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Check the facts

Dear Editor:It is good to fact check political ads to see when candidates manipulate the truth. Tim Semrau’s housing ad stretches the truth so thin, you can see right through it!The Pitkin Iron site was bought with housing dollars by Pitkin County in 1990. A decade later, when Mick Ireland was on the Board of County Commissioners, it was sold way below fair market value to Tim Semrau to develop for affordable housing. The subsidy for the affordable housing was paid for with the free market lots carved off the site and the below market land sale made possible by government dollars. It was a public/private partnership.Tim’s ad claims that he has produced more housing than Mick by counting Pitkin Iron only in his column, when clearly the county (and Mick) participated in its production. Tim dubiously claims to have produced this housing without government dollars when clearly the land sale for millions below its fair market value was a contribution of government dollars.Tim’s ad is less than honest, not a desirable quality for a mayor. History shows that the fight the Pitkin Iron homeowners had to force Tim to fix Pitkin Iron’s faulty water system was only resolved after lawyers were hired and it was brought back before the county commissioners.Naturally, Tim’s ad doesn’t credit Mick with all the housing that Mick has helped create through county zoning requirements, or helped secure permanently such as the Woody Creek Mobile Home Park’s conversion from space rent to land ownership for its residents. Equally troubling is Tim’s misleading statement that based on the 2002 EPS housing report, Aspen is nearing its affordable housing goal, and therefore, we can use our housing dollars now for a wealth redistribution scheme rather than new housing opportunities.The “goal” in the 2002 report has two clear written conditions neither of which has been addressed: A) no new job growth and B) no loss of the number of workers living in free market residences at that point in time.Anyone who hires employees of any rank or who reads the newspapers knows that affordable housing is now a valley wide crisis. No longer can we recruit workers with a promise that they can find reasonably priced housing within a 40 mile radius. Nothing is of greater threat to our resort economy’s success than having a quality, dedicated local workforce.Mick has worked to foster regional support for housing for some time, bringing partners into the housing program, rather than alienating them as Tim did when he pushed the county aside because it wasn’t bringing enough housing money to the table (as referenced in the EPS report).Please review the complete record of the candidates. I’m voting for Mick Ireland because he is dedicated to slow growth, protecting our quality of life and natural environment, and has greatly advanced affordable housing for the community’s benefit.Rachel E. RichardsAspen


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