Divided Aspen Metropolis Council sends Wheeler cash query to voters

After locating a member of Aspen City Council who was absent from Tuesday’s regular session to vote on a controversial election issue, the council voted 3-2 in favor of an ordinance asking voters to withdraw tax revenue from the Divert real estate transfer tax for the Wheeler Opera House.

Councilor Skippy Mesirow was reached by city director Sara Ott after an hour and a half discussion of his elected counterparts, who were stuck 2-2 in a vote, to send the question to the vote.

Mesirov attended the meeting at his Aspen apartment after a vacation trip through WebEx. The conversation among councilors continued for another 40 minutes, which ended in a swing vote by Mesirov after asking questions about the councilors’ positions that they had previously stated.

He voted because of his late arrival despite objections from two council members, Ward Hauenstein and Rachel Richards.

“I think this is a flawed process because Skippy comes at the last minute,” said Hauenstein.

Richards asked Mesirov to wait and listen to the entire conversation later before making a decision.

“If you get involved,” she said, “I would really appreciate it if you wait and watch until you see the previous discussion … and I don’t want to have to repeat 10 minutes of online comments to you about my concerns and assessments.”

The special session was called for Tuesday so Richards could be on the podium. since she was on vacation a week earlier when the rest of the council debated whether the question should be sent to the electorate.

Richards said she watched the August 24th meeting of the council and was ready to turn down the vote question for a myriad of reasons, including the fact that the city’s recent election results showed that the required 60% of voters are unlikely to support her.

Prior to Mesirov’s appearance, Councilor John Doyle said a decision to send a question to voters was important enough for all five members to vote.

“I just firmly believe that Skippy should be here so we can get a resounding yes or no,” he said. “I hate having another meeting, but he’s part of our board of directors, he should get involved.”

With the Friday deadline for submitting ballot language to the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, the council took a break to see Mesirov’s availability.

Richards said the council members’ conflicting views on diverting funds from the Wheeler Opera House did not send out a good signal to voters.

“Great, you have a 3-2 vote to put it on the ballot and try to win with it,” she said, arguing more than once Tuesday that it was still not entirely clear how the money was being spent and how much would be diverted and what would be left for the historic Wheeler Opera House.

“I think if the council puts a question together and publishes it and it fails, it is the council’s failure to ask a failed question … and I think that is not reflected well in the council,” she said.

Mayor Torre, who had voted with Doyle and Mesirov to put the question on the ballot, said the time had come.

“I think we should go ahead with November and give our community a chance to vote on it,” he said. “That doesn’t work structurally for us and we should fix it and we could fix it by putting it on the ballot and supporting it and getting it over the 60% threshold … and I also think that doesn’t tie our hands up, even to ask another question in the next year or two, or right now, when we are sitting in front of us and have the opportunity to make progress. “

The poll question is asking that some of Wheeler’s property transfer tax revenue be diverted to the Red Brick Center for the Arts, which is currently supported by the city’s general fund and the city’s wealth management plan fund.

The elimination of the general fund as a source of support for the Red Brick would allow the city to pay its remaining $ 2.1 million in outstanding certificates of attendance for the financially vulnerable Isis Theater.

The poll also calls for the cap on $ 100,000 annually allocated to arts and culture grants to local nonprofits to be lifted and opened up more widely to the visual and performing arts.

The Wheeler real estate transfer tax was first adopted by voters in 1979 and was specifically pledged as financial support for the Wheeler Opera House, plus the $ 100,000 annually allocated.

In 2016, voters extended the RETT to 2039 and reiterated the 1979 vote that any change in funding would require the support of 60% of voters.

The Wheeler Opera House currently has $ 40 million in funds.

Hauenstein said he wants to ensure other important community needs, particularly mental health and childcare, are adequately funded before asking voters to divert money from the Wheeler property transfer tax for more arts funding.

At the beginning of the council discussion on Tuesday before Mesirov’s appearance, Doyle said in the back of his mind that if the question fails, it could be asked again, but with questions from the Wheeler board of directors and other concerns, it would be a good idea to step down and assess it more closely, instead of rushing it.

He later changed his mind and voted yes to put it on the ballot after voting against Richards’ earlier motion to deny the ordinance that voters sent him.

Hauenstein and Richards voted yes to reject the motion, while Torre and Doyle voted no, which resulted in a 2-2 deadlock.

When asked again to approve the regulation, Richards and Hauenstein vote no and Mesirow, Torre and Doyle vote yes.

“I see valid arguments for both sides,” said Doyle when he was pushed to his position by Mesirov. “I’m struggling with this because we could get it back on the ballot right away; I like what Torre said about letting the voters decide, we have a smart electorate, and I also agree with the points Rachel made as she hasn’t even met the Wheeler board yet. It’s a difficult thing. “

Mesirov leaned over to Torre’s position.

