Hauenstein: Sizing up the candidates
There is a candidate supporting the development and real-estate community. There is a known factor with Skippy Mesirow. And there is Sam Rose in the middle.
The financial self-interest of candidates must be considered. Bill Guth is a developer. He vehemently opposed the council’s attempts to rein in residential development. Skippy works in the short-term rental environment. He supported the STR tax even though it is possible that it could negatively affect his business.
Bill is a family man. He has three young children. He opposed the city’s efforts for the STR tax. He started the initiative process to overturn the moratorium. That effort fell short. I do respect him for standing up to the council where he thought a wrong decision was advanced. I twice did the same. In my conversations with Bill, I conclude that he is a straight talker. He listens well. He says what he means. I don’t agree with him on some matters. That is healthy. I respect his thoughts. He has the courage to run for office. He has taken a stand on the issues. He has committed to the current alignment of 82, the S-curves. He is adamantly opposed to the council’s attempts to slow the pace of residential development. Bill and the Aspen Deserves Better group advocate prioritizing APCHA housing based on the applicant’s job function.
Skippy is Skippy. We have witnessed him for four years on the council. He is a passionate advocate of workforce housing. He has served on the APCHA board for four years. He has bold if not radical views on how the core should be carless and streets used for retail and food services. He also has an arguably extreme belief in a residential vacancy tax. I do not agree with him on either of these positions. However, he has the courage to advance his ideas. He presents a different way of thinking. I think he has grown into the role of a council member. It takes time to adapt to the job. I think he clearly offers a choice in counterbalance to the development community.
Sam has demonstrated a willingness to serve. He has devoted his time in Aspen to serving. He communicates that he will listen and make the best decisions he can. He has served on P&Z and studied the land use code. He has become a student of the processes.