A pitch from LJ

Dear Editor:

Someone once said that “fiscal responsibility in government is passing money from hand to hand until it finally disappears.” Fiscal responsibility is not just a statement, as one must have a history of action and achievement to formulate success.

The $18 million BMC debacle cannot be forgotten. It was very clear to many of us in the business that the rapid appreciation of real estate was not sustainable. Randy Gold of the Aspen Appraisal Group affirmed this in his annual speech to realtors in December 2006. In the summer of 2007 some of us were warning our clients about market peak. Unfortunately the city of Aspen was claiming ignorance to the history of market realities.

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” – Antoine de Saint Exupery

This is just what evolved with the BMC and other land purchases. What fiscally responsible plan does the city have to develop these properties? Does the city have to get into the free market development business to pay for their past mistakes? More density, overcrowding, penthouses and bigger buildings are one of the few remedies left to be cost effective. Bad decisions will now be followed by exponentially worse decisions.

The employee housing program should be reorganized to achieve better results. Only knowledgeable and practical real estate transactions by responsible parties should be pursued in the future. With a proactive program we will achieve more employee housing for the money, not less as we are experiencing today.

Mass and scale of new construction must be in character with the surrounding buildings. New approvals have created buildings that are in direct conflict with neighboring properties. We must abide by the current code and guidelines so as not to make decisions out of emotion but rather from defined criteria.

I will work to establish better principles for traffic and parking that meets the needs of the community. The parking requirements will be more welcome and user friendly for our retailers, restaurants and neighborhoods. At the same time I will make every effort to establish a proactive solution to increase bus ridership.

We need to institute a parking rebate for shoppers and diners this offseason.

We are burdened by the recent false economy. Quick action is needed to maintain and improve our tourism market share. It is the responsibility of the mayor to provide the tools of success to those who have the knowledge to succeed. We need to continue to support all reasonable actions to sustain a vibrant economy.

Incentives work better than disincentives. The spirit of our community is being broken by mandates that have impacted our quality of life. Peripheral vision is needed when making these decisions rather than a narrow, agenda-driven need.

No matter how you shake and bake the failures of the past, keeping the same cooks in the kitchen is not a recipe for success.

For a dignified approach to city government please vote LJ for mayor May 5.

LJ Erspamer



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