Letters to the Editor
No birth, no child
In case people have been taken in by the obfuscation and misdirection, I want to point out that this year’s ballot contains an inappropriate question, because it is a religious one. The proponents of the ballot question are once again trying to have the state of Colorado enforce a religious belief on all its citizens.Learn more »
Twisted out of context
I respectfully ask the voters of Pitkin County to support my reelection to the Board of County Commissioners. As a commissioner, I have worked with my colleagues on the board to bring constructive discussions to the commissioners’ deliberations and sought balanced decision-making on issues confronting our community. My understanding of accounting and of the importance of our tourism economy, combined with the human and leadership skills I have acquired over 16 years of growing a business and providing employment for many in Pitkin County, are all important attributes that I bring to the board.Learn more »
A vote for Jeanne is a vote for local youth
The Eagle River Youth Coalition was founded in 2001 with the goal of bringing various youth serving organizations together to more effectively assess and meet the changing needs of local youth. Our motto for the past several years has been “Making Youth a Community Priority.” Since 2006, Jeanne McQueeney has been a part of our organization’s board, and she absolutely embodies the idea of making our local youth a top community priority.Learn more »
We have an election coming up, and some people say the most preposterous stuff. There are at least four things that concern me about this. First, these folks may actually believe what they say and others may, too. Second, Pitkin County is a small community and many of the most egregious statements are about members of our own community. Third, these kinds of attacks are no longer limited to campaign season, they seem to be non-stop, year-round, year in and year out. Finally, if we want civil discourse in Washington, we’ve got to learn how to speak respectfully about one another in Pitkin County.
As Republicans in Pitkin County, we’ve become used to being called “racists,” either directly or by code names such as “poll tax” supporters or vote suppressors. Or we’re told that we’re racist because we disagree with the policies of the current president. We heard plenty of this at the Aspen Saturday Market this summer and in homes here in the valley.Learn more »
We basically have 24 hour a day voting available now until 7 p.m. Nov. 4. Voters can hand-deliver their mail-in ballot to the Pitkin County Clerk’s Office, located on Main Street next to the Courthouse in Aspen, 24 hours a day until Nov. 4. Voters can just slip in their mail ballot through the Pitkin Clerk’s secure mail-in ballot slot at the clerk’s front door or during business hours Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
If you lost or did not receive your ballot, you can go to the Pitkin County Clerk’s Office and they will cancel your lost ballot, hand you a new one and you can vote right away.Learn more »
The city of Aspen has two open seats on both the Planning and Zoning and Historic Preservation Commission boards. I would like to encourage any interested residents to apply. Both boards are served on by great volunteers giving their time and concern selflessly.
City Council has always sought to appoint a balance of professional knowledge and community representation. Both boards have seven appointees, of which three are desired to have a broad range of related work experience, the other four appointees are community members with the desire to volunteer. Right now both boards are well served by knowledgable professionals, but have openings for interested residents.Learn more »
Very rarely can we make a lasting difference with an action that takes just a few minutes, but right now you can drop your ballot marked Jeanne McQueeney for county commissioner in the ballot box and do just that — make a lasting difference.
I’ve known Jeanne for nearly two decades, we have worked on various initiatives in both good times and trying times. What never ceases to amaze me is Jeanne’s laser vision for the big picture, never getting bogged down with the trying moments that can go along with public service or any job for that matter. Jeanne has dedicated her entire adult life to serving her community and the individuals that reside within it with a selfless commitment that is rare to see today.Learn more »
The recent letter from Cavanaugh O’Leary regarding alleged unfairness on the part of Rob Ittner is complete nonsense and erroneous in its details. In any land-use application, the applicant is typically given the time they need to present the project. Public comment is typically limited to a shorter amount of time to present favorable or opposing comments. Moreover, Ittner reviewed the meeting protocol with the entire board in advance and received their suggestions, which were incorporated into the meeting protocol. Plus, it should be said that the board had heard this particular issue regarding the Celestial house three times, as the opponents pursued their endless appeals. This issue has been dominated by a small group unfortunately associated with my Democratic Party, which suggests to me that these elections should be completely non-partisan. This so-called “monster house” is smaller than zoning would allow and much smaller than the huge Pritzker compound right next door, which also is subject to and mitigated for avalanche hazards and a debris flow. In fact, the Celestial development has been approved three times now by the Board of County Commissioners and twice by hearing officers appointed by the county, but the neighbor has been relentless in its opposition and has reached out to an astonishing group of unaffected persons through party affiliation. You may want to consider whether it would be better to have an independent-thinking commissioner or a proxy for special interests.
