Consider before you vote
Dear Editor:Aspen has too much at stake for its citizenry to make a simplistic assumption that one candidate is an environmentalist and the other is a developer. Both mayoral candidates want to preserve Aspen, both want to manage growth, and both want to solve the traffic problem, but there are important differences – government solutions versus community solutions.The biggest difference is Tim believes government should act as an enabler, whereas his opponent believes government is capable of solving problems without collaboration with the private sector. I suggest the private sector may be more capable of making some long-term business decisions than temporary government and should be included in the process. The results of some recent poor decisions are abundantly visible and irreversible.Personality: Tim is a team player and a listener who doesn’t create an environment of “us”-and-“them” polarization and Tim is open to diverse ideas.Style: Tim’s style of leadership is inclusive, not polarizing and vitriolic. Tim is skilled in working with all levels of our community, and doesn’t paint wealthy residents as adversaries. Tim welcomes expertise from all strata of society and negotiates to find the best solution for the good of the whole.Environment: Tim advocates environmental preservation and built his first solar house in 1983, helped initiate Aspen’s green Canary Initiative program while he was on council and initiated Aspen’s green building program.Taxes: Unlike his opponent, Tim does not believe the city should collect tax revenue without accountability, and he understands how local businesses would be hurt by a 50 percent increase in property assessments. Tim is committed to reducing the mill levy regarding assessments so tax revenue is fair and needed, with full disclosure to the public of windfall taxes from rising assessments.County building: Tim believes a new county government office building should be located outside town, which would decrease Aspen’s traffic congestion. Using 100,000 square feet of prime downtown space for a gigantic government building will not help downtown vitality. Such a massive construction project in the core is a bad idea.Development: Tim proposes including government developments in our growth control system so Aspen isn’t overwhelmed with a huge backlog, and development can be paced.Employee housing: Unlike his opponent, who appears to want an infinite amount of government employee housing and housing tax dollars, Tim has proposed three specific projects that allow Aspen to obtain our housing goals utilizing both public and private-sector resources. Tim has a proven track record of building affordable housing on his own, and a business background that will enable him to manage our housing program more efficiently.I ask you to consider the decorum of the two candidates. Which candidate will represent Aspen at its best to our residents and visitors, to the state and the country? Which one is more inclusive and able to consider alternatives? Consider carefully who would be the best ambassador for Aspen, then please vote on (or before) June 5. Thank you.Susan C. O’NealAspen
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