Letter: Aspen should work better for all of us

Having first moved to Aspen in 1989 and then back here full time with my family in 2008, I have read and heard a lot of absurd actions taken by the public employees of Aspen and its code and building department.

The headline story Thursday about the city harassing Robert Cypher for improving a rundown building in the core is just the latest. I was in his store the other day and commented how great it looks and how I like the new lights he installed. He then told me the city was after him to take down the lights and tear down his new and attractive siding to expose the underlying filth and graffiti.

Do our civil employees like to impede improvements and make life hard for local people like Robert who has the guts to run a retail business in this town dominated by Gucci and Prada?

I have real estate business all over the county and have avoided Aspen because of its Byzantine and plain inept processes that I know I don’t have the patience for.

Last week I had lunch with a local developer who just got permits to rehab a house — after 14 months. This just screws up subcontractors’ schedules and keeps people from working.

Another friend had to wait over a year for the city to simply re-issue permits for the Dancing Bear so he could resume construction after it had been abandoned by someone else. It seems those in power would have preferred a rusting steel structure than a finished project that would put dozens of people to work and beautify a scarred corner near the mountain.

Then we continually read about the almost criminal waste of our money: from spending millions to buy hydro generators for dams that would never be approved to creating plans for a majestic palace for their offices.

I wish the City Council would stand up to the people they oversee and make Aspen work better for all of us.

Tony Sherman