Buzzwords aside, Doyle and Ward best for Aspen
Every local election comes down to community versus commodity, and this upcoming one is no exception. Many new candidates try to straddle that divide by using dog-whistle clichés such as “business owner,” “public/private,” or the holographic “keeping Aspen unique.”
Development interests then back candidates who might support further selling of the “Aspen lifestyle” commodity. At the same time, those interests continue choking affordability and the very community lifestyle they’re selling.
Two candidates better understand this paradox because they are tempered by the experience of living in town for a while. They are John Doyle and Ward Hauenstein. Both have lived the long-term loss of our small-town character.
John sustains the vitality, passion and thoughtful disposition that gives him the edge over other candidates who may not have marinated long enough in the disappearing Aspen mystique to actually know what it is. This doesn’t mean we can magically return to the old days, but we can steer back toward community and away from over-sized development that fills the landfill with debris, privatizes public streets and routinely appropriates citizen parking once completed.
With his varied workforce history here, from cutting ski trails to restaurant work, John is now a successful sculptor and family man with no connections to the marketing of more. He is the only candidate who lists reading as one of his favorite pastimes. In the face of unrelenting outside big money with disproportionate expectations stuffing town with an architectural hodgepodge devoid of any Aspen theme, he stands for enduring local values that can still invigorate quality of life here.
Ward is another who sees the big picture beyond more. He is our known quantity, measured, attentive, thoughtful and skillful at wonky details. He’s balanced community and commodity without being radical. Having already served a term on council, Ward has a voting record subject to parsing, but he is the type of fellow you want watching over everything while you’re chalking up athletic achievements or maintaining your local business.
And finally, Torre has shown steadiness and competence. He is the slam-dunk vote for mayor.
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