Nobody likes the guy who predicts doom then, after doom occurs, circles back to tell everyone, “I told you so.”
Luckily, I don’t care whether people like me or not.
I warned you all in at least five recent columns that this would likely happen. I absolutely hate that I was right, but I was.
The strategy I proposed for this election cycle was a simple one: Vote Torre in as mayor and you get Steve Skadron and Ann Mullins on council too, giving the Aspen preservationists at least a 3-2 majority on council.
I warned that voting Skadron in as mayor left us vulnerable to the appointment process. And we all know from history that the appointment process sucks, giving us the worst possible council members.
But everyone told me I was wrong. I was stupid. I didn’t know what I was talking about. They said Skadron would be a better mayor than Torre. They insisted that Skadron, Mullins and Art Daily would comprise a majority on council, and the three of them would be able to dictate who would be appointed to council.
They all said the same thing: “Don’t worry about it. Endorse Steve and everything will be fine.”
I didn’t endorse Steve but he won anyway, and everything’s definitely not fine. The powerful political machine that is Aspen’s preservationist majority screwed up big time.
A lot of you, 891 of you to be exact, are also to blame for this. You listened to the conventional wisdom and voted for Skadron in the runoff election. You rolled the dice on the appointment process.
And, instead of rolling the dice, our new mayor made the worst possible decision by voting for the other side. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Now we have Dwayne Romero on council. He was on council before and quit on the voters before his term was up, ran in the May election and lost, and has a track record as the most pro-development council member in recent memory.
Now, it seems, Romero is part of the new council majority, along with Frisch and Daily. How can that be, you may ask, when the supposedly brilliant political strategists on Aspen’s preservationist side endorsed Daily?
Because they were wrong. Daily pulled one over on them, and the voters, and nobody was able to see through it. I said in this column that he was a wild card, and it was impossible to know where he stood on key issues. Turns out I was right about that too.
So now Frisch, Romero and Daily can basically do whatever they want to Aspen, and nobody can stop them. We all better start taking lots of pictures of town. By the time they’re done it’ll be unrecognizable.
It’s not just the 891 voters who elected Skadron to office who are to blame. Skadron himself owns the lion’s share of it.
He put his ego and personal political aspirations above what’s best for Aspen when he gave up his council seat to run for mayor in the middle of his term. He knew a victory meant an appointed council member for two full years, but he didn‘t care.
Once Skadron won the mayor’s office, his first big task was to work with his colleagues to appoint someone to his old seat. (You know, the one he abandoned.) But his leadership skills weren’t strong enough to build consensus around a reasonable candidate.
He let Romero slip into the top four spots by initially voting for him, which was another gigantic mistake. As the pool of candidates got smaller, Skadron found himself deadlocked, two votes to two. He and Mullins settled on a reasonable candidate, but Frisch and Daily were stuck on Romero.
That led to the possibility that a roll of the dice would decide our next council member. Granted, that would be embarrassing for the entire town. But what happened next is truly incomprehensible.
Instead of standing firm and taking a shot with the dice — and a guaranteed 50 percent chance of winning — Skadron surrendered, wove the white flag, and switched his vote to Romero. He snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
He justified his vote by invoking a national news story that poked fun of council for considering an 18 mph speed limit in town. So he changed his vote because he didn’t want anyone to make fun of him.
Thank God he’s never been our nation’s commander in chief or we’d all be speaking Arabic right now.
The farce that played out before us this week would be hysterical were it not so devastating for the town we love so much. Our new mayor has proven that he couldn’t lead his way out of a recyclable grocery bag by surrendering council majority to the other side.
During the campaign I argued that both Skadron and Torre would be good mayors, and that we should consider the broader makeup of council when deciding who to vote for. I was right about the second part.
But I need to rescind the first part. Skadron clearly doesn’t have the skills or the fortitude needed to do the job, or he wouldn’t have just given up all his power in a warped attempt to protect himself from ridicule. He’s gambled Aspen’s future on the likes of Frisch, Daily and Romero. Torre would never have made such a stupid decision.
Doug Allen thinks Aspen is screwed. Reach him via email at Doug.Allen75@yahoo.com  or follow him on Twitter @Doug__Allen (two underscores).