June 4, 2002
Lately there has been a large amount of criticism of myself and two other members of the Aspen City Council for not allowing yet another vote on the Entrance to Aspen and the viability of the current S-curve alignment. Therefore, in response to Cliff Weiss and Betty Farson (recent letters to the editor, including several from Mr. Weiss) I wanted to remind everyone of the vote which occurred in May of 2001. Just a year ago, a vote was taken asking the people of Aspen to approve a roundabout at Cemetery Lane and KEEP the current S-curves. The question specifically asked whether we should “keep Highway 82 in a two-lane configuration from Buttermilk into Aspen on the existing S curve alignment?”
The question was defeated decisively: 1259 to 644. When more that 66 percent of Aspen Voters agree on anything I consider it a mandate. Regardless, I am willing to support yet another vote on the Entrance if it clearly written and asks a fair question. However, I will not support a petition question by Mr. Weiss and others that is biased, illegal and in which signatures were improperly collected. But there is no point in asking the same question over and over until we get the result that pleases a self-interested minority. That is simply unfair.
In my opinion, if we do not complete the straight shot and eliminate the S-curves Aspen will preclude itself from State funding and any type of mass transit solution. I do not support rail, however; I do not want to literally “close the door” to any type of mass transit by failing to eliminate and replace an antiquated entrance.
I understand Mr. Weiss’ and others concerns. And he has every right to petition the government and vote me out of office if he can. However, let me remind him, Ms. Farson, and others, that I represent all the people of Aspen, and it is my sworn duty and responsibility to make difficult choices and decisions. Those decisions often make certain citizens unhappy, but unfortunately not every issue can be placed on the ballot every year. There will certainly be future votes on the entrance, but I doubt, whatever the results, everyone will be satisfied. At some point, a decision must be made and we must proceed with the best affordable transit solution possible.
Aspen City Councilman