“Let’s do it now and let the polling feedback guide us,” he said.

The council spent much less time discussing another vote question, which was passed 4-0, to be sent to Aspen voters this fall.

The council spent about 15 minutes at the beginning of the meeting approving two regulations and a decision that sends a basic exchange question to the voters.

If approved by voters, it would lay a 19 acre shelter easement over Shadow Mountain, preventing future development and guaranteeing public access and recreational opportunities.

The property is known as the Pride of Aspen Mining Claim, and if voters agree to the land swap, it will be owned permanently by the City Park Department and Pitkin County’s Open Space Program.

By approving the deal with homeowner Bob Olson who owns 501 W. Hopkins Ave. owned next to the Midland Trail, he will receive 4,000 square feet of public right of way on his 7,500 square foot property.

The additional square footage to Olson’s property would allow for better access and more landscaping around the home, along with setbacks that would create a buffer for the adjacent Midland Trail.

His company, RD Olson Investments II, LLC, headquartered in Newport Beach, California, bought the 19 acres on Shadow Mountain for $ 1 million in 2018 for prophylactic purposes to ensure no one would do or suggest anything right behind their home that he could contradict.

As part of the land swap, between 360 square meters and 780 square meters of additional floor space could be added to the existing 3,450 square meter house, depending on the proposal and land use regulations.

csackariason@aspentimes.com

Throwing cash on the voters | Native-news

WEST CHESTER – Two Democratic mayoral candidates spent a lot of money on their primary campaigns on May 18th.

As part of the required campaign financial report, alleged Democratic candidate Lillian DeBaptiste reported that her campaign spending on May 3 was $ 16,461 and she had raised $ 26,051.

The election results are not official until they have been approved by the Chester County Board of Elections.

The May 3 campaign cost Interim Mayor Jordan Norley about $ 25,000. Most of DeBaptiste’s expenses were covered by donors, while a large part of Norleys was borrowed by the candidate for the campaign and may be paid for by Norley if other donors have not already or not yet contacted.

Notably, there was 15 days of campaigning between the May 3 reporting period and the primaries. Candidates will report final spending numbers next month.

Unofficially, Norley received 656 votes and spent about $ 25,000, which cost $ 38.10 per vote. DeBaptiste received 996 votes and with approximately $ 16,461 spent, invested $ 16.53 for each of their votes.

The third-place candidate, Kyle Hudson, was chosen by 248 voters. Contributors contributed $ 2,552 and in-kind donations of $ 3,029 through May 3, with a cost of $ 22.50 for each vote collected by Hudson.

Norley talked about why he spent so much on a job that pays $ 4,000 a year.

“Using some of my personal finances for this campaign was a personal investment in our initiatives and our community throughout the campaign,” said Norley. “Even though we know the results of elementary school, I will always put my money where my mouth is and it has helped us highlight and promote initiatives such as rail restoration and our renewable energy goals.”

Norley also said the email voting “changed the game”. He sent mailers so that all voters would get the message before they posted a ballot.

“Voting by email made it more expensive to run a professional campaign,” said Norley.

DeBaptiste noted that this was her first experience while running for political office. She also said the pandemic changed the campaign.

She was unable to run large fundraising drives and meet and greet voters one by one.

“Our team set out to do a few small, intimate meet-and-greets for 12 people or less, but we haven’t had the opportunity to have larger ones,” she said. “COVID has made it difficult to meet voters.

“It became more difficult to impress the voters.”

The DeBaptiste campaign, the candidate said, bought digital and print advertising and sent literature “to make a difference and put you in front of the voters”.

Almost all editions of the DeBaptiste campaign were contributed by supporters.

“Fortunately, I have many friends, loved ones, and supporters who believed in me enough to contribute, and many of them contributed for the first time because they were so excited that I ran,” he said. “However, I was really grateful for all the funds raised.

“I realized what it takes to hold elections.”

DeBaptiste said that running for political office should be open to all and should not be viewed as an “elitist sport”.

“Campaign reform really needs to be addressed,” she said. “If you can’t raise the money, how can you run for office?”

Tom Chambers was elected Mayor in 1977, 1985 and 1989. His 1989 election campaign cost about $ 6,000.

“Money and politics have become a big problem,” he said. “That kind of money sounds extreme or obscene.

“When you spend that kind of money in an elementary school, in a local election, and in a town like West Chester, it’s a bit of a problem. Money shouldn’t be the deciding factor. “

Mayor Norley took Dianne Herrin’s position as mayor when she was elected as state representative.

She said the Mayor of West Chester should be getting a salary, not just the $ 4,000 annual stipend.

“Our city has grown considerably and the city needs and expects a mayor who has the skills and can use their time and expertise for the community,” said Herrin. “The $ 4,000 annual scholarship excludes many people from running.