Stan ClausonLearn more »
Residents of this valley are being fleeced by greedy oil marketers. Some of our politicians welcome the fact (especially the mayor of Aspen) believing that high prices will promote increased use of mass transit. One can only wonder if these politicians are being paid off by greedy oil companies.
A headline in the Wall Street Journal stated “Gasoline prices have dropped below $3 a gallon at most U.S. gas stations.” The author obviously did not visit the valley. (In fairness, I must note he did call me and quote me because I guess I qualify as an expert.)Learn more »
Recently, I submitted a letter that must have been crowded out by seasonal election endorsement letters. My letter asked why Cty Manager Steve Barwick deflects responsibility for the debacle in the Parking Department. Barwick blamed the department manager exclusively. He didn’t say, “It is my ultimate responsibility. Obviously, I didn’t supervise the department adequately.” He just threw the department manager under the bus and then recommended hiring the same auditors who didn’t catch the multi-year problem over years of city audits.
The last point is more than irresponsible. As I pointed out in my unpublished letter, in the city’s 2009-promulgated financial policy statement, someone substituted the city manager for the City Council as the party responsible for appointing auditors and defining their work. The policy repeats verbatim the city charter on this point except that it substitutes the city manager for the City Council on this point. When the city manager believes he has usurped the audit authority from City Council, he must feel bulletproof.Learn more »
As Founder of Aspen Ute Foundation, I would like to share this letter written by Gregory G Gomez MSSW, Lipan Mescalero Apache who is the President of Indigenous Institute of the Americas, sent to the Foundation to share an Indigenous point of view on the Christopher Columbus misconception:
Learn more »
Letter: Don’t waive parking requirementsOctober 28, 2014 —
Don’t waive parking requirements
I’m pleading with you not to waive parking requirements at Mark Hunt’s lodges dubbed “Base 1” and “Base 2.” I live in town, and there is virtually no parking. In addition, employees who work in town display placards on their rearview mirrors taking up what few parking spaces there are in town every day, all year during working hours. Where do people park when they come to town and can’t always walk from the public underground garage? Isn’t Aspen a tourist town? Don’t we want to please visitors? Do you need to give in to developers’ wishes? It seems to me that putting in less expensive hotel rooms would mean that the people staying in these rooms would not be flying into Aspen but rather driving because it’s less expensive. Where will they park? Where will “employees” park who will be living in these new units which Hunt wishes to build? Once again, I ask that you not waive code requirements. Those of us living in and around Aspen will thank you for being so courageous.
Thank you for your time,
Susan Fleet Welsch
Letter: The Frying Pan pumpkin fairyOctober 28, 2014 —
The Frying Pan pumpkin fairy
I am a local from Basalt and I live on the Frying Pan Road. You can ask anyone on the Frying Pan about the pumpkins. I know the answer to these mysterious pumpkins. The answer is quite simple: the Pumpkin Fairy, as she is called. She comes along the road and sets up pumpkins for people to spot. This fairy secretly decorates your house around Halloween. Every time she has decorated my house, I am thrilled. Everyone loves this yearly tradition. So please I ask you to not stay up at night to watch to see if she comes, not that you wanted to, but leave this tradition be. My friends who live on the road including Ruby Haden and Lexi Mobray care for this tradition. So come up the Frying Pan and enjoy spotting the pumpkins.
Letter: Preventive care reduces need for medical careOctober 28, 2014 —
“I would prefer for my son to have as little medical care as possible, as little contact with the medical system as possible. I think vaccination is actually one way to try to help ensure that — making sure that he doesn’t get something like pneumonia that might mean a hospital stay” — Eula Biss, author of “On Immunity: An Inoculation” during NPR interview.
• Children commonly need medical care because of influenza, especially before they turn 5 years old.
• Severe influenza complications are most common in children younger than 2 years old.
