Smells of chicanery
July 1, 2002
Tony Hershey’s recent filibuster of the petition to bring a proper vote to the straight shot question feels disingenuous and petulant.
His obstinacy could stem from his resentment of his foes because he is sure that he is right and they are somehow ignorant of his deluded populist view. What seems to be missing here is a sincere concern for due process and peaceful resolution.
Some argue that due process has been served by the many votes on the Marolt property, but a significant number of others feel that past ballots yielded only inferences, not conclusions. It would be easier to turn a Popsicle into a threat than an inference into a conclusion.
In orchestrating his inquisition into whether 287 signatures are valid because doubt might be manufactured as to whether those signatures (enough to invalidate?) mightn’t have been directly solicited, but rather, could have been placed on an unsupervised petition, smells of chicanery.
And enlisting the police to deliver a subpoena to one of the petition organizers is bullying, especially when the petition process is an historically accepted way of life for Aspenites of all political stripes.
As Tony reminds us from time to time, his experience in law school taught him a lot, but he missed one lesson, and that is the balance between the letter of the law and the spirit of the law.
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Those who focus on the letter of the law often have an agenda and use the law as a shield, while fairness and balance are usually found in considering the spirit of the law as well.
In this situation, the county clerk deemed those signatures that he is challenging to be legitimate registered voters. Unless those signatures are forged signatures, justice and the democratic process are better served by allowing the signers’ intent to be recognized, rather than trying to disenfranchise them because of an alleged procedural flaw that is not their fault. Didn’t we learn anything from the Florida vote count?
And finally, if the righteous legitimacy of process is so important, our honorable councilman ought to understand that placing an unambiguous ballot before the electorate serves the greater need, and that decisions made by representative government are not immune from reconsideration.
To fairly settle this issue, a high school English teacher should write the straight shot yes-or-no ballot proposal and we’ll live with the results.
Drop the pretense, Tony, and take the higher road.