Mayor Mick, resident mudslinger | AspenTimes.com

Mayor Mick, resident mudslinger

Dear Editor:

Mayor Mick Ireland demands transparency, but is he really interested in just honest disclosure? (“Hydro foes trying to buy the election,” guest opinion, Oct. 16, The Aspen Times)

As I’ve said before, I haven’t received a dime from Mr. Koch or other litigants. I don’t know that I’d refuse it now, after the mayor’s recent attack. Aspen wouldn’t exist without “outside” wealth. Maybe we should tar all the generous people who have given so much to Aspen with Mick’s simplistic and hypocritical brush.

Saving Our Streams is a group of deeply concerned, middle-class, full-time Aspen residents. I’m proud to associate with them. Saving Our Streams is no longer a plaintiff in the lawsuit, as Mick well knows. Mick, stop being dishonest.

I did give my Carbondale address in my letters to the Aspen newspapers. All Mick had to do is call the editor to verify that the Aspen Daily News substituted “Aspen.” But then he’d find out something else not fitting his purpose.

If you want a copy of Western Rivers Institute’s Form 990-N, I’ll provide it. Stop making baseless and false accusations. It’s a postcard. I’ve never received enough for a full 990 form. So far I am the “non” in nonprofit. In 2011 I grossed a whopping $16,000. Not quite the stratospheric salary of some Aspen nonprofits we’ve recently read about.

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Let’s get to the heart of Mick’s intimidation and bullying. I’ve disclosed my major donors, as Mick requested, and more. What’s his response? A thanks for the transparency? Hardly. He drags my donors and me through his political slime. No wonder some opponents of Castle Creek hydro would rather be anonymous than be subject to such personal attacks. No wonder people are intimidated and afraid to cross Mick. I’m not.

I learned long ago to stand up to bullies like Mick. A naked emperor needs to be called out. The mayor isn’t really interested in transparency; he just wants more targets for his slanderous mudslinging.

I can only quote a response from a more famous, but no less ugly witch hunt. “Until this moment, (Mr. Mayor), I think I never really gauged your cruelty or your recklessness. … Have you no sense of decency sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?” (Joe Welch to Sen. Joe McCarthy, June 9, 1954).

I may not have a Ph.D in stream ecology or water law, but neither does Mick. I do have an education and background in science, including stream ecology. I have studied the workings of streams, water law, policy and history extensively in my 20 years of fighting for Colorado’s rivers and streams.

I do this from a passion for the streams and their future. It’s obviously not for the money.

The litigants cannot take the city’s water rights for themselves. If found abandoned, the water simply returns to the stream. That is, if there is any water to return. Hydro is “non-consumptive,” so there is no “consumptive water” to lose.

Aspen could be a real leader in 21st century hydropower if it wants to. Attacking people’s character, their donors and associations just because they disagree on how its being done isn’t leadership. It doesn’t promote transparency or community. It’s a sign of desperate immaturity.

Stick to the issues and the merits of the project, not character assassination. The mayor can attack me all he wants, if that’s all he has. He has yet to refute honestly any of the facts and concerns others or I have raised. Maybe its because he can’t.

Ken Neubecker

Carbondale