• Each year, an average of 20,000 children under age 5 are hospitalized because of influenza complications.
The single best way to protect your children from the flu is to get them vaccinated each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control website.
“Support Community Immunity! Even if you are young and healthy, you could be a carrier of the flu virus this season! Protect the children and old ones you love, and get your flu shot!” — Emily Taylor, E.D., of the Woody Creek Community Center.
Do not let vaccination fears fuel the resurgence of preventable diseases, such as seasonal flu. Please protect yourself, your children and your community: Get your flu shot and see that your children 6 months old or older get the shot (or the mist) too.
Some options for flu shots:
• Your doctor’s office
• Pharmacies in Clark’s Market, City Market, Safeway and Rite-Aid.
• Woody Creek Community Center: Free flu shot clinic today 7 to 10 a.m.; Mists for children will be available.
Pitkin County Community Health Services, public flu shot clinic, Thursday 3 to 6 p.m. at Snowmass Village Town Council Chambers, 130 Kerns Road, Snowmass Village.
• Flu shots are also available through the county by appointment.
Call 970-920-5420 for more information.
Letter: Sue Franciose is the best choiceOctober 28, 2014 —
My husband and I have known Sue Franciose for six years. During that time, we have seen Sue work diligently in our community to help others. My husband is a physician, and I worked for years in critical care, trauma and oncology as a nurse. Sue’s medical background is impressive, and it does make a difference to have the experience and knowledge to assist families during their crisis and be qualified to answer the medical questions that come up. She did this during her 20 years of working in the medical field as a critical care nurse and as a cardiac perfusionist. She worked directly with organ/tissue transplants as a member of the harvest, transplant and research teams. She supports this program and wants to make sure that all registered donors have their chance to donate. She has made a difference in the community with her role with Eagle County Hospice, Salvation Army and the board at the Shaw Cancer Center, raising money to build Jack’s Place, a cancer-caring home, making sure that cancer patients have a place to stay and also raising money for the medical equipment the allows patients to receive their cancer treatment here in our county instead of going to Denver. When Sue sees an opportunity to make a difference in our community, she jumps in, and that’s why she is running for the coroner position. As a former deputy coroner, she sees what has been done and wants to do more. In addition to performing the job as coroner, she wants to make sure that all registered donors have the opportunity to donate, educate the community with preventative and informative topics, educate the deputy coroner’s and first responder groups and provide a brochure for the families of the deceased with important information and resources. She wants to take the position to a higher level. Go to www.suefranciose.com to see her background and vision. Please join us in voting for Sue Franciose.
Dawn and Frank Holmes
Letter: Patti is nobody’s foolOctober 28, 2014 —
Over the years, I’ve served on several committees with Patti Clapper, and my takeaway is that Patti actually knows how local government works and why. And Patti knows for whom government should work for: Us. Hell, Patti’s already taken on the federal government on behalf of her own neighborhood, so you can bet she will fight hard for yours.
Patti has great experience in office, experience informed by living the challenges of this community and meeting them head on. That experience helps Patti make decisions on our behalf and with the broad community’s values in mind.
Patti is thoughtful, whip-smart and savvy. I don’t agree with every decision Patti has made (I bet she doesn’t either), but I know her votes, especially the tough ones, are well reasoned and made on behalf of the many, not the few.
I’ll be marking my ballot for Patti Clapper, as she’s nobody’s fool. More importantly, she won’t try to fool us.
Letter: Willard’s skyOctober 28, 2014 —
How about that absolutely crystal clear, robin-blue sky Saturday? Every time another one appears, let’s all say, “Hi Willard, thank you (for everything).”
Letter: Bettis has the right experienceOctober 28, 2014 —
I am writing this letter in support of Kara Bettis’ re-election bid for Eagle County coroner. I have had the opportunity to work with Kara at various times during the past 12 years. I find Kara to be professional and compassionate in her position as coroner. This job has to be one of the more difficult yet important positions in the county, which truly serves people.
Kara certainly has the experience, education and credentials necessary for this position. She cares about the community and the people she works for and with.
Keep experience in your Coroner’s Office, and vote for Kara Bettis.
Letter: School solutionOctober 27, 2014 —
Lunch duty: Stacey Craft should be in charge of the parents who volunteer. Former Principal Betsy Hill said the teachers and administrators need this volunteer time.
