Letter: Steamboat should swiftly reject recall effort

I learned recently of a recall effort against three Steamboat Springs City Council members. While recall efforts are rare, or used to be, what caught my attention was not the exercise of a unique lawful process, but who was behind this effort and why they choose to do it.

Steamboat Board of Realtors CEO Ulrich Salzgeber and regional vacation property management baron Robin Craigen are among the drivers of this effort. To be clear, this is their mission, not one shared by many balanced and ethical real estate professionals in the area. These recall proponents are outliers. Their position is self-serving and exacerbates the rampant consumption of any and all housing in the Yampa Valley accessible to working full-time residents. Their effort is an attempt to kill any effective and balanced limitation on short-term rentals for years to come, here through political manipulation, by usurping the will of the people as expressed so clearly in the election last November. What these particular real estate moguls are doing could not be more transparent. Despite their alleged affinity to principles of freedom and democracy, now that their STR cash cow is facing reasonable and democratically imposed limits, they immediately resort to undermining the will of the community. If they are hearing this is what the community wants, they are listening only to themselves — the community spoke loud and clear last November.

The candidates targeted by this recall were elected by the community on a platform of sensible, equitable and necessary limits on STRs. Candidates opposed to this imperative lost, and the people behind the recall effort simply refuse to accept that result. That they are now seeking to ‘do over’ an election from 10 months ago confirms the aggressive and uncompromising nature of their demands. These are not the actions of people in line with democracy and seeking balance or harmony in an evolving community, despite their propaganda to the contrary. Actions, not words, reveal the truth.

If you are asked to sign a recall petition, I urge you to respond with a hard no. The rejection of this recall effort should be swift and unequivocal. Come November 2022, a yes vote for the STR tax as proposed by council is a yes vote for the healthy future of the Yampa Valley community, and the people who have worked so hard, for so long, to preserve it.

Matt Karzen

Steamboat Springs

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