Three big reasons to register to vote
Election Day is May 8, and the citizens of Aspen have some serious choices to make.There are two open seats on Aspen City Council and the mayor’s seat is up for grabs as well. Already, the battle lines for the fields of candidates are being drawn. We’ve got candidates who bring a capitalist bent to their politics, and others whose candidacies border on socialism. And, there are those in the middle.This space today isn’t being used to argue the merits of their arguments or to endorse the candidates. It is, however, a call on Aspen residents to register to vote if they haven’t already. April 9 is the deadline, and eligible citizens can register at City Hall or at the Pitkin County Clerk & Recorder’s Office.And if there was ever a year to register to vote, this is it. For sure, it seems that every election season the same battle cry emerges: Aspen is at a crossroads. But that rings as true as ever as we approach Election Day, largely in part of three major issues that will define the city’s future. 1) The Entrance to Aspen – This is the issue that won’t go away, chiefly because daily gridlock won’t go away. Candidates are making their best pitches for either the preferred alternative, otherwise known as the modified direct through the Marolt open space, or making changes to the existing entrance. Something has to give, but based on the long-standing history of this debate that’s hardly a sure thing. 2) Affordable housing – Two of the candidates bring contrasting views about the Aspen’s affordable housing program. Mayoral candidate Tim Semrau wants to raise the appreciation cap on deed-restricted housing to 5 percent. This method, Semrau argues, will put more money in the working class’ pockets. Opponent Mick Ireland wants to keep it at its existing 3 percent, on the belief that those who literally bought into this program should also have a sense of altruism. Torre, meanwhile, has no stated position on Semrau’s proposal. Instead, the city councilman feels the focus should be on seeking new opportunities for affordable housing. 3) Development vs. preservation – Fueled by this Saturday’s closing of the Red Onion and the recent fallout between the owners of the Hotel Jerome and the City Council, this issue is about as emotional as it gets for locals, not withstanding the S-curves. Two building moratoriums later, voters are looking at the potential of having a City Council with a majority of its seats controlled by those whose livings are fed by the hand of development, or those whose aren’t. Either way, the balance of our future City Council could very well determine how Aspen looks in the very near future.Of course, there are other issues that will drive the May election, but we feel these three are the litmus tests for Aspen. So remember, April 9 is the last day to register to vote in the upcoming election. After all, it’s the one chance we’ll have a say about Aspen, with all votes being equal.
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