Su Lum: Slumming
The city election is just two columns away, and, so far, it’s been very low key. There was a little Red Ant flurry, but I haven’t seen any Sick of Mick bumper stickers or lawn signs. Maybe I’m not looking in the right places, or maybe, as claimed, Mick Ireland opponents are just too terrified of him to stand up and be counted. The ballots will tell the tale.I am as pissed off as anyone else that Mick Ireland supported the new art museum on the Wienerstube site, especially since the building was, as predicted, instantly demolished and now – oops – it appears that they didn’t have the funding they claimed to have. One would hope that they won’t dig the hole to China before their finances are straightened out. As it is, it could at least be used for a parking lot. But this transgression, or error in judgment, is insufficient motivation for me to endorse his competition, Ruth Kruger, a commercial realtor who wants Aspen to cut through the red tape that is holding up developmental progress.Mick, the guy you love to hate, is still the guy who cares the most about saving what’s left of our community. Betty Farson said it best in a letter to the editor endorsing Ireland and Skadron, “My priorities in choosing a candidate for local office are to select those who are honest, experienced, knowledgeable, thoughtful and concerned with the future of Aspen and the valley.” Yes.Kruger got off to a disingenuous start, first saying that she wasn’t going to run for council and then saying she didn’t say she wouldn’t run for MAYOR, as if the mayor weren’t part of the council. She then explained that in her three meetings as a temporary council member, “it became apparent to me that I must look to the future of Aspen knowing that we can do better!” The message I got was that she must not have been watching the City Council meetings over the past few years, a significant oversight. In one of her ads, Kruger says, “Stop ordering studies and take action,” but when asked what her first initiative would be if elected, her response was, “I will immediately convene a committee to study the origin and intentions of the affordable housing program.” Sounds like a study to me, if not the reinvention of the wheel.Another guy is running for mayor, who misinterprets everything I write and isn’t going to win anyway, so I won’t dwell on him.This will come as no surprise, either – I endorse Steve Skadron for City Council. Steve got off to a slow start, being a contemplative man who doesn’t rush to judgment, but in the later years of his term was the only dissenter on the council to oppose the Aspen Art Museum deal and the Silver Lining Ranch being turned into a McMansion, and voted to deny the Lift One mega-project. He is willing to take on another four years in office despite getting, like Obama, a little bit gray around the gills, bless his iron-man heart.As for my second choice for council, I am in something of a quandary. Instant Runoff Voting had its anomalies, but so does the Delayed Runoff system we’re using now. When you vote for your two favorite candidates, everyone’s second choice can become the runaway winner so, unless you’re equally in favor of your two choices, it might be best to vote for just one. I miss Reid Haughey’s hour-long interviews with the candidates on Grassroots, where you could really understand everyone’s views. That lacking, I will have to rely on the forum today at the Limelight Lodge and Squirm Night on Thursday, then review all the Q&As in the newspapers before making any decisions.
Su Lum is a longtime local who wonders what the turnout will be. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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For the past five-plus years I have sat in a big chair in a small office on Hyman Avenue watching life in Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley play out in front of me.