Letter: Enable a new entrance
Editor’s note: The following letter was originally addressed to Janice K. Vos Caudill, Pitkin County clerk and recorder.
The reconstruction of the Entrance to Aspen within a reasonable time frame requires two major actions on the part of the electorate — your constituents.
Voters in the city of Aspen must elect a mayor and two council members who will support and advance a four-lane configuration that will actually function properly. Voters of Pitkin County will need to provide a significant level of local financing in order for construction to proceed more quickly, in advance of compensatory funding from the state and federal governments.
You rejected circulation of the petition in support of the above initiative in April. Your premise for the rejection was provided in a convoluted statement regarding the possibility that other parties and circumstances might prevent the new highway entrance from being built regardless of the passage of the proposed ballot question. There is no such basis in any law regarding the initiative power.
Sadly, you also revealed your personal bias against the proposal — a conclusion that cannot be avoided given that the initiative clearly states how tax proceeds should be applied under the exact circumstances you cited.
You also rejected the petition on the grounds that Section 7.1.1 of the county charter prohibits initiatives regarding the levy of taxes. However, on July 13, 2012, our District Court ruled that this particular charter provision imposes an impermissible limitation on the constitutional initiative power, because subject matter related to taxation is a protected exercise of that power.
It is entirely within the scope of your authority to allow the petition to be circulated based on the District Court decision, and we request that you do so. If county commissioners decide to challenge that decision in court, so be it. That would be far more appropriate than forcing private citizens — your constituents — to bear the cost of litigating to secure a power they already possess.
The petition … (is) the same as (the one) submitted last year — no further editing will change the outcome. In order for us to proceed, it is the county clerk who needs to change.