Mayor sponges off taxpayers | AspenTimes.com

Mayor sponges off taxpayers

Dear Editor:

On Aug. 31 (“A body of work to be proud of,” guest opinion), Mayor Mick Ireland wrote on these pages, “I disagree with the basic premises and conclusions of Charlie Leonard’s column criticizing me for failing to fully dedicate myself to the accumulation of wealth.”

The mayor is as dishonest as he is unproductive. He knows that I never wrote nor said any such thing.

Adulthood in our society is not a black-and-white choice between “dedicating yourself fully to the accumulation of wealth” or living off of several forms of public assistance while you rack up a record number of ski days or hours on your bicycle.

Most responsible adults realize, barring a disability or temporary financial setback, that they have a moral obligation to themselves and their neighbors to pay their own way while still finding time for self-supported recreation.

What I did say to the mayor, and wrote as much in my column (“What is tax fairness? The mayor explains,” Aug. 9, The Aspen Times), is that as an able-bodied lawyer, he ought to be able to support himself, pay an appropriate amount of taxes for a mature professional and make room in public housing for someone else – instead of making financial dependence a lifestyle choice.

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As the mayor well knows, I told him repeatedly I saw nothing wrong with a housing program that helps people get a start in life. My objection is to a program that creates a lifetime of dependency – as it has in the mayor’s case.

I continue to believe the mayor has the ability to support himself and should do so. As he made clear in his opinion piece, he has no such intention, believing instead that the community owes him housing, reduced taxes and so much more.

In the end, maybe the mayor’s self-congratulatory list of his so-called accomplishments would ring a little truer if he actually contributed something to the cost of all the wonderful projects rather than taking a bow for all the ways he has spent other people’s money – including on himself.

Charlie Leonard

Aspen