There are no shortcuts in democracy
June 22, 2011
In a democratic society, I believe justice and process should be blind. The outcome should not taint the process.
The two current examples in Aspen are the Weinerstube and the hydro plant. I think there is a public perception that the process was circumvented in both examples. I feel the hydro-plant process was fast tracked because of the goal of clean and renewable energy. I fully support the goal but disagree with a process that avoided environmental assessments and began construction and spending of public funds in the absence of an unbiased (is that even possible) accumulation of information. The outcome of the study being influenced by those that commission it is a topic for another discussion.
The point I am trying to make is the process should be the same independent of the proposed outcome. Being blind to the outcome and unattached to it should be a foundation of process. The same process should be employed to approve a hydro-electric plant and a toxic dump.
The use of “emergency” should not be lightly used. No matter how laudable the outcome proposed, the process must be blind. An emergency picket construction in my view was not proper process.
Just as acceptance of the outcome of an election is a democratic responsibility, so also should be respect for the process. As a member of a democracy I accept the elected officials even if I did not vote for them. As long as the process if proper and is legal. So by extension public acceptance of a public works project is dependent upon proper process. There should be no shortcuts to approve a hydro-electric plant and no shortcuts to approve a toxic waste dump.
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The process should be blind.