Candidate Andy Israel explains Aspen residency status
The Aspen Times
When well-known traveler Andy Israel announced his candidacy for an open Aspen City Council seat this month, it was inevitable that some would question his city residency status.
His hometown Detroit; La Jolla, California; San Francisco; South America and Southeast Asia are just a few of the places Israel has spent recent summers, but the local blogger at AspenSpin.com and financial consultant said Aspen, where he’s lived for the past 12 winters, is his home.
“(If elected), I am committed to being here full-time, 100 percent,” Israel said in an interview Wednesday. “If that means changing my nomadic lifestyle, I’m willing to do it.”
Running on a platform that focuses on three issues — shorter, more constructive council meetings; fiscal responsibility at City Hall; and simplifying the land-use code so every deal isn’t a negotiated settlement — Israel is up against six others. The list of candidates for two open seats includes Councilman Adam Frisch, former Mayor Mick Ireland, local attorney Bert Myrin, Planning and Zoning Commissioner Keith Goode, Aspen Pitkin County Housing Authority board member Marcia Goshorn and former housing authority Director Tom McCabe.
Aspen’s Home Rule Charter states that in order to run, a candidate must be a registered elector of the city, a citizen of the U.S. for at least one year and an Aspen resident for at least one year, according to City Clerk Linda Manning. Israel met with Manning before submitting his nomination petition to ensure his credentials were valid. Just because Israel travels frequently does not take him out of the running, Manning said.
“You can spend summers elsewhere,” Manning said. “It’s just what you consider your residence.”
Israel said he typically arrives in Aspen every September and stays until around April. He doesn’t own real estate in town, and each time he returns he said he looks for dog-friendly rentals, which he noted are hard to come by in Aspen.
“It’s extremely difficult, it’s extremely expensive, and I love my dog,” Israel said. “I have heard more incredulous stories from landlords about the beauty of their apartments than you would believe.”
Israel has leased the same unit for as many as five years. Other times three years or less. When his friends ask him about his residency, Israel said he reiterates his commitment to being an elected public official, if he wins a seat.
A certified public accountant and financial consultant, Israel is a licensed real estate broker in Colorado and Michigan. He also holds a masters of business administration from the Wharton School.
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Aspen Skiing Co. officials made a tag-team appeal to the Pitkin County Commissioners Wednesday urging approval for the proposed expansion of the Pandora’s terrain and other projects on Aspen Mountain. The commissioners continued the hearing until Aug. 28, when a vote is possible.