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ISSUE #114: Don't be HesitANT to Vote!

"Every election is sort of an advance auction sale of stolen goods." -- H.L. Mencken

 "I never voted for anybody.  I always voted against."  -- W.C. Fields


Gotta start off with something positive.  Don't forget to collect your $50 food tax refund.  Deadline is April 15.  HERE is the form.

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The lack of enthusiasm for this year's election has been palpable.  In any case, it's still important that we all vote in the May 5th municipal election even when it's akin to having one's wisdom teeth pulled without anesthetic.  I also see voting as, among other things, an act that upholds my right to complain about the outcome. 

 My feelings are changing as election day approaches, however.  As I've gotten to know the candidates and where they stand on the issues, I am a bit more encouraged than I've been.  But that's not saying a lot.  Mick joining the race was a monsoon on everyone's parade and really threw a wrench in the system, but all is not lost.  Some see his return to council as a fait accompli.  I hope and pray that's not the case.  We just need to be strategic.  Very strategic.  And in this election, there are some very strange bedfellows indeed.


Reminder:  this election will be by mail-in ballots only.  Ballots were sent out yesterday, April 13.  You will have yours this week.  Look for it.  Mail-in voting is ripe for election fraud.  If you choose to abstain from voting, please destroy your ballot.  Again DO NOT THROW IT IN THE TRASH AT THE POST OFFICE!!  You will need $0.70 for postage or you can drop your ballot off at city hall.  (Questions regarding voting or your ballot, please call the Aspen City Clerk at 970-429-2687.)  The official election day when votes are counted is Tuesday, May 5. 

I've gone to the ACRA Candidate Forum.  I've read the local papers' candidate interviews.  And in most cases, I have met with the candidates themselves.  In other words, I've done my research.  Why wait.  Vote now and be done with it.  Here's how and why:



Referendum 1 is the "no variance" ballot measure that seeks to remove Aspen city council's flexibility on land use applications by subjecting variances affecting the mass and scale of buildings in the commercial core to a public vote.

I get it - the whole horse-trading exercise in the wee hours of the morning between council and developers has grown old.  And many of the "deals" have proven more than just a wee bit out of character for Aspen. The proposed charter amendment will take away council's ability to grant variances to 4 key parts of our code:  height, mass, subsidized housing and parking.  The four biggies.  And it only applies to commercial and lodging zones (single-family homes and duplexes are excluded). 

I agree, we should get out of the "governing by variance" business.  But I look at it differently.  If specific variances are so good, then let's codify them so they're available to everyone.  This whole brou-ha-ha is a land use issue so let's change the land use code.  Regardless of what side you're on, the argument comes down to:  CHANGE THE DAMNED LAND USE CODE SO IT APPLIES FAIRLY TO EVERYONE!!  The question is one of process.  This shouldn't be done as a charter amendment.  But don't take my word for it.  I have some unlikely support:

  • Former Aspen Mayor Bill Stirling: "The charter is Aspen's constitution, and our charter addresses how we govern ourselves.  It is not a document that should be addressing land use, environmental control and zoning issues.  Any group of US citizens who were unhappy with the president and his cabinet for allowing public buildings to be built too massive of tall would not even suggest that the constitution be amended to address such an issue.  It would be dealt with by petitions or through legislative action."  
  • The Aspen Times' Andy Stone: "On one team, we have The People's Choice, the city council (NO on Referendum 1). On the other team, we have We The People, the citizens (YES on Referendum 1).  So do we trust the wisdom of the people? Or is it really the wisdom of the mob?  Remember, it was those same people who, in their collective wisdom, elected the council in the first place.  So, in short, do you trust the untrustworthy council? Or the people who selected that untrustworthy bunch?"

And support from those who see "the law of unintended consequences" lurking once again:

  • Neil Siegel:  And what makes this situation even worse and very bad precedent is that it encourages other single issue groups to bastardize the city charter with provisions cast in concrete that should be the subject of code changes which can be amended and tailored by council as conditions evolve.  It is unquestionably true that the city charter is not the place to vent frustration or pursue personal agendas, but that is exactly what is happening here."

