Think hard before signing

Dear Editor:It’s sad when one who waves the banner of freedom of speech as feverishly as Toni Kronberg doesn’t grasp that the freedom she enjoys to speak against Burlingame also allows affordable housing supporters to make their beliefs known. Public dialogue is supposed to be an exchange of differing ideas, not just an echo chamber of Toni’s opinion. Democracy is a two-way street. She has the right to her “they aren’t really anti-Burlingame” petitions; and other community members have a right to point out the destructive nature of her actions and to respectfully ask citizens not to sign, to ask that we not put Aspen through a divisive rerun of the election four years ago where public support of Burlingame housing prevailed with a 60 percent margin. Toni can request another vote to break the agreements the city entered into following the mandate of that election. She can ask city residents to incur expenses in the millions for breaching our contracts and acting in bad faith. She can ask that we not honor our previous commitments, that we abrogate our contract with the private landowners and break faith with all of the hard-working citizens who know that Burlingame Village is their only shot at becoming permanent community members.But I and others have the right to ask that we just say no. I can ask that the public looks around at the shop managers and owners, postmen, nurses, ski patrollers, school teachers, policemen, volunteers, friends, employees and coworkers of all kinds who simply wouldn’t be here if not for the successful affordable housing to date.I can point out the underlying message and pain that her efforts invoke: that we don’t need anymore of those damn working types around, that an ever-increasing imported workforce from 40 miles away is preferable and will serve Aspen just as well in future years as a balanced permanent resident community of all ages and means would. The choice is yours to make, sign or don’t sign, hold another Burlingame election or not. But before endorsing Toni’s petition with your name, ask yourself who stocked the shelves for you today, who watched over your children, who groomed the mountains, who greeted the guest, who volunteered for your organization, who looked after your business, who cooked and served your dinner and how far do they have to travel at the end of the day to be home? Rachel E. RichardsAspen City Councilwoman