McDonald: Is this forthright governance? |

McDonald: Is this forthright governance?

City of Aspen’s mantra: Greed and absolute control is good and its always open season on free market property owners.

The public seems to have a gut feeling that something is grossly amiss with City Hall? I had this same queasy feeling in the late 1980s-early 1990s when social demographic pressures and the magnitude of wealth divisions were first realized in earnest. 

The city seems willfully conspiring to maximize profits by recent revelations of their surreptitious dealings with large-scale developers to rob Peter (public) to pay Paul (city) with developers’ infrastructure cost shifts.

This together with the city’s legislation rights of first refusal to acquire private property, purportedly for city employees’ use, questions. Do these dealings and largess contracts with the city constitute forthright governance? 

The city’s recent series of legislation impacting free market property owners who are isolated from representation or voting, unmasks the city’s true mindset. Is this unjustified “regulatory taking” and because these free-market home owners are major contributors to the tax base and Aspen’s economy, could it also be construed that this legislation is wantonly pernicious and counterintuitive for a tourist town? What developers benefit from this legislation? 

Never mind what the city says. It’s what it does and what it has done to public rights and living standards. Imagine a municipality devoid of any public scrutiny to be left to their own devices for two decades? Corruption and largess would ratchet up and become routine. This is Aspen now.  

It follows that the council has refused for years to publish staff’s projects review billing hour spreadsheets for Community Development and the Historic Preservation Commission. Just what is it they’re hiding?

The city admits to fast tracking the Aspen Institute and a developer through their 19-step review process. This is a sweet deal but clearly biased. Just who in the city is watching the cookie jar of billing hours at $320 an hour? Do you trust them?

Scott and Caroline McDonald


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