Letter: Don’t they want the public involved? | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Don’t they want the public involved?

On Sunday, about 20 local residents presented to the City Council a petition asking for public involvement in the recruitment and selection of the next director of the Community Development Department. That’s the city department that processes, and sometimes promotes, land-use applications like the one to build the ill-fated Base2. Even before the petition language was finalized, before the names on the petition were known and before the petition was submitted to the City Council, one local published a hysterical (in every sense) letter in both local papers decrying the petition (“The no-growth kidnapping,” The Aspen Times, Dec. 12).

What does this local have to fear from public involvement in recruiting and hiring one of the most important public officials? What does the city establishment, both inside and outside City Hall, have to fear from public involvement?

When the City Council paints itself into corners like Ordinance 19, Referendum 1 and Base2, only to face strong public resistance, council members complain that the public didn’t show up during the process. Well, the public is showing up now to make its sentiments known about the composition and conduct of one of Aspen’s most powerful departments.

If the City Council really is for public involvement, this is its opportunity. I hope the City Council embraces it.

Maurice Emmer