Furthermore, there's a significant loophole in the charter amendment concept.  If someone wants a variance and decides to go for it at the polls, what's to say that the variance-seeker doesn't sweeten the proverbial pot with some sort of bribe, packaged as a "community benefit?"  Horse-trading will continue; it will just wear a different hat. 


In 2013, Steve Skadron and Torre met in the mayoral run-off, which Skadron narrowly won.  2015 marks Torre's 5th run for the office.  If we're rating the candidates on the "good guy" element that so often drives local electoral politics, it's a tie.  Both are friendly, good guys.  Smarts?  Neither will wow you.  So let's move on...

While things with Skadron as mayor have been an improvement over Mick, let's not forget that ANYONE would have been an improvement.  It wasn't a high bar.  Could things get worse with Torre as mayor?  Sure, anything can happen, but I say let's give him a chance.  And consider, there is no love lost between Torre and Mick.  This is important and part of the strategy with Mick running for a council seat.  Mick's candidacy is not to be underestimated.  In the god-awful case that Mick is elected again, Torre will not put up with Mick's pontification, bloviation and rampant BS.  I just don't see Skadron keeping Mick in line for one minute. 

And as far as leadership goes, Skadron has been a disappointment.  He rarely grasps complex issues and often decries citizen input when things get technical, admittedly preferring "hearing about the issues from city staff."  He is solely responsible for adding the Aspen Brewery's proposal  to a citizen committee's list of finalists for the Old Power House, a blatant act of political pandering.  This, in the face of his very own directive that the space not be "handed over to private, commercial or office space use."

Skadron also thinks we should keep building and building and building subsidized housing "because (in his opinion) we need it."  And worst of all, despite years of citizen activism against the hydro plant (CCEC) including an advisory vote to kill the project, Skadron still ignores leading environmentalists and citizens alike with his willingness to complete the project.

Now don't get me wrong, Torre is no panacea.  We disagree on plenty, not the least of which is Referendum 1 (above).  Torre is also an advocate for subsidized commercial space in Aspen (puh-lease), in addition to acknowledging what he sees as "a never ending need for housing."  Torre has vexed me for years, however the specter of Mick back on council makes me open to giving Torre a try this time.

Torre DOES recognize the lack of leadership in city hall and favors greater oversight of city management.  (Those who work in city hall are frightened at the prospect of Torre as mayor - you can bet I like that!!)  His housing priorities are more narrowly focused than just "more" - he wants to see us build for specific demographics and pragmatically states that we need to take care of the inventory we have before we prioritize new construction.  I have had a constructive conversation with Torre about his ideas for "fixing" Centennial and no, he is not advocating a government bailout (phew!).  He wants to provide help, but more along the lines of a loan vs outright gift.  He sees where council MUST have better direction of processes and projects and opposes a new 70,000 sf city hall.  And I particularly like his priority of "protecting our streams, NOT a third try at the hydro plant citizens voted against."  And who can argue with the formation of an advisory board of second homeowners, to whom Torre would like to give a voice?  Furthermore, mystery solved!  HERE is how Torre became just "Torre."

  • The mayor must be elected with 50% + 1 of the votes cast
  • Let's give Torre a chance
  • It's a hedge against Mick being elected to council and trying to run the joint


I have long espoused the benefits of what's called "bullet voting."  This is a process that makes it more likely that your candidate will be elected when running for one of several openings (in our case, two) amidst a field of competitors.  The theory is to vote for just your favorite candidate, thereby boosting your candidate's total by one with your sole "bullet" vote.  By not voting for another candidate although you are permitted to, your candidate's total increases while others' totals do not.  My "bullet vote" will be for Adam Frisch. 

With this voting strategy, Adam has a solid shot of being elected in the first round on May 5 (45% + 1 vote). That is the goal.  Simply put, we need to get Adam in, especially with Mick lurking in the wings.  To get Adam on council gives us one "friendly," and hopefully, by employing the "bullet vote" strategy, keeps Mick relegated to the run-off.  (I may be crazy to think this, but hope springs eternal...) 

