Letters to the Editor

Letter: Don’t just preach anti-bigotry

January 25, 2015 — 

It was not so long ago that David Segal, rabbi of the Aspen Congregation, called for “working against bigotry — whenever and wherever we witness it” (Sept. 6, The Aspen Times). Either Segal has been away on vacation and not reading The Aspen Times or he is demonstrating the meaninglessness of his words. To address only anti-Semitism and ignore the Semitism, or Jewish racism, discovered in the bigoted anti-Muslim and anti-Arab comments and racist caricatures presented by Jewish fanatics (such as Maurice Emmer and Elaine Sandler) would indicate the sign of an irrelevant and biased rabbi, much like the Jewish leaders that Sue Gray identifies (Jan. 24, The Aspen Times).

David, it is past time to practice what you preach and earn your title. Maurice and Elaine, it is time to cease demonstrating your foolishness and childish obsession for attacking those who disagree with you, since not one of your letters provides a strong argument that backs your mythical Semitic belief system. Yet, after having read your mindless, hate-spewed letters and comments, I am convinced that you and others like you will keep digging your own grave at the expense of non-fanatical Jews and the American public who will be sucked into another Mideast confrontation ignited by Jewish fanatics represented so well in the pages of this paper.

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Letter: Remembering an Aspen icon

January 25, 2015 — 

All of Aspen is sad to learn of the passing of Mary Hayes. She was a true Aspen icon. We have been blessed by her photographs in the everyday “life and times” of Aspen over these past 62 years.

We will miss you, Mary, but we will never forget you, as your photo histories are our remembrance.

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Letter: Democracy in action

January 25, 2015 — 

In the Hunger Games, the president of Panem warns us that “every revolution begins with a spark.” Let’s keep Aspen Aspen, folks. Kudos to direct-democracy-in-action heroes Bert Myrin, Cavanaugh O’Leary, Michael Behrendt, Catalina Cruz and Kallen von Renkl, who will be soliciting signatures outside City Market every day from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. until Feb. 4.

Lee Mulcahy

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Letter: What a loss

January 25, 2015 — 

First losing Jim Hayes and now losing Mary — what a loss for our town. Andy Stone beautifully wrote about Mary in Saturday’s article.

On a personal note: I met Jim and Mary in 1978 while writing my first book, “Christmas in Aspen.” I loved them from our first encounter and then for the next 37 years. During my interview for the book, I got to know these two caring, talented, family-oriented, adorable and hardworking longtime locals who helped Aspen become the kind of town it is today. I can’t tell you how many special times I sat with them in front of their fireplace drinking tea with the fire crackling and burning, Jim content in his favorite rocking chair. They would tell me stories of their lives — how they moved to Aspen back in the ’50s to ski and ended up raising a family of five active kids, all the time trying to make ends meet. I loved all their vintage photos of Aspen in the ’50s. Mary and Jim were always in the center of the Aspen community.

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Letter: Misinformed letter writers

January 24, 2015 — 

Misinformed letter writers

I don’t believe Sean Elias’s Jan. 21 assertion that Maurice Emmer is an intellectual lightweight (“Obligated to respond,” The Aspen Times, commentary). Emmer is obviously just misinformed and has been taught to fear and hate Arabs, like many American Jews. Take Elaine Sandler’s Jan. 22 letter (“Maurice Emmer is no intellectual lightweight,” The Aspen Times, commentary); she embarrasses herself by exposing her racial prejudice and repeating ugly myths such as “The Palestinians hate life. They prefer death, destruction and misery.”

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Letter: Reentering the arena of discourse

January 24, 2015 — 

Reentering the arena of discourse

Bravely, this “intellectual lightweight” (Jan. 21, The Aspen Times, commentary) re-enters the arena of discourse with the implicitly self-styled intellectual giant, sociology professor Sean Elias of Utah State (if Google is correct). I do so to humbly apologize for overlooking Elias’ extensive writings. It wasn’t my fault. The Google search for Elias I did before I wrote my letter revealed none of the ponderously titled papers he so modestly cites. Perhaps his academic output was masked by Google’s “right to be forgotten” policy: the policy of expunging references to elements of a person’s history that might embarrass him.

