Biggest accomplishment in life (other than your family, if you have one): I organized three different nonprofit organizations to build the Aspen Recreation Center. SPARC raised $8,000,000 privately for the Lewis Ice Arena. Citizens for Parks and Recreation and Swim, Skate and Recreate was created to find funds for a leisure pool, lap pool, and partial funds for the play area at the Yellow Brick, bike path by Cemetery Lane and Slaughterhouse Bridge, various wetlands and the bridge connecting West Buttermilk to the ARC.
Have you ever been arrested? If so, for what? If not, what is the worst infraction you’ve made in life?: No, I was always too fast and ahead of the law. My worst infraction was when I was serving in Vietnam in 1968. A friend of mine and I took a jeep out of the motor pool at 2 a.m. for a joy ride, which was very much against the rules as we were in a nighttime non-movement area. This base camp was several miles from Chu Lai. We drove about 10 miles with lights out and a night patrol of the Military Police picked us up. We were brought back to division HQ at Chu Lai. Our supply sergeant met us at the MP station and told us to pack our bags as we were being sent to a distant LZ in the morning.
What kind of car do you drive?: 1997 Nissan Pathfinder, but not very often.
Pick one: Favorite book, movie or quote: Quote: “A lie can travel around the world twice before the truth ever leaves the building.” — Unknown author.
1. If elected, what is the first initiative you will bring to City Hall and to your fellow council members?
I would revisit the top priorities of the current City Council with the new council members, as well as any possible draconian decisions made during the lame duck session of the current City Council.
In reviewing this priority list, as mayor I would act more as a facilitator and moderator during these discussions. The council members would be more empowered with this method of leadership. We would arrive at better conclusions, as ideas would be carefully vetted during the public meetings. I would then organize a consensus of agreeable ideas at the end of the meeting rather than have four council members and the mayor tell staff to pursue five different thoughts.
2. Two-part question: What has the municipal government failed to do in representing the residents of Aspen in the past year? What has City Hall excelled at in the past year?
a. The City Council has hidden from the community the Amory Lovins study just before this election, which raises the question of integrity. Therefore, what else could the city be hiding?
I have strongly addressed the issue of integrity and transparency in campaigns the last four years. Nothing has changed. I will bring honesty, integrity and transparency to the City Council and in the position of mayor. This is not political rhetoric preaching to the voters. This is from my track record as chair of the P&Z and 40 years of community service.
The hydro project appears to be another instance where a conclusion directed a project before a proven analytical approach was established using basic business practices. This lack of oversight and accountability reflects a failure in the process.
b. The power purchase agreement from the Ridgway hydroelectric project was one of the best accomplishments of the city in the last year.
3. With many of the roughly 2,800 units in the affordable housing inventory structurally aging, and with a large portion of residents heading toward retirement, should the city continue to build more housing for the next generation of the workforce? At what price?
I have campaigned for years about the need for the city to have an owner’s representative on site during construction of city projects. The current asset management department has regular duties and cannot be on site daily during construction. Consequently, inferior materials have been installed that developed problems after a period of time that the current HOA and homeowners have to repair at their expense. If there was an owner’s rep during the bid and construction process this would have been avoided.
I would have never agreed to the purchase of the BMC property for such an outrageous price. With my experience, as mayor I will be able to prevent these unbelievably naïve decisions. These ideas alone would drastically reduce the cost of employee housing. I wouldn’t proceed with housing projects unless we had 67 percent qualified reservations.
4. Given that the downtown commercial core is going in the direction of large buildings housing retail stores that create a Gucci and Prada lover’s paradise and knocking out locally serving businesses, do you have any ideas on what to do about it as an Aspen elected official?
The city should create an organization or nonprofit that operates at hands-length away from political control to look at investing in projects that provide spaces for locally-serving businesses. If possible, these projects should also have employee housing on site.
I hesitate to recommend this due to the catastrophic failure in the past of the city’s real estate purchases, however with my experience this can be accomplished.
I will not make short-sighted decisions of buying and selling property at ridiculous prices.
There are challenging issues in determining who qualifies for a locally-serving business and we do not want to create an advantage for one business that has a competitor paying higher rent in a free-market building somewhere else.
With a careful and realistic approach, this program could be very successful.