Berg: Desperate for diversity
When Skippy Mesirow and I, along with a few others, formed Aspen Next Gen in 2013, we did so to inspire the younger generation of Aspen citizens to become engaged in local politics and have a voice. We wanted more diversity on council and city committees because, at that time, the sense was that only those who had time to physically show up and be the loudest at council meetings controlled the discussion and persuaded policies. And, the 40-and-under contingency rarely did so.
Now, we face a different diversity problem.
Of the 72 votes taken by the current council, 71 were unanimous, and the one other vote was 4-1. It has become clear that the current council and city staff all have a singular way of thinking about how to solve the problems we face in Aspen, and they are not receptive to truly debating others’ ideas. They “listen,” but not with an open mind. They do so only to show for the record that they allowed you to speak.
The generations of Aspenites before us have been unable to solve the problems that we still grapple with today (affordable housing, entrance to Aspen, traffic, child care). These issues are deep and difficult ones and require diversity of life experiences of the people that will be deciding our future.
Bill Guth brings with him a breadth of experience that we desperately need — from fathering three small children to hiring employees and operating a business in Aspen.