For the April 3 municipal election Town of Paonia registered voters will select four trustees. Three will have four-year terms and the other a two-year term.
Mayor Neal Schwieterman is running unopposed for his second four-year term.
Schwieterman started on the town council in 2003 as an appointed trustee. He ran for trustee in the next election and was immediately on the board again as there were not enough candidates for an election. Near the end of that term Mayor Robert Johnson resigned and Schwieterman was appointed mayor. He ran unopposed for mayor for his first term. He has been mayor for five years.
His goals were two-fold. "When I became mayor I wanted the town to be more actively involved with all the various groups in town, whether it's the Rotary helping re-do Poulos Park or the town . . . giving the land for the library to be built on," Schwieterman said. "That has been reasonably successful."
Secondly, he takes pride in the attitude of the council. Previously they fought all the time, he said. "Early on, I made it my specific goal to find common ground so that you could come up with a centrist enough proposal so it could pass."
He has spent eight years getting a recycling program started in the North Fork Valley.
For the future, the town will be required to do the same kind of ultrafiltration water plant for the upper system as was placed in the lower system. The other big problem looming is streets. Schwieterman said, "We're close to not being able to maintain streets to the standard we are used to."
He believes the community's varied interests are an asset but also make it difficult to govern. "I would like to keep working our commonalities, not divergent interests," Schwieterman said.
"Goold For Town Council: I'll Show Up" is Eric Goold's motto as candidate for trustee.
Goold moved to Paonia in June 2008. He is tasting room manager and bartender at Revolution Brewing. Goold is also a DJ and broadcaster at KVNF and is a member of the North Fork Historical Society.
Professionally, Goold was a journalist for 10 years before coming to Paonia. He covered town council meetings in Fairbanks, Alaska, and in Manning, S.C.
"I believe in the democratic process. The Founding Fathers and authors of the U.S. Constitution believed that for democracy to work, average, everyday people need to participate in government at every level, especially at the local level. More decisions are made at the local level of government, decisions that impact the day-to-day lives of the citizens we know and see every day, than at any other level of government. I consider myself to be that average, everyday citizen who wants to participate in local government for the betterment of my fellows. I take the phrase 'public trust' very seriously and I consider myself an advocate of the people."
Issues that matter to Goold are: "First, Paonia must be a town where small businesses are allowed to flourish. I believe every possible step must be taken to encourage more family-owned businesses to come to Paonia and we need to create an open, efficient economic climate for small businesses.
"Second, Paonia must be a safe town for families and children. This includes oversight of the police department, to guarantee that our peace officers have all the money and resources they need to do their jobs. It also includes improving and upgrading the infrastructure in Paonia, which is currently old, crumbling and in some places in desperate need of repair.
"Third, the issue of water rights will always be vital here in the North Fork Valley. Full and fair access to clean, healthy water must continue for all citizens and businesses. Local citizens, farmers, ranchers and small businesses should receive priority when water rights are sold. Water rates should be fair and only enough to cover costs."
Bill Powers moved to Paonia from Redstone in 1995. He is a musician and performing artist with Honey Don't, The Silvertone Devils and Sweet Sunny South.
"When my wife and I first moved to Paonia we started a business making antler chandeliers, furniture and lampshades of mica."
Powers and his wife were attracted to the North Fork. "We wanted to raise a family and we had come to Paonia a good bit just exploring and checking out music at the Paradise Theater. The area and town were beautiful and mellow and seemed like the perfect place to start a family."
Powers is involved in KVNF Community Radio as a volunteer DJ.
"I am curious about the inner workings of the town. I have the time to do it and I think it will be an interesting way to serve the community," Powers answered as to why he wants to be a trustee.
"Currently the issue that I am most interested in are the BLM Gas and Oil proposed leases surrounding the town. What I've loved most about the living here has been the quality of life . . . I've enjoyed experiencing the rise of agri-tourism, organic farming, wineries, galleries, music events, establishment of the River Park and river improvement processes and more that have added to our quality of life here in the North Fork. For me, these things reflect a vibrant and creative town and area and I see a bright future ahead. I have deep concerns about the drilling of gas wells around our town. Even if there is gas or oil here, the potential of negative effects of it's extraction (and there are plenty of these documented) are much too risky to the our health, the health of our kids and the effects on our air and water quality," Powers said.
If elected, Powers states, "It would be important to me to have an open mind and heart in regards to working with others on town related issues."
