60 Minutes, please help us
July 26, 2002
The name of our city is Aspen, Colorado. We have a big problem here and we need your help.
Can you shine your light on some goings-on, so that everyone can clearly see the dark corners of our city government that no longer exist to represent the voters?
We have had several votes on a proposed new Entrance to Aspen over the years. Some, mixed with rail, were appealing, but since have been put aside. The last vote we had, in May of 2001, we voted to keep the Marolt property just west of town as open space, which meant no straight shot into Aspen.
Recently, three members of our City Council (McCabe, Hershey, Semrau) chose to go against the will of the voters and trade the Marolt property to the Colorado Department of Transportation. We were stunned that such a thing could be done – one of the dark corners that needs some light.
It doesn’t seem to matter what the voters want. These three councilmen and the head man, who’s a county commissioner (Mick Ireland), seem to have it all planned out how it will happen – no matter how we feel about it. (And they were elected to represent us … or so we thought.)
A group of us decided we’d try to overturn their decision by gathering names on petitions. We got more names than needed (800 were needed), and they didn’t give us much time to do it. But now the three councilmen have told us it was all a waste of time.
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After all the signatures were certified, these three councilmen, with a lot of help from their cheerleader, Mick Ireland, the county commissioner with big plans for all of us regarding local highways, decided that our petitions could not undo their plans.
It is a sad day when this lovely spot becomes a pawn in a political game. Those of us who oppose a straight shot of wide highway into town are doing so because we want Aspen to stay as charming as it can under the pressures of development that want it to become just like everywhere else.
Drive south from Moab and see the little towns whose entrances and exits have been changed from small, meandering roads into four or six lanes of concrete, making those communities seem stripped of their previous charms.
Sure, you get through town a few seconds faster, but the changes have destroyed an otherwise sweet experience of seeing a true, small town.
We need your help here in Aspen, 60 Minutes. We need you to help us save our beauty, our unique character and small town feeling that drew us all here – that a handful of politicians are trying their darndest to take away from us. And exposing some of these politicians wouldn’t hurt a bit.
Christie Ann Kienast