The Sopris Sun

Carbondale trustee forum packs Calaway Room

By Lynn Burton

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

In many regards, Tuesday night’s Board of Trustees candidate forum at the Third Street Center was typical Carbondale:

• Just like two years ago, candidate Doc Philip showed up in his chicken hat and clutched a stuffed cat;

• Early in the proceedings, 91-year-old Art Ackerman got up and announced that he had to leave for KDNK to do an entire show dedicated to Frank Sinatra;

• One audience member chuckled and agreed with this reporter that yes, it might be funny if the night included a dedicated heckler (ala the talent shows from long, long ago);

• None of the men wore a coat and tie, or coat, or tie; Patricia Warman sported some dazzling footwear – blue sneakers with pink shoestrings;

• The forum was well covered by the local electronic media and press;

• And the room was packed with more than 100 residents and presumed voters.

An Aspen-style Squirm Night it wasn’t, as many of the questions from the chamber of commerce trended to the predictable; some of the answers can be found in this week’s letters to the editor (candidate letters, page 17). The closest that members of the audience got to boisterous behavior came three times when they applauded candidates who said they are against or questioned the Climate Action Excise Tax. There was no fourth round of applause after moderator Frank Zlogar asked the audience to hold it, which they did.

A pair of issues came up more than once: affordable housing and the Climate Action Excise Tax. Most of the candidates agreed that the lack of affordable housing is a problem in Carbondale, and one pointed out the town currently has no way to fund it. About the Climate Action Excise tax — ballot Question 2A, which proponents say the town needs in order to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals set in 2009 – candidate Marty Silverstein said that he doesn’t know anyone “in their right mind” who is against sustainable energy, “But I don’t know that this tax is the way to go.”

Doc Philip got the laugh of the night when he suggested that residents could install stationary bikes in their homes to create a day’s worth of energy with less than an hour of pedaling.

A total of eight candidates are running for three board of trustees seats: Marty Silverstein, Allyn Harvey (the only incumbent), Ben Bohmfalk, Dan Richardson, Michael Durant, Wayne Horak, Patricia Warman and Doc Philip.

Carbondale Town Clerk Cathy Derby mailed out ballots on March 14 and they must be returned to Town Hall by 7 p.m. on April 5.

KDNK experienced technical difficulties and was unable to broadcast the forum, although it was recorded and is available at KDNK.org. The forum is also available on GrassRoots TV.

The forum was presented by the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, The Sopris Sun and KDNK.

Published in The Sopris Sun on March 17, 2016.