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Letter: Thanks for Winterskol Bingo

January 24, 2015 — 

Thanks for Winterskol Bingo

Circle of Friends offers a great big thank you to everyone who was involved with the first ever Winterskol Bingo, which was held Sunday, Jan. 11. Circle of Friends is an Aspen High School service club, which facilitates inter-generational events, cultivating friendships between all ages in our community.

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Letter: Let’s talk about planet change

January 22, 2015 — 

I want to introduce a new issue: Planet change. Better than climate change, planet change can be touched and seen, Hopefully, it will open your eyes to the sickening destruction that has been wrought on our fabled western lands. If you happen to be in front of your computer, open Google Earth and follow along.

NASA recently released a report that there is a “permanent” 2,500 square-mile methane cloud hovering above northern New Mexico. Direct Google Earth to Durango and head south by dragging the map. Once you have figured out what a well pad looks like, you’re on your way. Hint: It doesn’t look anything like the commercials the oil companies pay for with the amber waves of grain. It’s a white barren piece of ground with some storage tanks on the pad.

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Letter: Politics disguised as science

January 22, 2015 — 

“What historians will definitely wonder about in future centuries is how deeply flawed logic, obscured by shrewd and unrelenting propaganda, actually enabled a coalition of powerful special interests to convince nearly everyone in the world that carbon dioxide from human industry was a dangerous, planet-destroying toxin.”

“It will be remembered as the greatest mass delusion in the history of the world; that carbon dioxide, the life of plants, was considered for a time to be a deadly poison.” (Ed Ring, EcoWorld, 2008)

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Letter: That’s not science; it’s religion

January 21, 2015 — 

Glenn Beaton is only one author who has noted the similarities between a slavish devotion to “climate changeism” and a slavish devotion to other religions, including nature worship (The Aspen Times, Jan. 18). In his Jan. 20 responsive letter, Dave Reed takes Glenn to task. Why? Because Glenn’s arguments “sow confusion and doubt” about climate change, seeking to “prevent action” by “people who claim to follow science.” Once again, “science” is settled. Don’t ask uncomfortable questions.

Reed reveals his distaste for actual “science” with his argument that one should not entertain doubts when it comes to climate science. That must be a very unique scientific discipline. Confusion and doubt are the essence of all other sciences. Otherwise, Einstein would not have “doubted” the quantum discovered by Max Planck (who himself scarcely understood his discovery), leading to great advances in quantum mechanics that would not have happened without Einstein’s (and others’) “confusion and doubts.” And Edwin Hubble would not have doubted the conventional wisdom of a contracting universe despite his observations of an expanding universe.

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Letter: Maurice Emmer is no intellectual lightweight

January 21, 2015 — 

In his Jan. 21 letter, Sean Elias refers to Maurice Emmer as an intellectual lightweight (“Obligated to respond,” The Aspen Times, Commentary). I know Maurice, and I dare say he is no lightweight. I say the following to Elias:

Upon reading your long-in-the-tooth diatribe concerning your issues with Israel, I feel bewilderment for your incorrect ideological views that depict Israel as a bad oppressive country.

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Letter: Obligated to respond

January 20, 2015 — 

Normally, I do not step into the ring of debate with intellectual lightweights like Maurice Emmer, who, along with other reactionaries, solely resort to insults and name-calling and fail to address the position of my arguments (see Emmer’s and other’s juvenile, substance-less “comments” to my letter, “War Crimes, Not Defense,” in the online edition of The Aspen Times.) However, since Emmer appears only able to attack me rather than my points of view, and because he completely misrepresents the targets of my criticisms, I feel obligated to respond.

