In Aspen: Text and the city |

In Aspen: Text and the city

ASPEN – Aspen City Councilman Steve Skadron finds no joy in texting.

Well, at least during council meetings, where he often finds himself distracted by his colleagues’ and members of the public’s method of non-verbal communication to the outside world.

“It’s a breakdown in decorum,” Skadron said Tuesday while making the argument to ban cell phone use of any kind in council chambers. “It’s a distraction, and I think it’s discourteous.”

Skadron asked his colleagues if they would get behind banning cell phone texting in council chambers during public meetings. The other four council members essentially hung up on him.

“I can’t regulate that, nor do I want to,” said City Councilman Dwayne Romero. “It’s obviously a slow news day if we are talking about this stuff.”

Skadron lost his argument when he agreed that laptops and typing on keyboards were permissible.

“What’s the difference?” asked Mayor Mick Ireland, adding he used to use his laptop at the table but was frowned upon by other elected officials.

Skadron said he would prefer that people step outside of the chambers to communicate on their phones. He added that they should be paying attention to the public hearing, not conducting personal business.

“It’s nothing more than professional courtesy,” he said, adding texting in a public forum is impolite.

Ireland countered that people do a lot of rude things, and texting is the least of them.

In the end, the council agreed to post a sign at the entrance of council chambers asking people to refrain from using their cell phones.

“That was fun,” Romero said of the discussion, which at one point grew a bit heated between himself and Skadron.

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