Campaign civility 101
It’s campaign season in Aspen again, and we can all rest easy knowing that a veritable cast of characters, thinkers and philosophers will be vying for a seat on the City Council.
There will be the usual rhetoric flying about growth and preservation, the entrance to Aspen (God help us), city spending and affordable housing. Don’t get us wrong: These are important issues that need to be addressed.
But at the same time, another issue has emerged among those people have announced their candidacies so far: civility.
In fact, there seems to be more talk about civility on City Council than the other issues combined.
It’s too bad it’s an issue at all.
For sure, Aspen residents have a hard time agreeing on just about everything, but now all of the sudden the candidates, and at least one incumbent, Mayor Mick Ireland, agree that civility, or the lack thereof, is a campaign issue.
The issue of civility in Aspen politics is nothing new; though this year it seems to have reached another level.
Perhaps it’s because of the recession ” people seem to get testier during stressful times like these. Or maybe it’s because of developers, who feel they run into a brick wall every time they step into council chambers. Then again, it could be all of the gadflies and watchdogs who invade council chambers and give elected officials an earful, only to leave discouraged because of the condescending nature of a council member or two.
The result is that many people who speak in front of elected leaders feel intimidated, and that’s just plain wrong. Public comment shouldn’t be public debate and we’ve been observing that for months now. Elected leaders shouldn’t be talking down to their constituents, no matter how annoying or vocal they are.
We expect civility all the time ” from our current elected officials and those who are stumping for a seat.
Here is a friendly reminder this election season: Keep it clean and respectful. We expect nothing less.
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