Mick Ireland for mayor of Aspen
I’m voting for Mick Ireland for mayor because he is the smartest, strongest and most experienced candidate, and because I think he can best implement his views about growth control and affordable housing, with which I agree.Mick and I diverge on the entrance to Aspen question, but I’m banking on a council that will outnumber him on this issue and that, if push comes to shove, the voters will still have the final say.As for the “ambassador” part of the job, I don’t care if Mick shows up at a ribbon-cutting wearing lycra shorts and a bike helmet or, for that matter, doesn’t show up at all. That aspect of the position is largely self-determined.Helen Klanderud was great at it but the job description is not set in stone. Indeed, to my mind, the whole Sister Cities and other outreach programs and functions, at which the mayor is expected to appear, have gotten a bit out of hand.Now is the time to get things done or, to look at it another way, to get things STOPPED, to stem the tide, and Mick Ireland is the man to do that.There is probably no one more knowledgeable in the entire valley about land use codes – Mick knows how to write them, read them, understands how to use them, and knows how to anticipate how they may be abused. The county has benefited greatly from his dedicated efforts, and the city can sure use him now.Driving into Aspen from Glenwood Springs, you can see the demarcation between Garfield/Eagle and Pitkin counties as if a line had been drawn with a big, black magic marker: Rampant development on one side and pastoral Pitkin County on the other. Mick has never wavered from holding that line.Last week when I endorsed Steve Skadron for council, I said I’d known him for over a decade. I’ve known Mick for almost three decades, since he arrived as a wet-behind-the-ears (smart-ass) kid with a job in the paste-up department of The Aspen Times following a stint as a dishwasher.He worked his way up to reporter (and did he ever investigate!), later quit to go to law school, then was appointed to fill a vacancy as county commissioner, the rest being history.Over those years we have had our differences and spats, but Mick was always open to arguing his point of view. E-mail him a question and you will get such reams of response that you will have to refill your printer.Mick has been accused of being a “career politician” and I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean. I’d call him a “dedicated politician.” There’s not that much money in it for county commissioners and even less in the city. I’ve never favored term limits for any office, on the grounds that if you have good people in office, you should be able to keep them there, and if they’re slackers or stinkers, you should have the wits to vote them out of office.Mick has been term-limited out of the county and the county’s loss can be the city’s gain. He has spent 13 years fending off developers with remarkable success, and that’s the kind of experience and tenacity we need.I don’t want to get into the other candidates except to say this: I do not want to see Tim Semrau, a developer with a very different agenda, elected mayor and I think Mick Ireland can win.Su Lum is a longtime local who hopes, but wouldn’t put any money on it, that this one won’t end up in a run-off. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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Sean Beckwith is taking advantage of his column space this week to inform the public of the Best in Jest.