Manipulated votes | AspenTimes.com

Manipulated votes

The 1996 vote on the Entrance to Aspen was the culmination of nearly five years of work gathering facts and figures. This was a manipulated process to allow light rail to cross the Marolt Open Space, along with two new lanes of asphalt.

It was also a manipulated vote because it appealed to enough groups (light rail advocates, environmentalists, and four-laners) to guarantee its passage. No surprise, the ballot issue won by 59 percent!

In 1999 another vote occurred, defeating funding for light rail. Then in 2001 another vote asked the Aspen electorate if they would allow buses in two dedicated lanes along with the already approved two lanes for other types of vehicles across the Marolt Open Space. This vote was denied by 54 percent.

Many of you probably thought you were ending the straight shot entrance debate by this vote. As the old saying goes, “Voters beware of the fine print.”

A little-read clause put in by some clever politicians said that this 2001 vote would not overturn the 1996 vote. However, we essentially have a dismantled 1996 vote because funding for rail is not approved and buses are not approved to cross the Marolt Open Space.

So why are voting on this again? Good question.

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While this vote is advisory, it is most important that we turn out at the polls to support the S-curves. We were never given a choice of entrances with any previous votes. Now is our chance to support the present entrance as the ONLY easy and safe way to enter the city of Aspen.

It is truly the most graceful way that satisfies all community goals. Visit the Web site http://www.scurves4aspen.com for more information. Vote for the S-curves on Nov. 5.

Terry Paulson

Aspen City Councilman