Letter: It’s time for action by Carbondale leaders | AspenTimes.com

Letter: It’s time for action by Carbondale leaders

I happened to be at the Aug. 23 Carbondale trustees meeting for my own purpose when I walked into the Trustee Chamber and was surprised to see 20 to 30 extremely upset women protesting the lack of action by Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Richardson and the Board of Trustees in reference to recent assaults on women walking at night.

After comments from most who attended and myself on this issue, Richardson’s response was, “There is nothing the town can do about this tonight.” In my opinion, and in the opinion of most of the women present, this was not satisfactory.

True, the town must discuss and adopt a plan with the Police Department on a practical and efficient strategy to deal with this safety issue; however, I disagree and was disappointed in Richardson’s lack of empathy to the concerns of these residents. Anger, frustration and fear were the catalysts that ignited their concerns and protests, and nothing was resolved.

In a conversation with one of the women attending, it was evident to me that something needs to be done immediately and could have been done that evening.

Had I been in Richardson’s position, I would have immediately announced that police patrols in “dark areas and neighborhoods” would increase. Foot and/or bicycle patrols would begin along the Rio Grande Trail at night and immediate conversations would begin on potential lighting in these areas. Creating this deterrent will make an immediate impression on anyone wishing to commit a crime in Carbondale. This move will give the board time to act on a well-organized plan on this issue while offering immediate peace of mind to our citizens.

Richardson and the board seemed to be concerned with the costs of funding such an undertaking. My response is this: The board recently declared considering tapping into the town’s emergency fund for nonemergency issues; a mistake, in my opinion. It is the town’s obligation to provide streets, water, sewer and, above all, safety to its residents. I believe that these assaults constitute a real safety issue and I believe most in this town agree. Using emergency funds for an emergency is the purpose of this fund, in my opinion.

In reference to offsetting some of the costs for lighting, Carbondale needs to partner with the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, which owns the Rio Grande Trail and also does not want to see crimes committed on its property.

These are but a few options available and need to be addressed. The protection of our residents needs to be a paramount concern to our elected officials, and action should not be delayed.

My name is Ed Cortez, and I am running for Carbondale mayor.

Ed Cortez


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