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Antonucci upsets Brenner

— Ken Brenner arrived at the Routt County Courthouse late Tuesday night looking for some news.

Unfortunately, for the incumbent, the news was bad.

Shortly after seeing the final tally, Brenner stood speechless in the hallway, his hands thrust deep in his suit pockets as he tried to absorb the fact that Paul “Loui” Antonucci had upset him in the race for the City Council seat in District 2.

Antonucci collected 1,408 (50.17 percent) of the votes to Brenner’s 1,238 (45.9 percent)

“Maybe I didn’t get the message out,” a shocked Brenner said after seeing the final totals.

Antonucci, however, didn’t think that the election was decided on a single issue.

“I don’t think that people voted on a specific issue,” he said.

“I think they voted on who the candidates are and what they stand for. After this election, it is clear that the community thinks pretty highly of both of us I think they voted for me because I get things done”

After winning Tuesday’s election, Antonucci will now have to turn his attention to completing the list of things he wants to get done.

“I’m looking forward to being back on council and working with the people who did get elected,” he said.

There is little doubt that the new councilman will make Emerald City, merging the city of Steamboat Springs and Mount Werner water districts, and the airport top priorities.

A disappointed Brenner said he would be spending more time with his family and focusing on his business.

“There’s no void in my life,” Brenner said.

“This weekend I will be going to a state football game.”

Brenner was, arguably, the most active member of City Council.

He has been active in the Community as a chairman for the Area Community Plan Coordination Committee, vice chairman of the Emerald Mountain Partnership, co-chairman of First Impressions, a member of the executive board of the Colorado Municipal League, a member of the Associated Government of Northwest Colorado and a member of the Parks and Recreation Commission.

During the campaign, Antonucci and Brenner went back and fourth on issues such as fiscal irresponsibility and, most recently, Emerald City.

Brenner took exception to Antonucci’s ad that insinuated the current council wasn’t doing enough to save the youth programs in Steamboat Springs.

He fired back with his own ad declaring that Emerald City was not going to close down and that the members of the current council were close to reaching an agreement to keep Emerald City’s doors open.

“I spent an unbelievable amount of time on youth projects,” Brenner said.

“It’s too bad that it (Emerald City) ended up being an issue at the end.”

It was the final round in a campaign that also centered around issues like growth and the candidates past track records. Antonucci raised more than $7,000 for his campaign more than any other candidate in the race for City Council.

Antonucci, who was on the council from 1989 to 1993, said he felt like he lost his reelection campaign in 1993 because he was labeled as being pro-growth. Antonucci thinks the characterization was grossly unfair.

Brenner, however, said Antonucci was part of a council willing to expand the community at any coast and with the glaring example of the construction of the $2.8 million airport terminal unwilling to ask the public what it thought.

In turn Antonucci criticized Brenner for being pro-growth in his most recent four-year term.

Antonucci pointed out that Brenner was on a council that approved projects like Centennial Hall and the latest improvements to the Howelsen Hill Ice Arena without voter approval.

He felt both moves were fiscally irresponsible.

Brenner defended himself saying that he favored voter approval on both projects.

He voted to go to a property tax ballot question on the ice rink and, eventually, on Centennial Hall as well.

Brenner said he has been the loudest voice on the council in favor of going to the voters on big capital projects.


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