Aspen Times editorial: Whitsitt for Basalt mayor |

Aspen Times editorial: Whitsitt for Basalt mayor

The Aspen Times
Aspen CO Colorado

The two candidates for Basalt’s next mayor, whom voters will decide upon April 3, are to be applauded for vying for what can be a thankless job at times.

Glenn Rappaport and Jacque Whitsitt, who both sit on the Town Council, are matched against each other for the post that Leroy Duroux is vacating because of term limits.

Voters also have the luxury of having two very distinct candidates from whom to choose.

The Aspen Times endorses Whitsitt because we feel she reflects this newspaper’s longstanding positions on growth, development and affordable housing. Rappaport certainly means well for the future of Basalt. He is opinionated and has built a formidable reputation as an architect and, to some extent, a planner. But we simply disagree with his approach to development in the midvalley.

Whitsitt strikes us as a selfless champion of the greater good of the entire Roaring Fork Valley, as evidenced by her volunteer work on the boards of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Mid-Valley Trails, New Century Transportation and English in Action, among other boards.

And most recently, in November, she was a vocal advocate for the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 mill levy override even though she has never had children.

Whitsitt, unlike Rappaport, also has demonstrated during her time on the Basalt Town Council that she takes a more selective approach to approving development applications. A case in point is her role in the Town Council’s passage of an ordinance that allows the construction of 32 free-market homes on an annual basis, an appropriate measure to slow down runaway growth in Basalt. Likewise, she also was an early and vocal proponent of the town’s urban-growth boundaries at a time when Basalt definitely needed them.

The two candidates are also distinct in their approach toward affordable housing. While the economy remains in a recovery mode, Whitsitt realizes that when it does bounce back, there will be a need for affordable-housing mitigation by developers. Rappaport, however, argued in June against affordable-housing mitigation on commercial projects.

Again, there’s no doubting Rappaport’s and Whitsitt’s commitment to Basalt. And should Rappaport not claim the mayoral spot, he will return to his council seat because he is in the middle of his term. That’s not the case for Whitsitt – if she loses the mayoral election, she’s also off of the Town Council.

Whatever the case, we believe it’s Whitsitt’s turn to be Basalt’s next mayor. Her tireless and selfless work, as well as her ability to listen and be openminded, show she is ready to take the next step.

We encourage voters to select Jacque Whitsitt as the next mayor of Basalt.

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