Uneasy about the process
In Friday’s Aspen Times (“Speak up, Aspen,” Jan. 23), the editor urges Aspenites and locals to come to the community meetings being held next week to shape Aspen’s future. The Aspen Area Community Plan (the next 10 years) will be updated using the results of these meetings. The city’s invitation for those to attend states anyone who works, lives or plays in Aspen should come. While inviting and possibly very helpful, it’s also confusing.
How will information be tallied and used? In the past, these interactive, broad- stroke feeling and opinion responses to general statements have turned into unanimous, clear, consensus mandate by the people. What people? It is nice to respond anonymously and talk in generalities, but assuredly this leaves sails flapping.
Who is an Aspenite? A Basaltine? A downvalley commuter? Someone here working for the winter, looking to stay on if more affordable housing is built? Is a tax- paying business owner living downvalley a local? Maybe. When does a person become an Aspenite? I would like to know, because shaping and reshaping Aspen is costly and affects quality of life.
Do Aspenites go to New York, Basalt, Glenwood or Moab, jump in as a local, and tell governing officials what we think the future should be because we work there, own property, shop, get stuck in traffic, lament the changes, or enjoy the hot springs on a sunny day? A few may, but it is most likely rare. These scheduled, all- inclusive town meetings leave many locals with an uneasy feeling about the process, data collected and questioning where the perceived outcome of each public meeting will go ” key pad or show of hands.
As with science, you can’t have accurate data without a careful, methodic, accurate collection of facts and measurements. Controls must be in place. In this case a constant or control in the experiment is the identified issue or statement, the variables are the people in the room. With regard to future visions, it is helpful not to lead or limit the visions to a), b), or c), but to also provide a space for a potential new vision. There may be some creative vision no one has thought of, including leaving things alone.
In another attempt to get it right and cultivate an open dialogue, please give accurate, in real time, breakdown of who is in the room participating when each statement or vision is brought forth during the keypad voting. Some sort of system identifying taxpayer, Aspen voter resident/non- resident, should be issued and applied with an accurate keypad accounting.
As our new president stated, government needs to be accurate, efficient, accountable and transparent, so let’s spend our money wisely on this lunch meeting, collect the real facts and save ourselves a lot of second guessing and spin. With today’s technology, I’m hopeful this can be done before our next community meeting.
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