Tim vs. Mick on Burlingame | AspenTimes.com
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Tim vs. Mick on Burlingame

Dear Editor:I’ve been reading with interest the letters and articles leading up to the mayoral election. Out of concern for Aspen, a town I love, I respectfully offer these observations.It took over eight years to plan and approve the Burlingame project on the land which was my family’s ranch, and during that time I often had occasion to work with each of the present candidates. What a study in contrasts!My experiences of working in the public arena with Mr. Semrau and Mr. Ireland were as different as night and day.Where Mr. Ireland was clear, Mr. Semrau was obfuscatory. Where Mr. Ireland remained consistent with principles which he declared and defended, Mr. Semrau seemed to operate according to hidden and shifting agendas.The process leading up to the approvals was long, difficult, and full of uncertainties. Many people worked hard to bring the project about, and there were others, of course, who tried to stop it and obstruct it.While properly subject to rigorous scrutiny, the project also suffered from years of underhanded attacks from its opponents.Mr. Ireland supported Burlingame clearly and worked to see it approved. Mr. Semrau danced, seeming sometimes to support Burlingame, and then sometimes acting to block it. And yes, Mr. Semrau did stall the process significantly. He did this, on taking office on City Council, by demeaning the city’s housing department, accusing them of failing to produce the necessary analyses of competing housing projects. He followed this up by demanding complicated, lengthy, and very expensive consultants’ studies.In the end, these studies delivered very much the same conclusions as those already developed and delivered by the housing department. The housing department itself got little credit for this, and then suffered collateral damage as people who had been working hard to make the housing happen lost their jobs.At that time Mr. Semrau seemed to favor another candidate housing site, the now defunct Aspen Mass. He was, I recall, oddly reluctant to accept the results of the new study which indicated that Burlingame was clearly the preferable site. Once again, he was never clear and straightforward about offering his arguments for and against these issues, but seemed to come at them indirectly. I concluded then, and I still believe, that if it had been up to Mr. Semrau, Burlingame would not have happened.This leads me to look with skepticism at his present campaign plans and promises. Although he positions himself as a friend of affordable housing, Mr. Semrau was definitely not a real friend to the Burlingame project. What can we believe about his likely future actions? The proof of the pudding, as they say, is in the eating, and I do not have confidence that Mr. Semrau’s housing policy pudding is tasty, or wholesome, or good.Pam Lifton-ZolineTelluride


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