Congratulations gentlemen, now it’s time to get to work
June 5, 2007
Whew! Finally we have a result after that long election season. We’d like to congratulate the winning candidates, Mick Ireland, Steve Skadron, and of course, Dwayne Romero, who garnered enough votes in the first election on May 8 to win a council seat.On June 11, all these new council members will be sworn in. There’s hardly a pause for them to celebrate. Still, we’d like to give the winners (along with existing council members Jack Johnson and J.E. DeVilbiss) a few things to think about as they prepare to get to work.As a result of this election and other issues that have occupied Aspen over the last year, we suggest that the new council tackle the following matters:• Election reform: The recent saga surrounding council candidate Toni Kronberg’s residency should leave no doubt that City Hall needs to tighten and clarify the residency requirements for political candidates. These requirements should not be a bureaucratic barrier to prospective candidates, but should include some simple proof of residency within city boundaries. We also hope the council will consider alternatives to the existing runoff election system; as we’ve seen in the past few elections, the runoffs don’t produce any different results and they invariably draw fewer voters.• Construction management: We’re happy to see the council has heard the complaints of city residents overwhelmed by dust, noise and dump trucks, and has passed new regulations to reduce the disruption. The effectiveness of these new rules should be carefully monitored, however, to ensure they don’t simply lengthen the overall life of construction projects by shortening the hours per day.• Affordable housing: Aspen’s housing shortage continues for everyone from service industry workers to music students. Creation of housing units, for both rental and sale, must remain a top City Council priority.• Entrance to Aspen: We think it’s self-evident after some 30 years of traffic headaches and super-heated rhetoric that the city of Aspen must take the reins on this issue and push for a transit-oriented, environmentally friendly solution.• Long meetings: City Council meetings have become so long and laborious that they’re alienating the public. We understand there is a huge load of council business, but can it be handled in a more efficient way, a more citizen-friendly way? How about starting the meetings a bit earlier, say 3 p.m. instead of 5, and ending them earlier?That’s our two cents. We wish the new council the best of luck in a challenging job.