Adam has demonstrated common sense and respect at the council table.  His spirit of collaboration is to be admired.  He comes to meetings prepared.  And most importantly, Adam is accessible.  He reads and responds to inquiries regularly.  This is not a trait found elsewhere on council.  I personally appreciate his willingness to listen, read and ask questions of concerned citizens.  There are issues too numerous to count that come across his transom, and I have found Adam to be a patient and willing ear.  In his four years on council, Adam has gained confidence and perspective; no longer does he take the word of city staff as gospel.  I encourage Adam to keep focusing on his principles.  He CAN become a VERY strong voice for fiduciary responsibility, and we need that now more than ever.  Please, "bullet vote" for Adam.

Now remember, Mick too might just get it done with 45% + 1 on election day - but I sure hope not!  Hopefully people are simply SICK OF MICK (click it for some good laughs)!  But let's not be foolish here - Mick WILL command a lot of votes.  And in a run-off, Mick may still win a seat.  But the June 2 run-off election will focus on just those in contention, and I do see a candidate or two who might be able to give him an honest run for his money!


Political newcomer Andy Israel is one of the more interesting candidates to join the fracas in recent years.  An outspoken advocate for Wagner Park, he has long highlighted the limited public access to the park as an example of how the city of Aspen does not act in the best interest of its citizens.  This CPA and Wharton MBA was motivated to run for office because of what he sees as a "unacceptable lack of institutional control" at city hall as evidenced by, among other messes, the parking scandal.  "The numbers don't lie" and "parking scandals don't last 4 years," he states.  As self-proclaimed "deal maker," "problem solver" and "closer," Israel, a dark horse who claims he will "get things done," promises to work to "eliminate confusion and communication breakdowns" in Aspen government.  I welcome Andy to the mix and am pleased and entertained by his refreshing candor.  Oh, and did I mention, he studies the city budget in far more detail than anyone on council.  Plus, he can read a spreadsheet.  And no, this straight-shooter won't take any BS from Mick, Barwick or city staff. 

*  *  *  *  *  *  *

Now some of you are surely puzzled, if not shocked, by my endorsements.  But as I've written, we have no choice but to hedge against Mick.  That has been my driving rationale.  And sometimes that means picking "the least worst" candidate.  Sadly, Mick's candidacy really iced several good community members' campaigns.  Instead of being able to look at the full slate of candidates and ask, "who is the best candidate," Mick's candidacy makes this election one of "who can win?" 

Local activist (and author of Referendum 1) Bert Myrin is parlaying his tenure on P&Z and political capital from a successful "career" in the challenge-city-hall-through-citizen-petitions business into what's shaping up as a very competitive run.  I have worked with Bert (to kill the hydro plant) and know him to be a tireless advocate for his chosen causes.  He's a real muckraker. To say that "Bert cares" is a gross understatement.  Mick (ever the purveyor of revisionist history) has managed to co-opt Myrin in this election by glomming on to the momentum of Referendum 1.  They're being seen as a package deal. And this alliance makes people nervous. 

Long-time community and civic volunteer Marcia Goshorn , former APCHA director and councilman Tom McCabe, and bartender and former coffee shop owner (Parallel 15) Keith Goode got lost in this season's election shuffle.  While Marcia and I disagree on subsidized housing issues, she has a proven track record of commitment to important civic boards, including the Citizens Budget Task Force.  Her perspective informs her belief that the resort and community are NOT against one another, rather, they are dependent upon each other.  Tom, as a former locally-serving business owner, laments the lack of affordable lodging and commercial space for business in Aspen.  Keith, while a newcomer to the election game, has served on the city's Planning & Zoning board.  This is truly valuable experience given the land use issues of the day.  He brings a unique perspective that highlights the close interface between those in the food & beverage industry and our visitors.  These candidates deserve our respect and gratitude for throwing their hats into the ring.  It's more than I've ever done.