While I am not able to criticize all the oppressive groups and oppressive actions in the world, I decide to focus on the atrocities and forms of oppression backed by significant power/resources/capital that are often silenced or unacknowledged. My critique of Israel’s oppression of Palestinians has come to the forefront recently because, unlike the regional conflicts Emmer cites, the Israeli state’s misactions are routinely denied or concealed and, more importantly, Israel’s misdeeds incite much more consequential global social conflicts that potentially challenge world peace. But again, my writings on Israel’s abuse of power and extremist, unthoughtful Jewish behavior is slight in comparison to the body of my writings that critically address centuries of European oppression of people of color and, yes, oppression of Jews (“Racial Discrimination, Origins and Patterns”).

I welcome a Google search of my writings, called for by Emmer. One will discover that my writings as a graduate student and professor of sociology are most critical of my own racial group’s oppressive actions, the colonialist and racist misdeeds of my country (the United States) and ancestor’s country (United Kingdom) and, indeed, my own privilege and precarious hierarchical social position as a white male (“Realizations and Confessions of a White Man”). It will become apparent that my writings are critical of all forms of social injustice and human-rights abuses as well as the marginalization of minority groups (“Social Justice and Critical Public Sociology” and “W.E.B. Du Bois, Race, and Human Rights”). One of my books on the horizon demonstrates that I challenge my fellow white sociologists to incorporate the marginalized perspectives of people of color into the canon of sociology and fight against racial segregation in the discipline (Drawing the Sociological Color Line). Another dissects the socioeconomic abuses, psychosocial deficiencies and cultural decay of the new power elite (The Aspen Elite). Clearly, my criticisms run much deeper than Emmer suggests.

Challenging the damaging operations and structures found in the social world and the injustices of human beings — promoted by extremist Christians, Jews and Muslims — is discovered in a long, honorable and thoughtful tradition of certain key figures in Judaism. Problematically, this noble, commendable tradition has been silenced by more extremist politicized Jews who seek power and profit and devalue human community, intellectualism and spiritual understandings. Powerful Jewish thinkers such as Martin Buber, who is critical of extremist Zionism and oppression of Palestinians, offer an alternative version of Zionism and the Israeli State that I completely endorse. Great Jewish minds and actors, such as Abraham Heschel, who fought against social injustices and social power mismanagement, need to be reinvigorated in the debate over human-rights abuses of Israel, not the ranting of Jewish fanatics. More importantly, critical self-reflection is needed among individuals like Emmer whose extremist, non-tolerant rhetoric drag Judaism into the gutter.

Sean Elias

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Beaton’s global warming columns are a great disservice

January 20, 2015 — 

I find Glenn Beaton’s recent columns on global warming (Jan. 4 and 18, The Aspen Times) disturbing. Glenn, since you might interpret disagreement with your writings as a personal attack, let me make it clear that I’d like to focus on your message. In your efforts to bring light to a pressing issue of our time, you are doing a great disservice. You reinforce the illusion that climate change is still debatable and poorly understood. Your words sew confusion and doubt at a time when we need to act.

When you anchor your argument to the views of a Steven Koonin, a scientist whose affiliations predict a conflict of interest and whose position is at odds with the consensus of the scientific community, that’s a misuse of science.

When you speculatively disparage the beliefs of others while arguing from a conflation of questionable science and contradictory perspectives, that’s a misuse of religion.

While the exact details of how the drama of climate change will play out are unsettled, the science is compellingly clear — 97 percent of reputable scientists agree that human activity is changing the composition of the atmosphere in ways that will dramatically alter climate dynamics. Not only is that a remarkable level of agreement in these polarized times, it is the very nature of good science that the understanding of complex issues will converge with careful inquiry and investigation.

For a shining example of how religion can be effective, look to the Dalai Lama who says: “My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness.” That’s good religion.

Using what we know now, we can act now to mitigate the potential impacts of climate change. (One elegant, equitable and simple approach is Carbon Fee and Dividend.) In doing so, we can avoid untold suffering for human beings and the many creatures who share this planet with us. That would be a great kindness to Earth’s current occupants and to future generations. That’s good science and good religion.

Pat Kiernan


Letter: Vote for a candidate with the courage to listen

January 20, 2015 — 

Oh joy, voter variances.

Getting a building permit in Aspen is a draconian process. Do we really think making each application a ballot question will be better? You think you have information overload now, just wait.

