Vail voters talk about their votes | VailDaily.com
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Vail voters talk about their votes

Edward Stoner and J.K. Perry
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VAIL ” Vail voters chose some new faces Tuesday and sent the opponents of the Crossroads project packing.

Newcomer Mark Gordon, running for council for the third time, received the most votes. Incumbents Farrow Hitt and Greg Moffet and former councilman Kevin Foley also were voted onto the council.

Chris Burns said he voted for people who were mindful of locals’ needs. He said he voted for candidates who are “less about development and second-home owners and more about getting people into town.



“I’m the last of a dying breed that actually lives in a town they work in,” Burns said.

Robert Aikens is a good candidate because he represents small business in town, Burns said.



“As a small-business owner myself, we need to have more small business,” Burns said.

Josh Sutner said he likes candidate Kevin Foley because he seems like a “normal guy.” He also wanted to get some new people on council, he said.

Incumbents Diana Donovan and Dick Cleveland, who voted against the latest Crossroads proposal in August, were voted out of office.



The two were the leading vote-getters in the 2001 election.

“Maybe Crossroads was a bigger deal than they thought,” Gordon said.

Gordon, Hitt and Moffet receive four-year terms, and Foley gets a two-year term.

Moffet, who will only be eligible to serve two years because of term limits, said the results show that voters wanted a change.

“The incumbents that got re-elected are not the old guard,” he said at the Altitude Club, where supporters of the conference center were gathered. The people who were re-elected are all “working folks,” he said.

He said he was surprised voters went against the conference center but voted out two of its opponents, he said.

Moffet, an ardent supporter of the conference center, said his victory is bittersweet because the conference center went down.

In August, the council voted 4-3 against a proposal for the redevelopment of the Crossroads project in Vail Village. Cleveland and Donovan voted against the proposal, and Moffet and Hitt voted in favor of it.

Voters also denied funding the proposed Vail conference center by a 806-542 vote ” a project opposed by both Cleveland and Donovan.

Cheers roared through Montauk Seafood Grill when the group that included Cleveland, Hitt and Foley saw the conference center was handily defeated. Cleveland quickly grabbed his jacket and left after seeing the loss, saying only that he was “disappointed.”

Incumbent Hitt jubilantly hugged his daughter, Talli Hitt, who cheered “Yeah, Dad.”

“I’m pretty stoked,” Talli said. “We waited three hours, so this is exciting. I’m ready to go to bed now.”

“I was worried about it because I couldn’t read it,” Farrow Hitt said. “I’m happy. I’m sorry; no, I’m not sorry about anything. We’ve got good people jumping up to the plate.”

He later lamented that fellow council members Donovan and Cleveland failed to win. The two performed well on the council, he said.

“I’m sorry there has to be losers ” everybody ran well,” he said. “I’m looking forward to four more years and I’m ready to go.”

Friends and family met the two candidates with hugs, handshakes and high-fives. Foley and Farrow Hitt enthusiastically shook hands in congratulations.

“We’re gonna have a fun couple of years,” Foley said to Hitt.

Foley edged out incumbent Donovan by just 41 votes for the final council spot.

“I’m just going to relax and see what comes in front of us and respond to what’s put on the plate,” he said. Moving forward with alternative plans to the now-defunct conference center is important, Foley said.

Foley, who served on council from 1995-2001, stressed the importance of staying involved in local politics by quoting, “If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.”

At the Altitude Club, candidate Robert Aikens congratulated Gordon and said he’ll probably run again for council.

“I’m not disappointed,” he said. “I’m excited Mark got on.”

Kristy Slack said running for council was a good learning experience, and she may run again.

“Who knows?” she said. “I have another two years to think about it.”

A total of 1,356 voters cast ballots in the election, the highest number of voters ever in a regular town of Vail election. The turnout was 36 percent, the highest percentage since 1989.

In a regular town of Vail election, the previous high for number of votes cast was 1,111, in 2003.

A total of 1,772 votes were cast in 2002, but that election was a coordinated vote with Eagle County. It included 2002’s conference center ballot question.

The new council will be sworn in at 2 p.m. Nov. 15. The council will then select a mayor and mayor pro-tem, or vice mayor. The current mayor is Rod Slifer, and he could be selected to continue to serve, or a new mayor could be selected. Cleveland is the current mayor pro-tem.

Ludwig Kurz withdrew his candidacy Oct. 27 after the town found it made an error in verifying his eligibility. His name appeared on the ballot, but voters were notified verbally that he had withdrawn. He still received 30 votes.

The line at times was 10 deep in the foyer of the Municipal Building, and residents streamed out of the building wearing stickers that proclaimed they voted.

Tina Wilson said she was looking for candidates who want to represent middle-class families in Vail.

“I have two kids, and I would rather have families around here than empty houses,” she said.

Moffet and Gordon embody those values, she said.

“I thought they were for bringing families back to Vail,” she said.

Josh Sutner said he likes candidate Foley because he seems like a “normal guy.” He also wanted to get some new people on council, he said.

“I wanted to see some new blood in town and get rid of the old guard,” he said. “They seem very entrenched with each other.”

Chris Burns said he voted for people who were mindful of locals’ needs. He said he voted for candidates who are “less about development and second-home owners and more about getting people into town.

“I’m the last of a dying breed that actually lives in a town they work in,” Burns said.

Staff Writer Edward Stoner can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 14623, or estoner@vaildaily.com.

Vail, Colorado


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