Two challengers, 2 incumbents win in Vail |

Two challengers, 2 incumbents win in Vail

Stephen Lloyd Wood & Matt Zalaznick
NWS Vote- Boyd BH 11-4

It was a mixed bag Tuesday in Vail as two challengers and two incumbents won seats on the Town Council. First-time candidate Kent Logan won the most votes in what is believed to be a record turnout for an “off-year” election.Former mayor and longtime Councilman Rod Slifer finished second, followed by challenger Kim Ruotolo and Councilman Greg Moffet. Moffet will serve a two-year term.”It’s humbling,” said Logan, 59, a retired investment banker and art collector. “It’s quite a challenge to live up to the expectations. I ran on constructive change, not on the issues, but changing the system.”Ruotolo, 35, a working mother of two who has been on the town Housing Authority for two years, said she ran to represent people who are too busy to get deeply involved in town affairs.”I’m flattered by the voters’ confidence in my abilities,” she said. “I look forward to making important decisions about Vail’s future.”It’s often hard in my position to get involved because we are so busy,” she said. “I hope people feel comfortable approaching me with their problems, concerns and issues. Hopefully, I’ll be able to fairly represent them.”Ruotolo can often be found in the Chamonix neighborhood’s Ellefson Park, which she calls the “best sledding hill in Vail.”Rod Slifer, 69, has already served 12 years on the council. He was mayor from 1978 to 1985 and is a founder of Slifer, Smith and Frampton, one of the region’s largest real estate companies.”I’m really pleased to be re-elected,” said Slifer, considered by many to be a Vail “pioneer,” having first arrived in town 43 years ago as one of Vail Associates’ first employees. “I think there were some really good candidates, but not many differences on the issues.”He called this year’s race the most “aggressive” one he’d seen.”It really raised the bar,” he said after a Town Council meeting Tuesday evening that began just after the polls closed. “The coverage was exceptional, giving voters more awareness than ever.”Greg Moffet, who will serve a two-year term because he finished fourth, was succinct.”I’m delighted to be re-elected,” Moffet said. “It beats the alternative.”Split decisionAs in Election Days past, temperatures were downright chilly, in the 20s in the early hours, reaching only into the 40s midday. Some of the candidates, such as Mark Gordon and Paul Rondeau, were out as the polls opened at 7 a.m., huddling around propane heaters the rest of the day when they weren’t flagging down voters with their signs.Rondeau, who campaigned with his wife, Nancy, played the theme from “Rocky” on a boom box in the pavilion’s parking lot. The bespectacled Gordon, along with his wife, Tracy, and their dog, Kafka, sported a sign featuring his trademark glasses, saying: “See the future; make it happen.”The results and comments by voters Tuesday clearly indicated a desire to see some new faces on the council while retaining some experience. Many voters also expressed some frustration with the Town Council’s recent decisions.”I voted for a combination of incumbents and challengers,” said Burch Mollett, a 5-year Vail resident. “I felt there should be another woman on the council, and there needs to be some changes. I don’t think this Town Council has made decisions in the best interest of the town – maybe for Vail Resorts, but not the town.”Steve Boyd, a resident of Vail since 1963, said he voted for two incumbents and two challengers.”I had some mixed feelings. I voted for some new people … and Slifer. He’ll have a stabilizing effect even though he’s tied to Vail Resorts,” Boyd said. “This has always been a company town, and there has to be a tie-in.”Boyd, like many voters, said the council needed at least a slight shake-up.”Some mistakes have been made, and now some changes have to be made,” Boyd said. “You’ve got to believe those people can work together. … Logan has some good ideas on how to do that.”Blondie Vucich, a longtime Vail resident, said voters had a strong field of candidates from which to choose.”I was just looking for a group dynamic for getting something done,” Vucich said. “We had a great field. It was a tough choice. I have a lot of respect for anyone who runs. It’s an aggressive thing to do.”Fred Gold, a 40-year Vail resident, said, “The issues weren’t anything special this year.””I went for a mix: Slifer, because he’s experienced and knows the town very well; Gordon for some new, fresh blood; and Ruotolo, who’s been here awhile, is a little older than the young guys and a little younger than the old guys,” Gold said. “I voted more on personality than anything else. I took most of it from attending a candidates forum.”Town officials said 1,111 residents -31 percent of registered voters – cast ballots Tuesday.One spot leftThere is one more seat to fill on the Town Council this winter when Mayor Ludwig Kurz’s term expires and a special election is held Jan. 27 to replace him. Gordon, who finished sixth in Tuesday’s voting, said he will run for the seat.”I’m running for Ludwig’s position,” said Gordon, 40, a foreman at Vail Resorts’ Communication Center. “If not (elected), I’ll be running again in two years. I’ll always be a vocal activist.”Getting the sixth-highest number of votes, next to an incumbent, was encouraging. It’s great to get 400 votes. That’s 35 percent of the voters – I have a vocal constituency.”Dave McDougall, a 27-year-old bartender, wasn’t able to campaign with his fellow candidates at Donovan Park Tuesday because he had to work. He said Tuesday night he was considering running for Kurz’s seat.”167 (votes) for the Kid!” was his exuberant reaction. “I can definitely see running again. It was a good jumping-off point. It was great meeting people and becoming informed and becoming proactive.”Paul Rondeau, a 69-year-old retired IBM employee who has owned property in Vail since 1963, is a constant presence at Town Council meetings. But, he said Tuesday night, he hasn’t made any decisions about his future in politics.”It was fortunate we had eight candidates for four seats on the council,” Rondeau said. “It was fortunate we had a good turnout. The voters have spoken.”Incumbent Jewitt, who finished a two-year term, was visibly disappointed after Tuesday night’s council meeting, which will be his last, at least for awhile. Jewitt said he hasn’t decided if he will run in January’s special election.Jewitt also said the new council won’t cause a major change in Vail.”It would appear the voters were happy with the direction of the Town Council,” said Jewitt, an owner of Bart & Yeti’s bar in Lionshead. “The faces will change, but the policies will stay the same.”

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