Councilmen gone awry
August 16, 2002
How disingenuous and deceitful that the Aspen City Council has directed the city manager to sign away precious and irreplaceable Marolt open space property to the state for construction of a highway straight shot into Aspen, yet is simultaneously fashioning language for a ballot question in November, three months after the fact, asking citizens of Aspen whether they want such a new highway entrance.
This despite a petition that 1,500 valley residents signed, over 800 of those names having been certified by the city clerk as registered Aspen voters.
The council fought against the petition, attempted to discredit the petitioners and succeeded in nullifying the petition on a legal technicality (“administrative” vs. “legislative.”)
The citizens’ petition asked the council not to give away valuable dedicated open space at the entrance to town without a vote of the people.
The ballot issue the council is planning for November is a farce and a travesty, coming as it will three months after council will have already transferred the property to the state. It is deliberate obfuscation by a council gone dangerously awry.
The majority members of the council have taken an adversarial position against citizens who legitimately and in good faith petitioned their government. With the not-too-subtle coaching of a county commissioner who is masterminding the entrance issue, three council members defied the wishes of hundreds of citizens who asked them to hold an election on this crucial issue.
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Reason and common sense alone would dictate that the signing over of the Marolt property, which entails such irremediable consequences that it will forever change the character of this town, should be taken with great care and caution, and with all due regard to the wishes of its citizens.
To go so far as to act against the will of its citizens, as the council has done by ignoring the citizens’ petition, reeks of malfeasance.
In their zeal to achieve their own political agenda of a straight shot highway into Aspen, regardless of the wishes of the current electorate and valley citizens at large, three council members have used chicanery, bullying and technicalities to subvert the democratic process.
In the course of their misbegotten crusade, these three have committed an alarming breach of public trust, and have gravely misused their power as elected representatives of the people.