Traffic problems: No students should be allowed to drive to school, and student drop-off needs to be off district property. Believe me, the kids will start taking the bus.
Finally, after teaching here from 1971 to 2002, something is being done, hopefully, to increase the students’ math ability.
Letter: Rob Ittner is the kind of leader we needOctober 27, 2014 —
Rob Ittner is the kind of leader we need
I write to express support for Rob Ittner’s reelection to the Board of County Commissioner.
Rob is an outdoor enthusiast who loves our valley and the nature that surrounds us. I’ve hiked with him, skied with him, and discussed difficult environmental issues with him. Rob has worked hard to protect the Thompson Divide from future oil and gas development. Rob’s actions (and votes) speak for his respect for our valley.
Rob’s commitment to our community and the welfare of the people who live in it also speaks for itself. He voted to increase the “Healthy Community Fund”. He is active in Rotary, the premiere service organization in the valley which raises approximately $250,000 each year that goes to support youth sports like junior hockey, youth golf, gymnastics, AVSC, Boy Scouts, as well as Raise-A-Reader, English in Action, and many other valley organizations. He helped found Aspen Young Professionals Association – with the goal of supporting a community of young people who will stay here to build careers and keep our community vibrant. He has volunteered as a big buddy in the Buddy Program. Rob’s actions (and votes) speak for his deep caring about the citizens of this valley.
Rob has successful business and leadership experience. Rob started as a young professional in this town and made smart decisions, sacrificed, and built a successful and respected business. He knows how to write a budget, manage resources, and build a loyal staff who stays with him year after year because he takes care of people. The BOCC oversees a $90 million budget and approximately 250 employees. Rob’s success story speaks to his ability to lead the business of our county.
Rob is moderate, thoughtful, accessible, and humble. He is standing on that street corner day in and day out because he wants to earn your support and respect. He does not think the seat belongs to him or that the community owes him a job. He has been successful – and he offers his skills and abilities to better his community.
Please vote for Rob and encourage your friends to do the same — he is the kind of leader we want and need in local government.
Letter: Ambulance District should be commendedOctober 27, 2014 —
Ambulance District should be commended
The Pitkin County Public Safety Council would like to express their support for ballot initiative 1A, which would increase funding for the Aspen Ambulance District. The Public Safety Council is a collaborative group representing a diverse range of public and private entities that address public health and safety issues in Pitkin County.
Since 1982 the ambulance district has provided top notch services to our community without once asking for an increase in funding. Their dedication to fiscal responsibility, while maintaining high quality services, is to be commended.
The Aspen Ambulance District logs over 1,000 calls each year. In addition, they are proactively involved in community events, CPR/AED trainings, purchasing AEDs for local businesses and assisting with special events planning. Whether you experience it first hand, or not, each day they are creating a safer environment for every person who lives, works and plays in Aspen.
Members of the Aspen Ambulance District go above and beyond to serve their community each day. Please vote yes on ballot initiative 1A to ensure this level of service is maintained in our community.
Chairperson, Pitkin County Public Safety Council
Letter: Vote Bob Sirkus for Snowmass Town CouncilOctober 27, 2014 —
Bob is fair, he listens, he works at building consensus — all the qualities we need for Snowmass Village Town Council.
Bob is a businessman, not a politician. His experience as Planning and Zoning chairman shows his ability to work through tough issues facing Snowmass Village.
Vote for Bob, he’ll do a great job.
Letter: Hamner for another termOctober 27, 2014 —
Today, I cast my vote for our state Rep. Millie Hamner. She has pushed for legislation that has greatly benefitted Pitkin County as well as the way I do business.
This past spring, she sponsored House Bill 1021, which increased penalties for trucks over 35 feet in length attempting to use Independence Pass. It increased the penalty even further, if one or more lanes closed as a result. Indy Pass is our alternative link to Lake County and beyond for only 5 1/2 months of the year.
In addition, Millie was instrumental as the House Sponsor for Senate Bill 13-161, the amendment and passage of the Architect, Professional Engineer and Professional Land Surveyor Licensing law that was signed and took effect on July 1, 2013.
Thanks, Millie, for the good work you have done.