What on earth makes you think the voting public will read each permit application? I so look forward to the building permit ads. Don’t you want to see ad campaigns for parking spaces and increased roof to floor area? What if it’s easier to spin the electorate than our elected representatives? Should we vote ourselves out? Nominations are open.

No one pays attention until things turn into a screaming match. Don’t kid yourself, the only reason Ordinance 19 was rescinded was due to fear. Fear works. A whole bunch of people showed up after public comment was closed and yelled. Yep, that’s what we need, more screaming matches at City Hall, more finger pointing. It’s going to be great.

In my opinion, all 91 pages of Ordinance 19 sucked. The original intent, which was to help older properties renovate, was a good one. The ordinance strayed from that original intent, greatly. The council chose to listen to the majority of residents who showed up for public comment. Bada boom — enact Ordinance 19. So where does the fault lay? In my opinion, it’s two-fold. There was insufficient feedback to staff when they strayed off point and there was insufficient input during the public comment and work sessions. The “rethink” of Ordinance 19 suffers from the same malaise. Clicker sessions with questions crafted to silo the answers and using the failed ordinance as a template is not the way to win friends and influence people. Asking for public participation in these sessions only on weekdays during working hours is the height of class discrimination.

My vote goes to the next representative who is forthright enough to give clear direction to staff and brave enough to point out when the focus is getting blurry. My vote goes to the next representative who will go out and talk with people who don’t write letters to the paper or start petitions. My vote goes to the next representative who has the guts to clean our bureaucratic house and start fresh. My vote goes to the next representative who has the courage to listen.

Ziska Childs


Letter: People can sense manipulation

January 20, 2015 — 

People can sense manipulation

Glenn Beaton had a second column about global warming in Sunday’s Aspen Times. His logic went roughly like this:

A lot of people didn’t like my earlier column about climate science, which expressed skepticism about the need to act on it; I can’t imagine why people would be upset; perhaps (deniable innuendo here) it’s because they worship the Earth and see others who doubt their beliefs as challenging their faith. How ironic, these people who claim to follow science behaving so unscientifically!

If that’s the kind of sophistry Glenn regularly employs, then I don’t blame people for giving him hell.

I don’t want to speculate on Glenn’s motives, but I will say that the effect of his writings is to sow confusion about climate change and thus prevent action.

This is the time-honored strategy of merchants of doubt. A leading practitioner of the art, secretly taped at a presentation to oil and gas executives last year, explained how subtle questioning of science tends to produce inaction. “People get overwhelmed by the science and ‘I don’t know who to believe’ … you get people into a position of paralysis on the issue.… People are not prepared to get aggressive in moving one way or another. I’ll take a tie any day if I’m trying to preserve the status quo.” (Google “Rick Berman New York Times” for lots more.)

I think people sense intuitively when they’re being manipulated, and they get upset. That might better explain the negative response to Glenn’s climate columns.

Dave Reed

Carbondale and Grand Junction

Letter: Proud to be a Mother Pucker

January 20, 2015 — 

Proud to be a Mother Pucker

I was one of the first women to be on the first Mother Puckers squad, which started in 1974. It started because our very young sons had no team to practice against. We were a rag-tag team with various kinds of equipment for the ice. I wore figure skates and a football helmet. Our coach was Chuck Cole. There is an archive photo of Chuck and me at the 25th reunion of the Puckers. Bonnie Brucker was still alive at that reunion and attended it. There also is an archive photo of the mothers playing against our little guys in 1974 — which shows me landing on my back on the ice sporting a football helmet and a down parka. I have always been proud to have been a Mother Pucker! My son Steven played hockey all his years growing up in Aspen, and in high school was a captain of the team, and that team did very well with hardly any players. Steven has gone on to be a coach of junior hockey in the past and still plays on men’s leagues in Aspen. Now, my grandchildren are into Aspen Hockey — Ryan, a senior, is on the high school team and Kelsey, who is a junior, and Robbie, who is in seventh grade. The Mother Puckers never did beat the little guys in 1974, but we certainly had a fun time! And the kids got some practice! And I lost weight skating up and down the ice! A really fun time in Aspen was had by all of us. Those were the wonderful years in Aspen. Our grandson, Ryan, also had a very successful time with the Aspen Skiers Football Team.

