Misinformation from Milias

Dear Editor:

Last Wednesday, I attended the business lunch at the St. Regis. I want to thank the organizers for welcoming me to this event. I attended this luncheon because Elizabeth Milias was the guest speaker and had promised to discuss City Hall conduct. As many of you know, I presently serve as special counsel for the city of Aspen and was heavily involved in the May 2009 instant runoff election.

Numerous comments made by Ms. Milias were inaccurate and, in fact, the entire tenor of her presentation was off base. However, since she specifically mentioned me by name, I thought I would briefly respond. Ms. Milias mentioned me by stating that on election eve, in May 2009, I made changes to election software in the dead of night alone in my office. The suggestion is laughable. I do have a degree in chemical engineering from one of the top engineering schools in the nation, a school that my daughter now attends – go Yellow Jackets – and to obtain that degree I had to study computer sciences. However, the last time I “programmed” a computer, I was using punch cards. I do feel that I am fairly computer literate but I did not and could not make “software” changes in the dead of night before that or any other election.

Although the suggestion may be flattering in one sense, it is mostly insulting as it implies that I was acting illegally or improperly. Ms. Milias knows that this is not the case. In fact, I believe that Ms. Milias knows that a number of the statements she made were inaccurate, misleading or downright false. The city has been invited to respond at an upcoming luncheon and will do so. From my standpoint, however, it was simply disappointing that someone could make an allegation about my conduct knowing that such allegation was false.

As to the whole theme of her discussion that the city of Aspen acts in secrecy, all I can say is that Ms. Milias is certainly entitled to her opinions. But, just because she doesn’t agree with the actions taken at City Hall or by the city’s elected officials does not mean the city acts in secret. Everyone is welcome to come to the hundreds of meetings we have a year, watch us on TV, watch us on your computer, read all of our open documents. In fact, I’ve been told you can follow the city on Twitter, but that is one of those things that is also beyond my present technological capabilities.

James R. True