J.E.’s seat tough to fill
It is with great sadness and emptiness that J.E. DeVilbiss has departed the City Council chair with his recent death. He served with great distinction in his fairness, openness and concern for the working people in town and the need for affordable housing in town.
J.E. had served on a council that has been nothing short of being one of the most transparent, democratic councils Aspen has had.
This council has engaged its citizens and been open to public input and scrutiny throughout its term, as demonstrated with the COWOPS it has set up and the many public tasks forces. There is a committee on transportation, a Lift 1A COWOP, a task force on the city budget, an historic preservation task force, and the list goes on.
It is a governing council that listens. The mayor and this council can hardly be accused of micromanagement, for much of the planning of this town has been given over to the public with the community development department’s oversight and enforcement. This democratic council has allowed and encouraged citizens to weigh in on every issue in town, and has often suffered some unnecessary harassment.
I only hope this council can replace J.E. with a longtime permanent resident who is willing to govern in the same spirit that J.E. did; one who is not party to any political, special action group, but one who understands Aspen’s history, legacy and uniqueness, and one who is willing to stand up to what the community wants and needs, and not just what developers want in terms of short term gains and profits, which all too often is not in the interest of the whole community and its future.
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: The Colorado Department of Transportation gives Aspen’s roundabout a poor grade in terms of level of service so it’s thinking about making changes. But first, a study or two must be done.