Marks, in her own words

Dear Editor:

Preservation of Aspen’s “small-town character” has become a catch-phrase of Aspen ideals. After talking with you during the campaign, it’s clear that it means not merely protecting our small-scale architecture, but something far more important than buildings ” the return to a culture where all people are welcome and respectful of each other. The style of warmth and acceptance which drew me here every year since 1982.

We can’t roll the clock back to the much longed for 1960s and ’70s. But we can re-create the passion for our protecting our community, environmentally, economically, and culturally, by encouraging diverse opinions, active civil discourse and mutual respect. A leader with the courage to foster new ideas, intelligent dissent, and citizen engagement can facilitate the preservation of Aspen’s long-held ideals, before it’s too late.

Social diversity is our strength, and can be a point of pride, rather than an instrument of division. Many of us were drawn to Aspen because of its liberating diversity. Let’s nurture that diversity again, by creating public meetings which welcome all views. Let’s rebuild community by asking everyone to contribute to the dialogue.

Our public resources can be used more effectively ” leveraged with the abounding talent and private resources just waiting to be invited to participate ” to ensure that Aspen is a vibrant community. Environmentalism, a responsible housing program, and a pro-resort culture can be true core values, exhibited in our actions, not merely marketing tools for campaigns.

My criticisms of local government have angered many who feel that it is easier to criticize than lead, encouraging progress. That is partly why I tossed my hat in the ring, albeit late in the process, which resulted in one big regret for me ” the inability to personally meet every voter and explain in my own words who I am and what I stand for.

Aspen voters deserve a more democratic and intelligent campaign than the one conducted in the past few weeks, with damaging, inaccurate “half-truths.” Name-calling and fabricated accusations, discourteous to the truth, have been so destructive to our pride in the democratic process. I believe that we grow stronger by avoiding questioning the motives of those who disagree with us, and instead listen to what they are actually saying, welcoming the civilized dissent. (On Tuesday, I will vote for one of the council candidates with whom I frequently differ on local issues, but I’m casting my vote for diversity of thought and the civilized, provocative, enlightening dialogue we enjoy.)

I would love the opportunity to answer your questions and talk about Aspen’s future. I will be available at Main Street Bakery today and Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Please stop by. You are always welcome to call me at 429-1153, or e-mail me at Or visit the website and post your comments,

For those who confuse Marilyn Marks with the political satire and edgy commentary from a created cartoon character, I hope you will take the time to distinguish the difference. The indisputable record is on scores of hours of digital video recordings of public meetings in which I’ve participated during the past two years. (Many are available on the city’s website.) Critics cannot point to even a momentary loss of professionalism, respect, or courtesy. It is a strength borne of facing many far more challenging circumstances in my career, which created resilience and the ability to be rational and logical despite difficult environments.

My sincere thanks to every candidate and their supporters who have worked to make this election one of ideas and substance. What a joy to get to know the candidates better! Aspen can be proud of those individuals who demonstrated the strength and passion to enter the races.

Thanks also to the Times, which, in the face of economic challenges, painful staff cuts, and loss of valued colleagues, made a priority of informing the public and fairly representing all candidates.

I am thrilled that I chose Aspen as my home. Getting to know even more Aspenites has been the greatest fun of this short campaign. I will continue to advocate for openness, accountability, and energized intelligent discourse in local government. Please join me in the quest for this shared goal.

Marilyn Marks