55 ain’t 60
March 15, 2002
Councilman Tim Semrau materially misrepresents my recent letter to the editor. He also claims that the city is not lowering the community housing goal when it rejects its own consultant’s recommendation that the city maintain a goal of housing 60 percent of the workforce.
The consultant’s report, produced at a cost in excess of $125,000, recommends the creation of 995 units and states (page xi, Feb. 8, 2002): “The current housing needs assessment is based on the previously adopted goal of housing 60 percent of the local workforce. This goal is a reasonable target absent any compelling reason for its adjustment. Clearly, housing a majority of the local workforce is essential to community sustainability and 60 percent represents a reasonable goal.”
Mr. Semrau has every right to advocate a lower housing goal, but he cannot hide behind the consultant’s report as justification, nor can he claim that a 55 percent goal isn’t less than 60 percent.
The report shows that the city has the resources to build 995 units within the next decade and meet the 60 percent goal. The report states (Page 6): “If it (the goal) were adjusted down to 55 percent, the need would be decreased by 389 units to 606.”
Mr. Semrau also makes the following untrue statement about my position as expressed in a recent letter to the editor: “Mr. Ireland also contends that government has no need to be ‘efficient’ in the administration of the housing program.”
My letter speaks for itself on efficiency (March 8): “The city’s rationale for ‘putting the puppy to sleep’ (abolishing the housing board) rests in the notion of ‘efficiency.’ Bad decisions can always be made efficiently by ignoring the input of the affected parties and the long-term interests of the community as a whole.
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“While efficiency is desirable, I do not believe the decision on whether we should continue down the road to Theme Park status served by a mostly imported workforce should be solely in the hands of city officials elected by a minority of the affected community.”
I stand by my statements that efficiency is an important government goal, but not the only important goal. Were efficiency the only relevant goal, the city would have started work on building Burlingame after the public referendum a year and a half ago, rather than commissioning a study to figure out whether the project was needed and publicly supported.
Pitkin County commissioner