WATCH ENDORSEMENT

More Goodtimes
Oct 23, 2008 | 650 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Every newspaper endorsement should be taken with a grain of salt, with the recognition that editorialists have no particular claim on enlightenment, but let the reader beware of this one more than most because Art Goodtimes is a longtime associate of those of us writing it. He has been a weekly columnist for The Watch practically since we started publishing, almost 12 years ago. If we know Art particularly well, readers may be assured that it has in no way diminished our belief that he should be elected to a fourth term as a San Miguel County Commissioner.

We hasten to add, however, that in this small community, many of us know each other, and we count both Oak Smith and Bill Wenger among the individuals we’ve known and have grown to respect over the years as well. In this three-way race for the county commissioner from District 3, which covers the bulk of the county from Placerville west, voters are confronted with three men whose character and qualifications for the job are proven.

We are supporting Goodtimes in this field very simply because he has done an outstanding job in his three terms as a San Miguel County Commissioner, and we see no compelling reason for a change. To the argument that three terms is enough, we say: Only if the incumbent is found lacking. To the argument that Goodtimes may not be the best representative of the county’s more conservative west end, we note that he has won plenty of votes from residents of Placerville, Wright’s Mesa and points west, is a longtime resident of Wright’s Mesa, and moreover has been extraordinarily responsive in his years in office to West End concerns. It was, for example, Goodtimes who championed the libertarian cause of eliminating building codes on the West End, where they aren’t wanted.

Finally, to the argument that Goodtimes plus Elaine Fischer plus Joan May equals a board of county commissioners that operates on the left side of the political spectrum, we respond: If these are the commissioners who have won election, then that’s where the majority of the county is. None of our commissioners is shy about their political perspective.

Although Goodtimes is no exception, outspokenly liberal, a self-declared “paleohippie,” and a proud member of the Green Party, he also displays the quality of being able to listen to those on the other side of an issue, and to respect their point of view. He has come in for criticism, in fact, for seeking accommodation and compromise rather than pummeling into submission those with whom he may not agree – for example, in seeking to craft policy governing off-road motorized recreation – largely because he recognizes that even in a community skewed in one political direction, we all benefit when our diverse points of view are all respected.

In his years in office, Goodtimes has carved out for himself a particular portfolio of representing the county in regional, statewide and even national venues. His interest in working in a bigger arena than the county courthouse has also subjected him to criticism over the years, but his range of associations and his knowledge of how issues decided in Denver and Washington may affect us in San Miguel County is invaluable. He lobbied Colorado Sen. Ken Salazar, for example, and won full funding of the federal Payment in Lieu of Taxes program, and thereby helped bring an additional $2 million to the county over the next four years.

Goodtimes is an original, a “public man” in the classical sense of the expression, as deeply conversant with matters of local concern as he is with global questions of governance. In his combination of individual eccentricity and worldliness, he may be the ideal representative for San Miguel County.

Both Oak Smith and Bill Wenger have also made significant contributions to our civic life, Smith as a longtime member of the San Miguel County Planning Commission and Wenger as a county commissioner during four very eventful years in the early 1990s. Each has a great deal to contribute to our public sphere. We hope both will find an opportunity to step forward again, without having to replace one of our most treasured elected officials.

Art Goodtimes for four more years.
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