Something rotten at City Hall | AspenTimes.com

Something rotten at City Hall

Dear Editor:Regarding our local newspapers’ coverage on Thursday, March 3, of a news conference called by Dwight Shellman and Joe Edwards to allay any rumors that the initiative and referendum petitions (Burlingame) were to be withdrawn aired on GrassRoots, March 2 – conspicuously omitted in the papers’ coverage were three of the main issues highlighted repeatedly during the conference by Edwards and Shellman. The gist of the issues censored by omission whether by design or accident are: The referendum petition, which will put the current Burlingame Bar/X Ranch annexation agreement with the Zolines on the ballot for voter approval will not, if rescinded, expose the city to any breach of contract liability, as council members have led the public to believe. The COWOP process of review and negotiations of the Burlingame preannexation agreement was without proper public oversight and objectivity, resulting in an employee housing mitigation fee burden of approximately $12 million to be shifted from the Zoline developers to the taxpayers. Note: omission of this fact by the press marginalizes the damage the “backroom negotiations” between the city and the Zolines did to the taxpayers and the outcome quality and mix of employee housing. The City of Aspen largely ignored the policies set forth by the Aspen Area Community Plan. Note, the AACP dissuades large-scale urban development (urban sprawl) within the confines of the city, where as such large-scale development and concentration of employee housing is contrary to the desired character of the city. Furthermore, employee housing is to be evenly distributed within the city to maximize social integration (minimize social stratification or the creation of a ghetto).Regarding city propaganda: The Aspen Times’ quotation of Mayor Klanderud, “The impacts on future planning for affordable housing is seriously hindered should these petitions pass,” is nothing but the typical unfounded threat to the public some council members have resorted to of late, designed to instill uncertainty and to discredit the merits of public overview and fiscal accountability. Why would anyone unconditionally trust the competence and motives of any Aspen council after considering the Aspen City Council’s history of perverting the public process with censorship, closed meetings and sophistic mind set. What Helen is asking the public to do is trust the city implicitly without public overview or accountability for the initiation, impact determination and management of large-scale public funded development. The council’s blatant disregard to the public’s right to overview government business diminishes accountability by checks and balances. The council’s embrace of the COWOP process and the backroom deals is nothing less than a council power grab from public rights and is the reason why the council is on the hot seat today with Burlingame. Longtime locals smell something is rotten in City Hall; Helen’s, Rachel’s and Worcester’s specious comments to the public concerning the Burlingame petitions add to the stench.Scott McDonaldAspen


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