Gomes to run again for City Council
Longtime local Pepper Gomes will try again for a seat on the Aspen City Council, undaunted by failed election bids in 2001 and 2003.”My chances are as good as anyone else’s. My position is probably 180 degrees from any other candidate running, though there are some similarities,” the outspoken Gomes declared Wednesday.He joins Jack Johnson, Marcia Goshorn, J.E. DeVilbiss, Andrew Kole and Dee Malone among those who’ve formally announced that they will seek election to the council in May. April 1 is the deadline for candidates to submit petitions to the city clerk.
Gomes, 60, a ski instructor by winter and a summertime jack-of-all-trades, said his latest bid for office is again fueled by his desire to give something back to the community he has called home since 1968.The local worker housing program has garnered plenty of Gomes’ attention in past campaigns and it remains a big issue for him.”I think there are inequities within the system,” he said. “I’m just trying to look for a better solution for this housing situation.”Of Aspen’s planned Burlingame Ranch project, he said: “I think it’s a waste of taxpayer dollars. I think it’s going to overload all of our services.”
In past campaigns, Gomes frequently alluded to abuses within the housing program by the renters and owners of employee housing. He continues to scoff at high-end worker housing that sells for a half million dollars or more.A resident of Hunter Creek employee housing with his wife and daughter, Gomes complained yesterday that the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority needs to take better care of existing projects rather than focusing on constructing new housing developments that it will then proceed to neglect.Hunter Creek homeowners, for example, were faced with the cost of a new roof and are now looking at assessments to replace the windows and the stucco on the buildings, he said. The costs add up for Aspen’s working populace, especially when owners will see limited appreciation on their units when they are ready to sell them.
“I still say it’s inequitable when your investment only gets 2 percent a year. You end up at the end of 30 years with nothing,” Gomes said.In 2003, Gomes finished sixth in the polling, beating two candidates who withdrew from the race too late to have their names removed from the ballot.He finished third among a field of eight candidates on the City Council ballot in 2001, with the top two vote-getters winning seats.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org
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