Aspen Times mayor candidates questionnaire: Part 1
Editor's note: This is the first of a five-part questionnaire for the two mayoral candidates in the May election — incumbent Steve Skadron and challenger Lee Mulcahy. The series concludes Friday. Mail ballots will be sent out April 10, the same day The Aspen Times launches its five-part series of questions for the six candidates vying for the two open seats on Aspen City Council.
Name: Steven Skadron
Years in Aspen: 22
Education: MBA (concentration in finance), Northeastern University; BSB, University of Minnesota (marketing)
Volunteer work: Recently, ASPEN Tree thanksgiving; Christmas-present wrapping for families in need.
Board experience: Currently on the boards of the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority, Colorado Association of Ski Towns, Aspen Chamber Resort Association
Your biggest political influence: My parents — a conservative father, a liberal mother. I learned an opinion other than your own might be the right one.
Explain why you are running for mayor: Serving as mayor is a privilege and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to better the community I love and serve the friends and neighbors I care about. I'm seeking re-election to keep the positive momentum going.
I'm most excited to:
• Prioritize pedestrians in the downtown core by extending the Hyman Avenue mall two blocks east. This will foster more vitality by connecting the Wheeler to the Aspen Art Museum with shops, restaurants, gathering spaces and a pleasant, greener landscape.
• Leave the transit landscape forever changed by providing viable alternatives to cars, and building on technologies that are not reliant on more lanes and more parking garages in town.
• Improve our affordable-housing program by doing more with the community's assets and ensuring the rules are fairly enforced.
• I'll continue to be a champion you can be proud of.
Name: Lee Mulcahy
Years in Aspen: 22
Occupation: Artist, general contractor on my house, property manager, taxi driver, substitute teacher.
Education: Although I attended university, I learned more from my dad, Bud Mulcahy, than any schooling. He taught me that a leader must be a servant. He grew up in a Texas farmhouse without electricity and running water, designed the Apollo space suit, started his own business and after retiring, inspired the communities of Texas and the Roaring Fork Valley to become involved in a rural village in Kenya twice the size of Aspen. He was my best friend and the greatest influence on my life. I miss him terribly. Baylor, BA; SMU, master's; UT Arlington, Ph.D.; post-grad work at the Sorbonne and Univ. de Salamanca.
Volunteer work: Aspen Homeless Shelter, Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels; volunteer tutor, Christ Episcopal; curator, Snowmass Villas Gallery; SMU Alumnae Placement Committee; exhibit committee, Wheeler/Stallard Museum; town of Snowmass Arts Advisory Board; formerly a volunteer and "contemporary" at the Aspen Art Museum until banned after my painting "Meet the Art Police"; Colorado Western Slope College Fair; Aspen Christchurch's First Sunday Community Breakfast; Aspen Institute; Boy Scouts of America; Jazz Aspen Snowmass; Disabled Veterans Winter Sports Clinic.
Board experience: Board of trustees, Aspen Historical Society, 2003 to 2011; board of trustees,http://www.africawaterwells.org, 2015 to present.
Your biggest political influence: Robert F. Kennedy Jr ("The erosion of American democracy has forced people who care about our country, and who care about civic health, into this box of civil disobedience and local action.") Martin Luther King ("I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right, temporarily defeated, is stronger than evil triumphant.") Jesus of Nazareth ("Love your God and love your neighbor as yourself.")
Explain why you are running for mayor: "The bigger the government, the less the liberty." — In the spirit of liberty of Hunter S. Thompson.
Our community is frustrated that the mayor promised "slow growth" and transparency, but his actions aren't. Instead, Aspen's corrupt City Hall is synonymous with a lodging ordinance that encouraged four-story buildings, less parking spaces, uncontrolled government growth and cronyism.
Citizens should realize what's already approved in the development pipeline: 1,174,587 square feet — the equivalent to 39 Aspen Art Museums. This empire building doesn't even include the mayor's planned "Taj Majal" office building — itself larger than the Aspen Art Museum.
The city and Aspen Skiing Co. reign supreme in a marriage of big government and crony capitalism. Skico's CEO stated that Skico plans another "three to four more hotels."
The current mayor is searching for creative ways to increase revenue. Aspen has 36 pages of sign regulations. Want to replace your deck or redo a bathroom? Know that your permits may cost more than twice your construction.
City government is out of control. As a fiscal conservative, I'd propose a city hiring freeze and a property tax cut and seek guidance from Councilman Bert Myrin.
In a civilized society, the last bulwark of freedom is the ability to criticize our masters. Skico's 4,000 employees are not allowed to hear fired folk singer Dan Sheridan's "Big Money" and hilariously, Skico banned one newspaper for running unfavorable stories. Recently, Skico was busted for not paying minimum wage and overtime. Hardworking friends at Burlingame Ranch haven't seen a raise in seven-plus years from Skico. My solution: $15 an hour minimum wage (exempting small business).