Mick will fight for us
Allyn Harvey, an Aspen Times reporter at the time, said it best, back in August 2000, “…two-fifths of the county’s voters wish Mick Ireland would go away. They always have and they always will.”
Mick had just defeated, by 59 percent, a second attempt to recall him from his seat on the Board of County Commissioners. His first recall election victory was in April 1996.
For the record, I’m summarizing Mick’s history in Aspen. He came here in the late ’70s. Like many of us, he did restaurant work. He made spaghetti sauce at the Mother Lode with Andy Hanson. Mick’s family owned a large restaurant in suburban Chicago. By the time he was in eleventh grade, he was doing service as the cashier and was doing the closing, prepping the bank deposit and doing the postings. That familiarity with accounting is highly relevant to his later career.
Mick was a reporter for The Aspen Times for five years in the first half of the 1980s. In his columns, as well as in his reporting, he displayed a fascination with local politics. By definition, politics is the process that determines who gets what, where, when and how. After knowing Mick for 30 years I am convinced that he left The Aspen Times for law school precisely to prepare for a career in public service in Pitkin County and Aspen.
After he got his law degree and had put in a few years doing bread-and-butter legal work with Nick McGrath, his big break came up in October 1993. He convinced the existing BOCC to choose him to serve the remainder of the term of the resigning Fred Crowley. They chose him because his reportage had been fair to both sides of issues. He was able to move from the law library to the arena. The rest is history.
Mick’s enemies (the two-fifths mentioned above) have made him stronger. Mick is a community organizer par excellence. We activists who flock to his campaigns believe in him. He’s fervent and incorruptible. Many of the 3-2 decisions of the BOCC and the City Council came about because he wouldn’t give up. As Lincoln said of General Grant, “I can’t spare this man; he fights.”
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The city of Aspen’s Next Generation Advisory Board is all but defunct due to a lack of interest and participation.