December 6, 2005
Being honest, fiscally responsible and able to keep the ship of the office running on an even keel are important qualities in a district attorney, but two qualities that, to me, are even more important are to have good judgment and to be grounded in reality.As I have watched the Colleen Truden saga unfold, from her only local “debate” with her opponent Lawson Wills on the Andrew Kole show where she refused to discuss any substantive issues, through the 11 resignations in her office, to the upcoming recall election, what has shocked me most is her continued denial that there’s a problem.How deep in the sand can this woman’s head be buried if she can still maintain, as she does, that the proponents of the recall are just a small group of disgruntled ex-employees (“Everyone knows they have nothing. They have no support.” Aspen Daily News, Dec. 1) and newspaper reporters who have it in for her?Even George W. watches the polls and has started backpedaling on the subject of getting our troops out of Iraq. But Truden, in the face of more than 7,000 valid registered voter signatures for her recall, and Martin Beeson’s 1,000 registered Republican signatures (even harder to get, pretty much leaving Pitkin County out of the picture), still calls it “a lot of bunk.”Voters are a forgiving lot, and Truden would have been well-advised to exercise a little humility and take a little responsibility when the you-know-what started hitting the fan with the mass exodus of four deputy DAs, three of whom were unceremoniously “overseen” off the premises and the fourth, Beeson, who left without notice to avoid the same humiliation.This and the black cloud hovering over Truden’s denial that she had hired her husband to do computer work, claiming the contract labor wasn’t really “hiring.” Hmmma hmmma. If ever there was a time for some public relations work, that was it – but no. Nothing was her fault, everyone else was lying.Then three more deputy DAs quit, not people from the “old” camp, but hand-picked by her, including Tony Hershey, a staunch Truden backer from the get-go who never breathed a word of his mounting disillusionment to the press, until he finally bailed when he had HAD it with that office.In his resignation, Hershey confirmed what all the other ex-employees had been saying about the Nixon-like paranoia, unprofessional behavior with her assumed “enemies” and a general reign of terror in the DA’s office. Meanwhile, a 14-year-old boy is being tried as an adult on premeditated murder charges, which many people in the valley think is extreme even for a DA who promised to be tough on crime.Next Tuesday, Dec. 13, vote YES for the recall and YES for Beeson. Beeson has experience in the office and has shown his industriousness and commitment by tirelessly working on this campaign. I think he is forthright and honest and that there will be no more claptrap coming out of the DA’s office.There is no early voting – vote at your usual polling place. Note that you MUST vote (you do not have to vote yes, but you MUST vote) on the first question – whether to recall Truden – in order for your second vote for her successor to count.Vote YES to recall Truden, and vote for Martin Beeson to succeed her. And hope that Garfield County, the major voting bloc, will do the same. Su Lum is a longtime local who is not, in general, in favor of recalls. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.
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