Sally Fitzgerald


Letter: Too much wealth and power for too few

January 20, 2015 — 

Too much wealth and power for too few

History has revealed that dictatorships, oligarchies and plutocracies can exist for only a relatively short period of time before being pulled down by the proletariat, often with the assistance of outside aid. Without exception, the demise of these once high and mighty individuals comes with the same grim consequences. Examples of this are the beheadings of the French Revolution and the violent deaths of the once-powerful dictators Benito Mussolini, Muammar Qaddafi and Sadam Hussein.

Today, the ongoing experiment in governance called the United States of America is threatened by a plutocracy that is characterized by a perverse and unsustainable transfer of the wealth of the nation from the pockets of a once-large middle class into the coffers of approximately 1 to 2 percent of the population.

The current “trickle down” economic system now in place, stemming from the Ronald Reagan years, clearly works for only the very few at the top. As a consequence, the once-growing and thriving middle class in America is rapidly disappearing, and as capitalism requires a large, vibrant and healthy middle class in order to flourish, it is safe to say that the nation is in very deep trouble.

For readers with an inquiring mind, I urge you to visit www.TED.com and view an excellent short talk by Nick Hanauer titled, “Beware, Fellow Plutocrats, the Pitchforks Are Coming” on the subject of the inevitable results stemming from allowing the concentration of too much power and wealth in the hands of too few individuals.

Peter Bergh


Letter: Proud to be an Aspenite

January 19, 2015 — 

Nearly every year, my mother, Diana Rumsey, treats me to a very special event: the Aspen Hall of Fame dinner at the Hotel Jerome. The night is dedicated to the incredible residents who have truly made a difference in our community.

This year’s recipients were no exception, as was seen in the videos that were created to honor them. Joe and Judy Zanin, George Madsen and Dick Butera have worked hard to make Aspen a truly special place to call home, and I especially loved the positive energy that emanated throughout the room as tributes were made to them and laughs were shared.

Thank you to the Aspen Hall of Fame board for putting together another nostalgic night that makes me proud to be a true Aspenite and always takes me on an amazing trip down memory lane!

Georgina Levey


Letter: Residency will continue

January 19, 2015 — 

In reading the article in The Aspen Times on the Catto ranch sale (Jan. 16), I wanted to write on behalf of Aspen Words to make clear that Isa Catto Shaw and Daniel Shaw will continue the Aspen Words writing residency through the Catto Shaw Family Foundation. Isa and Daniel have helped us form this residency from 2010, but since 2013, we have hosted a half-dozen writers every year on their magnificent property. Writers have included Adam Haslett, Emily Miller, Matthew Batt, Melissa Coleman, Rowan Ricardo Phillips, Stephanie Kallos, Brad Watson, Bruce Machart, Hannah Tinti, Terry McMillan and Adam Wilson, among others. Together in 2015, we plan to host a similar number of writers beginning in May and running through October. The Catch and Release program gives free books to the community at the beginning of the writers’ stay and culminates in a free public event at the Woody Creek Community Center. In addition, the writers in residence often make visits to local schools and speak to groups of local writers.

As soon as this property went up for sale, the Catto/Shaw family made sure we knew that they were committed to this project and to supporting Aspen Words. While we and other nonprofits will no longer use the particular portion of Little Woody Creek Ranch that sold, our long relationship with Isa and Daniel will continue, and we look forward to a new era of writers residencies continuing on the neighboring property.

Maurice LaMee

Director of Aspen Words

Letter: Thanks for the hoop

January 19, 2015 — 

The Aspen Youth Center would like to thank the Aspen Recreation Department for their generous donation of a portable “Pop a Shot” basketball hoop. As a nonprofit, we are always in need of replenishing the games and activities available for kids who attend The Aspen Youth Center. The kids love it and it has quickly become one of the most popular items in the youth center.

