Richards: I hope Aspen knows better
Alexandra George, Aspen Board of Realtors chair, threatened a comeuppance at the March election for City Council members who dared address the short-term rental issues dramatically changing our community.
After Aspen voters ratified STR mitigation taxes, she announced Aspen Deserves Better — a political-action committee masquerading as an innocent community conversation group, exempt from reporting, who funded the extensive messaging amplifying discontent, division, and distortion of community issues via Facebook, website, radio, digital, and print ads, and now yard signs posted adjacent to the signs of their preferred candidates.
Peter Greeney, another Aspen Deserves Better co-founder, has claimed that Aspen already has 80% of the housing it needs if we start segregating people by job types. “Resort-essential” jobs aren’t defined, but “non-essential resort job” workers can hit the road. What job types/people no longer belong? He won’t say — perhaps all services available online? Candidate Bill Guth also supports employee “prioritization” for housing.
Aspen Deserves Better was assisted behind the scenes by the Red Ant herself, Elizabeth Milias, advancing her Aspen agenda: Buy back all affordable housing ownership units, make them rentals, and build only seasonal units in the future. In her world, “workers are lucky to be able to work here.” And truly, she thinks it will be easier to stop wasting resources on workers retiring after 30 or 40 years of service. No more bedrooms for non-working children; a resort only needs serfs and transients.
The same folks opposed to STR regulation are flooding the papers with angry bile while spending freely in support of the candidate caught cheating for profit while managing a construction project — with no concerns about honesty, integrity, or a sustainable community when even greater real-estate industry profits beckon.
It is my hope that Aspen knows better and will elect leadership for the community and not the real-estate industry. Vote Torre and Skippy.
Rachael E. Richards