In this election, pick the best person |

In this election, pick the best person

Andy Stone

In our local politics, it’s fun to watch the way the rules change and then, naturally enough, the game changes in response.

In recent years, early voting has become all the rage. As a result, newspapers wrestle with the problem of whether to make their endorsements while the campaign is still in full cry or to wait until right before Election Day, when the campaign is over – but most of the voters have already cast their ballots.

Similarly, Aspen’s rules for runoffs in city elections have resulted in some people urging voters this year to cast just one vote for City Council – instead of the two votes they’re entitled to. The idea is that by reducing the total number of votes cast they make it easier for their chosen candidate to reach the 45 percent threshold and avoid the pain of a runoff election.

And so – because I always love to go along with the mob – I’m writing my endorsement column a week earlier than I otherwise would, and I’m only going to endorse one candidate … although I by no means suggest you shouldn’t cast your full allotment of two votes. Indeed, I encourage you all to vote as many times as they’ll let you.

In any case, I’m skipping the mayoral race completely. I could probably find something good and something bad to say about each of the three candidates – and why take the trouble to be wishy-washy.

And when it comes to the City Council, I don’t much care who you cast your second vote for, but please – please – be sure you cast one of your two votes for Tom Peirce.

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Let me repeat: Please cast one of your two City Council votes for Tom Peirce.

In the interest of full disclosure, I should start by noting that Tom’s a friend of mine. But I’m not suggesting you vote for him because he’s my friend. Frankly, I have some very good friends that I wouldn’t vote for under any circumstances.

And, oddly enough, I’m not urging you to vote for Tom because he and I agree politically on everything.

Actually, if Tom’s elected, I imagine he’ll cast a number of votes that will annoy the heck out of me. We disagree on a number of issues.

That may sound strange, but here’s the point: I am urging you to vote for Tom Peirce because he is very simply one of the most solid, most intelligent, thoughtful, honest, sincere and concerned people I have ever met.

I know that’s a mouthful, but I mean every word of it.

I guess I should note that my immediate instinct is to hate anyone who fits that description. How could you stand someone who’s honest, intelligent, sincere, thoughtful, caring and all the rest of it? You meet someone that perfect and your first instinct is to hit him with a shovel.

But that’s the thing about Tom. He’s all that, and on top of it he’s likable. He’s a good guy.

Tom grew up here in Aspen and he comes from a family with rock-solid principles. His father (and I hope he forgives me for mentioning this) turned down a lot of money and, ultimately, lost his job because he refused to throw open a beautiful corner of the valley to development.

And for those of you who look askance at anyone who opposes development, let me emphasize that Tom’s family was by no means wealthy, but they accepted some serious financial setbacks to stand by their principles.

That was Tom’s father and he passed those same kind of principles down to his son: honesty, integrity and a willingness to accept the cost of standing by your beliefs.

Tom is a businessman. He started his own business, worked hard, took some risks and turned it into a major success.

So he knows business and he understands success.

Moreover, Tom’s business was in tourism. He put together tours all over the world for top universities and organizations like the Smithsonian. These were trips that combined high-class luxury with intellectual enrichment.

So Tom knows exactly the kind of experience that Aspen needs to offer. He understands the value of quality and of being unique.

And, although I admit I just met Tom a few years ago – which is to say, at the point in my life at which I no longer spend a lot of time partying – I can tell that he knows how to have a good time.

And that’s important, too, because Aspen has to be a place where people can have a good time.

So, let’s put it together: a man of integrity, honesty and high principles who understands business, understands high-class tourism and knows how to party.

A man who, above all, understands Aspen and loves it as his genuine hometown.

How can you beat that?

As I said, I don’t always agree with Tom. But that doesn’t really matter.

For those of you who follow sports, there’s something of a cliche that often comes up when professional teams are drafting their choices from the current crop of seniors graduating from college.

Teams need to fill specific positions, but, when the choices get tough, they know they need to forget about those specifics and – here comes the cliche – “pick the best athlete.”

I think Aspen is facing some difficult choices right now and we need to make the right decisions in order to ensure our success as a resort and as a community.

And so – here comes my variation on the cliche – we need to pick the best person.

And that, for sure, is Tom Peirce.

Andy Stone is former editor of The Aspen Times. His e-mail address is