Deconstructing Red Ant’s recent offering
At the root of the Red Ant’s latest polemic against the Aspen City Council’s policies on subsidized housing and land-use regulations are two interesting and provocative observations (“The ignorance and arrogance of City Council,” April 10, The Aspen Times).
The first is that Aspen’s subsidized housing program is a growth engine. Demand for “affordable” housing in the upper Roaring Fork Valley is basically unlimited, and viewed against this background, our affordable-housing stock will never be enough. Various local pundits have begun to echo this thought, and on this issue she’s right.
If Aspen’s council can get past the aggressive pejoratives of the polemic, they might do well to begin addressing the questions of when will Aspen have “enough” subsidized housing, and what metric should be used to make that determination. Otherwise the Red Ant is arguably correct in suggesting that there’s more than a little hypocrisy in posing as a conscientious environmental steward of the upper Roaring Fork while continuing to build, build, build, regardless whether you’re building worker hives or quasi-middle-class mansionettes.
The Red Ant’s second observation is that the City Council is engaged in “perverse wealth redistribution to select ‘Aspenites,’ at the increasing expense of others, (which) stands to divide us in ways we’ve never contemplated.” But what’s perverse about a little wealth redistribution?
The “others” to whom she refers are in the main gratuitously lucky beneficiaries of multi-generational unearned wealth, often great wealth. Why shouldn’t this silver spoon set (or, should I say, diamonds-not-duct-tape crowd), and even those captains of industry who have actually earned what they’ve got, be made to share a little with the less fortunate in this valley? In other words, if Aspen’s New Gilded Age Crowd has to share a little of their wealth, how exactly is that going to divide us any more than we are already?