Aspen Times Endorsement: Let Steve Skadron finish the job as mayor
We urge voters to re-elect Steve Skadron to his third and final two-year term as Aspen’s mayor.
While Skadron has met opposition in the past four years on issues such as Base2 Lodge, zoning variances, city offices and water rights, we feel his guidance and thoughtful approach to town matters has continued to make Aspen a quality town.
His most significant achievement was leading the Aspen City Council through the tricky and complex waters of the land-use code by revamping the document so that it matches the community’s future desires outlined in the Aspen Area Community Plan.
This was a long and tedious process, with more than a year of mundane but important meetings where council members scrutinized the land-use code and ultimately made it better for Aspen.
While the Skadron-led board chipped away at creating new land-use laws, developers seeking improvements or new projects in Aspen’s commercial district were forced to hit the brakes due to a moratorium by council. That moratorium expired in March after the council approved ordinances in January that reduced the floor-area ratios and restricted building heights to 28 feet for two-story structures, among other key changes.
Skadron came to Aspen in 1995 as many in town have, as a “ski bum,” but he also was armed with an MBA from Northeastern University. He put that degree to use in Aspen, opening a marketing firm and becoming involved in the community. He started with a seat on the city Planning and Zoning Commission and six years on the City Council, leaving his second term to run for mayor in 2013.
Skadron’s temperament and disposition are a solid representation of the people who live in and love Aspen and all it offers. He does not always make the popular decisions, which is what good leaders must do at times. But Skadron doesn’t view Aspen through a short-term lens. He instead looks at the big picture that’s influenced by his environmental philosophies and sincere desire to make Aspen a liveable place for all to appreciate.
It’s not an easy job. Aspen needs more employee housing, traffic can be a mess, there’s a never-ending list of polarizing development projects council must consider, and the ski seasons are getting noticeably narrower.
We don’t envy Skadron for the seat he has held for four years. But we appreciate the job he has done, albeit not perfect, in a city that oftentimes is divided.
The mayor has been criticized at times for being too emotional, but we applaud his desire to be vested in a topic so deeply that his emotions can become public.
Skadron’s challenger, Lee Mulcahy, is a longtime Aspen resident who has had a number of issues and run-ins with organizations around the area. One of Mulcahy’s reasons for running for mayor this year was to make sure Skadron did not run unopposed. We think that anyone whose platform is grounded in pure opposition is not a productive way to lead our city.
We also feel Mulcahy’s focus is too strong on the anti-establishment to get anything constructive accomplished in a two-year term, or for that matter longer. His constant battles within the community do not need to become part of the mayor’s office.
This is Skadron’s time to finish the job he started. The debate over the potential dams remains unresolved, the Gorsuch Haus proposal remains undecided and a whole slew of other issues are coming down the pike.
For these reasons, The Aspen Times asks voters to cast their ballots for Steve Skadron.