Aspen Times Editorial: Snowmass voters should recall Chris Jacobson
Council members in Snowmass Village are facing historical land-use decisions in their town. The Base Village development, which has endured countless delays for more than a decade, is ramping up and the critical “community purpose” decision is finally close to being made — 11 years after the developer and the town first agreed on the amenity.
Snowmass Councilman Chris Jacobson’s absence from five consecutive council meetings during this critical process is now more concerning than his legal troubles.
Following a June arrest for driving under the influence, Jacobson allegedly became violent in his Pitkin County Jail cell, causing more than $14,000 in damage, according to the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office. He is charged with criminal mischief, a Class 5 felony, as well as DUI.
A plea deal was reportedly offered earlier this month, but the District Attorney’s Office and Jacobson’s attorney, Arnold Mordkin, have not released any details.
While serious criminal charges against an elected official shouldn’t be overlooked, Jacobson’s lack of participation under his duties as a councilman is why we think voters should recall him from office in the election next month.
A big part of that commitment is participation in important meetings, including doing the required amount of reading and homework leading up to such meetings. Jacobson’s absence has left four remaining members with the responsibility of the Base Village community-purpose decision. He has failed to answer reporters’ phone calls and emails, failed to notify the town manager or his fellow council members of his whereabouts, and his attorney will only say that the two have been communicating when asked where his client has been.
While the fallout from the June arrest has no doubt caused a great deal of stress for Jacobson — when he was released from jail, conditions of his bond stated that he is not allowed to consume alcohol or drugs, cannot drive and must participate in a substance-monitoring program — the councilman could at the very least issue a statement to the community as to where he is and why he’s unable to reliably serve his town.
Mayor Markey Butler asked Jacobson to resign at a mid-July council meeting and community members circulated a recall petition a short time later. Jacobson told The Aspen Times earlier that the charges against him hadn’t affected his work on the council.
“My ability to separate the potential of the town and the needs of the town and to focus on those has been pretty self-evident,” he said.
But five consecutive missed meetings later, we disagree. It’s time for Jacobson to answer to his community about his whereabouts and his lack of participation, and we think it’s also time for voters in Snowmass Village to remove him from office next month.
The Aspen Times editorial board consists of Publisher Samantha Johnston, Editor Lauren Glendenning, Managing Editor Rick Carroll and community members Bob Braudis and Kathryn Koch.
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