Letter: Let the results stand
December 20, 2015
Regarding the Aspen Times article "The Aspen School Board is still unclear about appointment" (Dec. 18):
Time out! Let me see if I have this right. The Aspen School District Administration and School Board screw up one of the most sacred parts of American democracy: the ballot! Now, after their own incompetence, board members Sheila Wills and Sandra Peirce want to ignore the voters and appoint someone to the board who is more to their liking. The reasons given by these board members are that the other candidates are not "seasoned" enough, "not very strong," have not "lived in the area for long" and have "shown negativity toward the district." I do not know Margeaux Johansson or Lee Mulcahy. I do know Mary Houchin, and would like to use her background and qualifications as an example to defend all three candidates. Mary was a public school teacher on the Front Range for 30 years. After retiring, she used her master's degree in educational counseling and worked in the court system representing children in high-conflict divorces. Mary has lived in Colorado all her life. While she has only lived in the valley for two years, she has been an involved citizen and an active volunteer. She also has attended Aspen School Board meetings, educated herself regarding the school system and as a candidate ran a positive campaign. She is part of this community and is well-qualified to serve on the Aspen School District Board. I am sure the other candidates could make equally compelling cases countering the reasons given as to why they should not be on the board.
With regard to the criticism that the nonincumbent candidates displayed "public negativity," this is code for not wanting a new board member who has the confidence to speak his or her mind and who will question the status quo. Many parents and teachers that I talk to would welcome a different perspective on the board, someone who will provide real scrutiny regarding how the district is run. Indeed, in my opinion, a fresh breeze blowing through that Aspen School District Board Room and District Administration offices is much needed.
School board: Do what you said you were going to do and appoint the third-place finisher Margeaux Johanssson to the board. If for some reason she no longer wants to serve, go to the next candidate and then the next. These three candidates together garnered 2,934 votes from people who wanted a new voice on the board. The Aspen School Board should do what they said they'd do. The vote by people should count.