Let all be heard
September 15, 2002
I disagree with The Aspen Times’ assertion that only Aspen residents should vote on the Entrance to Aspen.
The assertion rests on two false premises.
First, the Times states: “The people who live here have to live with the entrance … while the people who commute here will drive in, earn their money and head back home.”
This is a simplistic analysis. Does the Times really believe that 100 percent of the economic and recreational activity in the city is generated only by city residents?
Pitkin County residents do more than work here, we play here and spend here in large numbers, driving in from “remote” locations like Snowmass, Basalt, Woody Creek and Lazy Glen.
The record traffic count of 33,000 coming in on July 4 this year is evidence that Aspen’s economy depends to some extent on outsiders, including Pitkin County residents. The notion that they will only “vote for what makes their lives easier” while city residents will vote for “what’s best for the city of Aspen” is absurd.
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The Times also wrongly implies that allowing Pitkin County residents a vote would lead to the absurdity of other jurisdictions having a say in Highway 82. planning. “For example, people in Eagle and Garfield Counties did not get to vote on the four laning of Highway 82.”
This argument, also advanced by Jerry Bovino, is factually incorrect and conducive to bad policy. On November 2000, the voters of Colorado overwhelming approved Referendum 1-A for state highway funding of major projects.
And the decision to fund Snowmass Canyon and the rest of Highway 82 was made by regional and state groups representing voters from throughout the valley and beyond. The decisions on Highway 82 have always been made in the interests of the region and the state, not just the interests of the city of Aspen.
I hope city residents will weigh the hardships the S-curves impose on their workers, guests and visitors against the nostalgic appeal of the S-curves in making up their mind on Nov. 5.
Pitkin County Commissioner