Su Lum: Slumming
October 14, 2009
This is a pretty simple election by Aspen standards – the main thing to keep in mind is that ALL ballots must be mailed in or hand-delivered to the Pitkin County Clerk’s Office by 7 p.m. on Nov. 3.
There will be NO public voting places on Election Day or before, so make sure you have received your ballot in good time to get it back and counted. Call 429-2713 if you have concerns.
The first question asks us to pick three directors of the school board – Aspen School District RE1 – out of four candidates running for that office. We used to call them “members” of the school board, now they are “directors,” never mind. I support the two incumbents, Elizabeth Parker and Charla Belinski, and the enthusiastic new candidate Bob Glah (pronounced GLAY). These candidates are also endorsed by Blanca O’Leary.
Referendum 1A is a no-brainer, a definite YES. If passed, this referendum will offer low-cost loans to citizens seeking to upgrade energy efficiency and renewable energy improvements and equipment. No increase in taxes, no downsides. YES.
Referendum 2A is more tricky. “Shall the City of Aspen continue to use Instant Runoff Voting Methods for the election of Mayor and City Council Members?”
This is just an advisory question, basically asking “Did you like the IRV voting method in the last election or not?” Well, no, I did not really like the IRV method, but I didn’t like any of the alternatives, either.
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I didn’t like the old system where a candidate could win by two votes, representing a fraction of the majority. I didn’t like the run-off system, with another month of campaigning and election hype and spending, only to have the original results confirmed.
I thought we should have some kind of “weeding” process early on and then have the “real” election as the finale.
We’re being asked if we want to continue IRV voting, but are being given no choices as to what would replace it. In the absence of alternatives, I’m going to vote to continue Instant Runoff Voting. It worked, no one has challenged the results, and I am sick to death of the fear-mongering tactics and legal challenges to a system that actually worked. Like, duh! Not a single candidate is disputing the outcome, so what’s the problem?
These are the only things I can vote on. I assume that the questions I cannot vote on will not appear on my mail-in ballot.
One that I cannot vote on is referendum 5A, on a 1 percent lodging tax for a special marketing district. I live on the east side of town, entirely surrounded by condominiums that rent short term but apparently are exempt from the new lodging tax. Word was, from the get go, that this lodging tax would be more likely to pass if the entire community were bypassed and only a select “district” were allowed to vote. If I could vote, I would vote NO.