THE BLOG
05/24/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Con Games: Don't Make Marilyn Pay

You may be shocked and even appalled to hear this--and I am shocked myself--but I am actually going to defend failed Aspen Mayoral wannabe Marilyn Marks.

Let me explain before you fall off your chair. As people round about the roundabout know, my differences with Marilyn Marks have been dark and deep--and deeply personal at times. Though she actually has a charming side, she is pretty much impossible to deal with at all times politically. I think her role in both the elimination of Factual Aspen Investigative Reporting (FAIR) and the Election Commission fiasco are inexplicable and inexcusable. I think taking the City of Aspen to court over the Instant Run-Off Election was a huge and costly mistake.

Come to think of it, I can't think of anything she's done that I would endorse other than her fight over Burlingame affordable housing and the nonsensical Article 30--and both of those were long ago.

That said, I still don't think the City of Aspen should sue Marilyn Marks to regain legal costs, a bill likely to come to tens of thousands of dollars.

Thanks to the election watchdog Harvie Branscombe, one of her supporters and an expert in the field, I have been convinced that candidates have a right to contest elections for whatever reason, and that to create an even greater financial barrier to election transparency is a precedent that will hurt us all in the end..

Now I understand why the Aspen City Council gave this idea the green light. Marilyn Marks is a royal and unapologetic pain in the ass who wastes buckets of money making everyone's life miserable. But the larger principle here is what counts. If anyone contesting an election in Aspen knows that losing comes with a stiff penalty then we all lose.

Let's not forget the City of Aspen has won this case, at least pre-appeal. Marilyn Marks may be a sore loser, but it's even worse to be a sore winner, even when you're right.