We deserve Tim’s proposal
Dear Editor:Tim Semrau has been dragged through the fire on his employee housing proposal, and it’s too bad. As a supporter of Tim’s, I have spoken with many of you who have asked for clarification on what he is proposing. Don’t listen to Mick – he loves his life of poverty. This is about those of us with financial goals that exist in concert with our love for Aspen.Tim is simply saying that we Aspenites in affordable housing are not indentured servants. We did not “sign up” for 3 percent because it seemed like the right level of sacrifice for living in paradise. We signed up for it because that was our only offer. We are worth more than that! We put up with the construction stress. We endure the traffic. We endure the challenges of living in Aspen. We keep this town running, and we needn’t be short changed in the process.Remember your own thoughts when you bought into employee housing – knowing that you were destined to essentially lose money in what was likely your biggest investment to date. Friends downvalley told you that it was not the right investment and encouraged you to buy freemarket with them, but you stuck with it. You wanted to live here and you do.Now Tim is proposing that we take a fresh look at the cap and consider raising it to 5 percent – an extra $3,500 per year in gains for the average homeowner. Is he buying your vote, or simply suggesting that the city and the housing department do what’s right? That surplus money belongs to YOU. Don’t be fooled by those who tell you that it will bankrupt the system or limit our capacity to create more affordable housing. We can do it all!Twenty years ago the real estate transfer tax did not exist. Who would have ever thought that every time a piece of real estate changes hands the affordable housing fund would benefit to the tune of a $100 million surplus by 2012? Call me crazy, but spending a projected $2.5 million per year on increased appreciation and buydowns ain’t gonna hurt anyone or anything. We have too much money! To put it plainly – we, the people, are rich!Tim Semrau has a proven track record on city council that displays a leadership no one can deny. Ask anyone why Burlingame was held to such high building standards, and they will tell you it was because of Tim.Tim is a developer. That’s right. He has developed 39 affordable housing homes in Aspen, totaling 99 bedrooms, and it cost the city of Aspen nothing! Ask the next developer you meet how many affordable housing units he has built. Ask any person who lives in a home built by Tim Semrau what it’s like – all they will do is smile.Tim Semrau is an intelligent, insightful leader who has called Aspen his home since 1989. He raised his kids here, and lived in Truscott and Hunter Creek Longhouse before building his first affordable housing complex across the street from the Yellow Brick. Tim is here for the long haul. He has your interests at heart, and he is running for mayor for all the right reasons. He will guide Aspen with a gentle aplomb that this town sorely needs. I am voting for Tim Semrau!Vince LaheyAspen
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