As commissioner, Mohrman says he’ll improve decorum | AspenTimes.com
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As commissioner, Mohrman says he’ll improve decorum

Eben Harrell
Bill Mohrman had his photograph taken at the Hotel Jerome Wednesday afternoon July 21st, 2004. Aspen Times photo/Devon Meyers.
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William Mohrman has had his share of run-ins with the Pitkin County commissioners.He sued the county 10 years ago when the commissioners denied his proposal to develop his property in Hunter Creek in the Vanhorn Park area. He headed a campaign to recall Commissioner Mick Ireland. And most recently, he traveled to Denver to testify in front of the state Senate that he experienced “abuses” from the commissioners in his land-use application process. The Senate was considering a bill that the commissioners felt would gut their ability to control growth.It was this latter action that prompted the commissioners to refer to Mohrman, and the other county residents who testified in Denver, as “a bunch of loonies.”Evidently, Mohrman has decided that since he can’t beat them, he’ll try to join them. His name is on the Aug. 10 primary ballot for District 3 in the county commissioner race.

The Republican said he is a defender of property rights. Having been frustrated by county restrictions himself, he’s a logical ally to developers and property owners alike. Yet he also insists his rift with the commissioners is not as wide as many would believe. Surprisingly for someone whose development efforts have been frustrated, Mohrman said he agrees with many of the commissioners’ restrictive policies. To Mohrman, it’s the process, more than the policies, that needs changing. It’s a decorum thing.”I’d like to see an applicant walk into the county building and be helped through the process,” he said. “The commissioners are not as respectful as they could be. If elected, I’m not going to interrupt anyone. I’ll be respectful and listen.”Mohrman, who ran an auto-body repair shop at the Aspen Business Center for years, said his experience is in a field where patience and politeness are priorities.

“I’m going to do my homework, pay polite attention and then make up my mind,” he said. “That’s what a commissioner should do.”Mohrman’s priority if elected is the county’s spending habits. He is particularly concerned with inefficiencies within the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority (“The buses are often empty”) and would like to avoid hiking taxes to bail RFTA out. RFTA is an independent agency governed by a board made up of elected officials from seven jurisdictions. Pitkin County and the other jurisdictions contribute sales tax revenues toward the agency’s operation. The board has no extraordinary authority over RFTA’s budget, but its views do get heard. “I’m an advocate of not raising taxes, but reducing spending,” Mohrman said. “I’d like to look into why the county is projecting a deficit. The commissioners have led us down this path and it needs to change.”

Mohrman said he could happily work with the current board, despite recent differences. And working with Ireland, who he tried to recall, has already proved possible.”We coached the same youth football program together this year,” Mohrman said.In regard to the commissioners calling him a “loony,” that’s just another example to Mohrman of how the attitude of the board needs changing.”I think it’s very disrespectful to call an individual a name just because they don’t have the same idea as you,” Mohrman said. “It’s really about respect.”Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com


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