Pitkin County (population 17,100) recently elected three commissioners out of four candidate choices. Two incumbent candidates (George Newman and Michael Owsley) ran unopposed. The Aspen (population 6,600) City Council election coming up looks to have at least six candidates for mayor and at least as many for City Council. Twelve choices for three offices.
Which system better serves our community — more choices or less? I think we can all, even in Aspen, agree that any system that results in only one candidate (always an incumbent) running for office does not serve the electorate nor the community.
Will the Pitkin County commissioners do/propose something, anything, to give Pitkin County voters more choice? Or will they blame Big Brother rules and say their hands are tied? Aspen has always been a place where if we disagree with the rules handed down to us by state or federal forces we fight to change them to suit us. For instance, were our hands tied when there were no state or federal rules to control rampant development banging on our door in the ’70s? No, Aspen fought — and won.
None of the current commissioners are at fault for the system as it is, but we have a history of leadership here in Aspen and I wonder will any of the commissioners lead on this? Will any of them step up and show they serve us, not the system and not themselves? Well, the other choice is they could defend the system that produced two incumbents running unopposed — as incumbents that would be the national norm, I suppose.