Who will lead Minturn? | VailDaily.com

Who will lead Minturn?

Steve Lynn
Vail, CO Colorado
Preston Utley/Vail DailyMinturn goes to the polls in April to pick a mayor and three council members.

MINTURN, Colorado ” Every Minturn election matters to David Clapp.

And there’s always a pressing issue tied to a vote for a candidate, Clapp said.

Four years ago, the issue was a proposed RV park that Minturn residents eventually voted against, he said. Two years ago, voters elected town councilors to deal with a proposed private ski resort near Minturn, he said.

“I think that’s probably the most important issue,” said Clapp, who ran unsuccessfully for council in 2006.

Four Minturn Town Council seats ” including the mayor’s ” will be up for grabs in the April election as town councilors continue weigh the Ginn Development Co.’s proposal to build a private ski resort on Battle Mountain, south of Minturn.

Tom Sullivan said he will not run again. Considering runs for reelection are Mayor Gordon “Hawkeye” Flaherty and Town Councilman Jerry Bumgarner. At least two Minturn residents also are considering bids.

Minturn residents elect a mayor every two years. Three councilors are elected to four-year terms every two years. Minturn does not have term limits.

Sullivan, who has been on Town Council for four years, ran in the first place because he opposed the RV park, he said. Sullivan is most proud of his role in defeating the park, which would have devastated the town, he said.

Now it’s not worth serving when “30 to 50 percent” of residents have become upset by Sullivan’s decisions, he said.

“All you’re trying to do is do what you think is right,” Sullivan said. “To me it’s not worth it. I think there’s a group of citizens that have made it difficult to be on council.”

Now it’s time for someone else to serve, especially people that have complained about town councilors’ decisions, he said.

“My time is better spent doing other stuff than listening to neighbors bickering about stuff to tell you the truth,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan’s departure will be a loss for Minturn, said Mark Tamberino, owner of Kirby Cosmo’s BBQ in Minturn.

“Here’s a guy that lives in the town and invests in the town,” Tamberino said.

Meanwhile, Clapp and another resident, Robert Martinez, said they might run.

Clapp, a bartender at Chili Willy’s who has lived in Minturn since 1994, said he might make the decision to run at the last minute.

If elected, Clapp said he wants to explore different sizes of the Ginn Development, rather than just the 1,700 homes Ginn has proposed.

“Maybe more homes would be better, maybe less homes would be better,” he said.

He thinks Ginn would be good for Minturn, but he wants to preserve “small-town character,” which he said means less traffic and familiarity with one’s neighbors.

Martinez has lived in Minturn his whole life and is “90 percent” sure he will run, he said. He owns Martinez Trucking, which has four employees and transports construction materials such as stone from the Front Range to the Vail Valley, he said.

Martinez has concerns about Ginn’s proposal, such as what will happen to elk on Battle Mountain and the large homes and buildings the resort plans, he said.

He does not know whether he supports Ginn’s proposal, he said.

“I’m right down the borderline right now until I get more information,” he said.

Bruce Plummer, who has lived in Minturn for 19 years, is curious to see who wants to lead Minturn during an important time in its history.

Minturn needs councilors that can fix Minturn’s water, sewer, electrical and sidewalk problems, he said.

“People want to see Minturn get everything it deserves,” he said.

Residents can start turning in petitions to run for Town Council Feb. 18. Those petitions are due March 10.

Flaherty, who has served on council for more than a decade, is “thinking” about running for reelection.

“There’s a lot of things to consider,” he said. “They’re all rattling around in my head.”

Town Councilman George Brodin, whose term also will expire in April, was not available for comment. Flaherty beat Brodin for mayor by three votes in the 2006.

Bumgarner is “leaning toward” running for reelection after six years on Town Council, he said. Bumgarner wants to see how the rest of his term goes before he commits, he said.

His experience would make him a good choice for council, he said.

“We got a lot potentially going on,” he said. “There’s going to be a lot of work ahead, perhaps.”

Staff Writer Steve Lynn can be reached at 748-2931 or slynn@vaildaily.com.

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