Heat’s on in Aspen mayoral race | AspenTimes.com

Heat’s on in Aspen mayoral race

ASPEN ” The four candidates vying to be mayor of Aspen have widely different views on what direction the city government should go, and those differences translated into some heated exchanges during a forum held Friday.

At the Aspen Chamber Resort Association’s candidate forum, Andrew Kole, Mayor Mick Ireland, LJ Erspamer and Marilyn Marks squared off for an hour. They outlined their positions on codes of conduct for elected officials; traffic; managing growth and developer’s expectations as they relate to city laws; the local economy and a host of other issues.

When asked whether the council should adopt a code of conduct ” the civility of some elected officials has been called into question ” Ireland said the government already has an established code of ethics.

Adopting a code that addresses people’s opinions of how elected officials should dress and what comments they make in the public ought to be treaded on lightly, he added.

“One person’s civility is another person’s outspokenness,” Ireland said.

Marks, an outspoken critic of Ireland, said there are too many council meetings in which residents feel intimidated and falsely accused when addressing their elected leaders.

Kole agreed and said people who speak in front of the council are often insulted and reprimanded for asking questions.

Erspamer said as the chair of the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission, his role is to be a facilitator and to not pontificate on his opinions. He would enforce that role if elected, he said.

When asked what environmental initiatives they would push if elected as mayor, all but Marks offered ideas. Marks said she couldn’t think of any new ideas and said the city staff is doing a remarkable job in carrying green initiatives forward.

Kole said the downtown alleyways must be cleaned up and trash compactors should replace garbage cans.

Ireland said his priority would be to tap into underground geothermal resources, and promote individual responsibility in reducing greenhouse gases and global warming.

Erspamer said tapping into geothermal and wind technology is high on his list, as well as harnessing energy from local waterways using dams.

The mayoral candidate forum will be aired on GrassRoots TV, channel 12 several times in the coming days. The first scheduled airings are Monday, April 13 at 9 p.m.; Wednesday, April 15 at noon; and Saturday, April 18 at 10 a.m. The program also is available on GrassRoots Video Now starting on Sunday; go to grassroootstv.org to learn more.


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