Quillen’s Corner: The Conflicts Within

By Martha Quillen

By October, I found myself thoroughly bewildered by conflicting viewpoints about Salida’s attorney, Ben Kahn. To hear local activists tell it, he is either terrific or incompetent, which put me in a wait and see mode. But then a candidate told me he thought getting rid of Kahn was an important objective, and I thought in that case I’d better re-evaluate some things before I vote.

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Secrecy returns to Salida’s city government

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – January 2004 – Colorado Central Magazine

After the litigation of 1998, when we and other media successfully sued the Salida City Council for violating the state open meetings law, we had hoped that the city had learned something in the process.

But we might have been wrong. The city council apparently circumvented the Sunshine Law in the process of replacing Municipal Judge Bill Alderton with a Crested Butte lawyer.

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An unkind exaggeration

Letter from Monika Griesenbeck

Salida politics – May 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed,

Sorry about hanging up on you this morning [Feb. 21]. It wasn’t out of anger but because I was getting choked up over your reference to my ineffectiveness as a Salida council member.

Looking back to those days, I will be the first to admit I lacked political astuteness and hadn’t learned to pick my fights. But to say that I “made damn near everything into a confrontation,” was an unkind exaggeration.

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Hey, they did something right, for a change

Essay by Ed Quillen

Salida politics – March 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

TO BE HONEST, I don’t usually pay much attention to the city government. As long as it delivers water, conveys sewage, plows streets, extinguishes fires, and maintains some degree of public order, then I’m quite willing to devote my attention to other matters. Indeed, when I gave serious thought to running for mayor in 1997, my proposed campaign slogan was “A government you can turn your back on.”

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Constitution defeats Salida again

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – January 2002 – Colorado Central Magazine

A federal judge in Denver has ruled that Salida’s old noise ordinance was unconstitutional, and if its enforcement caused a downtown restaurant to go out of business, then the city could be liable for damages.

U.S. District Judge Richard P. Matsch — perhaps best known as the judge who pre

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We know who’s not in charge

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – April 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

To put this as charitably as possible, when you open a reference book and look up phrases like “responsive to the public will” or “candid and trustworthy,” you do not find “Salida City Council” among the examples.

On Feb. 29, Salida held a special election on an initiative supported by petitions. The petitioners had wanted the vote to be held last November with the regular municipal election, but the city government stalled on that.

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A Leap Day election about Frantz Lake

Brief by Central Staff

Salida Politics – March 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Salida will celebrate Leap Day with a special election which results from petitions — “the Frantz Lake Initiative” — circulated last fall.

It’s about the use of city-owned land in an area that has already seen plenty of contention, mostly related to expansion of the golf course.

The land in question has been used as a shooting range by the Salida Gun Club, and it sits between Frantz Lake (owned by the state) and a gravel pit (owned by the city and leased to Kaess Contracting).

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Salida Council tables a proposed Official Secrets Act

Brief by Central Staff

Salida Politics – March 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Salida Council tables a proposed Official Secrects Act

We were among those present at the Feb. 7 meeting of the Salida City Council for its consideration of a proposed Official Secrets Act.

That’s not what they called it, of course. It was an ordinance to “protect confidentiality.”

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Not all the city council folded

Letter from Monika Griesenbeck

Salida politics – December 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

Dear Ed and Martha,

Your thoughts on Salida’s government in your last issue were pretty much on the mark with one exception — OK, a few exceptions. The first one being that not all members of the city council folded all of the time.

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Is there any way to avoid having a mayor?

Brief by Martha & Ed Quillen

Salida Politics – November 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

JUDGING BY OUR INFORMAL yard-sign survey, Dick Heitman leads the other two candidates for mayor of Salida to replace Ralph Taylor, who’s stepping down after only one term.

The major issue appears to be a performance audit of the police department, which the city council approved on a 4-2 vote.

