The Metro North Chamber of Commerce and MetroNorth Newspapers held their City Council Candidate Forum recently and while the event did not provide too much notable, there were some interesting comments by some of the candidates. As much as anything it was interesting just to observe some of them as they answered and in doing so one could gather what sort of leadership the candidate would provide.
Below are my thoughts on the race. At the bottom of the text you can watch the video of the forum from the City of Thornton.
For the mayor’s race, the three candidates pretty much performed as expected.
Mack Goodman was slow to answer questions and it was difficult to grasp quite what he was saying as seemingly every third word was “uh.” Nothing much to see here and another demonstration of why he is not really a viable alternative to hold Thornton’s highest political office.
Val Vigil started off by making an interesting claim saying, “I am a 20 year veteran from the city of Thornton.” That misleading comment leads one to believe Vigil is a military veteran which he is not. The virtual career politician may not have meant it the way it came out but for someone who is staking his entire campaign on his political experience and little else, this was a big mistake.
Vigil repeatedly stated that the city needed to “find out what businesses want”, a rather odd thing to say given that the answer is pretty self-evident. Like many other sitting council members, he routinely ignores what the city’s own business advisory commission recommends, instead deferring to the political winds and his union campaign contributors.
He also stated his blind support for another Fastracks tax increase while providing no reasoning as to how he would ensure that Thornton taxpayers don’t get the shaft from the boondoggle like they have for the past seven years. Vigil said he would support an increased tax on the working families of Thornton even in these hard economic times, a clear indication of where we would stand with him as mayor (deeper in debt and paying higher taxes).
Local business owner Heidi Williams showed why she is the clear frontrunner and the best prepared to lead the city for the next four years. Her answers were concise, to the point, and demonstrated that she has a clear grasp of the issues confronting citizens and area businesses. The small business owner and school board member recognizes what it is going to take to move Thornton to the next level beyond our current bedroom community status.
Her non-partisan approach and clear ability to lead and work with others is evident by the fact she is endorsed by the past three Thornton mayors. Margaret Carpenter, Noel Busck and Erik Hansen – two Democrats and one Republican – all support Williams and that speaks volumes.
As for the candidates running for city council in each of the city wards, few provided anything noteworthy.
Jenice ‘JJ’ Dove and Lee Cantu are vying for the vacant Ward I seat and neither was impressive. One almost has to feel sorry for Ward I residents that they don’t have any better alternatives.
The Ward II race is arguably the most interesting pitting incumbent Eva Henry against Richard Gianzero.
Despite having served on council for four years, Henry’s lack of leadership is notable. She touted her union endorsements, something which she paid back during her first term by backing measures unfriendly to employers and the city itself. She touted the Businesses of Thornton Advisory Commission, the same group whose recommendations she has repeatedly ignored. Like too many politicians, she touts her support for veterans but has demonstrated a distinct lack in that regard. Ward II voters need to realize there is a better alternative to represent them.
By contrast, Gianzero provided refreshingly honest and frank answers. He was correct in his observation of the problems within city council and clearly understands that Thornton needs to attract businesses beyond retailers and big box stores. Gianzero’s statement that Thronton must be better than our neighbors to “draw business to us” is spot on as is his position on Fastracks.
Incumbent Beth Humenik is facing off against Sam Nizam in a Ward III race that just doesn’t have much punch to it. Humenik’s tenure on council has not been particularly noteworthy and we struggle to note any accomplishments. Sam Nizam incorrectly stated that he was the “only true small business owner” of all the candidates at the forum and we remain highly concerned about his clearly far-left political leanings.
Ward IV voters have no choice in the election as incumbent Eric Tade is running unopposed and will end up remaining on council for four more years without facing a challenge. It was disappointing that Tade didn’t appear at the forum and answer the questions just like the other candidates. Whether he has a challenger or not, the residents that he represents deserved to hear from him.