My two cents: pick Tim | AspenTimes.com
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My two cents: pick Tim

Dear Editor:I’ve read the statements made by Mick Ireland and Tim Semrau, and would like to give you my two cents’ worth on these candidates.The issues in the campaign seem to be: A) the Entrance to Aspen; B) employee housing; C) retail development; D) growth controls; E) mitigation; and F) too many seniors in AspenLet’s talk about one issue: retail development.Mick says, “The community, not the forces of the free market, should determine what Aspen becomes.” … “We can set an example of personal and community responsibility for protecting the environment and building an economy that respects the environment.” … “There are some strong market forces at work in the community and the nation that areinconsistent with a lasting environmental and local community ethic.”For the retail mix, Tim places his faith in the private sector and suggests placing affordable commercial space in downtown alleys, He also proposes opening the service/commercial/industrial zoning district to more retail. Tim says, “I don’t think that government is wise enough to steer retail in this town and should avoid that.”From Mick’s statements, the city of Aspen will fight the forces of the free market at everyturn, and I assume local government will determine the type of business allowed in each downtown space.Tim wants the private sector to determine what businesses are in downtown and promotes changes in zoning to allow retail in alleys and in the service/industrial areas.My two cents: Tim is the clear winner on this issue, offering concrete solutions to this thorny issue. Mick’s statements lead me to believe he will use government to micromanage the local retail market, and that scares me. I’m not quite sure what an “economy that respects the environment” is. Are we talking about turning off lights and dialing down the temperature, or are we talking lots of government demanding a lot more?Tim has been successful in Aspen real estate and in business, and I respect his opinion. I guess you could hate him for his success or call him names, as some do, but he has proven he can use the forces of free market to be successful and I think as mayor, he would use the free market wherever possible to promote business. Mick has no experience in the free market and looks to government for solutions. On this issue, Tim is the hands-down winner.Allow me to give one example of government micromanaging. Two years ago, the city of Aspen voted an ordinance that made renting to office-type businesses (there is a list) like banks and real estate companies illegal on the ground floor. However, if an office was in place, then they could continue renting. So have we seen a surge in retail? No. What we have seen is huge rent increases for existing office-type companies. Just made some landlord “greedheads” a lot richer.Gaston AlciatoreAspen


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