  • In order to be elected, a candidate must garner 45% + 1 of the votes on May 5.  With 7 candidates running for two seats, the likelihood for a run-off is great.
  • On May 5th, if only one candidate passes the 45% +1 threshold, that candidate is elected and the next two candidates with the highest number of votes advance to a run off on June 2.  The candidate with the highest number of votes on June 2 wins.
  • On May 5th, if no one hits the 45% + 1 threshold, the four highest vote-getters advance to the run-off on June 2nd, where the two highest vote-getters win.
  • The run-off election is Tuesday, June 2.  Ballots will be mailed out on May 11 with early voting beginning on May 18 at City Hall.  If you know you are going to be out of town on June 2, please complete the absentee form HERE.   Check the box indicating that you need a run-off ballot.  Questions?  970-429-2685

The Red Ant sent each of the candidates a questionnaire several weeks ago that touches on issues of the day.  Every candidate responded and for that I am grateful.  The questions are as follows, with notable excerpts from individual responses.   Links to the candidates' full responses are at the end of this issue.

Where do you stand on the "no variance" ballot measure that, in many cases, strips city council's responsibility for granting development variances and waivers?  Should the city charter (Aspen's "constitution") be changed or is this matter better suited to a change to Aspen's land use code?  Please explain.

  • Skadron:  I oppose the ballot issue.  It's a land use code item that does not belong in the charter. The charter is the framework of our government and should not have land use items attached to it.  I believe the amendment undermines the principles of representative democracy.
  • Torre:  I do support Ref 1.  I think it's unfortunate that it has come to a citizen referendum, but I too want a land use process that reflects community values and promotes positive development opportunity.
  • Myrin:  The red herring here is the false choice between direct democracy and representative democracy.  A YES vote on Referendum 1 upholds representative government.  Our representative government doesn't negotiate land deals; it follows the rules and changes the rules for everyone if needed.
  • Frisch:  Oppose.  The real issue is that the maximum allowed height was not addressed in the land use code soon enough, not the approval of variances.  I have asked the supporters of the referendum for a single example of a building in town that was granted a height variance that is out of line with community values - it has been over a week and not a single example.  Again, the buildings in town that are 'big' were all approved under a prior Council that did not downzone soon enough.
  • Goshorn:  The land use codes have needed to be revised in a responsible manner for years, but the councils have not been willing to do that.  The ballot question is not something to be feared.
  • Israel:  I signed the petition.  I plan to vote yes in favor of Ref  1.  I don't agree with many of the recent decisions made by various councils.  I have lost faith in the process.
  • Goode:  I believe that this (variances) is something that should go to the voters.
  • Mick:  I am more concerned with the proposals to alter the land use code to subsidized high end development.  The need for luxury lodging is not well established.  The variance "process" encourages real estate speculation.
  • McCabeI am not in favor of the "no variance" ballot measure.  It is akin to using a pile driver to do the work of a hammer.

Steve Barwick is the city manager.  As such, he reports directly to council and, per the city charter, is responsible for running the administration of the city, not developing or directing policy.  What will you do to foster greater accountability from the city manager?  How will you change the focus to Council-directed policy as opposed to simply "playing catch" with policy initiatives that originate with the city manager?

  • Skadron:  I disagree with the premise.  The question implies that the city manager is developing and directing policy and that's not the case.
  • Torre:  I will bring leadership and accountability to city hall.  I will focus council for clear policy directives.  I will then follow up with the city manager and staff to enumerate and execute service and outcome measures.
  • Goshorn:  The buck stops with the city council.
  • Israel:  If I am elected I will push for an immediate audit of the CofA books and accounting systems by a legitmate 3rd party auditor. Projects and events get pushed so far up the ladder before council is even aware of them. The city manager reports to council, not the other way around.
  • Frisch:  The City Council is a policy board.  It is their job to set goals and objectives on behalf of the community with a long term vision in mind.  The City Manager is responsible for executing those goals. On Monday, April 13th, Council is participating in its first formal 360 review of the City Manager since I joined Council in June of 2011.  This should have been my fourth; standard operating procedure is on an annual basis.  I wish I had a valid reason for this not being done until now, but I do not - no excuses.
  • Goode:  Council each year takes time to create a top ten goals that they hope to achieve.  I would hope to use these as our base for direction.
  • Mick:  The city manager should be subject to annual personnel review by the city council including a "360" review by his peers and subordinates.

