Vote Jack Johnson for commissioner
August 6, 2010
There are five candidates vying for the District 1 seat on the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners, with the top two vote-getters advancing from Tuesday’s primary election to the November contest.Experience isn’t necessarily a requirement for an elected seat, but it certainly helps. And while we haven’t always agreed with the decisions Jack Johnson made when he was an Aspen city councilman, we consider him a cut above the other four candidates – Tom Clapper, Rob Ittner, Brian Speck and David Weiss.Clapper is to be admired for his resiliency – he suffered a heart arrhythmia that caused it to stop earlier this year – but we don’t believe he is county commissioner material. But if everyone were as solid a citizen as Clapper, Pitkin County would be a much better place to live. But we also fear that the election of Clapper almost creates a monarchy of sorts for the District 1 seat, as Clapper would be filling the seat his wife, Patti, is vacating because of term limits. We wish Clapper the best of luck on his road to recovery; we just don’t believe that he is ready for the tough job of being a county commissioner. Ittner appears to be a candidate with solid business sense who’s also very well connected to the community. He speaks about stimulating the downtown economy, and who can argue with that? But we have yet to hear one specific example of what he would actually do. Ittner strikes us a candidate with lots of potential, but we’d like to see how he would perform on a board such as Planning & Zoning before he makes the leap to the BOCC.P&Z is a place where Speck has earned his stripes. Like Ittner, Speck appears to be another fiscal conservative with a wealth of business experience. Speck is a bright candidate and knowledgeable about land-use issues, not to mention a Pitkin County native who understands this community.Weiss has failed to demonstrate that he is truly serious about being a commissioner, and he doesn’t appear to be astute enough about the issues the county faces.Which leaves us with Johnson. We’re picking Johnson over the rest for many reasons. Here are a few:• We believe that Johnson – unlike Speck or Ittner – would not cave in to development interests.• Johnson is an advocate of affordable housing and health and human services. • He will stand up to oil and gas development in Pitkin County. • There will be no learning curve with Johnson. He will jump right into the job as if he has been there for years. • As intelligent as Johnson is, he also is a tireless worker. In fact, he’s a policy geek, which is exactly what we need on the BOCC. • You won’t see Johnson appear at a meeting unprepared or late. He does his homework and does not take the easy way out. In closing, we would be remiss to not mention that there’s also a prima donna streak to Johnson. He can be difficult and stubborn as a mule. If he’s elected, we expect Johnson to mature in his role as a public servant. He certainly should speak his mind when he deems it appropriate, but he can be just as effective without becoming rattled and unhinged. But there’s no mistaking public service is in Johnson’s heart. He certainly is not a fly-by-night candidate who’s simply testing the waters to use this campaign as a learning experience. Johnson wants this job, and the BOCC will be better with him on it.On Tuesday, vote Jack Johnson for District 1 of the Pitkin Board of County Commissioners.