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A fatal conflict of interest

Dear Editor:I don’t know any of the four candidates for mayor personally, but I’ve been following the debates and discussions. I think it’s impressive that all three of the leading candidates have ideas, seem to have Aspen’s good at heart, and would doubtless try to do a good job.That said, I’m deeply troubled by candidate Semrau’s background as a developer. That is how he earned, and still earns, his living. I think there is a fatal conflict of interest in his candidacy. I recall that J.E. DeVilbiss recused himself from discussions of the Weinerstube when they came before Council for the far more innocent reason that he patronizes the restaurant.I have no doubt that Mr. Semrau is an honest man, and would try to do the right thing.But that brings up another problem – in today’s Aspen, accepting or rejecting building and development applications is a very dominant part of the council’s job. So Mr. Semrau runs the risk of being caught between a rock and a hard place. If he hears the application, can we really trust his impartiality? No matter how much he tries, can he really divorce himself from his “life experience” which he cites as a reason to vote for him? I’m not convinced.But if he were to pledge to recuse himself from all development issues – as I think he should – we would have a mayor who in effect can’t perform one of the vital functions of that office.Sorry, but I just can’t vote for him!Alexander L. BielAspen


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