One for Torre and one for Hershey | AspenTimes.com

One for Torre and one for Hershey

Since you ran for mayor in 2001, why haven’t you joined any community boards or task forces to help our community?

In the last two years, since my campaign for mayor in 2001, I have done many things to forward some of the causes that I continue to support. Even though I have been working more than full time, like many people do, I have still made time to stay involved.

My job has been creating and running events, promoting Aspen and enhancing the vitality of our town. I still have the desire to do more in a broader spectrum, but it has been my experiences in these last two years that have brought me closer to the community and given me the understanding and insight to be part of a positive approach to our pressing issues.

It is exactly this experience that makes me the best candidate to be your next city councilman.

For starters, my involvement in our community desire for transportation solutions has been unwavering. It has been quite a battle, but I was there to support the voters of Aspen who decided to retain the S-curves entrance and work toward real transportation solutions.

My opponent voted to sign away our open space for a four-lane highway in spite of a city and countywide vote. I continue to meet with RFTA, CDOT and others that will see us through to a positive resolution.

It was my involvement in the Aspen Institute’s Youth Task Force that has led me to accept new challenges working with our kids. I have volunteered my time to Battle of the Bands and I am a Big Buddy in The Buddy Program and encouraged my friends, with some success, to join as well.

This past year I coached the varsity and junior varsity boys tennis teams. Now I am intent on creating viable entertainment options for families and teens downtown, a proposal I developed called the Downtown Youth Activities Initiative.

If elected, I am going to see that this comes to fruition, as I am already in the planning stage for three events this summer. I also created a mentorship/internship program called Community Class that can be implemented between the city and the high school.

Perhaps some of my greatest experiences over these past two years did come from my employment. Through my job with the Double Diamond I was working with Jazz Aspen, PIRG, ESPN X-Games, many longtime locals and the diminishing, yet vibrant, young visitors and new Aspenites.

It is these groups that have given me a broad view of the eclectic, sophisticated demographic that is Aspen. I have gained a respect for those who are making a difference, and I have gained an insight as to what we need to do to enhance the Aspen legacy.

My work for the Skico and Channel 16 brought me hands-on to 24 Hours of Aspen, Challenge Aspen, Wintersköl and many other community events. I understand the role of Aspen’s giving heart, our dedication to arts and culture and what Aspen means to us as residents and to those who want to share in it, if even for just a weekend.

I have worked hard, I have learned a lot, and I am asking for your vote to bring this experience and dedication to serve you. Please vote Torre for City Council. Thank you.

In your term, you have voted to give away city property (the trolleys), you voted to give away Aspen land (the right of way to CDOT), and you are seen as dismissive toward Aspen citizens. In that context, who do you represent and what are your priorities in decision-making?

I did not give away city property; I had the integrity and courage to complete prior city agreements in the face of angry special-interest groups.

The trolleys were submitted to the voters via an election. In fact, it was my vote that allowed that election. They were soundly defeated.

A previous council had determined that the trolleys should be given to a community that would use them in a working system, rather than have them continue to rot and deteriorate at Cozy Point as they had for 20 years.

Actually, trolleys in such poor condition like ours were not particularly valuable, as one can acquire operating trolleys (with working motors and in good condition) rather inexpensively from Lisbon and elsewhere. These trolleys were in horrific condition, exposed to the elements and would have eventually been lost if we did not give them away to communities that were willing to restore them and put them to use.

In fact, the trolley at the county landfill was in such poor condition that it was useful only for spare parts. The rest of them would have shared that fate had we not saved them by allowing them to be restored and used by other communities that wanted them.

And, it is worthy to note, the city of Aspen is a very generous donor to environmental, artistic and community goals, and donating the trolleys to a working system was one of those goals.

This council did not give away land to CDOT. The City Council voted to provide CDOT with an “easement” for a very specific purpose. That is, for a light-rail system and two lanes of traffic across Marolt, per the Record of Decision.

This easement was part of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which Terry Paulson and a previous City Council signed with CDOT and Pitkin County. The MOU is a contract and, coupled with the 1996 vote, a necessity if we were to avoid the legal consequences of a possible breach of contract. Not granting the easement would have placed the city under legal threat from both CDOT and the county.

I believe every council is under an obligation to honor the contracts and agreements signed by prior councils. Subsequently, I voted to hold a citizen’s advisory question on the S-curves, and I will honor the new vote. I am well aware that the transfer of this easement was not the most popular decision. I also know, however, that it was the right thing to do.

If some perceive me as dismissive, that is unfortunate; I say what I believe in politically incorrect declarative statements. I represent the 700-plus citizens who voted for me, and represent clearheaded, reality-based politics that respect individual rights and the long-term economic viability of Aspen.

My decisions are thus based on achieving the true long-term goals of the community; real quality affordable housing, real transportation solutions we can afford and real assistance for our long-term economic health.

If I appear dismissive because I do not agree with a particular point of view, that is also unfortunate. But it is not my job as an elected official to blow with the winds of public opinion. It is my job to insure that the people’s rights are protected, to follow the law and the city charter, and to make difficult, and sometimes unpopular, decisions.

As Edmund Burke, a British member of Parliament, said: “Your representative owes you, not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays instead of serving you if he sacrifices it to your opinion.”


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