An appetite for peace? |

An appetite for peace?

Dear Marilyn Marks and Mayor Mick Ireland:

It’s clear there is no love lost between the two of you.

Perhaps it stems from the Aspen City Council’s July 2007 passage of Ordinance 30, which protects historically significant buildings, specifically those 30 years or older. We understand that Marilyn was none too pleased with that, and the ordinance was passed on Mick’s watch.

To Marilyn’s credit, she unearthed the city of Aspen’s massive oversight in its campaign literature for the Burlingame affordable-housing project. The city said the project would cost taxpayers $14.5 million, while in actuality the correct figure now stands at $87.5 million.

Marilyn makes it no secret that she believes an independent investigation should be launched. Mick has made it equally clear that he believes that would not be appropriate.

The battle lines, indeed, have been drawn ” sometimes all the way to The Aspen Times office.

At times the mayor will drop by unannounced ” we do have an open-door policy, after all ” to tell us how Marilyn is behind yet another lynch-mob attack on the Aspen City Council.

At other times we are on the receiving end of Marilyn’s ongoing e-mail barrage detailing why Mick’s administration is the antithesis of solid, transparent leadership.

Just the other day, Mick was in the common area of The Aspen Times, vocally upset with Marilyn’s latest proclamation. Little did the mayor know that Marilyn was on the other side of the wall in our publisher’s office, taking it all in.

But this week, peace is on our minds. After all, the Dalai Lama is here, and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain will meet with His Holiness today in Aspen. Barack Obama has been in the Middle East, talking with leaders there in an effort to bridge the gap.

Meanwhile, the Aspen Institute continues to emphasize respectful dialogue among different cultures, religions and political leaders of vastly different philosophies.

But our mayor and Marilyn just cannot seem to get along.

Which brings us to our point. We cordially invite Marilyn and Mick to have dinner together next week, at an undisclosed location. Just you two. No media. No bureaucrats, elected officials or gadflies. Just Mick and Marilyn.

We’ll make the reservations and pay for the entire meal. Perhaps you two can find some common ground or at least a way to be cordial to each other.

After dinner, we would like both of you to write about the experience and whether it changed your views on the issues. We’ll then publish your offerings ” side by side. We know you both have an affinity for writing, judging by the e-mails and letters to the editor we’ve seen, so that shouldn’t be a problem.

The ball is in your court. You know how to reach us.

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