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The Politics of Aspen

This was a recent letter to the Editor in The Aspen Times and The Aspen Daily News about the upcoming election in Aspen.  Please Vote on May 7.



Dear Editor

Now that all 4 current City Council members have indicated their intentions to run for Mayor and the sitting Mayor intends to run for City Council, Aspen’s May 7, 2013 election is shaping up to be a doozie.

I’m not really into politics; I’m into quality of life.  That’s why I live in Aspen.  I’m not sure yet who I’m voting for this coming May, but urge I all the candidates to consider the following issues:

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY:  I’m a former numbers guy.  Just eye-ballin’ it…I see a tremendous amount of waste, over-spending and bureaucracy at City Hall.   I understand how Government works…departments get budgeted dollars…and then they figure out how spend them.   Someone needs to take a sharp pencil to the budget to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely.   Wasting money is bad form.

ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP:   Aspen is a clear leader in the Green Movement, as it should continue to be.  Our high profile position in the climate change debate has a direct relationship to the future viability of our town.  We need to continue to be innovative and progressive in this area…again without wasting money.   In Aspen proper, we need to preserve our parks and open spaces rather than tear them up with bulldozers.  Parklets will not cut it in Aspen.

SMART GROWTH:  Over the years Aspen has evolved into a nucleus of greed.  There will always be some people who view Aspen as an investment opportunity…rather than for her natural beauty and small town character.  Fine, then let developers build within the rules of the zoning code.  Smart growth is O.K. , but no more back room deals, no more offsets and special situations.   No more…”we’ll give you this, if you do that”.  No more lawsuits.   If speculators want to invest in Aspen, they should have a clear understanding, ahead of time, of what they can do with their property.  The biggest and best use is fine…but bigger than that… isn’t.

Between now and May 7, I expect there will be a lot of mud slinging from various camps and by many  of  the vocal, local gadflies, many of whom don’t even vote in Aspen.  Maybe that’s why the City of Aspen holds their elections during mud season?    Hopefully this time around things will be civil.   It’s easy to criticize, but much more difficult to build a consensus.

How ever the ballots are cast in May, I hope the next regime moves forward in a positive and constructive direction.   Good luck to all the candidates and here’s hoping for a good clean election.


Aspen, Colorado

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