Letter: False assumptions in Times editorial
The editor ascribes recent Aspen City Council actions to the choice of Dwayne Romero to fill a seat vacated by the last election (“Let voters decide on lodging ordinance,” Commentary, Aug. 22, The Aspen Times).
In the first instance, this is an arrogant assumption about why our elected officials vote as they do. (Arrogance seems an all-too-common trait of the Fourth Estate.) There is no basis for thinking that another individual would not have voted the same way, given the same facts and studied assessment of the issue at hand. Indeed, two other councilmen did just that!
Secondly, the editor simplistically breaks the current ordinance issue down to allowing projects to propose a fourth story, in selected locations (not approve four stories, mind you, but propose them, subject to council approval), followed by an assertion that we will then get less affordable housing in exchange for larger hotels. False choices!
Affordable housing is presently abundant, and half the community lives in such housing. Moreover, there is need to re-evaluate that program from many perspectives — it is certainly needed, but times and needs have changed, and we are long overdue for a true, thorough review of a program that is essential to the community. There is no evidence that we will get less than what we need.
Hotels are also needed — new ones — if we are to maintain a competitive edge to employ the very people who live in the affordable housing. And that is substantiated by a wide variety of studies and reflected in public policy documents adopted by the city.
Our council made a studied and informed choice based on facts and public policy.
All of our elected officials are responsible and studied, informed and hardworking. More so, it would appear, than the editorial press, which reacts on superficial knowledge and assumption.