Roger Marolt: Roger This | AspenTimes.com
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Roger Marolt: Roger This

Roger MaroltThe Aspen TimesAspen, CO Colorado

Nobody in their right mind should vote to re-elect Mick Ireland as Aspens mayor. If you dont like Mick, this is a no-brainer. If you do like Mick, the reasons are even more compelling to cast your ballot for somebody else. A vote for Mick in this election is a wasted vote.In order to explain why I think it is pointless to vote for Mick this time around, it is necessary to discuss some of the major issues that have been hashed over during the campaign season. The biggest issue, of course, is the economy. There is no doubt now that rumors about Aspens resiliency to recessions and depressions were greatly exaggerated. We are hurting. That said, I dont believe this issue is worth two seconds of the 15 minutes of time you will be allowed for contemplation in the voting booths on May 5.If you want to find a solution to Aspens weak economy, you have to examine the cause of it. The local economy is not in the tank because we dont have enough events in the shoulder seasons, enough marketing dollars to get our messages out, enough hotel rooms, or enough family friendly restaurants that give out toys to good kids who eat all of their vegetables. Aspen is suffering, along with every other major resort, because people dont have enough money. Short of electing King Midas, who decided not to run this year, there isnt a candidate who can fix this. And, dont get your hopes up for a city-sponsored advertising campaign to inform the world of just how much of a bargain Aspen really is. This theme has been tried in the past and the only people we convinced were ourselves. Before we advertise that we are a bargain, we have to actually become a bargain, by the rest of the worlds standards. Thats up to the business community, not politicians.The next biggest issue is fiscal responsibility. Forget about that one, too. You can only be fiscally responsible if there is some fisc to be responsible for. As noted above, it is raining. We are more than skimming the surface of our rainy day fund. For the next few years we will be able to plow the snow off our streets, paint the lines on Main Street, and make Wagner Park green just long enough to get Food & Wine over with. Thats about it. There will be no irresponsible spending, because there is nothing to spend. If there were a hatchet man or woman running who promised to go in and carve the fat from the turkey that our municipal government has become, thats a different story. But, since nobody is running on that platform, the discussion is irrelevant. If employee housing is your issue, save the familiar angst and hand-wringing over it, too. I am afraid that what you see now is all you are going to get for awhile. The next decades allocation for subsidized housing has been spent on a horse pasture (Burlingame) and a lumber yard (the lumber yard). Again, there is nothing left to spend.How about rampant real estate development? Come on, now. Who thinks this is going to be an issue anytime soon? My prediction is that they will foreclose on Snowmass Base Village before the next major building application comes before Town Council What? They already are? Enough said on that.The environment has also been hotly debated. I dont know why. Two years ago we would have been thrilled with todays daily automobile traffic reduction of more than 10 percent. Flights in and out of Sardy Field have been reduced beyond the rosiest projection. Development has shrunk to almost nothing. The gas fire pit on the mall has been extinguished! As far as the environment is concerned, what more could we have asked for? If we reduce our carbon footprint anymore, we might go out of existence. Then what will we have accomplished? So what other issues are there? Oh, yes, kindness, manners and grooming. Does anybody really believe these are important? Of course we do! We all want to look our best. However, there are varying opinions on what that best is. Personally, I think I look damn good sometimes pulling off a sweaty ski helmet at the end of a powder day. Go ahead and disagree, if you like. But, lets not make it a campaign issue. Come on, we have to be above fighting over something. For those of you keeping score at home, this leaves us with absolutely no important issues to deal with over the next several years, at least. And, this brings me back to my opening argument. Think about it: Employee housing, the environment, transportation, development; these are the things many believe Mick handles best. None of them will be issues over the next two years. Now throw this into the mix: Mick is up against term limits as mayor. If you elect him now, he will be a lame duck for the next two years. Worse, he will not be available in the future when all these issues rear their ugly heads again. OK, you didnt see that one coming, but it is not a time for despair. It is a time for an experiment. Lets give somebody else a chance in this time when things cant get any worse. Vote for Andrew Kole. You have to admit, it would be interesting.Post notes: I think Torre and Adam Frisch are thoughtful and kind-hearted enough to be given the nod for City Council; Jack, too, if hes not completely sick of it. Wampler if he gives up caffeine. If Marilyn Marks is ready to become the voice of Aspen, I am moving to Tallahassee to become the voice of interstate trucking. We shouldnt rush to hand over the deed on our land to the Aspen Art Museum. They might be the best fit for the Youth Center property, but lets make sure there arent better proposals out there first. Vote NO way for now on Question 1. What do artists know about reality anyway?

Roger Marolt thinks that maybe everyone not voting for Mick is finally something the whole town can agree on. Contact him at roger@maroltllp.com


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