Lum: Sign the lodge petition
I’m not much of a fan of government by referendum, but we really must insist that the lodging Ordinance 19 be sent back to the drawing board, and the only way we can force that to happen is to get sufficient signatures to put it to a public vote in November.
After the fiasco of the Hotel Aspen, I thought that the council would tighten up the incentives for owners of older lodges to renovate and keep them, but this ordinance has opened unexpected floodgates (such as possible four-story buildings) and has so complicated what was anticipated to be a simplification that its creators quip that they don’t fully understand it themselves.
That’s as far as I got on this column, at which point the Monday City Council meeting started leaning in the direction of shelving the whole thing in the face of significant public opinion as voiced by the many attendees and the number of people who had already signed the petition.
This is a two-day council meeting predetermined to overlap into Tuesday evening — past my deadline — so I’m just going to assume it’s a done deal that this ordinance is toast and, if I’m wrong, get out there quick and sign the petition.
What this whole thing is about is the makeup of the council itself, how it is voting and what it means for our community.
When Ordinance 19 was up for a council vote, both Mayor Steve Skadron and Councilwoman Ann Mullins voted against it in part because of the possible four-story aspect. They understood, rightly, that this would constitute a political tinderbox and had other objections to the half-cooked ordinance.
Councilmen Adam Frisch (hoping to be mayor one day?) and Dwayne Romero (Mr. Snowmass Village) were all for it, as they were all for the Hotel Aspen from its first iteration and any other development project. They give lip service to preserving Aspen but vote the opposite.
Councilman Art Daily, the loose cannon, waffles and gets small concessions before voting the wrong way (which is to say, not my way), while Skadron and Mullins (when not recused — when will that stop?) always vote the right way. Smiley face.
So we have this council that is often split 3-2 in a bad way on critical votes, and we are going to have to keep on our toes for the next few years.
That’s as far as I got Monday night, having fallen asleep during the Lundy House discussion, and I note in Tuesdsay’s paper that Frisch and Romero are both up for election in May — so much for keeping on my toes.
That would explain Frisch’s rant at the council meeting that the petition was politically driven.
Anyway, that gives us seven or eight months to beg Howie Mallory to run for council — without any B.S. about dice-throwing (should have thrown them) — and get the town turned around before the Sky Hotel lives up to its name and hits the sky.
I’d run, but I’m too old, I swear too much, and all that hot air would compromise my oxygen equipment.
Su Lum is a longtime local who thinks that all summer the town looked like Humpty Dumpty after he’d slipped. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.