Surely you are familiar with Aspen's parking scandal, discovered in 2014.  While a recent audit of the city's internal controls has been presented to the current council with recommended steps for process improvements and evaluation of risks, how do you feel about requiring a quarterly review of the city's actual financial condition?  What about the employment of an auditor who reports to council (not staff) and has a statutory obligation to make reports to council and the public? Please explain. 

  • Skadron:  I would support consideration of retaining an auditor to report to council.
  • MyrinWe need to bring in outside, independent and transparent auditors to review the city's financial controls.
  • Goshorn:  In 2008 I was a member of a 26 person citizens budget task force that gave the city a list of recommendations that included regular audits.  The recommendation was not acted on.  The city needs regular oversight now as it did then.
  • McCabe:  The difficulty with anything as complex as the city budget is that the expertise of the professionals is typically beyond the experience of those elected to oversee it.
  • TorreI will do whatever it takes to ensure the fiscal competency of the city.  I support community oversight and if necessary, outside evaluation.
  • Goode:  Hiring an auditor shouldn't be out of the question, but tightening the controls that are already in place might be a better solution.
  • MickThe City of Denver has an elected auditor.  I would not go that far but it is worth considering a direct report to council and periodically changing auditors.  I like the idea of reports to the public and I believe city financial data should be online.

The FERC permit for the Castle Creek Energy Center (CCEC) hydro plant was not renewed in February.  Is there ANY circumstance in which you would vote as a member of council to continue spending money on the CCEC.  Yes or no? Please explain.

  • Skadron:  Yes. One circumstance to support further expenditures would be a citizen petition to re-establish the energy center program. 
  • Frisch:  No.  For years, I have been clear and consistent in my comments that the community has spoken.
  • TorreI will not be supporting continuing with the CCEC.
  • McCabe:  No.  It is not OK to spend more money unless the citizens demand it by way of a vote.
  • MyrinAspen should sell the turbine ASAP.  This would put to rest continuing to spend money on the CCEC.
  • Israel:  I would never vote to continue the CCEC.  I don't want to hear about it or see any time or money dedicated to it.
  • Goode:  No.  The community has spoken very clearly about their opinion of the hydro plant.
  • MickNo.  My side lost the election and I do not intend to pursue the license.  

The APCHA housing inventory is comprised of over 2800 rental and owned units.  There is great speculation of widespread non-compliance.  In order to better understand our current and future subsidized housing needs, would you support an independent and comprehensive audit of the entire portfolio to determine who lives there, where they work and whether or not they comply?  If not, why not?

  • Skadron:  Speculation is different than the evidence which suggests widespread compliance.
  • Goshorn:  Speculation is forming of a theory without evidence and has a life of its own.  The housing board has already begun a discussion of how we could accomplish an audit.
  • Israel:  I too believe there is a lot of non-compliance with APCHA.  I am in favor of an audit or review of this entity conducted by a different party than the financial auditor.
  • TorreI believe that we should have a compliance component to our program, even if this is best realized by an outside source.
  • Goode:  Yes, I've spoken with the new housing director about this already.  Even if there is only 10% out of compliance, that's 280 units!
  • MickAPCHA owners are required to certify their eligibility periodically under penalty of perjury.  The affidavit requires affirmation that the owner knows the rules and is in compliance.
  • McCabe:  I convinced the council and commissioners (years ago) to increase the APCHA legal budget by a factor of 6, for 5 years, so APCHA could chase down the more persistent rumors of cheating.  This provided APCHA the resources to prosecute some headline-generating cheaters and to develop better investigative tools.
  • Frisch:  Contrary to popular belief, the APCHA staff and board have long suggested a review.  The policy suggestion seemed to run out of steam prior when it comes to the elected officials (we need to remember the Pitkin County Commissioners have an equal say on policy direction regarding APCHA housing issues).

