Su Lum: Slumming

The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO, Colorado

L.J. Erspamer is a sweet guy, but he is so indecisive we didn’t know until the final deadline whether he was going to run for mayor or council. Sorry, L.J.

Derek Johnson and Adam Frisch are considered the minority, pro-development members of the council. This is most obvious with Johnson’s record, with Frisch somewhat of a loose cannon. Only two years into his council job, Frisch is scrambling up the social ladder with a somewhat alarming zeal, and Johnson should have opted to run again for council.

Steve Skadron, Torre and Mick Ireland made up the majority “anti-desecration of Aspen” contingent, with Mick’s decision not to run for council opening the door to a possible disastrous change of balance on the council.

Ann Mullins and Art Daily are the council candidates most likely to defend Aspen against “the dark side” (each side has referred to the other as “the dark side”), and I believe that Skadron is the strongest mayoral candidate, the one who will do his utmost to preserve our small community and has the least ego-involvement in the office. These three will maintain the current balance, with a council consisting of Frisch (who has two years to go on his council term), Daily, Mullins, Skadron and one other.

Torre is a good guy, and his fourth run for mayor might be the charm.

If Skadron (who also has two years remaining in his council term) wins for mayor, his replacement will be appointed by the majority of the new council (three votes). This is an unfortunate policy, but it’s too late to change it, and it’s a lot better than sitting the third-place winner, which would guarantee a seat for Romero, the developers’ and The Red Ant’s dream candidate.

And then there’s Maurice Emmer, who has stated repeatedly that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, so I’m happy to oblige. You have to listen carefully to Maurice. In the “ProbeLine” interview, he stated that we already have enough affordable housing to house everyone in town. Huh? In logic classes, we used to call that “an imperfect analogy.”

He quotes the per-capita taxes of the bedroom community of Vail compared to Aspen, as if this were meaningful information.

Calling Aspen “the most perfect place in the world,” his entire campaign is based on change. Emmer is the candidate for change – if you don’t agree, you (“the aging dark forces”) are just for maintaining the status quo.

Transparency is high on Emmer’s list of things to change – he who claimed victory for the defeat of the hydro-plant – which was financed in part by anonymous contributions – opposed the identification of donors of less than $20 to political campaigns and stated that he wouldn’t even tell his own wife for whom he voted for president (three guesses). These sound more like secrecy to me.

Emmer says that more power should be given to the task forces and that divisive issues such as the bag ban and the entrance to Aspen (about which he himself, typically, offered no opinion) should be put directly to the voters.

While holding his tongue in the forums, he sends out vituperative broadsides and has a history of writing scathing letters to the editor disparaging the city government.

Needless to say, he’s the Red Ant’s choice for mayor.

The thing is, a lot of us really do think that Aspen is the most perfect place in the world and want to keep it that way. A lot of us respect the concept of representative government and don’t want to have to go running to the polls over trivialities. A lot of us are sorry to lose Mick. A lot of us think that Aspen has done quite well in the face of the onslaught, and that we will not be well-served with Emmer at the wheel.

Su Lum is a longtime local who reminds you to watch Squirm Night on GrassRoots channel 12 this Thursday. This column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at