Aspen Times Editorial: Vote for Mick Ireland
Both Aspen City Council finalists in the June 2 runoff tout strong selling points.
Bert Myrin, who collected 994 votes in the May 5 municipal election, lauds his outsider status and his “voice of the community” as key ingredients that make him suitable for a council seat. He plays up his non-experience on the City Council as a benefit to voters. In other words, Myrin vows to rock the boat that is Aspen city government with his thorough and careful scrutiny of all land-use and development applications.
It’s indisputable that Ireland, a former Pitkin County commissioner and Aspen mayor, represents the old guard of local politics. One could reasonably argue that it’s time for a fresh face, that the Aspen community has had its fill of Ireland, who placed third overall in the May contest with 813 votes.
Fair enough, but there’s no denying that Ireland has been a driving force behind the affordable-housing program and maintained an influential seat in transportation talks. He also has fought to protect the environment and championed the rights of Aspen’s working class.
Myrin and Ireland actually share a lot in common.
Leading up the May election, they both lobbied hard to Aspen voters to pass Referendum 1, which makes Aspen’s electorate the final authority for specific land-use variances.
But what separates Ireland from Myrin, who both deserve credit for running a clean and civil runoff campaign, is the former’s diverse political resume and agenda.
At last week’s Squirm Night, Myrin argued that everything goes back to land use. That includes Aspen’s suicide issue, he said, because some residents have a difficult time living here because of the high cost of living.
We’re not aware of any evidence to support that claim by Myrin, one that gives us further proof that he is a one-note candidate. Myrin is astute about land use, but he has failed to give us evidence that he looks at the big picture of Aspen. That big picture isn’t just building sizes and heights; it’s also about transportation, health and human services, education, community policing, housing and so on. Ireland has demonstrated over the years that he is well-versed in virtually every aspect of Aspen governance, and his beliefs and values usually reflect those of the community.
Perhaps Myrin, if he is elected, would work hard to better educate himself about Aspen’s non-land-use issues. But Ireland, as we noted earlier, is a proven leader in those areas.
We encourage Aspen voters to select Mick Ireland in the June 2 runoff. Ballots already have been mailed to Aspen residents, who must return them, drop them off or vote in person at City Hall by June 2.