Here in Aspen, we had a mayor named Mick Ireland. After a while, yard signs popped up saying “Sick of Mick.” A website even popped up, called SickofMick.com (the website is still up).
We finally got over Mick, we thought, but it turns out he was just in remission. Now he’s back.
A 2014 story in this newspaper shows how unpleasant this ailment can be. Mick crashed a private party in the park, ate their food and drink and abused a lady guest with profanities. When an 84-year-old at the party tried to escort him away, Mick took a swing at him.
Mick later claimed on Facebook that he’d been assaulted, contrary to the statements of everyone else at the party. And Mick made no mention that his “assaulter” was 84.
I once criticized Mick’s position on a political issue. He posted my column on Facebook with the comment “Aspen. It’s not for everyone. Maybe you should move on.”
I wondered what kind of mayor tells a citizen to leave town for disagreeing politically.
I soon found out. City Council meetings include a “public comment” period where members of the public are each given three minutes to comment. Another elderly gentleman (not the one to whom Mick lost the fight in the park) rose, limped to the lectern with his oxygen tank in tow and nervously began his little comment.
Mick repeatedly interrupted him, talked over him and berated him. It was beyond rude.
In response to that story, a local told me this: “Glenn, that was typical Mick behavior. I attended one City Council meeting to make some comments accompanied by a then 88-year-old local who is an icon of environmental causes. Mick intentionally made us wait until the last item on his agenda so this 88-year-old woman had to sit and wait until 11 p.m. or later, then drive home alone after. (Mick has an) instinct for the nasty.”
When Mick was finally term-limited out of the mayor’s office, he ran for City Council and was trounced by a newcomer. So, Mick set up a law and “consulting” (his word) business to monetize his connections with the city bureaucracy. He’s been milking that for a few years.
But now he’s back and running for Pitkin County Tax Assessor. That’s right, he wants to decide the taxes of people he hates while recharging the inside connections he exploits in his business.
In a comment in this newspaper, I asked tongue-in-cheek,”What could go wrong?” Mick responded to me with, “Glad to recuse on any property owned by such as yourself.”
Huh? He intends to recuse himself from matters involving me and other people “such as” me? What kind of public servant is so admittedly biased that he’s forced to recuse himself in advance from issues involving the citizens he serves?
Mick’s opponent has posted yard signs around the county with the permission of homeowners. Some of her yard signs have gone missing. Mick has not condemned the thefts.
Another local said in this newspaper: “I have witnessed Mick when he was mayor scream obscenities at a woman on the stairs of City Council chambers, for her opposition. … In this era where many of us are appalled at (Donald) Trump’s behavior, how can anyone look the other way with Mick?”
Mick doesn’t want you to look the other way. He frequently posts gauche pictures of himself in spandex bike shorts and, in a video at SickofMick.com, he refers to himself as an “icon.”
Mick threatened in this newspaper that SickofMick.com is “actionably slanderous and, of course, inaccurate.” But a supporter stated, also in this newspaper, that the website shows Mick “was speaking truth from his usual integrity.”
In other words, the website shows Mick “speaking truth from his usual integrity” except that it’s “inaccurate.” Hmm.
A comment in this newspaper objected to Mick’s campaigner soliciting votes in a condo complex that prohibits solicitation. Mick didn’t condemn the violation but instead snarked that perhaps his campaigner “was Lady Liberty.”
Memo to Mick: Lady Liberty is not a trespasser serving your personal political interests, nor a party crasher, nor a sign thief. Will you show any greater respect for private property as our property tax Assessor?
One other thing. Even after cashing in his political connections, Mick still lives in taxpayer-subsidized housing. That’s the notoriously dysfunctional county program where insiders making as much as $181,000 a year get housing for dimes on the dollar. Taxpayers pick up the rest of the tab.
An interesting twist about the taxpayer-subsidized housing is that because the units are artificially priced very low, the property tax on them is commensurately very low. In short, the lucky residents get them for dimes on the dollar and as a bonus they pay hardly any property tax.
So now Mick wants to be the tax man for the rest of us, even as he himself gets a nearly free ride at taxpayer expense.
I’m sick of Mick, worse than ever. Let’s vaccinate ourselves for good.
(Published Nov. 4, 2018 in the Aspen Times at https://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/glenn-k-beaton-sick-of-mick-more-than-ever/#fb-comment-box-283843)