Time to break up the Aspen establishment

Now is the time to talk about everyone’s favorite subject: civic responsibility.

Perhaps you are an Aspen resident with administrative experience acquired while working with an organization of reasonable size. Or, you have served in an oversight or advisory role on one or more boards, preferably in the private sector.

Let’s also imagine that you are sufficiently pragmatic to be able to address a simple mechanical problem with a simple mechanical solution.

Having just described hundreds of Aspen residents, I won’t suggest that they are all obliged to run for public office. But, with the seats of mayor and two council members coming open in the spring election, they certainly have a responsibility to consider doing so.

Nominating petitions can be picked up at the Aspen Clerk and Recorder’s Office as early as Jan. 31, and returned as late as March 13, for the May 2 election.

Aspen is run by a classic small-town political establishment which has voted as a disciplined block for more than 30 years. A friend calls them “the thousand who rule.” The editorial staffs at both local newspapers have played a major role in the formation and perpetuation of this clique, and are generally indistinguishable from them in terms of public policy. They are all getting very long in the tooth.

One of the core touchstone issues of “the thousand” is that the Entrance to Aspen must never be fixed. The corollary belief is that expanding the mass-transit system is a righteous end in itself, and the process must never be examined against conventional standards of effectiveness, efficiency or cost-benefit.

How do you defeat a political machine, neutralize media bias and overcome a 1,000 vote deficit as a first time political candidate? Easy, you do an unapologetic, full-frontal assault on the opposition’s defining issue — you call for the expansion of the Entrance to Aspen into a highway that functions properly.

We will be discussing the details on David Bach’s radio program at 8 a.m. Tuesday on FM 106.1, KNFO. I’ll be asking David to open the phone lines. We need nominations, or better yet an announcement from a qualified candidate, for each of the three seats on the Aspen City Council.

Jeffrey Evans