Aspen mayoral candidates offer their opinions on government response to pandemic

Staff reports

Editor’s note: Today is the third question in a series of five posed to the two Aspen mayoral candidates. Their answers (200-word limit) will be published each day through Friday. For more information on the 2021 Aspen municipal election, go to

What do you think should be the city’s role in financially assisting local businesses during the pandemic?


Firstly, let us all remember that the support and relief for businesses is not about the dollars to the establishments, it is about the people. Business assistance is to maintain the employment and lifeblood in our community. The city should do direct relief funding, assist in getting state resources to businesses in our community and reduce or eliminate some of the fees and taxes that are levied.

The city can help give businesses the ability to be creative in their delivery of services without charging them for it. Allowing the use of right of way, expanded outdoor opportunities and allocating parking for pick up have all been successful in the efforts to support businesses.

Aspen’s restaurant and business community have done a great job of pivoting and adjusting their operations. We need to support them, as this community has risen to do.

The city should continue to facilitate tapping in to the private resources that this community has. Thank you to the individuals, landlords and organizations that have also stepped up for the greater good.

This is a true test of our community resiliency and togetherness, a test that Aspen and the city will triumph over together.

Lee Mulcahy

Local government shutting small businesses is overreaching. Government cannot seem to live within the confines of the Constitution.

Our local politicians have declared war on liberty and freedom. Worse, free speech, due process, transparency and the right to challenge government wrongdoing have become casualties. Sadly, former Aspen Sheriff Bob Braudis told me he believes we now live in a police state.

Our local Democrats cannot handle a major crisis without attempting to grab more power. It’s necessary to state I love Mayor Torre who is an Independent. We’ve been friends for over 25 years. Society moves forward by acts of peace and compromise.

Nevertheless, the rent relief program was a fantastic public-private partnership. Aspen gift cards should be reissued. The community owes Kenny and Robin Smith a giant hug for their efforts to work with ACRA in the restaurant matching initiative. Genius.

The divide between the left and the right over the proper role of government may lead to the decline of our Democracy. In Aspen, capitalism is fundamentally broken. We’ve perverted the ability of a few billionaires to completely bastardize the system and destroy what made this country great.

Courage, deep humility and compassion are necessary now. It’s no time for nasty partisanship.