Lum: Dark voices exonerated by Base 1 |

Lum: Dark voices exonerated by Base 1

I was going to write (finally) about Steve Skadron’s perception that the town is more divided than it has been since he held office, saying, “It’s never been uglier” and referring to “dark voices” who are presumably wanting to stop all new development if not take us back to the stone age.

I was going to mention Hunter S. Thompson’s run for sheriff, the fur-ban issue, the vote on the Ritz and the attempted recall of three (or was it four?) of the five-member council. Now those were ugly times in the good old days.

Then something happened at the City Council meeting Monday night that should clarify for everyone that the citizen effort to get the council to follow its own laws was not ugliness and not confusion over the issues but a united, even loving effort to rein in what we perceived as a ship out of control.

When Base1 was approved without on-site parking or sufficient employee mitigation, we voted en masse that any further variances were to be subject to citizen approval. Through a loophole, Base2 was exempt from the result of that election, but the council knew very well what the majority of its constituency wanted.

The council approved variances for Base2 anyway, and, long and short, it did end up in an election, and Base2 was solidly trounced.

Now comes the exciting part. Base1 let its approval lapse and came back to the council Monday night to seek reinstatement. But this time it proposed underground parking (a huge sore point) and withdrew all the other variances that were the very things the dark voices had objected to.

I imagine that the City Council was braced for further resistance from the dark side, but Ward Hauenstein, a major dark voice in getting out the votes, spoke in favor of approving the reinstatement of Base1. The objections had been addressed, and that was that. Thumbs up from Ward.

Even Bert Myrin, the poobah dark voice who was propelled into office as councilman with a huge majority, voted for approval of this revised Base1.

We are not evil ghosts of the days of yore; we were not trying to bring the council to its knees; we just wanted these blatant variations to stop.

Sorry to say, Skadron still doesn’t get it. As late in the game as Monday night he was still suggesting that the Base2 landslide was the result of misunderstandings of a very complicated subject (not), some even voting against Base2 to save the gas station, as if the misperception of one or two jerks constituted an invalid election.

Steve, I love you, but you’re digging your heels against the wrong rock.

Art Daily doesn’t get it. Ann Mullins gets it now. Adam Frisch doesn’t agree but “got it” early on. Myrin was the one who brought it to our attention.

And see how it is working. The developers are getting it, and it’s not killing them to conform to our land laws.

Then — breaking news — the icing on the cake is that council is considering an emergency moratorium on new commercial land-use applications. Yes! This is what we dark people ultimately wanted: for the land laws to be revised so that what they say becomes the new gold standard and everyone sticks to them. Fair to all, no variances. It will be wonderful if this reflects a new direction in the Community Development Department.

Su Lum is a longtime local who hopes the moratorium will pass. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at

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