“If you don’t have a lot of financial resources, you just can’t do this.”

No Republicans were listed in the main vote. Businessman Eric Lorgus is campaigning to run for independent in the November election.

Metropolis Voters Assist Public Cash Invested in Bike Share – Streetsblog New York Metropolis

New York City residents overwhelmingly support the use of taxpayers’ money to expand bicycle traffic and increase the range and equity of the Citi bike system – a subsidy tool that the de Blasio administration has steadfastly supported during its seven-plus years in office opposed, as a new poll shows.

In newly released data from a previous poll on transportation alternatives, 63 percent of voters said they “support grants that encourage cycling in New York City, including Citi Bike.” Only 34 percent opposed public subsidies, which are routine for any other form of public transportation, including subways, buses, express buses, and public transportation the mayor’s ferry system.

However, unlike these forms of transit, Citi Bike has not only recovered from its pandemic decline in rider numbers – which was lower than other modes of transport – but began to surpass its pre-pandemic rider numbers in September 2020. Sam Schwartz reported:

By April 2021, Citi Bike had a monthly record of 2,044,103 trips.

Despite the lack of public subsidies, Citi Bike is slowly expanding across the city, albeit at a much slower pace than if Lyft’s proprietary system had entered into a true public-private partnership with taxpayers.

“As New York City is focused on recreation, we need to harness the momentum of our bicycle boom and make sure this affordable, equitable, and sustainable option reaches more New Yorkers,” said Marco Conner DiAquoi, assistant director, Transportation Alternatives. “Our survey shows that a wide range of New Yorkers are in favor of urban cycling subsidies, including Citi Bike. … A city budget that extends the bicycle share to more New Yorkers is not only good policy but also good policy, and we hope our current and future leaders will take note of this. “

New York remains an outlier when it comes to public subsidies for bicycle parts. In Washington, Boston, Philadelphia, Jersey City and Hoboken (to be announced tomorrow), taxpayers have the game of reducing car use in a rapidly warming world. But even among car owners, support for public bicycle subsidies is high. According to the TA survey, 58 percent of residents of households who own cars support subsidies.

The survey of 805 registered voters was carried out at the end of last year and has an error rate of 3.9 percent.

In other findings:

  • Low- and middle-income New Yorkers strongly support subsidies, with 65 percent of people earning less than $ 50,000 and 69 percent of people between $ 50,000 and $ 100,000 supporting subsidies.
  • Latinx voters are the strongest proponents of subsidies to encourage cycling. 79 percent of this diverse population support taxpayer underwriting.
  • Manhattaners support most of the subsidies (67 percent), but the Staten Islanders are the second largest supporter by district. 65 percent seek public support for cycling.

Still, if asked repeated from Streetsblog Mayor de Blasio has opposed public subsidies for this form of public transport.

Do you know what’s working in NYC transportation now? No transit finances. Don’t show up #bikenyc Lanes.

The numbers are in and it is @CitiBikeNYC.

CitiBike has just hit new July levels, * beating * last year’s record high, despite almost no office commuting pic.twitter.com/ksa5oHCubZ

– Bike New York (@bikenewyork) August 18, 2020

“We have something that was a huge success and didn’t need city money, honestly, it’s not my impulse to say, ‘Let’s start putting city money into this'” the mayor said in 2019. “I am very pleased with the idea that we have certainly not been able to achieve the result we needed so far if we did not subsidize it.”

Former DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said, that A $ 400-500 million subsidy would accelerate Citi Bike’s expansion into the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. Currently, Citi Bike’s expansion into parts of these districts will not be complete until 2023. A city-wide Citi bike? It’s not on the current mayor’s agenda.

Conner DiAquoi repeated that it should be.

#BikeBoom latest!

Monthly trips are> 2 million @CitiBikeNYCis new normal

A seasonal slump is inevitable (?? earlier this week tho! ??).

But the use of CitiBike in October was despite all ?? pic.twitter.com/zjvy9QrWan

– Bicycle New York (@bikenewyork) November 12, 2020

“New investments in our bike-share network would make New York City more connected and less congested, and would involve taking back street space from cars as part of our network NYC 25 × 25 challenge“He said, referring to TransAlt’s campaign to get mayoral candidates to commit to auto-reduction strategies.

A majority of the city council members demanded subsidies in 2017. At the time, Citi Bike was operated by Motivate, whose then CEO Jay Walder said a five-district system would not be possible without city subsidies. But that was before Lyft bought the system – and yet full coverage of New York City is hard to come by.

Some cycling advocates are skeptical that Citi Bike specifically needs a subsidy when there is so much more work to be done on the range of subjects.

