Victimized because of his success
Thank you, Steve Falender, for stating what should be “the obvious” and what needs to be said when referring to Monday’s Aspen City Council meeting: “How disappointing that not a single council member was willing to confront the mayor for his inflammatory words … and to remind him that civil discourse and respect are expected” (“One-sided civility,” Letters to the Editor, Jan. 12, The Aspen Times).
Obviously I am biased about the proposed project and the process by which it is being handled – Nikos Hecht is my son – but Mr. Ireland’s divisiveness and disdain for working with those he clearly has a vendetta against is disheartening to say the least. Characterizing a project as “extortionist” is beyond the pale. Perhaps it might occur to the mayor that: (1) developers are not the enemy in any city, much less a tourist-oriented town, (2) it is not a sin to have worked damn hard, to have been successful and then to have chosen to put those rewards back into the city where one was raised, (3) turning local developers away (particularly extraordinarily generous developers who continually and charitably give back to locals) is a precarious, slippery slope, and (4) it should be obvious that a developer has the right to make money on his or her investment – in other words, buying a property in the city of Aspen should not be expected to be a gift to the city.
One can only hope that the waters for negotiation have not been so muddied by this kind of unseemly, nasty rhetoric that neither side benefits.
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Basalt mayoral candidates Bill Kane and Rob Leavitt said at a Feb. 10 forum they endorsed the town government’s $1.34 million expenditure to expand a riverfront park. Candidate and councilman Bill Infante said not so fast and provided an alternative view.