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Walker steps to a win in BC Council race

Voters give resounding approval to ballot questions


Mona Shield Payne / Special to the Sun

Cam Walker receives a hug from his twin sons, Nicholas and Marcus, right, after winning the seat on the Boulder City Council in the general election Tuesday. Walker had a watch party at Kirk and Vivian Harrison’s home.

Updated Tuesday, June 2, 2009 | 11:01 p.m.

Boulder City Election

Candidate Cam Walker toasts his water bottle with campaign official Sylvia Harber, left, after the first precinct results showed Walker leading in the race for a seat on the Boulder City Council during his watch party Tuesday at Kirk and Vivian Harrison's home. Launch slideshow »
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Cam Walker

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Bill Smith

Cam Walker won the remaining Boulder City Council seat, retaining a majority on the council who support the policies of Mayor Roger Tobler.

Walker took 52.6 percent of the vote to Bill Smith's 47.4 percent in a race that had the potential to change the city's course on controversial issues such as the Boulder Creek Golf Course.

"I'm glad that we ran a positive campaign," Walker, a project developer, said. "We stayed on a positive note, focusing on the opportunities Boulder City has to take advantage of in the future. I think it paid off."

Former Library Director Duncan McCoy won one of the two open council seats in the primary in a field of 10 candidates. His campaign advocated the city's status quo and openly said he would support Tobler's policies if he was elected. After McCoy won, he endorsed Walker as the candidate who would give Tobler a majority on issues that have split the council.

Councilman Travis Chandler and Councilwoman Linda Strickland endorsed Smith. They have been in the minority on issues surrounding the golf course.

Walker garnered 2,219 votes to Smith's 2,004. The race drew voter turnout of 42 percent, slightly better than the 39 percent in the primary.

Before the polls closed, Smith said that if he lost, "I would like to think that I lost because of my age. I think that's a factor with a number of people." Smith is 83. Walker is 42.

Smith, a former councilman, added that he would be relieved, in a way, by a loss.

"I'm not running because I need any kind of recognition," he said.

He was unavailable for comment after the results were final.

Two council seats were open because incumbent Councilman Mike Pacini couldn't run again due to term limits and Councilwoman Andrea Anderson is retiring after two terms. One seat was filled during the primary.

"This election does kind of decide how the council will be aligned," said Tobler, who was attending Walker's election night party at the home of Kirk and Vivian Harrison. And even though he and the two councilmen-elect share a vision, "Duncan and Cam are both going to do their own work and their own thinking," he said.

"I hope we can get past this (election) and move on," Tobler said.

McCoy said he was pleased with Walker's win, "and I'm looking forward to working with him over the next four years. It should be interesting and productive."

He said he appreciates the amount of research Chandler and Strickland bring before the council. Although he might not always agree with their views, "the diversity on the council is important," McCoy said.

"I'm glad the election is over," McCoy said. "There's been some nasty stuff flying around. I hope it stops and things heal."

Michele Walker, Cam Walker's wife, agreed.

"It's been personal," said Michele Walker, who is the daughter of the late Bob Broadbent, a former county commissioner and past mayor of Boulder City.

Walker said he was eager to meet with City Manager Vicki Mayes and City Attorney Dave Olsen to get a look at contracts the city is negotiating to prepare for his work on the council.

He said he also wants to meet with Strickland, who he said declined to meet him during the campaign.

Boulder City voters also gave overwhelming approval to the six questions on the general election ballot.

An advisory question asking whether the city should allow geothermic and geothermal energy exploration and production in the Eldorado Valley passed with 75 percent of the vote.

The City Charter currently specifies only solar energy development in the Eldorado Valley. A geothermic company has proposed building a 250-megawatt plant on South Buchanan Boulevard, near the Western Area Power Administration substation, which is not a part of the Eldorado Valley.

The other five questions would change the City Charter, which requires that they pass twice. The questions and their votes:

  • To require open meetings when the council considers terminating or otherwise disciplining city officers — the city manager, city attorney or city clerk. The charter allows open meetings but does not require them, but state law requires such meetings be open. The question passed with 79 percent of the vote and passed in 2008, so it will go into effect.
  • To clarify term limits on the City Council, noting that the mayor may serve for 12 years and that council members may serve for 12 years. State law governing term limits left it unclear whether a single person would be limited to serving 12 years total on the council, as mayor and council person. It passed with 68 percent of the vote and will appear on the ballot again next November.
  • To limit votes to approve expenditures from the Capital Improvement Funds to general elections. State law does not allow advisory questions in primary elections, and votes on the use of Capital Improvement Funds are considered advisory. It passed with 68 percent of the vote and will appear on the ballot again next November.
  • To make the City Charter gender-neutral. It passed with 75 percent of the vote and passed last November, so it will become law.
  • To add the Western Area Power Administration corridor, which was annexed into the city last June, to the charter's description of the city limits. It passed with 86 percent of the vote and will be on next November's ballot.

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