Menconi: Woodland simply outran me
EAGLE COUNTY, Colorado Arn Menconi admits he can be a controversial and even unpopular figure, but he hopes that brought more voters out for Tuesdays Eagle town elections, said the county commissioner and Eagle mayor candidate.Menconi, a Democrat, lost the mayor position to Republican Ed Woodland in a landslide election. Woodland received 734 votes to Menconis 126. A record 905 residents cast ballots this year.I got in to try and engage people in the town elections. I hoped the combination of my controversy and message of protecting small towns would bring people out, Menconi said.
Menconi said he did not think it would be easy to win the election against Woodland, who ran a community-based, door-to-door campaign.Ed simply outran me. He knocked on every door. I didnt ask anyone for money, and I didnt knock on any doors, he said. I just wanted to initiate the dialogue.However, he said he was surprised by who voters chose for the board. The new trustee members are Yuri Kostick, former mayor Roxie Deane and incumbent board member Kraige Kinney.In all the comments from town meetings and surveys, people have clearly wanted to protect the small-town character, but the people who won were people who have always been pro-growth, Menconi said.Some voters on Tuesday said they did not vote for Menconi because they did not like the decisions he made as commissioner, and his critics say he ignores the will of the voters. However, Menconi called those claims part of a fanatical, right-wing agenda.I understand that Im controversial because of affordable housing, open space and growth management (decisions), he said. Those are the things I got elected on as county commissioner, but that doesnt mean that everyone agrees.Menconi is term-limited as commissioner this November. After he leaves office he will continue to run Snowsports Outreach, a nonprofit that brings inner-city kids onto the slopes, he said.As of now he does not have further plans to run for public office.
While the Eagle elections could be seen as a victory for local Republicans, Eagle County Democrats co-chair New New Wallace said she does not think the landslide election will hurt other Democrats who are running in this Novembers elections.In the county race, County Commissioner Peter Runyon will be running for re-election against former commissioner Dick Gustafson for the upvalley seat, and John Stavney, of Eagle, will be running against Republican Debbie Buckley for Menconis vacated midvalley seat.Wallace is optimistic about this years candidates. Most people will see that Menconi is not representative of the other Democrats, she said.I think the single-mindedness and approach of Arn has turned off a lot of people, she said. It was a vote against Arn, not a vote against the Democrats.Runyon was quick to distance himself from Menconi, pointing out cases that he has voted against Menconi. The two disagreed on early childhood funding, the Vines at Vail project in Wolcott and future Edwards West End development.More recently Runyon has disagreed with both Menconi and County Commissioner Sara Fisher in discussions to land bank a parcel of land owned by B&B Excavating in Edwards.Theres a very mistaken belief out that that Im Arns lackey. Its just that I believe in leading through collaboration and working with the towns, not with a confrontational style, Runyon said.Wallace said she thinks that perception comes from a small group of very vocal hard-right liners.Theyve decided to put Peter in Arns camp, but nothing could be further from the truth. They think entirely differently on most things, she said.The results of the Eagle election show a distrust of the county commissioners, something he wants to change if he is re-elected, said Runyon.Its very frustrating to me. What the Eagle vote has said to me is that there is an extraordinary lack of trust, as if the Eagle County commissioners are trying to force things upon the community, he said. Thats not the intent at all.Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or email@example.com.