Aspen Times Editorial: Ann Mullins and Torre for Aspen City Council

One of the best things about the campaign for City Council is that it has cast the spotlight on both young and old Aspen, as well as that in between.

It translates to healthy democracy for Aspen in a contest that pits a pair of incumbents against four challengers for the two available seats.

There is Skippy Mesirow, a rising star in Aspen politics and, at age 30, easily the youngest in the six-person field and inarguably the most enthusiastic.

Sue Tatem, more than twice Mesirow’s age, has brought some playful wisdom to the race, while incumbent Art Daily has stayed measured while also being on the defense as an incumbent.

Ward Hauenstein, not one to mince words, has stood his ground on protecting what he believes are Aspen values.

The Aspen Times argues that the two who should join City Council for the next four years, however, are candidate Torre and incumbent Councilwoman Ann Mullins.

Mullins and Torre don’t share the same platforms or political views; in fact they’re worlds apart on ample issues.

Their differences, though, are what we believe will make the future City Council a stronger decision-making body rather than one comprised of political clones who march in lockstep.

Whether fair or not, many have grouped Torre and Hauenstein as a ticket. The same goes for Mullins and Daily.

Rather than picking one of these so-called tickets, we prefer to take the best of each group.

We like Torre because he has proven himself before as an effective councilman. Were his decisions on council always best for the community? That’s debatable given his record on voting for infill projects. But Torre also has learned from his mistakes and the city has benefited from the good decisions he has made, from spearheading the reusable bag effort to standing up to development out of step with Aspen’s character.

Torre also stands out as someone who doesn’t dillydally or pontificate to the point where it’s paralysis by analysis. He prefers to drill down to the point and get things done.

And for all of the snickering about the fact that Torre is running yet again for an Aspen seat, his detractors have failed to recognize that this is one downright resilient politician. Yes, he’s lost the mayoral race several times, but he keeps coming back, ready to fight for Aspen. We like that. It speaks to his toughness and willingness to put himself on the line.

Torre also has made clear he is against the city’s efforts to possibly dam the Castle and Maroon creeks. He will bring a healthy dose of needed skepticism to the City Council when this polarizing issue forges on.

Mullins has been beat up a good deal on the campaign trail, along with Daily. Some of the criticism toward her has been valid, such has her council vote on Base2 Lodge, which Aspen’s electorate ultimately overturned at the polls.

To her credit, though, Mullins played an instrumental role in doing the thankless work of digging into the land-use code and matching it with the Aspen Area Community Plan for some 13 months. She also has a big part in promoting health and human services, something you might not see on her voting record, but it’s vital work she has done behind the scenes.

Mullins also has a keen and fair eye when it comes to development thanks to her background in architecture.

We’ve never seen her lose her cool, but she does speak her mind. She isn’t loud and isn’t a saber rattler — and we consider that an asset.

We encourage Mullins to keep an open mind about the dams, a complex and nuanced issue. The same goes for Torre. But we are confident they are both level-headed enough to consider what’s best for Aspen without checking the political winds to guide their decisions. In fact, we expect them to do that with other issues as well.

There is no candidate who we believe would run Aspen into the ground if elected to City Council. They all bring strong attributes and we applaud them all for running mostly clean, civil campaigns.

We also are confident that Aspen would be best served by having the distinct voices of Mullins and Torre for the next four years. They have made their cases, and we are confident they are up for the task.