Vote Jack Johnson for Aspen City Council
Aspen is fortunate to have two sincere and intelligent City Council candidates competing in Tuesday’s runoff election. Dee Malone and Jack Johnson are both thoughtful individuals who seem to truly care about Aspen and seeing it thrive into the future. We don’t think either of these candidates is in this race for selfish reasons or to do favors for friends.Frankly, we think that either one would make a careful, conscientious council member, and in that sense Aspen wins either way.But since Aspenites get only one vote, we’re going to make just one recommendation. We suggest Aspenites elect Jack Johnson.Here’s why.Serving on the Aspen City Council is a complex job, and it requires that council members become well-versed in numerous subjects. They must be broadminded and ready to study all the matters that come before them, from public transit to park maintenance to affordable housing to large-scale commercial development. In other words, it’s a lot of hard work.Judging by his campaign performance, we think Jack Johnson is better equipped for this job. Johnson has shown a willingness to listen and to entertain ideas, he comes well-prepared to all of his public appearances, and he’s already shown a knack for public policy through his service on the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission.Johnson has a shown a firm grasp on nearly all of the issues that have surfaced during the campaign, and understands how policy decisions often involve conflicting goals. He seems well-equipped to hear all sides of a debate and then make a reasoned, balanced decision.Johnson has been accused of being funded by developers, but he doesn’t look to us like a developer’s pawn. There are developers on his contributor list, but they’re members of a much larger group. We also feel the allegations that Johnson has misrepresented himself as a licensed architect have more to do with election-season politics than Johnson’s moral fiber. Malone is a strong, articulate candidate with an obvious love for the town, but we fear she’ll look at all issues and decisions through a narrow, environmental lens. It’s not that the environment shouldn’t play a part in every decision the council makes, it should. But there are other ways to measure the costs and benefits of a decision, and as far as we’re concerned, Malone hasn’t shown the ability to look carefully at all facets of an issue and decide on the overall merits.This is a trap into which we believe outgoing Councilman Terry Paulson often fell – that of judging every decision solely on its environmental impacts. It placed Paulson, a sincere public servant, out of step with his colleagues on the council and earned him the reputation as the guy who said “no” to everything. Paulson was rarely able to build coalitions and offer constructive leadership because he seemed locked into a perpetually “opposed” stance.Malone is no Paulson clone, but we do feel she would bring a limited set of tools to the council chambers.Jack Johnson, on the other hand, has shown a real hunger for this job, a willingness to study, prepare and learn, and, perhaps most important, a genuine ability to listen.Vote for Jack Johnson on June 7.
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