In Gratitude,

Cathy Rusnak,

Operation manager, Aspen Youth Center

Letter: It’s common sense

January 18, 2015 — 

At a recent meeting in the Chabad Jewish Community Center on Main Street, Rabbi Mintz was asked how one can distinguish between legitimate criticism of Israeli government policies and anti-Semitism masked as government criticism. After all, we cannot read a critic’s mind. I was reminded of Mintsz’s reply when I read yet another vile letter to The Aspen Times (“War crimes, not defense” Jan. 17) suggesting Benjamin Netanyahu should be charged with war crimes for defending his country against months, if not years, of attacks by Gaza-based Hamas, culminating in last summer’s war.

A Google search of the author of that letter reveals no published criticism of Hamas or Hezbollah for violent acts committed against Israel. No criticism of Iran for fomenting war in its neighboring countries and for building a nuclear program expressly to eradicate Israel. No criticism of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria for its beheadings and other barbarisms. No criticism of Vladimir Putin for invading Ukraine with Russian troops and arms, seizing parts of Ukraine, killing Ukrainians defending their country and causing the downing of an innocent Malaysian passenger jet. No criticism of North Korean atrocities against its own people. No criticism of Boko Haram for its Nigerian atrocities. No criticism of the Castros for essentially imprisoning an entire country.

But it is easy to find earlier examples of the same author’s similar accusations against Israel for merely defending itself.

So what did Mintz advise about how to tell whether criticism really is directed at government action or at the fact that the government happens to be Jewish? If the critic exhibits an infatuation with finding fault with the Jewish state and the Jewish state alone, it is easy to draw one’s own conclusion.

That isn’t in the Torah or the Talmud. It is common sense.

Maurice Emmer


Letter: War crimes, not defense

January 16, 2015 — 

What a deep irony and hypocrisy that Benjamin Netanyahu, one of the leading fanatical Jews, great terrorists and silencers of free speech was leading a march to supposedly endorse free speech, stand up against terrorism and denounce radicals. An extremist, radicalized terrorist like Netanyahu should be visiting the Hague Court for war crimes and serve as a symbolic pinata for magazines such as Charlie Hebdo. Why? He led Israel in the slaughter of more than 2,000 Palestinians in the recent invasion and attack of Gaza, killing scores of innocent civilians (approximately 2,200 Palestinians versus 70 Jews killed in the campaign is not military defense of Israel, it is genocide). Moreover, this radicalized Jew has ordered the killing of journalists covering Israeli terrorism of Palestinians. Time to reconsider who becomes pigeonholed as terrorists, time to sanction the terrorist state of Israel and time to convict Netanyahu and other Jewish terrorists for war crimes — hopefully a step toward peace in the Middle East.

Sean Elias

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Seniors at the Nordic Center

January 16, 2015 — 

Thank you Aspen Nordic Center for providing the seniors in Pitkin County with the opportunity to demo your equipment and have a free lesson on the golf course Jan. 15. We had a great time and Mary gave us a great lesson. Also, thank you Pitkin County Senior Center for notifying us about the event in your monthly newsletter.

Debbie Overeynder


Letter: Be a Big Buddy

January 16, 2015 — 

This month is National Mentoring Month, a campaign to expand mentoring opportunities between children and caring adults. A recent survey shows that one in three children do not have a formal or informal mentor growing up. This translates into almost 300,000 young people in Colorado growing up without an engaged adult other than a parent.

Currently, the Buddy Program has 36 kids waiting for a Big Buddy. Now is the time to become a mentor to a young person in need of guidance. Share your interests, enthusiasm and life experience with a child and just watch what happens. You will find that being a mentor will make a real difference in their life as well as your own. As we engage more community members this month to be mentors, the message is simple: Be someone who matters to someone who matters. Be a Big Buddy. Call the Buddy Program now at 970-920-2130.

Adam Goldsmith

Board president, the Buddy Program

Letter: Living in peace

January 13, 2015 — 

Now that gays and lesbians are acting like antebellum, free citizens by going to their county clerk’s office and paying for a legal marriage contract in 36 states, this brouhaha of a “culture war” will simmer down to a mere folderol. It is obvious that heterosexuals do not have a monopoly on love and commitment. May we live in cultural peace; may we live in peace.

