Aspen Chamber gives $5,000 cash and in-kind to anti-Referendum 1 campaign |

Aspen Chamber gives $5,000 cash and in-kind to anti-Referendum 1 campaign

Referendum 1, passed by Aspen voters in May, required a public vote on future developer requests for land-use variances.
Aspen Times file |

The Aspen Chamber Resort Association has contributed more than $5,000 in cash and in-kind advertising to an anti-Referendum 1 campaign, according to the city’s latest campaign-finance report released Tuesday.

Earlier this month, a group led by Referendum 1 proponents argued that because the chamber is a “quasi-government entity” receiving the majority of its revenue from tax dollars, it should remove itself from the campaign issue. City Attorney Jim True said it’s his opinion that the chamber is not a government entity and there’s no evidence to suggest that it is using tax revenue improperly.

If approved, the referendum would strip the Aspen City Council of its ability to grant development variances on height, mass, affordable housing and parking without a public vote.

Organizers of the campaign, “Know the Facts on Referendum 1,” include former councilman and Aspen Skiing Co. manager Derek Johnson as well as chamber board members. So far the group has raised $1,922 toward the effort, including a chamber contribution of $1,272, which has not been spent. The report also lists $3,875 in non-monetary contributions from the chamber, which covered advertising and voter-list fees.

Referendum 1 supporters behind the “Keep Aspen, Aspen” campaign are outpacing the opposition, reporting $2,301 in total monetary contributions. The group also lists about $800 in non-monetary contributions from Bert Myrin, a council candidate who led the “Keep Aspen, Aspen” campaign, and retired tax attorney Maurice Emmer. The group has spent $2,265, mostly on campaign materials and advertising.

Councilman Adam Frisch, who is seeking to defend his seat, leads all campaign fundraising, reporting a total of $9,107 as of Tuesday. Notable contributors include council members Dwayne Romero and Ann Mullins, at $100 each.

Myrin’s camp has raised the second most, reporting $5,257 in total fundraising, while former Mayor Mick Ireland has raised the third most, at $4,985. Forming housing director and Councilman Tom McCabe has raised $1,760, bartender Keith Goode has raised $993, and housing board member Marcia Goshorn has raised $600.

Former money manager and social blogger, Andy Israel, who is making his first bid for a council seat, has yet to raise or spend any money on his campaign. Israel, who is currently on vacation, said he will not be in town for the May 5 contest, but he said he plans to be here if he qualifies for a runoff.

In Aspen’s mayoral race, Mayor Steve Skadron is outpacing former councilman Torre, $7,644 to $5,450.

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