Letter: What would Bernie do?
October 19, 2015
I am going to vote "no" on 2A, the so-called Base2 development, because it's what Bernie Sanders would probably do. I'm not a socialist, but I agree with Bernie that subsidizing the wealthy is dumb, not to mention repugnant.
There are more reasons than space, but here are a few:
1. An approval represents a transfer of wealth from our community to people who are already rich. Just one example: There is virtually no affordable-housing mitigation, so our stock of housing, which we have taxed ourselves for and developed at great expense, gets diluted by the additional demand.
2. An approval represents an unfair transfer of the benefits of our common community sacrifices, which we have accepted to preserve scale, to someone who has sacrificed nothing. This project would be three times bigger than anyone else would be allowed, yet the whole community pays the cost of building-size limits every day. Your house can only be so big. Your groceries cost more. Your gas costs more. Your rents are higher. You can't get your shoes or your vacuum repaired.
3. The exchange of values is a joke. Are we really going to buy this package of giveaways because we are desperate for "affordable" hotel rooms? Do we really think that one class of people who can afford to ski Aspen is so qualitatively better than another and that we are so attuned to the spending habits of that class that we're willing to remake the town? Do you really think everyone will be happier if we pack more people in on the busiest days?
4. The implication of an approval is that you are prepared to blanket the town with projects just like this, somehow securing ironbound hotel rates tied to some nonexistent affordability standard. And this also implies that you are going to somehow miraculously make the cost of lift tickets, food, airfare and rentals, among other things, affordable.
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If you really are concerned about affordability in Aspen, maybe you should start with the people who work here. A minimum wage might be a good start — certainly much better than giving away the only affordable housing we have. And if you want to attract a broad class of people who will come here and spend money, there is always gambling, which, at best, is pretty much what a "yes" vote would be.
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