I didn’t support the Burlingame development question put to the voters in 2000 for the same reason it is now coming back to kick us in the teeth: It was strictly an advisory vote, absent of financial and other pesky details which the city promised to iron out later. Be careful what you wish for and vote for. The approval of the advisory question, now cited repeatedly as the “will of the people,” has morphed into something more than we bargained for and even many of the citizens who originally voted YES for Burlingame are having second thoughts.I signed the first two petitions not to stop Burlingame, which I considered a fait accompli, but to stop any future city-generated development plans without informed voter approval – no more “advisory” votes.Somewhat to my surprise, but to my delight, close to 1,000 signatures were validated on both of these petitions. Vilifications on both sides of the issue were so heated that it was impossible to find the G-spot of public opinion on the subject, but here was a hint that voters were maybe not so hot in support of projects of this magnitude and sought control over other projects down the road.The city responded to this setback by agreeing that maybe the petitions should be withdrawn and Burlingame put on the May ballot, a suggestion that was immediately and rightly trounced by the petitioners (“ringleaders,” they were called in The Aspen Times, with a hint of the pejorative). We did not (I know I did not) sign those petitions with any hope of stopping Burlingame, and another vague advisory question in May, such as, “Do you support Burlingame now?” would undermine our intent to avoid such situations in the future.A third petition is now being circulated that specifically addresses Burlingame, and I was pissed off enough to sign it and urge everyone else to sign it so that one way or another the voters will have the opportunity to speak out.The first two petitions are likely to be challenged, causing further delay, and meanwhile the bulldozers are busily dozing and this has become a huge political issue even by Aspen standards.Let the fur fly! Give us the specifics. Let us vote on that rather than a “pie in the sky” concept of the solution to our housing needs, which is what was put before us in 2000 and which has since undergone significant changes and bypassed city development requirements.This will be a nasty campaign, but it is an issue which needs to be aired. Sign the petition, get it on the ballot and let Burlingame stand or fall on its own real merits or defects.I don’t have a clue what the outcome of such a vote would be, but I know that the farther we bulldoze down the wrong road, the harder it will be to turn back.Su Lum is a longtime local who gets no pleasure out of telling you she told you so. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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