Tom Mooney


Letter: Parking problems for bus riders

January 13, 2015 — 

The article published Jan. 12 “RFTA to crack down on parking” was long overdue. As a daily commuter from El Jebel to Aspen, I can tell firsthand the annoyance of the parking headache facing riders.

To be in Aspen by 8:30 a.m., on most days I catch the 7:30 a.m. rapid-transit bus from El Jebel, putting me in Aspen around 8:15 a.m.

Every morning, I dread the prospect of not finding a parking spot. What’s the purpose of having a park-and-ride when it’s always full? Did the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority not plan for ridership to rise in its 10- or 20-year plan? In the past 50 days, I took the chance of parking next to the edge of the sidewalk (curbside) along with other commuters facing the same dilemma — lack of parking spaces — until one night I came back to find a 5-by-8-inch illegal-parking warning sticker, the hardest stickers to take off. It took just under an hour the following day to remove.

I asked a RFTA staffer why they were handing out warnings when there wasn’t a sign that stated no curbside parking, and his answer was that he couldn’t comment. It figures.

The parking at the Community Center for overflow vehicles is no better. It takes about five minutes to walk from the Community Center to the bus stop. Is this convenient? It really depends on whom you ask. I’m faced with taking the same gamble each morning. Should I play it safe and park at the Community Center and walk? Or should I drive over to the main parking lot to find no spots left and possibly miss the bus?

Instead of RFTA having unmarked vehicles hanging out at various parking lots, for Google knows what reason, why not come out and hear accounts of riders who find using the bus service more of a hassle than an enjoyment? With the aggressive expansion RFTA undertook to rebrand itself, it should aggressively find a solution to the parking problem.

For the record, the scene in “Jurassic Park” where a velociraptor figures out how to turn a doorknob? That is pure fancy. According to dinosaur expert Bob Strauss, velociraptors weren’t the smartest dinosaurs of the Cretaceous Period. Perhaps RFTA should consider changing the name “VelociRFTA.” Or maybe not.

Chris Martinez

El Jebel

Letter: An incredible writing contest

January 12, 2015 — 

An incredible writing contest

The Fraser Creative Writing Contest is an incredible opportunity for students at Aspen Elementary School to write unique and wonderful stories. For the past 14 years, Jill Sheeley, a local author, has been the inspiration behind the contest. This year. there were 68 entries into the Fraser Creative Writing Contest: 27 third-grade entries and 41 fourth-grade entries. Both Jill and Mary Hayes spent hours reading and rereading each entry. Their hard work paid off when the many winners were announced at an assembly and the enthusiastic crowd cheered for each winner. We are grateful to both Jill and Mary for creating this opportunity for kids.

Julie Wille and the Aspen Elementary School students, staff and parents

Letter: Be the change you want to see

January 12, 2015 — 

Be the change you want to see

I wonder if Chris Martinez realizes how hypocritical he sounds in his editorial “El Jebel should put end to the use of plastic bags” (Aspen Daily News, Jan.10).

He said, “I usually keep a reusable bag handy when making my rounds to the store. When I don’t have a reusable bag at hand, I never shy away from taking the plastic carrier bags offered at the checkout.” Then, the next paragraph states, “On my last few trips to the store, I’ve had the misfortune of having my (plastic) bags split wide open.” He then continues with how disappointing the lower-quality plastic bags are, how only 1 percent are recycled, per The Wall Street Journal, and how the thin, deceptive, new bags hold little weight.

“City Market should offer an environment-friendly and safe plastic bag in the meantime rather than the current breakable bags. Paper or plastic? Neither,” he finishes with.

Two suggestions to Martinez:

1. Cereal boxes, constructed out of cardboard, have pointy corners that puncture plastic, but don’t puncture reusable cloth bags.

2. Be the change you want to see, Chris, and keep more reusable bags handy, and don’t ever use the plastic bags — old or new!

