Guest commentary: Aspen city council candidate guided by seven key principles
January 8, 2019
I am proud to be running for Aspen City Council.
I was fortunate to move here 14 years ago, and to be on skis at Snowmass at 15 months. My grandparents came here in '52. My girlfriend's grandfather helped build our town. They, and so many of you, worked hard to make it what it is.
It was not easy shaping Aspen into what it is now. The walking malls were deeply contentious.
The creation of the Real Estate Transfer Tax, the lodging tax, the Red Brick, the Wheeler, and keeping the straight shot out of Aspen — twice — were all decided by less than 85 votes.
Now again, we face big challenges. This council has lost its vision and its backbone. Our middle is eroding. The middle classes, middle ages and affordable businesses are vanishing. We are not doing enough to plan for our climate future. If we do not rebuild our middle, Aspen as we know it will cease to exist.
I believe these trends can be slowed and reversed if we work together. With belief in one another and a collective willingness to do hard things, we cannot fail.
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I have taken the five-generation-pledge: to leave for my grandkids a town better than the one my grandparents left me, and this goal drives me. I ask you to join me in this effort, guided by these seven principles:
Housing comes first. Everything else is moot if we don't live here. We must insist on housing retirees and 60 percent of our workforce. There is no community of character without the characters who live in it.
Affordable business matters. It's not just about inexpensive clothes. It's about year-round jobs and businesses that are uniquely Aspen.
Think long term. With climate change impending, our landfill almost full and fires on the rise, we need to invest in our resilience.
Care for one another. I have your back, you have mine. That is how Aspen was built, and what makes it special. We can disagree and still care about each other's well-being.
Be brave. No more changing paths with the winds. We must be bold enough to stand up to vocal minorities when their interests do not align with the spirit and the majority of Aspen.
Lead by example. Rather than complaining about what is wrong elsewhere, let us fix it here and show the world how it can be done. Truly local energy and food, 100 percent voter participation.
Do the work. Our time is spent on what we value. I pledge to you to be the hardest working person on council, as I have been on NextGen and Planning and Zoning, despite being a candidate with a full-time job.
I launch this campaign with my leadership collective: People with 10, 20, 50 years of knowledge that help me — and can help us all — learn, evolve and think through issues. I am grateful to have led the effort to change our local election day, ensuring more participation and better representation.
We have a simple question in this election: Do we pull up the drawbridge, turn off the lights and give up on the Aspen Idea, or do we double down on 70 years of tradition and do the bold things required to ensure that Aspen's best days are ahead? I insist on the latter.
I ask for your vote and the opportunity to do more.
Leading up to the March 5 municipal election, The Aspen Times is publishing one guest commentary from each candidate. Mesirow's website is http://www.SkippyForAspen.com, and he can be reached at Skippy.Mesirow@gmail.com.
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