LJ Erspamer contemplates Aspen mayoral bid
ASPEN ” LJ Erspamer announced on Thursday that he is tentatively running for mayor of Aspen.
Erspamer, 64, is currently the chairman of the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission and serves on the Historic Preservation Task Force.
He ran unsuccessfully for a City Council seat in 2007, his first bid for elected office.
The Minnesota native is the third person to announce candidacy for Aspen’s highest ranking elected office; current Mayor Mick Ireland announced earlier this week that he is seeking re-election and TV talk show host Andrew Kole announced his bid last week.
Erspamer said he is testing the waters in the coming days to see if he can garner support from key community members, as well as financial backing. In the 2007 campaign, Erspamer didn’t raise any money.
Erspamer met with local media in front of the historic Brand Building on Hopkins Avenue, calling it “Common Ground Zero.” As a Historic Preservation Task Force member, Erspamer said the downtown building, and the Collins Block Building at the opposite end of the block, represent Aspen’s best because of their setbacks from the street and bookend corners. A few months ago, the task force met there and, recognizing that notion, members had a group hug, Erspamer said.
He added that future development should model the attributes of the Brand Building, and shouldn’t be so large that a structure takes over the streetscape.
“We have evolved in a certain direction that is not in line with the character of the community,” he said.
Like other candidates who have announced their bids for two open council seats, Erspamer’s reason for running and his platform rests partially on civility ” something he said is lacking with certain members of the council in their relations with the public.
“I’m running for mayor to reduce tension and polarity in the community,” he said. “I’m about openness, transparency and respect.”
As a longtime businessman ” Erspamer was the founder of Colorado Riff Raft and owner of other companies ” he also plans to focus on fiscal responsibility in City Hall, if elected.
Erspamer is now a property manager of five properties he owns around the state with his wife.
As mayor, Erspamer said he would call for a review of operational and management plans in each department within City Hall. He also said he thinks elected officials should spend a day working within each department to get a full understanding of how they function.
“We need to trust and verify,” he said. “There should be accountability on all levels of government.”
Erspamer said he’ll know for certain in about a week whether he will run for elected office ” after he talks to individuals about his campaign platform and his positions on various issues facing the community.
He asks that anyone who wishes to speak to him can contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 925-7185.
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