I bet the new, thin and crappy plastic bags still pick up doggie poop well!

John Norman


Letter: Do local politicians care about constituents’ economic interests?

January 12, 2015 — 

Do local politicians care about constituents’ economic interests?

GasBuddy, the online service that tracks gasoline price by city, reported Saturday that the price of retail gasoline in Aspen is $3.79 per gallon. GasBuddy also reports that gasoline can be purchased for $2.03 per gallon in Glenwood Springs and $1.95 at Costco in Eagle.

Why are the politicians in Aspen silent on the this? Why are the Pitkin County commissioners silent? Politicians not on the take would be expressing outrage in any other locality. However, we do not hear a word in Aspen. Not a word.

Why have none of our elected representatives called on the Federal Trade Commission or the Colorado Attorney General to investigate the situation? In most localities, the elected politicians would be pounding the table with outrage — fearful that their constituents would vote them out of office if they did not take action. Not here.

The high prices may be costing the average family in the Roaring Fork Valley $1,000 a year. Don’t the politicians in the valley care about the economic interests of their constituents? Apparently not. Apparently, the politicians only want to build more affordable housing so that the residents can meekly vote to continue the current elites in office.

I suggest the politicians wake up. Most of those living in the valley are seeing between 1 and 5 percent of their after-tax income stolen legally by the valley’s gas monopoly and their elected representatives are doing nothing. Nothing. There is an election in May. It will be interesting to see whether any of the valley’s quislings will do anything between now and then. It will be interesting to see whether candidates hoping to replace them will promise action.

Apparently, no one cares. Apparently, $500 to $1,000 is not worth the fight.

Philip Verleger


Letter: Anger might save us

January 12, 2015 — 

Anger might save us

Women around the world are yoga-ing their brains out. Aspen is a superb example. We sign up for coaching and therapy in record numbers compared with men. So why is it that in the reflections of women and men both, we so frequently act hatefully, even abusively, toward ourselves and others? What are we missing? Despite our progress, we yet neglect two searingly unfeminist challenges that threaten to keep even the strongest woman fundamentally unhappy, unhealthy and prone to a distortion of anger that injures herself and others.

In the most basic description of a culture where women are lesser citizens is the pervasive perception that women are inferior. But we sometimes overlook that inferiority is characterized by the responsibility of others to fulfill a woman’s needs because she doesn’t know what they are. Today, women know how to avoid (or to avoid appearing to) outsource the naming of their needs to the closest alpha male, but no matter; society itself is structured to dictate just that. Ever met a woman control freak? It’s likely she feels and resents, in varying degrees of awareness, the fact that society still doesn’t agree that she knows best for herself and continuously demands that she consult the outside world for affirmation, safety and love.

Even when we move justly against inequality, the old symptoms of second-rate citizenry sneakily demand we have a cosigner on our desires. In this case, women tend toward immense frustration that the external things and people we thought could help us feel purposeful fall short, as they invariably do. This is the fertile ground of passive aggressiveness, strangely-timed outbursts and cutting condescension.

Despite our frequent poor use of it, anger is the wisest response we have. It points us to our freedom and our intuitive wisdom. Rage heavily lines the path to pleasure and joy. When we think we shouldn’t be angry, we poison it. We double our pain with confused inward violence or lashing out. Most importantly, we unplug immense pieces of what attunes us to justice and personal purpose. We think that if we just do enough yoga (societally sanctioned for joy and well-being), we can de-stress from the sensation that something is very wrong, and that our feeling it makes us culpable. But women can’t de-stress when we function fundamentally on the residue of an inferiority we deny and yet still rebel against — an excellent reason, in my opinion, to be furious. We’ve made the mistake of structuring our illustration of self-determination on a familiar masculine template and furthermore, on our connotations of feminism, compassion and kindness. Anger, so frequent and so repressed in the women we pass on the street, is perhaps the leading guide to a desperately needed global transformation. Perhaps we didn’t think our wisdom would arrive to us like this, but it is our compassion for our anger that may heal it. Yoga alone won’t save us, but anger just might.

Paula Creevy


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