District 2: True wants another shot on BOCC | AspenTimes.com

District 2: True wants another shot on BOCC

Charles Agar

Paul Conrad/Aspen Times Weekly

Jim True served two consecutive terms as commissioner, from 1989-97, and he wants another shot. “I’ve always been drawn to public service,” True said. “I enjoyed what I did when I did it,” he said of his time as commissioner.In the 10 years since, he has been active in civic life as the public hearings officer for county planning and zoning. True faces Aspen City Councilwoman Rachel Richards for the District 2 seat in the November election.With an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and a law degree, True said his education, business life and record of public service makes him the better candidate for the job.

His engineering degree comes in handy when talking about detailed water issues, and helps him understand the drive behind big engineering projects and developments. “Engineers like to build,” he said, but the goals of engineers don’t always work with the goals of the community. While, as an engineer, he understands that drive to build, True said that, as a public servant, it is important to listen to the needs of the community.”Voters should look at my record,” True said. As a board member, he gave a thumbs-down to plans for an ambitious four-lane project that would have put roads on both sides of Snowmass Canyon. While it made sense from an engineer’s standpoint, the project was not what the community wanted or needed, he said. And the former commissioner touted his strong record on conserving land, supporting public transportation, protecting water quality and finding affordable housing solutions for Pitkin County residents.The bottleneck Entrance to Aspen, True said, is an important issue to county residents.”I’ve always believed it needed to be four-lane into town,” True said, adding that he thinks it’s time for the city to make a decision and solve the problem.

“I think it can be done,” True said. He believes planners can work with the recent Environmental Impact Study and record of decision and find a solution that works. The mechanism is in place to go ahead with the project, and he favors widening the S-curves to allow four lanes of slow-moving traffic. He said the issue only needs strong leadership – something he would bring to the table. With his experience in the public and private sector, True said he brings a deep working knowledge of county planning and building codes to the job. He worked on county codes when he was a commissioner and believes the new codes, which give incentives to developers preserving open space and historical lands, are “solid.”As a commissioner, True was a part of developing systems and programs – such as affordable housing programs and land-use solutions – that since have expanded and are models for other communities today, he said.”We need to continue to provide more affordable housing,” True said. He benefited from affordable housing when he first came to Aspen. And while he supports larger developments like Burlingame, True said there are also opportunities for smaller projects, like Stillwater.

Young people and those new to the area are vital to the community’s growth and health, True said. Of the many newcomers lured by the beauty of the area and outdoor lifestyle, “I’ve been there,” he said. He supports transportation and affordable housing so young people can have opportunities in Pitkin County.He and Richards are “on the same page” on many of the issues, True said. He believes, however, that he is the better candidate based on his experience, education and track record on getting important things done. His experience with county issues and record of standing toe-to-toe with the likes of CDOT or state legislators make him the better candidate, he said.”I like to listen,” True said. “Listen to everyone. And I consider it thoroughly and go out and get things done.”Charles Agar’s e-mail address is cagar@aspentimes.com.

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