No more stalling
April 16, 2002
Two Mondays ago I attended a City Council meeting on the fate of the trolleys here in Aspen.
Trolley supporters brought a petition to show support for the creation of a trolley line, and for those same trolleys to be restored and operating in Aspen. The trolley petition was flawed for two reasons:
1. It asked people to sign it without explaining specific details on creating a trolley line, or explaining the cost of creating an Aspen trolley system, or explaining the cost of doing a study to create an Aspen trolley system. There also was no mention of where the money was going to come from, either public tax monies, private monies or a combination of both.
2. For some reason, they could not go down to City Hall with a group of five registered city voters and start an official petition drive. These people were supposed to start this process last September, or the trolleys were going to be given away by this June 1.
Instead, what Sparlin’s group did was to do an unofficial petition drive, and as I heard one of them admit as I left that meeting, they got anyone to sign them.
Being a person who has done a few official petition drives myself, only doing an official drive with getting either registered Aspen or Pitkin voters matters. People as far away as Glenwood Springs could have signed Sparlin’s petition, for all we know. This puts into doubt how many people in Aspen really support this idea.
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This issue has being going on since the ’70s, and yet trolley supporters can’t get a question on the ballot by themselves, or get Aspen voters to pass a specific question. The last pro-rail City Council considered putting a trolley question on the ballot, and came up with a conclusion that to do a trolley question would be political suicide for them.
Even former Mayor Homeyer had to laugh at our indecisiveness on this matter. This group of people have only stalled what I feel is the logical end of all of this: letting other communities have our trolleys, communities that can use them. Well, I say no more stalling.
If our City Council wants to be nice, they should tell Sparlin’s group to do an official petition drive this summer on a specific question (which answers all specific and financial questions) on an Aspen trolley system, and turn it in by this September so that it can be on the ballot this November.
If the drive is successful but the question fails on the November ballot, the trolleys are history. Aspen City Council can also give Sparlin’s group the alternate to raise the necessary $100,000 to pay for our city government to do study on creating a trolley system, and in return (if the money is raised) our city government would promise to put a specific and detailed trolley question on the May 2003 ballot.
If that question fails, the trolleys are out of here. No more indecision or stalling would happen by June of 2003. We could have a final conclusion to all of this foolishness.