Editorial: Final election thoughts | AspenTimes.com
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Editorial: Final election thoughts

Editor’s note: The following editorial has been corrected from its original version that appeared in Friday’s print edition. A correction will appear in Saturday’s edition.

Tuesday not only will be cause for celebration for the triumphant candidate in the city’s mayoral runoff election but also for voters who have been listening to the contestants’ views for some time now.

How much did we learn about the candidates and the political process?

First, we discovered, or rediscovered, that the campaigning for the city’s high seat consumes more time and money than necessary. Steve Skadron, a finalist along with Torre in next week’s runoff, was the first to announce in February. Then the dominoes began to fall: Adam Frisch, Derek Johnson and Torre, all city councilmen, declared their intentions to run.

While we are strong supporters of the democratic process and recognize the sacrifice and humility it takes to run for a public office, we also were disappointed that all four councilmen just had to run for mayor.

Two councilmen, Frisch and Skadron, were playing with house money, given that they were in the middle of their four-year terms and had nothing to lose if they were unsuccessful in their mayoral bids. Torre, meanwhile, term-limited out in June, and the only way he could remain on council would be as mayor. By running for mayor, Johnson opted not to seek re-election as a councilman.

If there’s something positive to be gained from the battle royale among the four councilmen — along with Maurice Emmer and L.J. Erspamer, who also ran — it’s that this mayor’s race cast the spotlight on what’s wrong with Aspen’s political process.

Our suggestions to fix it are fairly simple.

• First, the mayor’s term should be four years. A two-year term results in a disproportionate amount of politicking and governing as well as staff time.

• Council members in the middle of their terms either should not be allowed to run for mayor or the appointment process should be eliminated. Case in point: Should Skadron win Tuesday, then the council will be burdened with appointing a person to replace him because he was in the middle of his term. This compromises the democratic process by taking the choice out of the voters’ hands and placing them in the council’s.

We also learned that Skadron and Torre, while orbits apart personality-wise, have more in common politically than they’d probably like to admit at this time.

They both have their own styles but ultimately care about the common good of Aspen. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. Or you can cast an absentee vote from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today at the City Clerk’s Office. For more details, visit http://www.aspenpitkin.com/Departments/Clerk/Municipal-Elections.

In the meantime, good luck to both Skadron and Torre. They’ve both worked hard to earn a spot in Tuesday’s finale, and regardless of who wins, we feel confident that Aspen will have a strong leader at the helm. And we’re also confident that voters will enjoy the break from the campaign rhetoric so the real work expected from our elected officials can resume without the political posturing that has consumed nearly four months.


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