Reports of APCHA housing inventory in physical decline have been attributed to (among other things) speculation about the lack of adequate HOA reserves and deferred maintenance over the years by HOAs.  Would you support a legally mandated level for reserve accounts at every APCHA HOA?  If not, how do you envision the prevention of further decline of these valuable community assets? 

  • Skadron:  Moving forward with new properties, I would not be opposed to further deed restrictions mandating a level of capital reserves.
  • MyrinCouncil and staff have been focused on deferred maintenance of our resort bed base and not nearly as much attention has been paid to this equally important issue.  If we are intent on maintaining our community, we must work on solutions to sustain our affordable housing inventory, not just building more.
  • Israel:  I am in support of a mandated HOA reserve.
  • McCabe:  On the ownership side, almost all deed restricted homes (condos) are members of an independent, non-profit HOA.  Existing HOAs falling under the deed restrictions of APCHA cannot legally be required to comply with any level of reserve account funding by local political jurisdictions, which includes APCHA, the city or the county.
  • Frisch:  Not only would I, I already have, both on an individual basis as well as through my leadership on the Housing Frontiers Group.  With Frontier's lead, capital reserves are now mandated for all AH projects from Burlingame-II and going forward, including AH built by private developers. 
  • GoodeI don't think that's out of the question to set a baseline for reserves for every HOA.  What I would question is who is responsible for funding that?  The new tenants to old units?
  • MickThe issue is not confined to APCHA housing.  It is common for HOAs to struggle with maintenance of capital assets.  Some APCHA units were not properly built for this climate.  I believe the city has a role in helping analyze long term capital replacement needs and requiring adequate reserves.
  • Torre:  I do believe in mandated standards for HOA management of APCHA housing.  Before we are building more housing, we need to iron out the wrinkles that we have experienced as our AH program enters it's 40's.

The city of Aspen has a $100+ million budget in 2015.  Just because we have it, should we spend it?  Where do you see waste/abuse?

Please be specific in your evaluation of the City's overall financial condition and budget priorities.

  • Skadron:  I agree. Money should not be spent just because we have it. I have expressed that to various departments within the city. City projects are scrutinized by the council and there are times when council directs staff to re-study a project because of the money.
  • McCabe:  To some degree I am sure that fees are used to get around the TABOR restrictions.
  • Torre:  The $616K intersection project at Gondola Plaza and the proposed $2.7 million Castle Creek Bridge narrowing are issues.  And the fact that this council is spending $2.8 mill for architectural designs on 2 options on over 70,000sq.ft. for a new city hall. I think we need a revised budget process that involves a more public friendly explanation of budgeting and reconciliation.
  • Goshorn:  The continual studies by consultants that cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars are repetitive and in many cases unnecessary and often placed on shelves and ignored.
  • Israel:  I see waste and abuse everywhere.  I see a culture of excess at city hall.  Just because we have "an embarrassment of riches" doesn't mean we need to make foolish decisions about money.
  • Frisch:  To add a bit of detail, the total approved appropriations in 2015 is $124,206,420.  Having said that, the total revenue in the General Fund, which is the only part of the budget that City Council totally controls, is 'only' $24.4 million.  The rest of the monies are voter supported initiatives.  The recent parking scandal is a good example of the City needing to be extra diligent in financial practices.  The fact was with increasing revenues from the department, it became less critical to double check the books.  The generosity of the community is based on very prudent management of our vast resources.
  • GoodeIf we decide to set up a rainy day fund then that is something I believe should go to the voters.
  • Mick:  The $100 million is an attractive political target. Reserves should be increased in anticipation of the next crash.  Our reliance on a fairly narrow, volatile segment of the upper end of the economy makes us suceptible to boom and bust.  I agree that the city's present buildings should be considered first for housing city departments.

What is your position on fees vs. taxes?  Under what conditions would you support adding/increasing fees to cover the cost of government services that were previously covered by taxes? Do you support independently raising revenues on your own authority or do you believe that major changes in funding should follow the spirit of TABOR and go to the voters?

