Burlingame supporters issue debate challenge
Decrying the misinformation swirling around Aspen’s controversial Burlingame Ranch worker housing, pro-Burlingame forces issued a challenge Thursday to debate the issues with the opposition.Members of HOPE [Housing Our People Environmentally] appeared on live television yesterday to invite the “other side” to sit down for a series of moderated, weekly discussions about various aspects of the working housing project in advance of a May 3 vote on annexation of land for Burlingame.”I really do want to ask the opposition to Burlingame to make an effort to meet with us and have a debate,” said Frank Peters, a former city councilman and housing board member.HOPE members suggested the first debate take place on Thursday, April 8, in front of the television cameras at the GrassRoots TV studio in Aspen, where yesterday’s news conference was held.
“What we really don’t want to do is have an election and then have people say, well, it didn’t really mean anything,” Peters said. “We really want to make sure that we have finality here and that everyone has had their say.”HOPE member Mick Ireland, a county commissioner, said the group would like the discussions to focus on the benefits of Burlingame, the “equity” of having another vote on the project after the advisory one in August 2000, and the need for affordable housing.Dwight Shellman, a Burlingame foe who used a live, televised news conference in early March to blast the project and the city, said yesterday he wasn’t sure anyone in the loosely formed opposition group would take up HOPE’s challenge.”My hope is that there will be further public dialogue about this – maybe in this forum or not,” he said.Opponents who think the annexation deal for Burlingame is a bad one aren’t interested in a debate on the need for housing in general, he said.
“It’s not really about housing. It’s about the deal,” Shellman said.HOPE members outlined their already well-publicized thoughts about the loss of young families from the community and what they believe are the benefits of Burlingame.The pros and cons of the housing project have received a great deal of attention in letters to the editors of local newspapers lately, but there’s a lot of misinformation out there, Burlingame proponents contend.HOPE member Martin Horowitz blamed a lot of it on Burlingame’s foes.”It’s sort of like a spin that’s put out by this group,” he said. “I personally feel they’ve put out a lot of misinformation.”
Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is email@example.com
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