Resist the dishonest, wrong-headed call for a recall
Readers may recall that a week ago in this space, this newspaper published editorial comments that some have taken as complimentary to the anti-rail contingent of political activists in the Roaring Fork Valley, including anti-rail leader Jeffrey Evans.
But this week, as if in an effort to prove that this newspaper is wrong in all things, even when it is being uncharacteristically charitable toward his actions, Evans hustled into the Pitkin County Courthouse to lay the groundwork for a completely wrong-headed recall campaign against four of the five Pitkin County commissioners.
In announcing his intention to recall commissioners Mick Ireland, Leslie Lamont, Dorothea Farris and Shellie Roy Harper, Evans is claiming to act on behalf of the aggrieved voters of Pitkin County. But the truth is he is acting on behalf of his own highly partisan, dishonest, devious and essentially undemocratic agenda.
Evans claims he is fulfilling a mandate from the voters, who he maintains demanded last fall that the county hold an election on the train. Evans, of course, has been waging a strident campaign against the proposed valleywide commuter train for years. He has his supporters – and they are numerous.
But the county’s voters did not mandate an election on the train this fall. What they did, by a narrow margin, was to direct the county to either get voter approval for funding a rail system by this November or stop spending money on studies of the rail system until after the Highway 82 expansion project is completed.
That November 1998 vote, like the confusing and somewhat misleading municipal rail funding question headed for a vote this November, was engineered and written by Evans and his cohort. While the debate surrounding that ballot question did touch on the matter of a subsequent rail-related election this fall, the fact is that the language of the ballot question itself belies what Evans is claiming today. And it shows his latest salvo, which actually is little more than an attempt to unseat the democratically elected officials who happen to disagree with his view of the world, is really just more of Evans waging his implacable campaign of disinformation and misinformation against a government he hates.
This newspaper has argued, very recently, that the voters did make it clear last November that they want a rail election this fall. There is no doubt about that. But the county commissioners’ decision to hold off on such an election for now does not in any way constitute grounds for a recall. They made that decision at significant political risk, since it is entirely possible that the voters will want to bring the matter up during the next cycle of county board elections, but that’s their choice.
Ours, after all, is a representative form of government, designed to operate through periodic elections. It is not set up to handle an ad hoc conversion to government by initiative.
Evans’ latest gambit is, in fact, a subversion of the initiative process. It is a specious recall campaign that will do nothing but disrupt county government needlessly, further jeopardizing the normal conduct of the public’s business to satisfy the narrow political motives of someone who knows he can’t win elections in the traditional way.
As was mentioned earlier, Evans is bent on an endless campaign of the politics of destruction but has little else to offer. It appears that, beyond his slavish devotion to a four-lane highway barreling straight down Aspen’s Main Street, he has no goals, ideas or plans. His efforts are entirely negative.
Voters should refrain from signing his petition for a recall election. There are problems enough facing us, without adding this to the mix.
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