Aspen Public Radio held a live debate last night between Aspen City Council candidates Bert Myrin and Mick Ireland, who are battling it out in the spring runoff election. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has this overview of what went down, and a full recording of the debate.
During the debate, Myrin and Ireland described what they would contribute to City Council, if elected. “I do not have the endorsement of anyone on the current Council,” said Myrin. “And I would be a new voice on Council, I would be a voice from the community.”
Aspen Public Radio News Director Carolyn Sackariason moderated, and pointed out Ireland would not be a new voice in on City Council. “No,” he agreed, then saying sarcastically, “you know, I had a surgeon when I was badly hurt. And he’d done 4,000 collar bones. And I guarantee you when I came in there and I could barely move, my first thought was let’s get somebody fresh in here who’s never done this, and they can learn on the job. I think there’s value in experience.”
During the debate, the candidates delicately praised and sometimes criticized each other. Both were key players in the voter-approved Referendum 1, but differ on how to spend Aspen’s 1% bed tax on nightly lodge room rates. Myrin proposes repurposing that money towards financially supporting small lodges to help them stay open. Several have closed in the last few years. Ireland disagrees, saying deed restrictions would be a better, and more affordable, approach.
Sackariason asked each candidate about their style. “Bert, some would say you’re more about stopping things passed to better the community,” she said. “So what are you for?”
“I was for Referendum 1,” responded Myrin. “I created that out of a coalition with the community members, and got something through City Hall, with 100% of Council opposed to it. And the Ski Co and ACRA opposed to it. So I’m definitely for things, and it is difficult to accomplish those “for” things when the other side should be accomplishing those.”
“Mick, you are widely known as a polarizing figure in Aspen politics,” quizzed Sackariason. “Would your tone change in City Hall, this time around. Or do you feel like this approach works just fine?”
Ireland bristled a little, saying, “I question your premise. The fact is that Ann Mullins, Steve Skadron, ADam Frisch, Bob Braudis, Joe DiSalvo, a host of people who have worked with me closely, are in endorsing me. I don’t think if I were a polarizing figure, Adam Frisch would be saying, let’s put this guy back we need some more polarity here.”
Aspen voters get to decide which candidate they prefer. Ballots for the runoff election will be counted on Tuesday, June 2nd.
Editor’s note: You can hear all of Tuesday’s debate by clicking below.