Letter: Force the entrance issue | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Force the entrance issue

In order to rebuild the Entrance to Aspen into a highway that functions properly, and do so within a reasonable amount of time, two things need to happen: City of Aspen voters must elect a mayor and two council members who will make it happen, and Pitkin County voters need to approve local funding to start construction in advance of the availability of state and federal financing.

Regarding local funding, the Pitkin County clerk has again decided that protecting the addled public policy of the current county administration is more important than defending the initiative rights of the people of Pitkin County. Yes, once again, a petition designed to ask the voters to approve local tax sources for entrance construction has been rejected for circulation — because it asks a tax question (see http://www.entrancesolution.com).

When the District Court ruled that the county charter prohibition on citizen-initiated tax questions violates the state Constitution, the appropriate reaction on the part of county government would have been to propose an amendment to the charter. But our county commissioners are more concerned with protecting their addled public policy than with the initiative rights of their constituents.

Let’s imagine you are an Aspen resident with respectable credentials that would qualify you to fill the position of mayor or council member. You are also sufficiently practical to know that the Entrance to Aspen will only work properly if you expand the highway to four lanes that everyone can use — not just buses. You and two similarly qualified residents could circulate the initiative petition blocked by the county clerk. Start when the weather warms up in May, and finish before the summer gets crazy in late June, and present the results to the county commissioners — who can put whatever they want on the fall ballot.

They would, of course, turn you down. This action could lead to some quality candidates presenting themselves for the commissioner seats that will be contested in November.

More importantly, three candidates for city office would have had hundreds of one-on-one discussions with Aspenites who agreed with them about the need for a new entrance. They would be armed with the most focused and committed list of supporters and volunteers in the history of local politics.

All I can do is lay this out on a silver platter. It will take three residents of Aspen to actually make it happen.

Who’s it going to be?

Jeffrey Evans

Basalt


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