Letter: Ireland’s many sponsors trust his experience | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Ireland’s many sponsors trust his experience

I am supporting Mick Ireland in the City Council runoff election. I’ve avoided writing a letter during the runoff and probably would have left it that way if “Aspen Democrats” hadn’t been called out by Torre in his letter to The Aspen Times (“Myrin gets my vote,” May 30).

Mick is being endorsed by two former mayors, a current mayor, a county commissioner, at least five past and present City Council members, a state representative, two sheriffs, both of our newspapers and a rabbi because he has clearly, consistently and unequivocally supported issues dear to them, such as school funding, valley transit, affordable housing, health and human services and because he has given them useful and substantive support on their campaigns and ballot initiatives. Unfortunately, Torre thinks this is “backscratching.” It is not. We would not have, for example, the Roaring Fork Transportaion Authority, Burlingame, a modern hospital or some of the finest schools in the state were it not for political cooperation.

Next, hydro is dead. The license is expired and the equipment is gone. The current council has adopted a series of measures that will bring us to 100 percent renewable energy without the Castle Creek hydro project. The Koch brothers-funded opposition to hydro remains a stain on Aspen’s political history. However, as the council was reminded Tuesday at a meeting in which local frontman Mark Hunt (Andy Stone called him a “variance weasel” last week and “running at the head of the rat pack of planners” this week in The Aspen Times) attempted to co-opt the electoral process and undo Referendum 1, elections have consequences. Referendum 1 is law; hydro lost. Torre’s accusation that “one intention for this council and their candidate is to bring back hydro” is disingenuous nonsense.

Much is being said in the local opinion pages of an “old boys’ network” in Aspen. It is a simple task to review the letters written in support of Mick at his website, http://www.mickireland2015.com. The common threads are very obvious. Mick’s supporters have all disagreed with him on many occasions. They all respect his honesty, his integrity, his knowledge and his intelligence. They all expect to disagree with him in the future but know, based on past experience, that Mick can be trusted to listen, to discuss and to give thoughtful consideration to their views. Paul Menter’s paranoid screed in the May 27 Aspen Daily News about coloring “your evaluation of matters before you in terms of club membership rather than civic duty” does not describe public service in Aspen.

It is now late spring and we are well into the postseason in basketball, hockey and politics. Many excellent teams have competed but have been proven to be not quite as good as the ones who remain. Some of these contests were decided in the last minute of a seventh game of a closely contested series. That is where we are today in Aspen politics. We’re just calling it the “runoff,” not the “playoff.”

Two excellent candidates remain. I’m proud to say that I supported both Bert Myrin and Mick in the general election. I went door to door with Bert many times. I contributed prose, proofreading and photography to his campaign and distributed his materials every single time I went out, whether he was present or not. I also created the http://www.keepaspenaspen.com website and cooperated closely with Bert on its content. I am in full agreement with many of Bert’s positions. I supported him sincerely and personally, without the involvement of the Democratic Party, except for the forum we sponsored for all candidates at Aspen Square.

Each of us has just one vote to cast this time around. If I had two, I’d still vote for Mick and Bert. Torre says, “Aspen Democrats and others have turned their back on Myrin.” The Pitkin County Democratic Party, of which I am most honored to be chairman, has endorsed no candidates in this election. Period. Locals who identify as Democrats, as ever, do exactly as they wish. As if our local Democratic Party were some sort of old boys’ club! What we do as a party is a gorgeous mess.

My personal judgment is that Mick is the City Council candidate who has proven consistently over the past two decades that he can make more good things happen and prevent more rotten things from happening in Aspen over the next four years. I’m voting for Mick. I urge everyone who hasn’t voted yet to bring your ballots to the second floor of City Hall before 7 p.m. Tuesday. Elections matter.

Howard Wallach

Hunter Creek