voted for a second “home rule” election that cost about $30,000.

Recall proponents say Menconi ignores the wishes of voters and is fiscally irresponsible. They cite Menconi’s recent approval of money for early-childhood education, even after voters rejected spending $3.5 million for that purpose in November.

Menconi, an Eagle resident, will be term-limited in 2008. He has said he welcomes the recall attempt because it will give more publicity to his efforts to fund early-childhood education.

“I’m standing by my commitment to children and families,” Menconi said. “I was elected two times on that platform.”

Menconi says other allegations are simply untrue.

Opponents say Menconi’s nonprofit wanted to take space from the Women’s Resource Center.

Menconi said both the Women’s Resource Center and Menconi’s Snowboard Outreach Society had an interest in bidding for nonprofit space. But Menconi’s group did not submit an application in time, he said.

“That’s so bizarre it’s not even close to being true,” Menconi said, adding he’s a supporter of the resource center and has approved funds for it.

The petitioners also say Menconi doesn’t support a roundabout in Edwards.

“This is, again, where they’re dead wrong,” Menconi said.

Menconi said he’s approved funds for the study of roundabouts in Edwards.

“If they don’t want to understand the facts, if they don’t want to look at the votes that were made, then they are taking a bizarre action to spend $40,000 to prove things that are either completely wrong or half-truths,” Menconi said.

The opponents have only one point that’s worth community discussion, Menconi said.

“And that is, ‘Should government fund early childhood development?'” he said.

There are many variables out of the proponents’ control that could prevent the recall question from getting on the November ballot, Reid said. Any challenge to the signatures’ validity could preclude a coordinated November election, even if enough signature were gathered in time.

The Board of County Commissioners would likely have to add the question to the ballot by its Aug. 28 meeting in order to make the November election, Simonton said.

Subtracting the time needed to put the item on the meeting agenda, for Menconi to choose to resign, for protests, and to check the validity of the signatures, the recall petitions would have to be submitted by later this month, Simonton said.

“We have not missed any deadlines,” Reid wrote Monday. “This recall is going forward, full speed ahead.”

At a recall election, voters would also choose a replacement for Menconi.

The recall proponents have already begun to raise funds, according to Colorado Secretary of State records.

The Committee to Recall Arn Menconi had raised $200 as of July 11, all from Monica Ofarrill, who has a Vail post office box but could not be located on Eagle County voter rolls.

“Democrats for the Recall of Arn Menconi,” registered in northwest Eagle County resident Mike Lederhause’s name, had reported no funds as of Tuesday.

Menconi, first elected in 2000, has already faced one recall effort. Opponents were upset over his refusal to sign a resolution of support for President Bush following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but they failed to get enough signatures.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 748-2929 or estoner@vaildaily.com.


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