Su Lum: Sad endorsements | AspenTimes.com

Su Lum: Sad endorsements

The entire town was shocked and saddened when candidate (and, I would guess, forerunner) Tom Peirce suffered a major health setback and had to withdraw from the council race. As of this writing he is still in intensive care at Aspen Valley Hospital and our hearts are with him.

I didn’t know Tom – I had picked him for endorsement from watching the forums – but everyone who did know him seemed to think the world of him. Mary Hayes said he used to play with her children and that he was a great KID. You can’t get a much better testimony than that.

I’ve endorsed only Tom in my past columns, so it’s unsettling to have to rethink the matter, especially under the distressing circumstances, but I’ll tell you how I’ll vote and I’ll try to explain why.

With two council seats up for grabs, the chances are that at least one of them will be taken by Tom McCabe, Rachel Richards or Tony Hershey. I want

to see a change in the balance of the board, especially in the areas of runaway housing projects and in support for our vote on the S-curves, so I’m voting for Cliff Weiss. I didn’t endorse two candidates before and am not going to do so now, because I feel it would weaken the chance to take one of the two open council

seats but, if I had endorsed two, Cliff Weiss would have been my other choice.

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In one of the early forums, sponsored by the Friday Men’s Lunch, Cliff Weiss made some startling suggestions about building a conference center and making Aspen a year-round resort but, to his credit, he hasn’t brought that up again and I hope never will, and I’m confident that the town doesn’t want to go in that direction and won’t let it happen.

On the plus side, Cliff Weiss has been very active on the matter of keeping the S-curves in and the straight shot out, and I strongly want three people of that persuasion on the new board.

The mayor’s race is more clear cut. Andrew Kole is trying to make the case that his “persona” (the social facade an individual assumes; in this case, of his TV personality) is different from his “person” (real self), but off camera he is consistently as rude and egocentric as he is before it. No to Andrew Kole.

Terry Paulson is well placed exactly where he is, with another two years to serve on City Council. He would have no more power or any more voting clout as mayor than he has now. If he were elected, we’d lose Helen Klanderud’s vote and presence on the council, and Terry’s vacated seat would be filled by someone appointed to the position by the new board, neither of which are acceptable. No to Terry Paulson for mayor, keep him on the council.

Helen Klanderud is a voice of reason and wisdom in city government, and I trust her to look after the best interests of the town.

She’s been attacked for saying that public comment is a “privilege, not a right,” a remark made at a work session where public comment was not in order (but allowed anyway). She is firm in her belief that all citizens have a RIGHT to be heard during public comment segments, and is diligent in making sure that everyone has an opportunity to speak, though not necessarily to filibuster, and I’m with her on that. And she not only allows the speaking, she listens.

YES for Helen Klanderud.

[Su Lum is a longtime local who urges you all to turn out and vote. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]

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