  • Frisch:  While many may think a fee and a tax are the same (money ends up in the government's coffers), it is important to know that fees can be voted on and changed at the Council table.  From a policy standpoint though, moving revenue collections from a 'tax' to a 'fee' for the purpose of avoiding a public vote is something I would not support.
  • Skadron:   I support compliance with TABOR and all laws and court decisions relating to raising revenues.  As in the bag case, fees are authorized under the law under certain circumstances.
  • IsraelI'm for taxes rather than fees.   I believe that major funding changes should go to the voters.
  • GoodeMajor changes in funding should go to the voters.  If we are lowering taxes but increasing fees, what difference does it make to the individual? I'm not a fan of changing wording to confuse people.
  • TorreI do support public input and votes on questions of taxation.

How do you want City staff to report to you on their progress and accomplishments? Do you think the City would benefit from a set of publicly-produced outcome-based performance measures that show how the City is addressing the demand for services? Aspen does not produce any such reports for Council or the community even though such reports are considered "best practices" by every professional government association (International City and Council Manager Association, Government Finance Officers Association, American Society for Public Administration, etc.).

  • SkadronThe City annually produces a Goals & Outcomes Measures report that is made available to council and public for review.
  • MyrinTransparency is important in building trust.  We need to get away from the fear of "not invented here."  As special a place as we consider Aspen to be, our problems are likely not unique and have been addressed elsewhere.  We should continually look to discover and adopt best practices.
  • TorreI do support performance measures to ensure that public services and programs are meeting community expectations. I believe we can improve the communication between citizens, council and staff.
  • McCabe:  Pretty charts are cool but the over-use of Power Point is a dead giveaway that staff doesn't have a lot to offer so they attempt to distract with pretty pictures.

The city plans to build 70,000+ sf of municipal office space in the near future.  Given that the costs (currently estimated at $40 million) are to be borne by the Aspen taxpayer, how do you justify this?  What steps will you take to ensure community buy-in?  Would you support an "up/down" vote on the expenditure?

  • SkadronAt this point the city is simply exploring the replacement of existing space plus some small increments of public space required by code and additional space for the Police Department. The city is not trying to increase its footprint. If bonding backed by a property tax pledge is required, I would support an up/down vote on the expenditure.
  • TorreI believe we should take care of the municipal needs we have like the Police Department relocation, and other office space losses. We should build on the Zupancis property on Main, but we do not need 70,000 sq.ft. This council chose not 1, but 2 of the largest options to take to design level.  I definitely would do every effort to reach out for community participation and buy-in.
  • MyrinOf the proposed developments on the horizon, this may be the largest runaway project without public buy-in.  I support an up/down vote by the electorate as the final checkpoint.
  • Goshorn:  This is another situation that the voter buy-in needs to be based on verifiable facts not assumptions.
  • Frisch:  While the politically expedient answer is "no way," some amount of new space needs to be built; it is a 'necessary evil' for lack of a better term.  Build as small and humble as possible.  I am a proponent of having any new building being located behind Galena Plaza. 
  • IsraelI am totally against the plan for a new city hall.  First of all the $40 million estimate seems very low.  Second, we just gave away a perfectly fine 7,200 sf building to a brewery.
  • McCabe:  Fifteen years ago the city council purchased the Zupancis property with it in mind as the location for the offices that were badly needed at the time.  The city needs decent workspace for its employees.  That is way overdue.
  • GoodeThe town is in need of more space, as well as updated facilities.  Public outreach has already started and Aspen should have the right to choose by voting if this is the direction we should go in.
  • MickI don't think we should vote on the "need" for new police space or relocation of existing departments, those are necessities.  Some things that might require a vote would include a new building behind city hall that is park space.

To read the candidates' responses in their entirety, and I encourage you to do so, click their name:

      Steve Skadron     Torre     Adam Frisch          Andy Israel     

          Bert Myrin       Marcia Goshorn       Tom McCabe   

                    Keith Goode         Mick Ireland 



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