Still plenty to consider for Burlingame
August 5, 2008
Burlingame fatigue may have set in, as weariness always does in the case of a painful multichapter story of government mismanagement. While some urge us to “move on,” moving on does not seem appropriate until we truly understand where we are and how we got here. I believe that we need to stay planted right here until we develop a well-planned path.
I continue to write about Burlingame because of my ongoing concern about transparency and ethics in this matter.
I believe that Aspen must have a healthier, more progressive affordable-housing program. It is fundamental to our economy and our sense of community. Until we can be honest about Burlingame errors and our affordable-housing issues, we continue to inflict long-term damage on the program.
Distressing statements, findings and events occurred as a result of the recent Burlingame audits, which most citizens will find disappointing and surprising. I have written a detailed report of my views, which may be accessed at http://www.aspenmatters.com. The summary of the report is as follows:
1) The city claims in their recent Burlingame press release that the auditors found Burlingame I was delivered “on budget” ” a claim repeated by the press. In fact, a budget review was not within the scope of work of either firm. The auditors never saw a budget and deny that they verified it. Under pressure, the city later acknowledged that there was no comprehensive budget.
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2) The city claimed in their press release that their CPAs determined that there was no intentional misrepresentation ” a claim repeated by the press. In fact, the CPAs did not attempt to examine this issue and could not have done so operating within their professional standards.
3) The false statements appear to have been included in the city’s official press release at the specific direction of the mayor and reviewed by the staff. They have not been retracted.
4) The auditors identified serious weaknesses in the city’s ability to manage a project such as Burlingame. With the exception of one news article by Curtis Wackerle, of the Daily News, these have gone largely unrecognized.
5) I hope that Aspen citizens will continue to ask questions of our government until we are provided with the answers we need to make well-informed decisions.
Please attend “Burlingame – The Unanswered Questions,” a town-hall type forum, at Paepcke Auditorium, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Aug. 7. E-mail your questions to BurlingameQuestion@gmail.com. Note if you want your name withheld.