A twisted fate for the Given
August 26, 2010
What we have here is a failure to communicate: from the people of Aspen to their City Council. Or is it just a deaf ear?
The City Council has refused to allow the Given Institute’s fate to be voted upon by the same people who elected them. Is that because the referendum would be simultaneously offered with two other bond issues that are perhaps more favored “pet projects” than the Given – especially since the council already overrode its own criteria that qualified the Given as “historic” and might have ensured it would be saved as such?
Or perhaps because, in allowing the people of Aspen to vote on this, it would force the council to adhere to its professed purpose statement – support history, the arts, intelligent exchanges? I’ve traveled this country extensively – and to other nations: The face of a city defines it, makes obvious its priorities and character, its creativity, its imagination and, yes, its history.
Lest they may have forgotten, it is the City Council’s obligation, as the guardian of its citizenry, to ensure that the qualities that endear that city to its people are not only protected by codes and regulations but by our democracy – the people’s vote! The price is right – $15 million – an “unacceptable” MOU, by the council’s own words? And the Given is “historic”? The buyer chooses to remain anonymous. Are the reasons the City Council doesn’t want the Given’s fate to go to the people also anonymous?
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