On hydro and homeless | AspenTimes.com

On hydro and homeless

Dear Editor:

After reading a response by the city in the Daily News about the hydro “war,” I decided to throw in my two cents (or should I say $5.5 million).

The city claims those opposed to the hydro facility are using misinformation to get their position across to the public.

The city seems a bit obsessed with the fact that two of the opponents are billionaires (no doubt they did not make their money in energy).

The city also said, “Opponents are very well organized, and they have a lot of money” (it’s nice someone is organized).

And while North Dakota wants to go to war with Aspen over a homeless man, I’d bet those opposing the hydro project are more formidable. I say “bet” because when the hydro plant first came to a public vote, I voted “no.”

My reasons were twofold: The city had no real expertise in hydro, and based on history I felt the city would go over budget – ridiculously over budget.

I won a muffin and coffee when it passed $6.5 million, another when it passed $8 million and still another when it passed $10 million. I’m currently giving odds they will pass $12.5 million.

The point is the money is the thing!

The problem is the city seems obsessed to be proven right about this project, which could cost the taxpayers dearly.

The voters approved a $5.5 million hydro plant – not a $14 million plant, which is where this is headed. OPM is always dangerous when it comes to government spending. I suggest everyone

involved take a deep breath and find a way to put aside personalities and have a calm, factual conversation.

In respect to the hydro petition going around? I’m in favor of another vote (we have voted on the S-curves more than a few times). I suspect a vote to spend more money on the hydro project will be crushed, but if that is the will of the people – let it be.

I would take the millions we save and do a few positive things with it. Such as: saving some for a rainy day, producing a fabulous holiday lighting festival, looking at bringing in a forward-thinking tech-related business that would hire our younger citizens and actually create a future generation. And finally, I’d buy another bus ticket for Mr. Baldwin and bring him back from North Dakota.

Andrew Kole


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