Karen Fogg, a native of western Colorado, is running for trustee. "I am an artist and have a master's degree in biology. My husband, Dave Weber and I moved to Paonia in 1991. I first became involved in Paonia town politics in the mid-90s when I helped gather signatures for a ballot issue supporting a smaller waste water treatment facility than proposed by the Paonia town council. In 2009 I organized a successful campaign to have the Paonia police enforce the dog ordinances. In 2010 I helped Glenna Sieracki organize a successful campaign to have the Paonia police enforce the town codes (junk, abandoned vehicles, weeds, etc.) And to implement a yearly spring clean up.
"My first concern is that Paonia is not being managed efficiently. Right now the town is being run by the mayor. Many duties of a town manager and public works director are being contracted out at a great deal of expense . . . We could probably hire a part time manager with planning and supervisory experience for the same amount that we are spending on contract labor, consulting and legal advice.
"My second concern is that the trustee committees have been stripped of their duties and need to re-assume their power to help solve some of the current problems that the Town of Paonia is having.
"If elected I would work to make Paonia government transparent again and I would make sure the committees have free rein to do their jobs. My next project is to petition the town to standardize and enforce the speed limits."
Amber Kleinman grew up in Fort Collins, moved to the Western Slope after attending Colorado State University. She attended Mesa State and worked at Grand Junction Harley Davidson for a number of years before moving to Paonia in 2008 with her husband, Judd.
Kleinman works in event production and creates pottery. She volunteers time at KVNF Community Radio, the Creamery Arts Center, and heads the irrigation committee in her homeowners association.
While being a novice in politics, Kleinman is interested in contributing to our local democracy to keep Paonia a vibrant, bountiful, and creative place.
Ross King is a relative newcomer to the community. He and his wife, Andrea, moved to Paonia in May 2010 to be closer to family. They have been married 46 years, have two sons, Ross and Mike, and three grandchildren.
King worked over 35 years in the utility industry and is currently retired. Ross has supervisory, management and executive skills from his various positions, ranging from representative to vice president of construction operations and maintenance for natural gas and electric delivery systems. He has worked with operating budgets and capital expenditures in excess of 100 million dollars, managed over 3,000 employees and was responsible for overseeing facilities in six states. He was the president of Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power Company in Wyoming.
King has been active in many civic and industry organizations. He has been president or chairman of the Colorado Power Council, Rocky Mountain Electrical League, National Food and Energy Council and the Marketing Committee of the Edison Electric Institute, to name a few. While living on the Front Range, Ross was chairman of the 16th Street Mall Management District and 16th Street Business Improvement District; director and vice president of Denver Partnerships; and vice president and director of Historic Denver.
King is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, a 45-year member of the B.P.O.E., and a member of the American Legion. He has been a member of Sertoma, Kiwanis, Rotary and various Chambers of Commerce, including the Industrial Development Corporation. He was the founding member of Georgetown Historical Society and the chairman of the Georgetown Energy Museum and Foundation.
Larry Wissbeck has a bachelor of science degree from the University of Nevada and a graduate of the U.S. Naval Aviation Cadet Academy.
He has 30 years professional experience in print and television journalism. He has significant experience as an auditor for a Reno casino; as an engineer at an iron foundry in California; as an executive assistant to the Nevada Attorney General; as Chief Deputy Secretary of State of Nevada; as a planning commissioner during the formulation of the master plan for Washee County, Nevada; as a small business owner of WW Woodworking and The Intellectual Cowboy Bookstore both in Nevada; and as a maintenance engineer and industrial arts teacher in Steamboat Springs.
"Cathy and I retired in Paonia in 2008 when we purchased a workingman's house in the downtown area, rehabilitated it hammer and tong, surrounded it with a white picket fence and where we are committed to neighbors and the community.
"Since we have lived in Paonia I have attended virtually all of the town council meetings, work sessions and budget sessions. I was appointed to and now serve as the chairman of the Paonia Planning and Zoning Committee and Paonia's representative on the Upper North Fork Area Planning Committee.
"I have informed myself and am committed to the goals of the Paonia 2020 plans as they develop. (Strong support for our vigorous locavore industry and the encouragement of strong sustainable businesses for our area."
"Probably the greatest pressure we'll face is sustaining the quality of our infrastructure (water, sewer, streets, schools, etc.) while keeping their costs affordable. From what I have observed, our present government, both staff and elected officials, have worked to that end. I would work to strengthen the quality of Paonia's services through encouraging improvement and development within the town's boundaries and the avoidance of sprawl."vblog comments powered by Disqus