I am a local business owner. I reside in the Aspen core with my husband, daughter, grandson, a son and daughter-in law.
Ann and Torre share many positions in common and have both accomplished important things in their council tenures. It is tempting to call it a day and not give it much more thought.
But Aspen is at a very critical juncture — will we be able to make progress on the complex challenge of supporting diversity in Aspen? It’s a challenge that incorporates affordable housing, affordable and vibrant small businesses, family support and health, and improving the commuting experience. If not, we will lose the Aspen many of us love.
The easy problems have been solved and important symbolic gestures have been made — like getting rid of plastic bags at three of Aspen’s hundreds of stores. What is left is hard, and demands real-life leadership experience. Ann founded and built one of the most respected landscape architecture and planning companies in Colorado. She has led many complex, public-private projects over the finish line — in her company and in council — by building consensus and taking short-term actions within a long-term framework.
For example, Ann is the person who decided the assistant city manager had to go immediately, but who also thought two weeks was a better planning timeframe than 24 hours for removing a 20-year city manager.
Council over the last couple of years was at times very dysfunctional, but Ann was one of the people who pressed forward on important initiatives without making a lot of noise about it.
While others were causing bedlam in the name of affordable housing, it was Ann who broke the deadlock between city and county to begin reforming APCHA governance so housing could move forward.
This, and dozens of other leadership moments, never made the paper because they were consensus-building, not polarizing.
People are creating scare tactics for the council appointment to replace Ann. But the process is a thoughtful one. Council will take applications for the replacement council member, vet them to arrive at two finalists, and then vote as a group of five. Ann can do more for all of us as mayor and has earned the right to lead.
Candice Carpenter Olson