Kole is the man | AspenTimes.com

Kole is the man

Dear Editor:

The results of the national election were refreshing. We removed a stale way of thinking and replaced it with fresh new ideas presented intelligently. I took heart, and it renewed my positive outlook toward the future. That’s what we need in our local election. It’s time for new people with new ideas to help us through a difficult economic phase, not professional politicians.

I have a great deal of respect for the present mayor. Mick has participated in the development of a number of important programs for our valley. But I am ready for new leadership with new ideas for our resort during tough times. I am ready for a new mayor and new people on council that bring a fresh perspective to the issues facing local retailers, lodge owners and tourist amenities ” the businesses that employ many of us.

Mick is honest, but has made some horrible mistakes while mayor. First, I don’t buy the concept that the BMC property is worth more because of the adjacent, city-owned property. Armed with an appraisal, the city might have purchased the BMC property for a lot less. At $18-plus million ” we overpaid, and that has happened so soon after the $75 million Burlingame financial debacle. The pattern of zeal used to purchase single-family homes for millions of dollars that at best will yield less than a handful of units is a similar mistake made in haste.

Mick claims to have voted against the Lift One application because of mass and scale issues. He could have voted against the master plan while serving with the other 26 members of the COWOP. Yet Mick supports the ZG Master Plan with a 30,00-square-foot museum, a 60,000-square-foot county office building, a 7,000-square-foot meeting space, ACRA expansion, 18,000 square feet of city office space and a new underground parking garage (another excuse used to vote against Lift One), and not a peep about mass and scale.

Mick’s marketing concept to make Aspen welcoming and inclusive is well meaning, but it was inappropriate to mandate a strategy to ACRA in order to release additional funds. Mick would have been better served to run his ideas past experts and get some sound marketing advice. Telling the world that Aspen is now inclusive may reinforce the idea that we weren’t in the past and may still not be. Who on council has the public relations or resort marketing experience to make that determination?

Let’s not forget Mick’s Ordinance 30 and 48 to preserve post-WWII homes. Again well meaning, but not well thought out, and it put many local homeowners at financial risk. I fear Mick’s next move will be to limit scrape-and-replace development.

Mick’s latest claim to support small-town character flies in the face of his support for the Straight Shot. Exactly how the Straight Shot will help Aspen maintain its small-town character is a wonder. While I agree mass transit should be a major portion of the solution, my fear is that the Straight Shot will result in four lanes of auto traffic and parking structures all over town. While I applaud the bus lanes from Buttermilk to the roundabout, there are already calls to convert those lanes to auto traffic. The same fate will befall the Straight Shot.

I am supporting Andrew Kole for mayor. I worked with Andrew for months on the Lift One COWOP. While on the COWOP, I often disagreed with Andrew but found him to be full of ideas and willing to listen to mine. Previous to the COWOP, I only knew Andrew from my appearances on his show. I discovered there is another side to Andrew that most of the community has never met. Andrew will not vilify segments of the community or pit one against the other, but instead would serve and represent everyone.

Cliff Weiss