Information on misinformation
Dear Editor:The misinformation surrounding the history of the Entrance to Aspen debate could fill several letters, but the primary misconception comes from confusion purposely created regarding the subject of past votes, and the number of those votes.Aspen residents have not had an opportunity to vote for a realigned four-lane highway since February of 1990, at which time they approved the transfer of open space for that purpose by 56 percent. The absence of a new highway is not the result of any inability by the people of Aspen to make a decision; it is the fault of three Aspen City Council members who refused to honor the will of the people.When people today think of all of the seemingly endless votes, they are reacting to the subsequent 17 years of futile efforts by the political establishment to convince us that voters made the wrong choice in 1990. It shouldn’t require a citizens initiative for elected officials to finally realize that they need to restore the only decision ever to receive the unqualified and unconditional approval of the electorate.However, the need to use the initiative process also helps to avoid a repeat of that past failure of representative democracy. State law provides that a successful citizen-initiated ballot question is adopted as new policy by majority vote, eliminating any need to go back through city council. The council of the early ’90s had no legal obligation to implement what was essentially an “advisory” vote, and they paid no political price – because so few people realized what they had done until years later.So, for everyone who feels a sense of defeatist déjà vu, and a conviction that any decision made by the voters will either be ignored, or actively blocked by the city and state, here is the one most important thing you should keep in mind:This is the first time in the nearly 40-year history of the entrance controversy that a binding vote will occur on a four-lane option for the entrance.The current petition drive was begun early last year, with the hope of qualifying for last November’s ballot. When the city blocked that effort, it was hoped that a court decision would come in time to include the questions during the May election. The petitions were finally approved for circulation on May 4, which placed the process at the start of an 18-month political dead zone in which no regularly scheduled elections occur.No huge, statewide, electoral battle has emerged which would result in an election being set for this November, so a vote on the entrance at that time would be nothing more than a special election held in the middle of the offseason. If we’re going to have a special election, it might as well be when everyone is here, and it’s probably no coincidence that the 1990 approval came during a February special election. Consequently, we will submit the petitions to the city clerk in September, with the intention of having the election set for this winter – sometime between December and March.For additional information, go to: entrancesolution.comJeffrey EvansBasalt
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Don’t freak out if you see helicopters hovering over the Roaring Fork Valley backcountry or fixed-wing aircraft making repeated trips. It is part an annual wildlife study by Colorado Parks and Wildlife.