Aspen officeholders should focus on potholes, not housing |

Aspen officeholders should focus on potholes, not housing

The letter published Feb. 21 is indeed telling (“Councilman: Aspen’s free market comes at a cost,” The Aspen Times). Aspen City Councilman Ward Hauenstein seems not to understand that housing prices have risen across the nation. Although speculation always has a role, low interest rates and demand for owner-occupied housing and investor-owned rental properties has driven prices up. Hardly the first or last time of this occurrence in Aspen or elsewhere.

The notion that our elected officials are going to defeat human behavior with city regulations is absurd, delusional, and more important, a waste of taxpayer resources . In addition, the building moratorium will destroy the livelihood of construction workers.

Either wages rise to make housing affordable for workers or workers will go elsewhere, a global phenomenon. Perhaps Aspen Skiing Co. and the city of Aspen, the city’s dominant employers, will someday acknowledge basic economics rather than shifting the burden to Aspen’s property owners, commercial and residential, utilizing the transfer tax as well as an arsenal of petty permit fees.

Moving to Aspen does not and will not guarantee affordable housing to everyone attracted to the area. Employers will pay the necessary wage or they can’ t survive.

Perhaps our elected officials will learn to realize their limitations and devote their skills to pressing issues like repaving the roundabout at the height of summer tourism. Global warming is also well taken care of without the involvement of our five elected officials, all well-qualified to address this issue.

Michael Stolper