Letter: Selective hearing in Basalt
At the forum held last night held by Aspen Public Radio, one of the candidates for Basalt Town Council and the present mayor suggested that the council “wasn’t listening” and that women were better listeners, and that one of the councilors remarks at a recent meeting regarding Willits expansion — suggesting he wasn’t open to further discussion — was the reason that she felt compelled to run for office. The moderator evened the playing field by pointing out the same had been true of the incumbent mayor. Welcome to our world! Conservative estimates are that there were hundreds of us who participated in the Our Town Planning Process and then those of us who were supposedly chosen to “fine tune the results of that process” as members of the Downtown Area Advisory Committee — when those results were summarily dismissed and some indiscriminate map was contrived over coffee by the council, our subsequent silence was deafening.
That arbitrary design could have easily occurred a year earlier without carrying on the charade to suggest that this had been a public process. On the eve of the beginning of the Our Town Planning Process two years ago, there were already rumors that our mayor was not on board and I confronted her at the council meeting “to come clean” with us regarding her personal agenda before we wasted our time and the investment of the town to support that effort. She, of course, denied at that time what has obviously surfaced — that none of what we as a community came up with would change her position with regard to the Pan Fork development. Throughout the 18 months or so of the process, only a few of the councilors came by to oversee the progress. Even now, I’m not sure what the culture was that disallowed the council members to play a part in the thought process. Clearly, the mayor was silent until long after the results had been tabulated when we began to hear from the silent minority, so obviously organized and stoked by one who hadn’t gotten the answer she was hoping for.
To suggest, at this time, that this could have all been avoided if we were better listeners and that she represents the change that we need is disingenuous at best. There was always a moment in time when she could have “come out” and added her thoughts to the debate — after all, isn’t that what we would expect from a leader? Her declaration that she would seek professional input to help us make future decisions flies in the face of her ignoring the results of the $15,000 investment that was made (by us) in the Economic Feasibility Study, and another $14,000 (by us) for the legal work done in an attempt to justify the recent effort to get a petition on the ballot. Nor does she seem to take into account the cries from our neighbors in Willits who would like to see an end to the “build out” construction and the impact that all of the labor and supplies has had on the congestion in their neighborhood. My wife has diagnosed my condition as “selective hearing.” Boy, is that a shared affliction with our mayor. Time to move on!