Letter: Safeguard the Aspen citizen’s right | AspenTimes.com

Letter: Safeguard the Aspen citizen’s right

We are entering an era of the unknown. When we as a community embrace inclusion, the country voted for exclusion. We as a community seek unity, the country voted of division. We protect our environment with the knowledge that mistakes made may never be healed; our country elected someone who seemingly holds the environment in disdain.

Uncertainty is the new norm. Post-truth is the driving belief system. I feel we cannot trust someone else to make the proper decision. The most recent Gallop poll reports a 13 percent approval rating of Congress. Locally, I believe the Aspen City Council has higher approval ratings. However, I cannot place my trust in a future council of unknown composition in unknown times to decide on the fate of the Maroon and Castle Creek valleys. If three members of a future City Council decide to build a dam in the Maroon Creek valley, I want the citizens to have the power to overturn that decision.

Administrative decisions of council are not subject to a referendum. City Attorney Jim True apparently opined that the decision to build a dam is an administrative action. If this is indeed the case a council could decide to build a dam and we the people could not stop it.

I fully and wholeheartedly support an amendment to the Home Rule Charter or other binding action be placed upon the spring ballot for the residents of Aspen to have the power to protect the Maroon and Castle Creek valleys. If our City Council will not place a binding question on the spring ballot now, they must leave enough time for a citizens' initiative to do so.

I therefore request the mayor and council to promptly start the process of safeguarding the citizens' right to protect the Maroon and Castle Creek valleys by placing a legally binding ballot question, for voter approval, on the spring municipal election ballot.

Ward Hauenstein

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