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Tim, for effective leadership

Dear Editor:I find myself involved in two firsts for me. One, I have never openly endorsed a political candidate, and two, I have never written a letter to the editor.Oddly enough, I am endorsing a candidate for the mayor of Aspen even though I am not a resident of Aspen and cannot vote. I am doing this for several reasons – I have worked and lived in the valley off and on since 1985 and have watched the various issues as they surface and then go away. It seems that while progress is made, the really tough issues like the Entrance to Aspen never get resolved, and the problems that are a result of this inaction continue to get worse. Employee housing is a constant drum beat with no short-term answer in sight.I am familiar with the candidates for the mayor of Aspen by reputation. I have met and know Tim Semrau. Mr. Semrau is often referred to as a “developer,” this in the pejorative. As a construction person, I would remind the critics that most people living in Aspen and the valley would not have a place to live were it not for the developers. In my mind, a lot of the qualities that make a successful developer are essential for an effective community leader. A developer must have initiative to consider all the available properties and choose based on his assessment of the potential for success. Then, the developer, with his finances on the line, must work with all layers of city/county and at times state governments to make the project conform to regulations. If the developer is also a builder, as is Mr. Semrau, he again risks loss to build a unit that he hopes will appeal to a buyer.The constant in all this is the ability to visualize, assess the risk/reward, and perhaps most important, the ability to work with a wide cross section of people and agencies in order to provide a product that provides pleasure and security for the end user. As I have stated, I have not met all the candidates, but I can say that the qualities I have seen in Mr. Semrau: honesty, integrity, proactive thinking, consideration and the ability to listen to all sides of an issue are very impressive. It is great to be able to draw lines in the sand on issues, some call this integrity, and it may be, but when there are issues that divide as deeply as the issues facing Aspen (and have for in some cases decades), I believe that an effective leader must be able to build a coalition, and work out the details that will really fix the problem.Mr. Semrau has demonstrated he understands budgets, schedules and is able to make the hard calls. His experience in his career gives him an edge, in my mind, to take on the thorny issues that have irritated the community for years. His personality, I believe, will enable him to work with, not become an obstacle to, various groups and individuals that will be involved in the determination of issues under consideration.Aspen is not my place of residence, but I spend the better part of each day there and hope that the choice made by the citizens of Aspen really is the best qualified candidate. Thank you for this opportunity to express my thoughts.Byron KingCarbondale


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