Our series profiling the candidates running for Aspen city council continues with a look at Bert Myrin. He’s the driving force behind Referendum One on the spring ballot, which seeks to bring potential developments to a public vote. Aspen Public Radio’s Marci Krivonen has more.
Myrin grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley, graduating from high school in Carbondale in the 1980s. After moving away to attend law school, he returned to Aspen.
"Right now is about 30 years in to my time in Aspen and I hope to be here another 30 years. I think it needs a course correction," he says.
He’s been involved in citizen-driven political campaigns around lodging and the Castle Creek hydroelectric project. He says his efforts revolve around preserving Aspen’s small town character and putting community first. He sees the widening income gap as a major problem.
"What can we do to keep our community our community? We have a great affordable housing program, we have great open space. We are struggling on the balance between resort and community."
He gives an example of the recent approval by council of Base One Lodge near City Market.
"(Council) passed a hotel project right adjacent to a store that we all think is “community,” which is City Market. We need the parking spaces for community members to grocery shop and those might be given up to resort guests."
Reporter: "This community is dependent on resort guests and tourism dollars. And like you said, there’s a balance. Where do you see that balance?"
Myrin: "The nightly bed-base is essential to maintain. We also have an affordable housing program that’s essential to maintain. The focus from council has been so much on the bed-base and neglecting the needs of community members and housing."
Myrin is spearheading Referendum One or the “Keep Aspen Aspen” measure on the spring ballot. It seeks to have a public vote on any project approved by council that gives breaks on height, size, affordable housing and parking.
Reporter: "Are you using your candidacy to further the vote on Referendum One?"
Myrin: "Someone has to be the candidate for good governance and it’s none of the current council. One hundred percent of them opposed a good governance measure. Someone has to be that candidate. I’m willing to serve under Referendum One and none of them seem to be willing to do that, so there’s no choice.”
If elected, Myrin says his goal would be to turn the power over to the people. Myrin has run for office twice before - once unsuccessfully and in another election, he withdrew.