Letter: Leave rumors out of debate | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Leave rumors out of debate

My observation of the “Squirm Night” leaves me restless. While county staff has a long tradition of silence on the eve of a commissioners’ election, I am unable to remain mute. And I write as a citizen; the views expressed are my own and not those of the program by which I am often known.

A hearty debate on the management of the public’s land is wonderful and provocative. Less so were the personal accusations regarding the integrity of Hawk Greenway as regards Hawk’s private property in Little Annie Basin. To assert he should simply have given the land away violates a primary tenet of our land-conservation ethos: fair compensation for value. More disturbing is the innuendo that Hawk abused his position on the open space board in seeking land-use approvals while also serving the county. To begin with, the permits in question were not under the purview of the open space program and were administered by the Community Development Department and by the county commissioners. In my entire 17 years of watching the same, I will say unequivocally that the county places more scrutiny on applications by those well-known to the staff and elected board than otherwise. To suggest otherwise is an affront to the professional staff and elected board of the county. As for Hawk’s integrity, by my reckoning, during his 18 years of volunteer service, the man has donated well over 1,000 hours to the betterment of land conservation and public rights on public lands. He also donated a public trail easement on his lands on Richmond Ridge. Very few in this world of NIMBY-ism have done as much. Watching the personal accusations leveled at Hawk during Squirm Night could only remind me of McCarthyism — no shame in the pursuit of a political gain.

Let us debate the merits of public policy. The resorting to rumor and innuendo during Squirm Night has no place in an educated discourse.

Dale Will


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