Where is the real leadership? | AspenTimes.com

Where is the real leadership?

Dear Editor:

Thank you Kim Vieira (Jan. 22 and 28, letters) and other writers for expressing outrage at the job our elected officials are doing.

At City Council direction, dozens invested time and money ” including taxpayer money ” hashing out a plan for the Lift 1A neighborhood. But when it was council’s turn they “copped out” and remanded the issue to a vote.

At the ABC, another master planning effort that includes 200 new affordable units and a mass transit center also is absorbing time and money from residents, city and county staffers, the sanitation district, RFTA, Aspen Skiing Co., airport, Kids First, school district and ABC business owners ” but the elected officials, and most pointedly the area’s representative Commissioner Owsley, fail to attend.

The hours at the recreation center are being cut, trash isn’t picked up along the roads, there still isn’t a bus shelter at the school, street lights are inadequate to protect pedestrians, traffic is backed up almost all day, etc. … so the elected officials respond by letting citizens vote with clickers on vague or utopian questions to update a master plan already so touchy-feely that it is hopeless as a planning tool.

The salary and benefits for our county commission has increased to a half a million dollars ($500,000). The council wanted a salary increase, too. Our once powerful commissioners have almost no role in a county where the cities now control any future growth. Aspen’s City council avoids tough political decisions and sends everything to costly votes that never decide the issues.

Solutions: Council needs to vote for what it believes is best for Aspen and let citizen initiatives determine what issues go to a vote. The county charter needs to be amended to return to three commissioners instead of five. (There are only two counties in the state with five commissioners and in that other county the commissioners are the department heads.)

The money we would save would pay for these basic services. But more importantly, if we demand accountability, maybe we will get real leadership again.

Shellie Roy


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