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Voicing Opinion On EPURA

To The Editor:

A little over a month ago there was an opening on the Estes Park Urban Renewal Authority Board due to Commissioner John Ericson’s election to a Town Trustee position. Egged on by Mayor Pinkham’s vow to open up certain Boards to Valley residents, I applied for that position. There were eight applicants, two Wayne’s and six others whose names I do not know. I am told that all of us were interviewed by the same group and asked the same questions. Mayor Pinkham makes the appointment but shares the decision making with others to insure a fair choice. At least this is his apparent way to make it a “not who you know” attempt to be fair.

The interviewers were Mayor Pinkham, who asked the questions, outgoing Commissioners Ericson, EPURA’s Executive Director Wil Smith and Board Chairman Gerry Swank. Each interviewer had their chance to ask further questions and appeared to take notes, which they shared in private after the interview.

I am a businessman with a few miles on me but no political background. My interest as a valley resident is the same as a town resident: the betterment for the community that EPURA has orchestrated, affects and benefits us all. Thus, I wanted a voice in upcoming decisions.

I answered the questions forthrightly and considered my chances to win the appointment to be good. One council I received from Commissioner Ericson was “to not oversell,” but I guess that might be my nature. Anyway, after the interviews were completed, the announcement and appointment went to Wayne Newsom. OK, he is a long-time resident of the town, a past Town Trustee, local realtor and all-around nice guy. I have no qualms with that, but I have to say that if he was selected because he is a “good ole boy,” I do have a problem with that!

If the town administration chart can be believed, Wayne Newsom, fresh from eight years as Town Trustee, is also the Vice Chairman for the Board of Adjustment through 2009. Upon his appointment to the EPURA board, he became its chairman through 2012. Frankly, that amazes me. He was an EPURA member for 20 seconds and he is the chairman now for the next four years! Certainly the town can benefit from Wayne’s experience, but what about the other Wayne’s experience or any of the other six applicants who might just bring a new, refreshing approach to decisions to be made. What about getting more people with different ideas involved with our government. There is a lot to be said for experience, but there is something to be said about a “new upstart” to balance the equation.

Now, since I have pointed out what could appear to be “good ole boy” politics, I am not suggesting that our government will be worse because Wayne Newsom appears to be a dominant player. But it might be to everyone’s benefit if Wayne “retired” from one of his positions and a new voice could be heard. I am sure that this is unlikely to happen, but I am just thinking out loud.
Having said all this, I am not discouraged from seeking a Board position in the future. In fact, I may seek numerous positions, so when the next town chart is published, the name Wayne will appear so many times that one will need a calculator to count how many. In fact, maybe between Wayne Newsom and myself, we can convince the Board of Trustees to change the town’s name to reflect the dominant political voices and be renamed “Wayne’s World.”

Some would consider this letter to be sour grapes, but I am not a poor sport or whiner, just a voice in the wilderness looking to be heard. Regardless of how this letter is perceived, I am convinced that there is no place like the Estes Valley to call home.

Wayne Groome
Proud Valley resident

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