Candidates show their water-down position | AspenTimes.com

Candidates show their water-down position

Art Daily and Ann Mullins are good people but they need to be replaced on City Council. Here’s an example of why.

Both Daily and Mullins (and the other members and mayor) support continuing the process to build huge dams and reservoirs in the scenic Castle Creek and Maroon Creek valleys. Leaving aside the environmental aspects, continuing such support is irresponsible from both fiscal and municipal integrity viewpoints.

Municipal integrity: Maintaining the “conditional” right to build the dams depends on the city’s actually intending to build them (one of three fundamental legal requirements). Attempting to satisfy the requirement, the city has filed papers with the state water court representing the city’s intent to build the dams. At the same time, understanding public opposition to the dams, the mayor and council members have waffled in public statements about whether they really intend to build the dams. For example, the mayor said this isn’t about building the dams, but only about maintaining the “conditional” right.

But here’s the rub. One of the legal “conditions” to maintain the right to build the dams is that you actually have to intend to build the dams. Do you or don’t you? It’s not a fence-sitting opportunity. Do you intend to build the dams, backing up what the city is telling the water court? Or don’t you intend to build them, in which case the city lacks the legal basis for its position and should abandon its bogus claim?

Trying to play both ends against the middle only undermines the city’s credibility.

Fiscal irresponsibility: Taking this two-faced position seriously undercuts the city’s ability to defend its claim. It also causes the city to defend a case that council members’ own conduct has made all the weaker. Such conduct has put the city in opposition to (so far) 10 opponents of the city’s claimed conditional right. That’s 10 opposing parties who are going to cause the city to spend hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars in expert and legal fees trying to clean up the mess of claiming intent to build when talking to the water court while waffling on that intent when talking to voters. Money that would be saved by gathering the political intestinal fortitude to tell one story to everybody.

We need council members with better judgment and with the guts to take one position and stick with it.

Maurice Emmer

Aspen


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