Our View: Kaminski made the right choice
City Councilman Kevin Kaminski was right to resign from his seat on the council.
We respect his desire to fulfill his commitment to those who voted for him; however, this was the only realistic choice for him to make once he and his family purchased a home outside of the district he represents.
Kaminski’s situation does give the council – and other elected boards in the community – the opportunity to review their residency policies and look for ways to ensure voters’ wishes are met in the future.
Kaminski was elected to the District 3 seat on council last fall. He netted 58 percent of the vote to beat Dick Curtis.
Last week, Kaminski finalized the purchase of a home on Steamboat Boul-evard. The house is in District 2, which Loui Antonucci represents on council.
When initially challenged about the move, Kaminski said he would try to keep his seat on council by renting an apartment in District 3 while his wife and children lived in the new home in District 2. We have no doubt that was an honest effort by Kaminski to meet his commitment to a four-year term, but as Kaminski came to realize, that simply was not practical. Almost immediately, he was criticized for trying to circumvent the city charter and putting his political ambitions above his family.
“I have found myself in a lose-lose situation,” Kaminski said in a statement Tuesday night. “I will, with sadness, be tendering my resignation as of Sept. 19. I believe this decision is the best. I may attempt to get back into the political arena further down the road, and I thank all of you for your support.”
The city charter is clear – council members must live in the district they were elected to represent. Thus Kaminski will step down three days before his family is to move into their new home.
We believe in council districts. They are preferable to a system in which all council members are elected at-large, because districts ensure that all geographic segments of a community are represented. That said, we also would like to see the council and other local bodies consider other alternatives when situations such as Kaminski’s arise.
Last year, School Board member Michael Loomis resigned his District 5 seat when he moved to District 1. In that case, District 1 representative Tami Havener resigned her seat at the same time and Loomis was appointed to replace her. That allowed Loomis to finish his term.
Kaminski won’t have that option. The City Council will appoint a replacement and an election must be held in November 2007 to fill the remaining two years of Kaminski’s term.
It’s important to remember that the voters of District 3 chose Kaminski to be their representative for four years. It would be a service to voters if the city charter allowed voters to choose to keep him for the remainder of his term if he is willing to serve.
Kaminski made the only choice he could. But that choice isn’t necessarily in the best interest of District 3 residents. The council should review its policies so that, when such situations arise in the future, voters have a say in what happens.
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In an effort to make Steamboat Springs Transit buses safer and more accessible, solar-powered lighting in bus shelters and a GPS-triggered automatic voice system that will announce stops in English and Spanish are being implemented.