Letter: We are the problem
We are the problem
The land-use code in Aspen, like the tax code in Washington, is subject to perpetual abuse and corruption by special interests. Ironically, it’s not the special interests that cause this problem. The problem is all of us, because we are always willing to give “special treatment” to every Tom, Dick and Hecht developer in exchange for our short-term personal benefit. I don’t blame Tom, Dick and Hecht. It’s our own greed that causes the development problems in Ute City. As a community, we are all too willing to sell our birthright for the next carrot that is dangled in front of our collective greedy noses. We knowingly allow ourselves to be seduced into the developers’ van with the offer of an affordable-housing candy bar, and when our community gets raped, we act surprised.
Our politicians in Washington trade tax loopholes for campaign donations from big banks, defense contractors, oil companies and unions, and we trade exceptions to the land-use code for affordable housing, affordable restaurants and affordable lodging. I maintain that none of these things should be as important to us as keeping Aspen beautiful for our children and grandchildren. There is no amount of “free” affordable housing that will compensate for making Aspen butt-ugly. Nothing in life is “free.”
The locals in Aspen who say they are for development or against development are both wrong. We should be for sensible development and opposed to stupid, ugly, bloated development. It’s that simple. For these reasons, I support the Bert Myrin/Mick Ireland initiative to require voter approval for any exceptions to the land-use code. Jeffrey Evans wrote a recent letter to the editor (Jan. 30, The Aspen Times) correctly pointing out that the City Council could just change the land-use code. But if the council does change the code, at least it will be rewritten to benefit us all rather than just a few clever developers who entice us with Snickers bars and cotton candy.
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