Anti-recall campaign underway in Grand Lake
A group of Grand Lakers launched a campaign last week opposing the upcoming mayoral recall, unfurling a large banner and putting up yard signs across the town in an effort to reach voters.
The timing of the campaign closely coincides with Grand Lake voters receiving their mail-in ballots for the Oct. 5 recall ballot. The ballot will first ask electors if they wish to remove Mayor Steve Kudron from office and then list former Mayor Judy Burke as a potential replacement in a second question.
The recall effort follows Diane Mahoney, Craig Wilkerson, Janice Bruton and Kathy Weydert filing a recall petition in May. In the petition, they accuse Kudron of poor decision-making, fiscal irresponsibility, improper leadership, violating open meetings law and failing to produce sufficient financial and comprehensive town planning.
After filing the petition, the group seeking the mayor’s removal secured 44 verified signatures in support of the effort, well over the 25-signature threshold to trigger a voter recall ballot.
The mayor’s supporters tried to nullify the petition by protesting how they say the signatures were collected and asserting that the petition is blatantly dishonest, setting up a July hearing with an independent mediator.
During the hearing, the mayor and his supporters disputed practically every item detailed in the petition, but the independent arbitrator ruled with the petitioners, saying the merits of the petition were for voters to decide.
Now taking their case to voters, the group opposing the mayoral recall has put up a large banner and yard signs as they work to raise awareness ahead of the vote, talk about the issues and push electors to vote “no” on the recall.
“We believe that the progress that’s been made has been necessary,” said Jim McComb, who’s helping on the campaign to keep Kudron in office. “I feel like these people act as if they can stop the tourism, they can stop the development and that type of thing. Well, that horse has left the barn. The thing to do now is to manage it intelligently.”
Describing the group supporting the mayor, McComb said they are comprised of local business owners, many longtime locals and concerned citizens worried about Grand Lake’s future. They take issue with the recall petition and worry about what might happen if it succeeds.
McComb said the group feels that Kudron has done a great job since taking office in April 2020 and the town has made significant progress in areas that McComb said previous boards and mayors had left unaddressed.
He specifically referenced the StreetScape project that’s going to add parking, curbs, gutters and drainage along Park Avenue and the Stanley Property purchase, while crediting those actions to the full board of trustees, not just Mayor Kudron.
“Those folks (pursuing the recall effort), what’s interesting is they complain about what’s being done, but they don’t offer any alternative solutions,” McComb said. “It’s one thing if they offered viable options, but they don’t. They just don’t like the way it’s done now, and that’s not a good reason to recall one person of a board of seven who by himself has no power whatsoever. All decisions are made by a majority of the board, yet they seem to focus on (the mayor) to place blame.”
Prior to the petition hearing, the boards of directors for Grand Lake Fire and the Grand Lake Chamber both came out in support of the mayor. Some of the recall petitioners have criticized the fire department and chamber boards for authoring letters opposing the recall. In addition to helping with the campaign to keep Kudron, McComb also serves as the president of the Grand Lake Chamber board.
Over the phone, McComb said that he also believes the mayor has a majority of the town’s support behind him, and McComb pointed to “a major increase” in voter registration as evidence of intense local interest.
“A community this size, it’s not like voting on the Front Range where you may or may not feel like your vote counts,” McComb said. “In the Grand Lake community, your vote absolutely counts and is important.”
For Mayor Steve Kudron’s response to the recall peititon, go to https://kudron.webflow.io/.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
The Sky-Hi News strives to deliver powerful stories that spark emotion and focus on the place we live.
Over the past year, contributions from readers like you helped to fund some of our most important reporting, including coverage of the East Troublesome Fire.
If you value local journalism, consider making a contribution to our newsroom in support of the work we do.