Good for Aspen

Dear Editor:Tim Semrau has proposed an intelligent, thoughtful solution to a problem inherent in our current affordable housing program. He wants to liberalize appreciation caps to allow affordable housing homeowners the financial opportunity to maintain and improve their residences. This makes so much sense that you would wonder who might object. In fact, it’s a concept that should be applauded by both affordable housing residents and free-market homeowners alike. After all, both groups have a powerful interest in maintaining and improving the infrastructure of our community. I don’t know anyone who wants to live in or near an ill-kept, deteriorating affordable housing complex. Do you?Predictably, a rash of sanctimonious letters hit the papers accusing Semrau of trying to use affordable housing to “buy votes.” Ironically, many of the letter writers support candidates who refined the use of affordable housing for this very purpose. Sadly, although local politicians pander to the concept of wanting our neighbors to be “owners,” they have devised a system that only creates the “illusion” of ownership. Most of us in town are smart enough to understand that the system has worked wonderfully to sustain the existing power base, but it does little for the actual residents who are told to live at the company store and vote as they are told.The majority of our residents are hardworking, fair-minded people who aren’t out to profiteer from their units. The reason that there is so much concern from the competitors is clear. Tim Semrau is working toward a more equitable system. His proposal, rather than leading to a windfall, would finally give affordable housing residents a fair deal. The concept is timely, liberating, and most importantly, good for Aspen and its citizens. No matter which horse you back in this race, Semrau’s idea deserves your consideration. If you prefer Mick or Torre, please urge them to support it.Jerry BovinoAspen