Moving on: Former Granby mayor shares his thoughts as he prepares to relocate
Sky-Hi Daily News
“My grandmother gave that to me,” Ted Wang said about an old wooden paddle drum displayed on a table in his driveway.
The toy from his past was sitting among clay and porcelain pottery, near a collection of used books, across the aisle from second-hand office furniture.
The moving sale displayed at least 18 years’ worth of possessions collected by the self-described “pack-rat” bachelor.
“It’s funny what things people will buy,” Wang said with a chuckle upon collecting money for an obscure purchase.
Leftover from Far Eastern travels that sprouted into a side sales business in Granby, items such as Tibetan necklaces, silk purses still wrapped in plastic, silk Kleenex-box covers and colorful jewel boxes elevated Wang’s moving sale to a sort of import bazaar.
As shoppers rummaged on Friday, they asked the former Granby mayor what his future plans are.
Wang proudly answered Bellingham, Wash., near ocean, lakes, and mountains ” a perfect place to launch his sea kayaks and enjoy the outdoors culture of the Pacific Northwest.
On Monday during an interview, Wang elaborated. He has already purchased a home there, he said, and later that day would meet with an agent to sell his Granby home.
Wang said he’s “excited” for the upcoming venture, but when asked about reasons behind the move, there was a dispirited response.
“The election in April was a real rejection of the efforts I’ve put in,” Wang said, referring to his loss in a four-person race. “There’s been a fair amount of ugliness both during the election and after the election. Hang-up phone calls, racist threatening phone calls both during and after the election. It’s been very uncomfortable and not very pleasant.”
He said he regrets that his leadership ways have been misrepresented by certain vocal groups in town.
The devoted public servant who, besides miscellaneous collectibles collected 150 hours in the Colorado Municipal League officials program to learn about governing, said it’s been difficult in recent months watching new officials make potentially bad decisions with Granby’s budget.
After spending years absorbing the town’s workings, his offers to continue with regional and state work on behalf of the town as a volunteer were rejected, he said.
“I’m looking at this as a positive kind of thing,” he continued. “I had looked over the long haul to make Granby my permanent home, but it isn’t working out. It’s time to seek greener pastures, I guess.”
18 years of service
Wang, who served five and one-half years as mayor, nine years as a town trustee, and sat 14 years as a planning commissioner in his 18 years as a Granby resident, said he has “no regrets” for the service he put in for the town.
The son of an engineer father and a university English professor mother, he grew up in a household where current events were shared around the dinner table in Bloomington, Ind.
“My family believed if you can serve, you should,” he said.
Coupled with his penchant for throwing all he has into a project, Wang decided to make his mayoralty a full-time job once elected, relying on investments and savings leftover from two pottery and design businesses he’d owned with his ex-wife in Indiana.
Once a professional pottery artist with 400 wholesale accounts coast-to-coast, Wang started experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome from working at his craft roughly 15 hours a day.
“Doing something half-baked is not something I’m good at,” Wang said.
That non-stop devotion to the business cost him his marriage. And carpal tunnel led to him quitting the art of pottery, then selling off his equipment after relocating to Colorado.
He could have lived anywhere, he said, but chose Granby for “its scenery, its opportunities and its values.”
After his move, he did “little bits of everything,” such as ski patrol at SolVista Ski Basin, was a mortgage loan originator, an Amtrak station agent and helped to build local trails. It wasn’t long before he was asked to join the Granby planning commission.
During his town tenure, Wang helped to forge agreements between town and developers.
Of late, Granby’s development policies have been criticized for being too cumbersome.
“Our agreements with the development community are incredibly detailed and incredibly complex because of the magnitude,” Wang said, who pointed out that developers agreed to the arrangements and whole town boards voted on them at time when Granby’s size was quadrupling. “I’m proud of the development agreements we have in place because I think they lay the foundation for very high-quality development we can be proud of.
“Yes they’re highly detailed, and they demand a lot of diligence from both from the public side and the private side. That’s challenging, but I think the end result would be what both sides wanted to happen.”
In Washington, Wang plans to continue his public work ” but not politically, he said.
He hopes to help nonprofits with planning, organization and development.
“I love doing that,” he said. “I love getting a group of people with diverse backgrounds and opinions in a room and try to work on how to grow, how to keep viable.”
The strength of community
Reflecting on his work for Granby, during which he oversaw the rebuilding of the Granby Town Hall after the 2004 bulldozer rampage, just two months after he was elected as mayor, he said he “learned the power and importance of people working together.”
“That’s one of the great strengths of this community,” he said. “Even when there was controversy, people stepped up. And that’s what you see as the heart and soul of this place.”
But Wang said he also sees something that can be damaging in terms of fair treatment to all citizens.
“What I see happening in Granby and Grand County,” he said, “is it really bothers me that there is a good-ol’ boy attitude that says you treat people differently depending on who they are. Legally, it’s not defensible. That’s a road to corruption, in my book.
“I know that I’ve ruffled some feathers because I don’t play that game. That’s not how you’re supposed to govern.”
Even though Wang said he’s overwhelmed right now with boxes, cleaning and a yard sale, the former mayor is looking forward to opportunities that lie ahead.
“It’s time to continue growing,” he said. “I don’t believe life is static at all.”
He added, “There’s a lot of things about Granby I’m going to miss.”
” Tonya Bina can be reached at 887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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