Johnson, Weiss for City Council
I have been watching GrassRoots TV so much my eyes are bleeding. Squirm Night, the Not Just Burlingame debate, the ACRA interviews and, most outstanding, Tom McCabe’s hourlong interviews with each of the 11 candidates.Two weeks ago I endorsed Helen Klanderud for mayor (the easy one) and last week, after watching many hours of Burlingame debates on GrassRoots, gave a half-hearted nod to the project, in large part out of fear of infill in Aspen if we turn it down.Picking two out of the seven council candidates was the most difficult of all, leading me to think that this race may be so close that at least four of them might return for a runoff election in June.The candidates’ positions on Burlingame were largely irrelevant to me because this question will be decided before they take office. After watching, listening, taping, rewinding and replaying, this is how my process of elimination evolved.Pepper Gomes would add spice to the council with his sense of humor and irreverence of the process, but he is riding the wrong horse with his issue that long-term owners of employee housing should be able to reap more profit than 3 percent per year.Andrew Kole is trying to behave himself in this campaign, but he is a hot-headed, in-your-face egotist and if he were ever elected, the City Council would be the Andrew Kole Show with four permanent guests.Dee Malone, whom I originally perceived as a slam-dunk endorsement to keep an environmental voice on the council, scared the hell out of me by coming out for the train and suggesting that TDRs be used to increase home sizes in the city. Put everything in the city and leave the outlying areas pristine. Whoa! Malone is an extreme environmentalist, who does not seem to have a grip on financial realities. (She only gave Tom McCabe a half-hour.)Marsha Goshorn has served a lot of time on various boards and is a well-qualified candidate, but comes across as a scold – jabbing her finger at the camera for accusatory emphasis. I can only pick two, and I’ve picked two who I think will be better.J.E. DeVilbiss is arguably the wisest candidate running, and could well turn out to be an excellent councilman, but his platform is so limited to and so vehement about Burlingame (he is for it), that it is difficult to predict how he would react to day-to-day issues.Cliff Weiss made a tactical error in refusing to attend the Not Just Burlingame debate, which I thought was the most revealing. But I have found him to be multifaceted, up-to-date on all the issues, probably our best bet for understanding the fiscal implications, has a background in resort marketing and is anti-growth, a voice that needs representation on the council. He warmed my heart by telling McCabe that he would read the city budget and knew how to interpret it.Jack Johnson is a relative newcomer who has thrown himself into the community, served on P&Z for three years and clearly does his homework. He and Cliff Weiss both did impressive jobs in the McCabe interviews, the clinchers for my vote. They are intelligent and dedicated and I think they will be the best choices for council. Don’t forget: If Torre is elected mayor, his seat will be appointed by the present board and you don’t want that! He has two more years on City Council, which is just where we need him. Su Lum is a longtime local who urges you to watch GrassRoots on Channel 12. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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