Opinion » Alta States

Alta States

Breakfast with the mayor

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Yet when it comes to the way government should intervene in how her beloved town develops, she’s a minimalist… totally confident in to Adam Smith’s Invisible Hand.

A vocal opponent of the building moratorium imposed by Aspen council in April of 2006 (in effect until May 31 st of this year), her official position is that, “such decisions always seem to lead to additional unintended consequences.” It’s an issue she’s passionate about. “A lot of the councillors have this romantic image of Aspen that they say they’re trying to ‘protect’,” she says. And then she laughs. “They want to legislate their vision into reality. But that’s not the way this town developed. That’s not what Aspen’s history is all about.”

And then she cites one of those unintended consequences. While everyone in Aspen is quick to give lip-service to the issue of resident housing, she tells me, the moratorium actually killed a public/private partnership project that would have provided 22 affordable housing units to a town badly in need of them. “The Housing Board even made a special request that this project be exempted,” she says. It was a request that she fully supported.

“This partnership deal was providing a clear community benefit,” she explains. And sighs in frustration. “There is no passion in what city council is doing now. Creativity is all about allowing things to happen, not crushing what is evolving. Over the years, Aspen has evolved in harmony with its character. I’m afraid that the current focus on government regulation to preserve Aspen’s character likely will have the opposite effect.”

Her outspokenness on this issue has gotten mixed reviews from residents. She has her supporters, of course, but she also has her critics. And in a town of 6,000 — with two dailies, a radio station, a weekly paper and a bevy of monthly magazines — her detractors have a lot of opportunity to voice their opposition. “It comes with the territory,” says Klanderud. “Aspen is like no other town in America. Everybody here has an opinion…”