Take a stand for the truth | AspenTimes.com

Take a stand for the truth

Much of the campaign by the proponents of the S-curves, the folks I prefer to refer to as the “No-builds,” consists of trying to convince the voters of all sorts of things that just ain’t so.

Even at the level of basic premises, i.e., “We don’t have enough information,” “The straight shot will make traffic congestion worse,” “The S-curves are good for the environment,” pretty much everything these people have to say, is false.

Soon, ads will begin to appear in support of their letter-writing campaign, and it is a foregone conclusion that in regard to specific facts, the No-builds will have no qualms whatsoever about making up flat-out lies.

In response, I would like to refer the residents of Aspen to one of the more peculiar features of the Aspen Municipal Code, contained in the provisions regulating elections. In Title 9, Paragraph 9.04.080, False Statements, we are told:

“No person shall knowingly make, publish or circulate, or cause to be made, published or circulated, in any letter, circular, advertisement, or poster, or in any other writing, or on radio or television, any false statement designed to influence the vote on any issue or election or defeat of any candidate, nor conspire to do so.”

This provision must be enforced by the city attorney; any person residing in the city of Aspen may sue for injunctive relief to “enjoin violations” or to “compel compliance”; any resident may bring a civil action; any citizen who prevails in their civil action is entitled to recover attorney’s fees; and violators are guilty of a misdemeanor with penalties as high as $300 and 90 days in jail.

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I would strongly encourage residents of Aspen to seize this opportunity to take a stand for the truth. For one thing, it would be nice for a change if some group other than Common Sense Alliance became the vehicle for the removal of blatantly unconstitutional provisions in local election law.

In case I lost you, the false statement provision cannot possibly survive a challenge to its constitutionality under the First Amendment, but there are still two good reasons to pursue action against the No-builds.

1. It would ultimately result in the removal of this provision from the Aspen Municipal Code.

2. It would provide the No-builds a taste of the legal harassment medicine they’ve inflicted on the city of Aspen with their never-ending lawsuits.

Anyone up for some fun?

Jeffrey Evans

Common Sense Alliance