Cranky, quirky and offbeat no reason for eviction
December 7, 2006
Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Director Tom McCabe continues to grapple with Sheryl Robinson, a 72-year-old resident of the Aspen Country Inn. As housing director, McCabe has a responsibility to all the tenants who live in rental properties that, like the Aspen Country Inn, his office owns and manages. While he hasn’t been specific, McCabe has alluded to a potentially “dangerous” conflict that’s developed between Robinson and one of her neighbors. There have also been reports that Robinson has been caught peering into the windows of a female Aspen Country Inn tenant.Robinson and her supporters have denied many of the allegations. And McCabe acknowledged that Robinson has not harmed or injured anyone, or been caught violating any rules. McCabe told The Aspen Times that Robinson was losing her home because her behavior is not within “societal norms.”That doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to evict an elderly person from publicly managed housing reserved primarily for seniors living on a moderate income. On the one hand, Robinson may simply be involved in a spat with one or two of her elderly neighbor? She may have personality conflicts with some other residents in the complex. She may simply be the victim of the antipathy of some of her neighbors.On the other hand, McCabe and the property manager in charge of the Aspen Country Inn may be entirely correct in their assessment of the situation, acting correctly to remove Robinson from the complex. It’s just difficult to see how the housing office can come to that determination based on the evidence aired in the press so far. After all, she has not violated any rules.McCabe said that the final decision on Robinson’s lease is still pending, and that his office is still gathering information. We applaud his caution here. Being cranky, quirky and a little bit offbeat shouldn’t be cause for eviction. We urge the housing office to think carefully before it completely disrupts a tenant’s life. But if they do force Robinson out of her home, McCabe and the housing office should – as they’ve said they would – do everything they can to help her find a new place in the upper valley.The Aspen Times, Aspen, Colo.