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The big picture

Dear Editor:The three minutes of public comment at the beginning of each City Council meeting supports our form of government where voters can speak about any current issue. At Monday’s council meeting, Helen Klanderud took it upon herself to change the rules. She cut my public comment short by imposing a recess (without a vote of the remaining council members). Many people approached and phoned me after seeing Helen on GrassRoots or reading the story about her actions in Tuesday’s Aspen Times. They questioned Helen’s dramatic and unusual maneuver of unilaterally mandating a recess during the public comment period. They wanted to know why she overreacted so strongly. I believe Helen’s reaction reflected her panic that she might be implicated in what appears to have been a cover-up of the city clearing itself of any wrongdoing after the city investigated itself about a questionable transaction. In the first week of 2005, in a meeting open to the public, Helen initiated an interrogation requesting the underlying documents that justified my bringing this issue up several years ago. I was unprepared to provide the public record to Helen at that meeting so I brought them to City Council the following week.Here is the history of the issue: The senior Historic Preservation Commission (HPC) planner for the city of Aspen was sold a free-market lot which included a house in the West End for the remarkably low price of $241,000 at a time when the raw land alone was assessed at $750,000. The senior HPC planner is responsible for making recommendations of support or denial on local historic redevelopments. The seller was an LLC managed by a local developer. The city researched the price paid, $241,000, and concluded that transfer tax was paid on the $241,000 amount; however the city failed to justify why this senior staffer received such a shocking discount in price from a local developer.My comments at council were to present public records to clearly identify the shocking discount in price. Helen had previously explained that although the documents substantiating the unjustified discount are all public records, involving a public official, she never expected the documents to be assembled in one orderly package. Helen may continue her dramatic maneuvers like cutting public comment short and doing other things to avoid acknowledging the existence of public documents substantiating unjustified discount. However, because I have received numerous requests for these documents, I have made them available to anyone at http://www.myrin.com/substantiation or you may call me for a hard copy. Helen will be very upset if you educate yourself about the big picture.Bert MyrinAspen


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