Heitman opposed it, which got him an endorsement from Mike Sanchez, assistant police chief, who wrote a letter to Salida’s Mountain Mail newspaper:

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Salida’s own vortex

Article by Ed Quillen

Salida politics – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

EVEN THOUGH SOME Crestone residents claim that they live in a vortex where great forces swirl and converge, it might be easier to make that case for a 51-acre irrigated pasture on the north side of Salida.

Water, wildlife, tourism, recreation, politics — they all meet in this spot that looks pretty much like any other artificial meadow.

The land is owned by the Colorado Division of Wildlife, and desired by some Salidans for an expansion of the municipal golf course from 9 to 18 holes.

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Perhaps a plan that Salida can live with

Essay by Martha Quillen

Salida politics – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

ANOTHER DAY. Another dollar. Another plan. On September 1, Salida presented its second comprehensive plan to its citizens.

My impression this second time around was that — with some judicious modifications — this new plan could be made both acceptable and beneficial to most Salidans. But right now, I wouldn’t want to predict what will actually come of this plan.

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Salida faces a special election about a shooting range

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – October 1999 – Colorado Central Magazine

It’s a good thing that “Salida” means “exit” in Spanish, and not “simple,” or the city would need a new name.

The issues concerning a proposed land trade between the city and the Colorado Division of Wildlife are hideously complex (see the long article on page 33 for some of the issues), and a new complication emerged recently.

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Water meter woes have just started

Sidebar by Martha Quillen

Salida politics – April 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

Last summer, Salida started putting in water meters.

But now, with half of the city’s meters already in, there still seem to be a lot of questions and concerns regarding Salida’s metering project, including:

First, since the water meters were designed for median strips, there was some question about whether they should be driven over. Yet, because a lot of Salida’s streets don’t have curbs and sidewalks, many meters have already been installed where people ordinarily park.

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City loses appeal, so loitering remains legal in Salida

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – March 1998 – Colorado Central Magazine

City loses appeal, so loitering remains legal in Salida

Salida’s controversial loitering law, enacted last summer, may be consigned to the dustbin of history. Two local judges have found it unconstitutional, and the city council — five of its six members took office in January — has started a repeal process.

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An official announcement of non-candidacy

Letter from Ed Quillen

Salida politics – September 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

An official announcement of non-candidacy

Editor:

Many good people have urged me to run for municipal office, especially the mayor’s position, this November.

So many, in fact, that I was actually motivated to ask the authorities at The Denver Post, for whom I write two op-ed columns a week, whether they’d be comfortable with my seeking such public office.

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Getting the Government that we keep asking for

Essay by Martha Quillen

Salida politics – September 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Lately, phrases from the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities have been popping into my mind more readily than popular tunes from the top ten charts. I suppose that’s because times are good hereabouts. Property values are up, tourists are plentiful, and the economy is bustling.

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Mayor denounces Ride the Rockies and Channel 4

Brief by Central Staff

Salida Politics – August 1997 – Colorado Central Magazine

Salida got a few minutes of fame on a Denver newscast, and the mayor wasn’t happy about it.

The annual cross-state bicycle tour, “Ride the Rockies,” stopped in town on June 18. KCNC-TV of Denver is one of the tour’s sponsors, and during the tour, the station airs an “Eye on Colorado” segment each evening from that night’s stop.

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Back to the planner’s board

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – August 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

Back to the planning board

Salida’s proposed comprehensive master plan (the one reviewed in the July Colorado Central) was turned down by the planning commission at a July 8 hearing.

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Salida has a plan for you

Brief by Central Staff

Salida politics – June 1996 – Colorado Central Magazine

Did you know there was an interstate highway running through Salida?

We didn’t, either, until we perused the “Comprehensive Plan and Implementing Strategy” prepared for the Salida City Council by the Leland Consulting Group of Denver.

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New warning signs

Letter from Margo Perschbacher

Salida politics – September 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

New warning sign

Editor:

Everywhere I go in Salida, I hear people complaining about new city ordinances, and I think they should. After going to a few city meetings, I don’t know which laws I might be breaking. It seems that every time somebody makes a complaint, we get a new ordinance.

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