Su Lum: Slumming
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Rob Ittner’s campaign got off to a wobbly start when an Aspen Daily News article (July 22, 2010) said, “Citing the county’s unemployment rate, which reached 10 percent during the May offseason, Ittner said the county commissioners will need to sign off on more construction and development to create jobs for locals.”
Ittner took issue with this, writing a letter to the News saying he did not “remember any conversation about growth having anything to do with signing off on more construction and development.” The Daily News stood by their story, Ittner didn’t demand a retraction, so that’s where that is.
On Sept. 8 at the Aspen Business Lunch Ittner’s “platform” was that he’s smart, he’s new, he has no preconceived ideas and he will judge every issue before the county commissioners on its own merits. He said he was for economic growth, not more buildings, but didn’t say how he could bring this about.
He was such a clean slate that he didn’t even have an opinion about the school or the hospital ballot questions.
You know Pitkin County voters won’t put up with that. They want to know who the county commissioner candidates are, exactly where they (sta-stomp) stand, and how they will be likely to vote on various issues. You definitely have that with Jack Johnson, who will tell you where he stands down to the last quarter inch, but Ittner is playing his cards close to his chest.
I have watched his interviews with Reid Haughey on GrassRoots TV, watched Squirm Night and the ACRA event, went to the Wednesday Lunch debate, watched the Woody Creek Caucus discussion and have been to his website, looking for the inner Ittner.
We know that he owns Rustique Restaurant and that Marilyn Marks and Elizabeth Milias contributed substantial sums to his campaign. They, too, are breasting their cards, taking a little Whack at Jack now and then, but neither the endorsement nor the attack ads have surfaced thus far.
But we do know something about the Red Ants – the current ant (Milias) and the ex-ant (Marks). They are vehement (to say the least) critics of the city government – does Ittner concur and, if so, would his election further cooperation and cohesion between the city and the county? They are against historic preservation – how does Ittner feel about that? We know he’s against IRV, an Ant favorite, not that he’s talking about that now.
They are for the Aspen Art Museum – a city matter, I know, but inquiring minds want to know what Ittner thinks of the museum. The Ants favor giving second-home owners the vote – does Ittner agree?
Ittner did show a surprising side of himself in what I think of as his Howard Dean moment, when he fired off an e-mail to Jack Johnson in increasing font sizes to match his mounting rage, containing five misspellings, including the one calling Jack a “lier.” He was hopping mad because Jack had used the words “build, baby, build,” on his website to describe Ittner’s agenda.
The thing was, Ittner copied this letter to both the papers. Is this the action of a temperate man who will keep his cool in the commissioner’s hot seat?
At the Woody Creek Caucus, Ittner, who has decided he favors the hospital and school questions, got a little bit into specifics when he floated the idea of a real estate tax rebate to renters of local businesses who didn’t lay off employees. As an idea, it doesn’t get much more half-baked than that, which may be why Ittner did not iterate it in his hour-long interview with Reid Haughey on GrassRoots TV on Monday.
Those hour-long interviews with Ittner and Jack Johnson can be accessed by going to grassrootstv.org, clicking on “watch now” and putting “probe line” in the subject space. Of all the information we’ve garnered thus far, this is the most definitive, in their own words.
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Aspen City Council’s recent actions are proof that you get what you pay for, argues Elizabeth Milias in her Red Ant column this week.