Landis: Still not listening
This election cycle has been contentious, and I’m disappointed in the way our electeds have treated the challengers.
The incumbents perpetuate a narrative that the business community is energized only by recent legislation and are looking to further their own interests. While an effective “us vs. them” argument, this isn’t true. Many believe local government is under-performing and moving in the wrong direction.
Citizens who showed up to oppose the moratoriums were in favor of regulation but pushed back against a flawed and disruptive process. Pitkin County court agreed it was improperly handled by the COA. Nearly 100 respectful, informed stakeholders were met with a collective eye roll by the council, who voted in typical 5-0 fashion to dismiss their input.
As a 30-year downtown resident, I understand the struggle. I’ve worked in most service sectors and operated a downtown business for 20 years. An APCHA graduate, I support community housing. I’ve helped dozens of locals secure housing, which has freed up affordable units for others. I agree with 80% of the STR regulations. Where I don’t agree: It’s because specific provisions will make Aspen more exclusive/less affordable as we push visitors to downvalley lodging.
The argument that Bill Guth and Tracy Sutton are only in this race for themselves is unfair. Both would recuse themselves from votes that would directly affect their businesses, in contrast with Mesirow who declined to recuse despite running a corporate STR company. Explain why working in any given industry disqualifies one candidate but not another.
We have complicated problems, and many are unhappy with the current direction. Dividing the community, demonizing business, and dismissing input is the wrong way forward. Bill, Tracy, and Sam have skills to complement the other members. Let’s elevate the quality of debate and collaboration.