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The art of endorsements

Dear Editor:

The city election next month is the reason why I am reprising recent, painful, history in an appeal to everyone who expressed their concerns over the shameful approval of the Aspen Art Museum’s proposed structure.

This is the time when all of us who are concerned about the leadership in the city government can stand up and express our feelings. Those of you who were shocked, angered and offended by the mayor and the City Council’s under-the-table scheming can now join with those who think the museum’s Wheeler-sized “Pigeon Palace” insults the character of our community.



I am reaching out to all of you who signed our brochure “Saving Aspen’s Character.” There were approximately 1,500 of you who signed and at least half of you are voters. Now is the time for you to let the mayor know that there is a political price to pay for dismissing the wishes of so many residents. We presented to council the first 500 signed brochures and watched the mayor leaf through them dismissively. Only Steve Skadron had the courage to stand up against the mayor and acknowledge the validity of our objections and the obligation to preserve the intentions of the Aspen Area Community Plan. Steve deserves to be returned to his seat on council. I have every confidence that he will preserve Aspen’s values and continue to be a thoughtful, strong and independent force on the council. Please contact Steve at runskadrun@gmail.com or 1022 Vine St., Aspen. Let him know that you are supporting him. You could even send him money!

Regarding the mayor, there is much to say. Let us not forget that this is the same person who stated that he would “defend the Aspen Area Community Plan to the last dollar” when the Wienerstube project was denied and the developers sued the city. Although the plan had been fully approved, council denied the plan as not upholding the character of Aspen. The city won the lawsuit and the developer appealed the decision. Now the story gets murky and devious. Before the Court of Appeals could rule, a secret settlement deal was proposed by the developers in collusion with the Aspen Art Museum. This deal would allow for the construction of the museum and a mixed use building without any review at all.




The mayor, who had been an ardent promoter of the AAM’s prior development plan, pressed for the settlement agreement which was passed in a closed-door executive session. At the next regular council meeting, the first reading of the AAM resolution was inserted onto the agenda just as the meeting was starting. There had been no public notice of this but Art Museum board members and supporters were in attendance.

As they say, the rest is history. If this project had been allowed to go through the normal approval channels it might have been modified and altered so that the community might have accepted it. But it did not and the controversy rests squarely on the mayor’s shoulders. He not only shredded the basic premise of the Aspen Area Community Plan, to preserve Aspen’s character, he has saddled this city with a structure that we will have to endure for a very long time.

I am urging all of you who side with the brochure signers to please support Ruth Kruger for mayor. She will be a thoughtful, intelligent, polite and financially savvy leader at a time when we need someone just like her. Please contact her at ruthkrugerformayor@gmail.com. Send her money too.

Regarding the second council seat, we are fortunate that there are several outstanding citizens standing for election. I am urging you to put your support and your vote to Scott Writer, who is offering a thoughtful, strong and forward thinking approach to government. He understands finance, community balance, development and he understands the importance of listening.

Please let Scott know that you are supporting him by contacting him at writer@sopris.net. He needs some money also.

Richie Cohen

Aspen


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