Trolley rally rankles council
October 2, 2002
A campaign rally last week at the site of a trolley car on display at Rubey Park left some Aspen City Council members wondering if they should kick the car off city property.
Although some council members were obviously displeased with the event ? which they said violated the terms of the deal that allowed the trolley?s placement at the bus station ? they stopped short Tuesday of demanding removal of the car.
?It was clear we didn?t want to use that for propaganda purposes,? said Councilman Tim Semrau. ?Weren?t we all pretty clear on that?
?I thought we had a clear agreement. If it was unclear, let?s clear it up right now.?
The Aspen Street Railway Co. refurbished the car and asked to display it at Rubey Park in advance of a November vote on a proposed trolley line in Aspen. Council members said OK, but told the group they didn?t want the car used for campaigning.
On Friday, Friends of the Trolley held an ice cream social beside the car, handing out ice cream in front of a sign that read: Vote for the Trolley.
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Councilman Terry Paulson, who took part in the event, came under fire from Semrau, who quizzed Paulson on whether he did or did not recall the terms of the deal.
Paulson accused the council of trying to squash the public?s First Amendment freedoms.
?They made an agreement ? it had nothing to do with the First Amendment,? countered Councilman Tony Hershey.
Trolley advocates can gather at Rubey Park to campaign for their cause any time they want, but the city doesn?t have to allow the car to remain there, he pointed out.
“What I?m saying is, they agreed not to use that as a campaign platform,? Hershey said.
?If you and Councilman Hershey want it removed, I will go along with it, but I don?t think it?s that big a deal,? Councilman Tom McCabe told Semrau.
Mayor Helen Klanderud, too, wasn?t anxious to force the issue.
?I do think the spirit of the agreement was violated,? she said.
[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org]