Minturn hangs on to Hawkeye by 16 votes |

Minturn hangs on to Hawkeye by 16 votes

Steve Lynn
Minturn, CO Colorado
NWS Minturn Election 1 DT 4-8-08

MINTURN ” In an election that guaranteed all but one candidate a seat on Minturn Town Council, voters chose newcomer Matt Scherr and incumbents George Brodin, Jerry Bumgarner and Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty.

Scherr spent about four hours holding a cardboard sign that read, “Vote Today” and “Matt Scherr” on Main Street on Tuesday. Now, he has more hours of reading to do about a proposed private ski resort in Minturn, he said.

“All I’m doing is showing up and hopefully be as prepared as possible,” Scherr said.

Minturn residents voted in candidates for four Minturn Town Council seats ” including mayor ” at Minturn Town Center on Tuesday. Voters cast 227 ballots out of a total of 750 voters, a 30 percent turnout. Turnout was 4 percentage points higher in the 2006 election.

Flaherty was elected to his fifth term as mayor. His opponent, Town Councilwoman Shelley Bellm, will remain on the council until 2010, when she will be up for re-election.

Bellm said she knew the mayoral race would be close. In the end, voters chose Flaherty because he has lived in Minturn a “long time,” she said.

“I have a lot of respect for that,” Bellm said.

Minturn mayors often run unopposed, so the head-to-head race made this year’s election exciting, said Isabell Trujillo, who has lived in Minturn her whole life.

“It doesn’t happen very often,” she said.

Darla Goodell, 61, has voted in every Minturn Town Council election since she was 18 years old. Tuesday’s election was no exception.

“I love Minturn, and I just want what’s best for Minturn,” Goodell said.

Flaherty, Brodin and Bumgarner did not return telephone messages requesting comment Tuesday night.

Darell Wegert voted in Flaherty for his experience.

“Shelley, she’s good,” said Wegert, a former Minturn mayor and town councilman. “Give her a couple more years and she’ll have much more strength.”

Wegert said he voted for Bumgarner because the councilman does in-depth research on issues and talks to people about them even outside the council chambers.

Linda Osterberg said she voted for Matt Scherr because he has an environmental background. Scherr leads environmental organization Eagle Valley Alliance for Sustainabilty.

“I’d like to see what that brings to the council,” Osterberg said.

She voted for George Brodin and Jerry Bumgarner because they have reasonable, balanced views, she said.

Dolores Esparsen, a waitress at the Turntable Restaurant in Minturn, said she voted for Flaherty and Scherr.

“We need to have people on there who know about Minturn,” Esparsen said.

Jeff Highter considered the Ginn Development Co.’s proposed private ski resort, golf course and 1,700 homes and condominiums in Minturn when he voted for David Clapp.

Highter agreed with Clapp that Ginn’s up to 195-foot-tall condominium building is too tall and that its 1,700 homes and condominiums are too many for Minturn.

Clapp “might be the only one who has some reservations about (Ginn),” Highter said.

Esparsen hopes that councilors will lower the mill levy so that her property taxes decrease. She paid more than $2,100 in taxes this year, she said.

“That has to happen to be able to keep the seniors here and people like myself who don’t have that much of an income to be able to live here,” she said.

Goodell said she was not opposed to development, but she hopes that town councilors will help keep Minturn a community filled with long-time residents, she said.

“I know there’s going to be development, but I just want to save some of Minturn,” she said.

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or

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