Aspen city council candidate Andy Israel is probably best known for his blog Aspen Spin. Now he’s expanding his horizons by entering the race to fill one of two open council seats. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen reports.
Israel moved to Aspen 12 years ago after working on Wall Street. He began writing a blog about the glitz and glamour that drew him to town. The tagline of aspenspin.com is “ski everyday and party every night.”
"It’s relatively accurate," Israel says. "I do ski a lot. I shoot for 100 days. And, while I don’t party in the conventional sense because I don’t drink much, I do attend a lot of the parties."
After nine years of writing the blog, he says he’s ready for a new challenge. The political newcomer became frustrated in 2013 when city council gave the green light to a snow polo event in Wagner Park.
"I didn’t understand how an event they said would never happen again in Wagner Park got approved. I went back and looked at the tape of the work session where it was approved. And, statements were made that I knew were false."
He didn’t like how the polo event temporarily closed the park to the public.
"It’s one of the few open spaces in town, it’s one of the only places you can go where you don’t have to pay a cover charge. It was “burr under my saddle.” And that is the impetus for my running," he says.
Reporter: "That issue alone is why you’re running?"
Israel: "It’s expanded since then because I saw some things in the culture at City Hall and in some of the departments that I just didn’t like."
He thinks there’s a communication problem within city hall. He sees himself as a catalyst for change.
"I have a three-point platform. One, no seven hour meetings. Reasonable people don’t do business in the public forum at one o’clock in the morning. Two, financial stewardship as a core value at the City of Aspen. And the third is: simplify the building code so people know what they’re getting themselves into before they buy or remodel."
Israel supports referendum one on the spring ballot that would put to a public vote certain development projects with variance requests outside the city code.
In a blog post about his candidacy, Israel writes the political process in Aspen is broken...and now is the time for me to try and fix it.