Mayor de Blasio (center), last seen cycling in August 2018.  Photo: Natalie GrybauskasMayor de Blasio (center) rode a Citi bike in August 2018. Photo: Natalie Grybauskas

“When the city has more money on bikes, let’s build it into new models of protected bike lanes and deferred green wave promises like safe lane safety during resurfacing and bike lane inspection,” said Jon Orcutt of Bike New York. “Citi Bike is growing much faster than the network of safe bike paths.”

Indeed, despite the lack of public funding, Citi Bike promoted its success.

“Citi Bike is one of the most successful bike-share programs in the world because it is a long-term – and increasingly regional – public-private partnership,” said Caroline Samponaro, Lyft’s director of transit, bike and scooter policies. “With nearly 120 million journeys since its launch in 2013 and an increasing number of drivers over the past year, it is clear that the system offers New Yorkers a fast, easy and affordable way to get around that has become an indelible part of the public The city’s transport network. ”

The latest TransAlt data follows an earlier release of polls that found a vast majority of New Yorkers (including many car owners) to support road safety improvements and the repurposing of roadside space for better use than car storage. as reported by Streetsblog.

In concession to COVID, Lovell voters prove for drive-in-style city assembly

Lovell’s town meeting was held in a drive-in style recreation area on Smart Hill Road. Voters could turn on their car radios to hear the moderator and selection panel members and then vote by lifting green or red paddles to indicate their positions on the warrant articles. Andree Kehn / Sun Journal

Phoebe Monteith is voting on an article at Lovell’s drive-in style town get-together on Saturday. Voters were given green and red paddles to signal their approval or disapproval of the warrant articles. Andree Kehn / Sun Journal Buy this photo

LOVELL – In a COVID-related twist on the traditional annual city get-together, voters here on Saturday approved a municipal budget of $ 1.1 million for their cars and trucks and listened to what was going on on their radios.

Selected Ms. Janice Arsenault said all 85 items on the warrant were approved at the meeting as voters, parked in the recreation field on Smart Hill Road, listening from the comfort of their vehicles, and then voting by lifting either green or red paddles to signal their voice.

The budget of $ 1.1 million was roughly $ 150,000 less than last year.

Among the larger items approved at the city meeting were $ 330,000 for various city fees, $ 139,000 for maintenance of the city’s roads and bridges, and $ 110,000 for snow removal and maintenance of winter roads.

Selectman Robert Drew, who ran for another term unopposed, was re-elected to the board for a further three-year term.

The moderator of the Lovell city meeting, Jon Bliss, contacted Selectboard members Robert Drew and Janice Arsenault during the city meeting on Saturday. The meeting took place in a drive-through style in a recreation area on Smart Hill Road. Andree Kehn / Sun Journal

Eric Gulbrandsen holds his green paddle out of the car window to endorse an arrest warrant article during Lovell’s town meeting on Saturday. Andree Kehn / Sun Journal

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League of Girls Voters: “Lunch With Legends” COVID model

The 13th Annual Legends Citizen Scholarship Lunch Fundraiser continues this year – COVID style. Please attend a ZOOM AT NOON presentation and a delicious “Carton Cuisine” lunch cooked by the ladies at Sandhills Woman’s Exchange on Tuesday March 16.

You will meet the three extraordinary young people who have received the annual community grants of $ 1,000 each. You’ll also have a musical performance by former fellow Kelly McIntire.

For the pandemic presentation, they go back to their archives to get to know Abigail Adams and Frances Perkins again. The actors who portray the legends are dressed in authentic costumes and deliver the moving and often emotional words actually written and spoken by the women whose roles they play.

Abigail Adams was first portrayed at the league’s opening event in March 2009. Adams was the first true “activist” to encourage her husband to remember the ladies while serving as the founding father and second president. She also advocated equal education for girls at a time when many of them were not even taught to read or write. Adam’s is portrayed by league member Mary Price.

Frances Perkins was the first woman to serve in a presidential cabinet. She was appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and was originally presented to the League at the 2011 luncheon. Perkins is not as well known as Adams, but she has very quietly, if strongly, changed the course of the workforce in our country. She is known as a social security writer and a driving force behind fair labor practices across the country. She is portrayed by Mary Lou Bernett.

The local musician, singer and producer Tom Bernett will retell the program and offer a patriotic musical finale.

Carton Cuisines, featuring a luxurious turkey wrap, sauteed potato slices (french fries), and a large chocolate chip cookie, is $ 25 and can be picked up from Sandhills Woman’s Exchange, 15 Azalea Rd, Pinehurst, from 10 am to 11:30 am

“We hope that you will pick it up, take it home and watch ZOOM’s 13th annual lunchtime and legend presentation at noon. And we look forward to the 14th annual Lunch With Legends in March 2022, when we are back in the member’s club with two brand new legends – and no longer with COVID, ”said the league’s co-presidents, Joan Matula and Jay Emery.

Courtesy photo / post.