Lum: Winding up this election
October 21, 2015
I'll be glad when this election is over. Now the Base2 people are pitting the vibrant youth against the old fogies. "Millennial generation" — gag me with a tongue depressor. Let's see if their $50,000 slick campaign and free pizza-and-beer parties pay off at the polls.
For school board, I'm voting for Mary Drew Houchin and am thinking about voting for the maverick. I'm not sure which candidates are running for what terms of office — apparently they didn't get the ballot question correct. Things have been turning weird in the school system — altogether it's time for a change.
I don't know a thing about Colorado Mountain Junior College directors — where did that J come from in CMC? — so I'm skipping those.
Proposition BB is a de-Brucing question, asking us to allow the state to retain taxes already paid (in excess of those allowed) and use them for schools and marijuana education. I'm not wild about the marijuana part, but I'm voting "yes" on this.
But I am not supporting ballot issue 3A, increasing our real estate mill levies for the Aspen School District. I know this is heretical, but the question is very vaguely worded ("may include but are not limited to"), and with the real estate boom we're experiencing, our assessments are going to take a major leap, and our school taxes will leap with the assessments. Not all of us are rich second-home owners.
The Times ran a reasonable-sounding letter and ad explaining ballot question 1A authorizing the county to foster the expansion of services such as high-speed Internet, cable TV and telecommunications. I dare not hope it would mean competition with Comcast, but I am voting "yes."
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I turn my ballot over, and on the back there is a very similar-sounding question for Colorado Mountain Junior College — there's that J again. It's not too late to educate me, but I do not know what this question means, and for now I'm skipping it.
In my state of rickety health, I'd be nuts not to endorse the continuation of Aspen Valley Hospital's mill levy, which we have done every five years since time began. I'm voting "yes." It's not going to the building — with any luck the hospital will use it to replace the patient beds, which are not what you'd call state-of-the-art.
Question 2B asks us whether we should keep City Hall in its current use as office spaces or whether we should add a whopping 20,000 square feet to the gigantic bureaucracy building the city is going to erect on the Rio Grande property and turn City Hall into some kind of recreational space like maybe another brewery, seeing how well we did with the old art museum. You can guess where I stand on this: I'm voting for office space, not recreational. (Note: This is just an advisory vote.)
Then there's the everlasting Base2 that, like Whack-a-Mole, just will not die or stop morphing.
I always have opposed the variances that gave this project traction in the first place. This does not mean I consider the city officials corrupt, only misguided. I think the city staff is not in tune with the voters. If we let this measure pass, we will be sending an encouraging word to all the developers who are out there — panting, awaiting the results.
In the second place, the biggest virtue of this hotel is that it is supposedly affordable at $150 to $200 per night for its closet-sized rooms. It's not — it's close to high-end. I just checked Trivago again, and 12 Aspen hotels are listed for less than $150 — six of them are less than $100. And if you come to Aspen in the high season, the price will be more; we have been told that.
It's a crock. Base2 is not going to bring eager millennials to town who will fall in love and buy our McMansions. What we need to encourage egalitarianism is affordable housing, not little, expensive hotel rooms.
I'm voting a big "no" on Base2, question 2A.
Su Lum is a longtime local who hasn't voted yet. Lobby her at email@example.com. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.