Romero adjusts to being odd man out
ASPEN ” Councilman Dwayne Romero has been the odd man out on Aspen City Council since he took office in June.
But it’s par for the course for Romero, a developer by trade, who has voted for every development application that has landed in front of the council in the past six months.
And in those reviews, Romero has cast the single vote in favor of approving the land-use applications.
“I knew I would have a minority voice, and it’s played out more than I expected but that’s OK,” Romero said. “Putting that voting record aside, or going deeper than that, I hope citizens know there was no push over there. I didn’t advocate, and I tried to give an objective, thorough and critical review.”
Romero’s colleagues look to him for his expertise and don’t fault him for voting the way he does. They agree Romero takes great pains to examine each proposal carefully.
“I find Dwayne’s insight and experience in development valuable and complementary to my professional background,” said Councilman Steve Skadron.
J.E. DeVilbiss, who has been on the council since 2005, said he understands Romero’s minority position and relies upon him for insight.
“Dwayne has a lot of experience in business and development,” DeVilbiss said. “I was on the side of a lot of 4-to-1 votes.”
Romero said he tries to stay committed to his campaign promise of building trust between the business community and the government.
“I have a long way to go to make an impact there,” he said. “To be trustworthy you have to convey trust.”
Romero said he hopes that the council will begin to more seriously consider developers’ representations and not always suspect their motivations.
“There’s an immediate negative reaction to the business community and developers,” he said. “We have to remember it’s the individuals and not the professions we are scrutinizing.”
Romero thinks one instance where the council failed the public trust was in the passage of Ordinance 30, an emergency law put into effect with little public notice. He was against the historic preservation law from the beginning and it took several months for the council to realize that the process didn’t need to be conducted as if it was an emergency.
“Within a couple of weeks of being sworn in we were dealing with this emergency ordinance,” he said. “It was inappropriate and it took a long time to convince others that it was inappropriate.”
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With solid recent rainfall, all fire restrictions in Pitkin County will end Friday morning.