Aspen leadership divides community |

Aspen leadership divides community

I do not know whether living in Aspen for 25 years allows me to opine on the current state of affairs, but here is my slant. Aspen was for decades a caring community in all respects: respect for all of our fellow citizens, respect for the incomparable surrounding environment, and yes, respect for the community institutions, private and governmental. There was a collective sense that living here was a privilege. That made Aspen unique and special.

The trend today is toward a community that does not care. More and more, it is a segmented collection of special interest groups. Inclusivity is largely absent. Where are the forces of unity and foresight? Frankly, I don’t see any.

Many reasons for this detrimental sea change may be advanced but undeniably in the last few years the policies of the Aspen City Council have been an accelerator. The overt attempts to social engineer, disdain for second-home owners, reactive stupidity on land use, and aggressive tax policy have driven constituent groups into their corners.

Various members of council blather on about a vibrant “lived in” community. However, that Utopian goal requires a population that collectively cares about this community and is not myopically focused on the entitlements one segment expects or the gouging another segment believes it is receiving.

Simply put, our “leaders” are driving us apart.

Neil Siegel