Facts on city, hydro plant | AspenTimes.com

Facts on city, hydro plant

Dear Editor:

Fact: Mitzi Rapkin, the community relations director for the city, does a great job.

In her recent letter to the editor about the latest hydro story, Mitzi wrote that the story contains “mischaracterizations” and “untruths,” claiming Matt Rice’s characterization that Aspen is intent on “bending the rules” is “disingenuous.”

I agree the city historically does not bend rules – it rewrites them. It does this usually under the guise of an emergency ordinance. Remember Ordinance 30 (preserving historic housing)? Or, the recent building-height reduction, which is fine, except why did Mick wait so long if he was so concerned? He’s been in office more than five years.

The key problem with the proposed hydro plant is the city miscalculated the cost of the project big time. Projected to be $6.2 million to what is now more than $10 million to what I would lay odds will be close to $15 million before it is completed – if that ever happens.

The question on the November ballot will hopefully be simple: Should we keep spending money on this hydro project?

A “no” vote would send the city down the road to recover whatever money it can and go on to fight another day.

The campaign from both camps will be a bit ugly – with the “facts” disputed. Shocking, I know.

The dictionary defines the word “fact” as follows – “a piece of information presented as having objective reality.”

One “fact” disagreement is Matt Rice’s claim that “the city constructed a conduit solely to seek an exemption from in order to avoid environmental review.”

The city counters that “the conduit was an emergency drain line needed to protect property below.”

The “fact” is that the danger of flooding was nonexistent, according to the regulatory agency that de-listed the area years ago as an area in danger and in need of protection. That is a fact that does not bode well for the city.

The problem is those who are obsessed with proving themselves right and want to build the hydro project, no matter what, are going to get crushed in November – Art Museum anyone? But, unlike the museum, a lawsuit will not result in a Weinerstube solution.

I believe the city meant well, but simply “f*^#ed it up” and would be better served admitting it and moving on.

Fact: “The ability to admit a mistake is not easy for the city” is not a fact, it’s an opinion.

Andrew Kole


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