Council runoff is running into the ground | AspenTimes.com
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Council runoff is running into the ground

Were I a betting man, Id lay good odds that were going to have a boys club at the City Council table once all the smoke and bother of this June 5 runoff election is behind us.That will be as it will be, but I think the voters have reason to believe our current city administration has screwed up and is doing us a disservice in the process.But first, lets admit that Toni Kronbergs fanciful run for office, which has been entertaining to say the least, is too fraught with difficulties to end up anywhere but the dustbin of local history.Ive known Toni for many years, and weve generally been on amiable terms except for those occasions when my work clashed with her visions visions that sometimes soared to fantastic heights where a mere mortal would have difficulty breathing, much less drawing conclusions acceptable to Toni.Generally, though, Ive appreciated her battle to keep the solons of power in line and on point at their jobs. Weve not always agreed on everything, but it would be a strange and sorry world if everybody agreed with me on everything, and the same is true of Toni. Shes been an underdog yapping at the heels of the our elected representatives, and thats always something I support in principle, if not in all particulars.Although I havent been writing the stories casting doubt on her residency in Aspen, and therefore her eligibility to run for city office, I have been following the series intently. If, as many people have told The Aspen Times, Toni truly does live in the Aspen Village neighborhood outside the city limits, then that constitutes a gross breach of trust with the voters and she clearly should not be allowed to run for office or serve, if by some strange chance she were elected.The reverse, obviously, is also true: If she has been living in Aspen for the past year, as she maintains, she has just as much right to run as, say, Helen Klanderud, although I doubt our soon-to-retire mayor would like at this point to be mentioned in the same sentence with Kronberg.Anyway, theres trouble in River City, and it starts with T, and that rhymes (roughly) with PC, which stands for Political Cowardice. And thats what our City Council is guilty of today.First off, the council met with City Attorney John Worcester behind closed doors to debate the Kronberg matter, and I consider that to be a violation of the states sunshine and open meetings laws, not to mention cowardly. This political dust-up affects the entire citizenry of Aspen, and is not something that should be decided in secret where no one can hear our representatives reasoning.And to toss off that tired old excuse that the discussion is a legal consultation and therefore off-limits to the public is just so much horse manure.The Colorado law books lay out particular times and circumstances under which government can duck public scrutiny, and those do not include a general rubric such as anytime we want to talk with our lawyer about a sensitive issue, which is the basic rationale here. Contract negotiations, pending lawsuits and certain kinds of personnel matters are among the topics deemed subject to secrecy. But there is no pending lawsuit here, Toni is not a city employee, and an election is not a contract negotiation.Rather, she is accused of misleading the electorate, fraudulently running for elective office and attempting to cover up her misdeeds. These are serious charges, and not to be shoved under any kind of carpet for later inspection, particularly since the election itself is affected by the matters being shoved under the carpet. We need clarity here, not obfuscation and delay.The City Council and its attorney should pull their collective heads out of the dark place where they now rest, blink a couple of times to clear their vision, and make a damned decision about Tonis residency status. End of story.John Colson can be reached at jcolson@aspentimes.com


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