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A lack of good government

” … in Cicero’s words, ‘law is the bond of civil society,’ and that all men, governors and the governed, are always under, never above, laws; that these laws can be developed and refined by rational discussion, and that the highest laws are those upon which all rational men of goodwill, when fully informed, will tend to agree.” The Public Philosophy by Walter Lippmann.

How ancient Cicero sounds. Today, no one defends his ideal of good government. It would be folly to think a majority of those voting are fully informed and filled with goodwill. This condition is reflected by our elected representatives. Civility is not doing well in our postmodern world. Amen to that.

Our City officials act as executives, legislators and in a quasi-judicial capacity. Checks and balances on this concentration of power should be dealt with in Aspen’s Home Rule Charter. All voters realize that this much power may corrupt our officials. One example is the recent political flap over the allegations in the press that the City Council was caught extracting bribes in the annexation of the Hospital District’s property.

Another example is the current attempt by the City to fast-track past the private covenants that cover some AABC land it needs for its Burlingame public housing project. Private property owners have the legal right to put deed restrictions on development in subdivisions such as the AABC. These protective measures can be a lot tougher than the City and County zoning is.

The private covenants at the AABC are registered in the Courthouse. They are truly the law of the land. The City Council is not above this law, although it seems to think it should be. The ancient ideal of civility and equality under the law are not doing well in postmodern Aspen. One hopes that the Council does not give the appearance of offering bribes to the AABC in order to bypass this subdivision’s covenants.

Be Brave Comrades.

KNCB Moore

Aspen


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