Stumbling to finish line
Entering into his final year as mayor, Mick is at it again, attempting to secure his legacy by waging war against the free market. Under the guise of proposed land-use changes to bolster a “tourist-based economy,” Mayor Mick recently outlined for council his draconian vision for Aspen’s commercial core, specifically preventing “high-end speculative real estate,” including what he refers to as “cold bed” condos, single-family residences and townhomes. But of course subsidized housing is permitted. What did you expect?
Now, riddle me this: If I own a free-market condo in the downtown core and pay my taxes, whose business (other than my own) is it if I use that unit 100 percent or 1 percent of the time? Certainly not Mick Ireland’s!
Furthermore, the mayor was clearly out riding his bike when he should have been attending econ 101 classes. Prohibiting a third-floor penthouse or other incentives will send buildings like the Crandall Building (where Sandy’s is located) to the landfill instead of facilitating their gorgeous redevelopment and revival thanks in Crandall’s case to the penthouse that financially fueled the owner’s voluntary preservation of the building. Somehow Mick just doesn’t understand that mandatory on-site subsidized housing won’t provide the necessary financing for the multimillion-dollar redevelopment and preservation of other Aspen landmarks.
Mick’s land-use manifesto is not about fostering a tourism-based economy at all. Mick says so himself. He writes that “failure to act soon” will negatively impact Aspen “as the economy recovers and investors look for places to store windfalls or speculate on another boom.” In the end, it’s really about Mick’s disdain for private-property owners and an attempt to stifle the free market.
Class warfare is alive and kicking in Aspen. May 2013 cannot come soon enough.
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Despite the rules and regulations put in place to keep one another safe, the Aspen Saturday Market still exudes a community spirit and respectful energy among those who are patronizing it and those who are working it.