Heidi H. Hoffmann, AIA
Letter: Hooray for PattiOctober 27, 2014 —
Patti Clapper epitomizes the reason why I live in Aspen. She cares about her community and the people in it.
I had a ridiculous dilemma with the state of Colorado that had lasted way too long. I was frustrated and at my wits end. I didn’t know where to turn. I have known Clapper for 30 years, so I called her.
Let me state that she was not in office at the time and she still took time out of her demanding schedule to help me. That is dedication to her constituents — whether in office or not. She guided me through the most difficult and trying time for me.
That’s why I urge you to vote for Clapper for county commissioner, she truly cares about all of us who reside in Pitkin County.
My problems have almost been resolved. I also would like to thank Rachel Richards for her advice and Mick Ireland for his hard work and dedication to resolve my situation.
All you young voters out there, exercise your rights and vote.
Letter: For Mr. ClapperOctober 27, 2014 —
I want to begin my letter with the two words that every teacher dreams of hearing, thank you. Thank you for being an inspiration and a guiding light for me. Thank you for offering experiences to me that I never believed possible. Thank you for putting me on a plane to finally see, in action, what I was learning about in class. Thank you for being patient and understanding with every paper submitted at 11:59 or maybe 12:01. I appreciate your effervescent kindness and generous nature. Your hugs and smiles were always a highlight of returning home.
My heart is sad thinking that I will no longer be able to see you at Mountain Fair or be able to laugh with you and Jessie about funny moments in class.
You were such a huge part of why I decided to become an educator because you embodied what it means to be one. You challenged me, guided me and instructed me into being the best version of myself. I am a better teacher and person because of you.
Thank you, Mr. Clapper. Thank you!
BHS Graduate, 2011
Letter: Why?October 27, 2014 —
Why isn’t conservation a conservative value?
Letter: Freak cows and false attack adsOctober 27, 2014 —
In the anti-genetically modified organism law flier, which arrived in my mailbox, Agribusiness’s (there are now sadly few family farms) leading point faults an alleged “loophole” in the proposed GMO-labeling law: namely, that the proposed law stupidly “omits” obvious things such as labeling beef “GMO” from a beef cow that was fed GMO corn or grass. It’s even their lead argument against the proposed law. But look, fellas, an ordinary beef cow fed corn with altered corn genes does not thereby get its own cow genes altered. Duh! So, of course, that beef need not be also labeled ‘genetically modified,’ it’s still an ordinary beef cow. The cow might get some new disease from eating GMO corn, but he’ll still be the same old cow. But, such altered corn itself, if sold to us in grocery stores, does need to be GMO-labeled, so we’ll know what we are buying. That’s no loophole; that’s just common scientific sense. Now, if you do go in and change the beef cow’s actual genes, then that beef should be GMO-labeled — just as the proposed law does say. And, guess what? If you then eat that genetically modified beef (or corn) it will not thereby change your own genes; you will still be the same ‘ol you. Otherwise, anyone could escape criminal DNA proof against him by simply eating GMO beef or GMO corn. Duh! Although, one might thereby get some new disease, or indeed might thereby avoid some disease — which is why GMO labeling is a new law we need. Finally, we will see no proof (only the whining claim) of significantly increased costs because, for the same reason, there’s no need for separate cow-feed bins.
Letter: Ittner’s fairness platform is falseOctober 26, 2014 —
Ittner’s fairness platform is false
As chairman of the Board of County Commissioners, Rob Ittner controlled the hearing schedule. During that time, he allowed the Celestial Applicant, a non-resident proposing a monster house in a known avalanche path, six hours of presentation time and then ended the hearing without allowing input from local neighbors. Two weeks later, after pressure from those neighbors, he allowed them his version of their fair say: 30 minutes to present their side, which was ultimately extended to 45 minutes. Rob Ittner is running on a platform of fairness. We have seen his version of fairness: six hours for an issue that he supports and 45 minutes for the other side of that issue.
J. Cavanaugh O’Leary
Letter: Let’s continue to address mental healthOctober 26, 2014 —
Let’s continue to address mental health
“A healthy social life is found only when in the mirror of each soul the whole community finds its reflection, and when in the whole community the virtue of each one is living.” — Rudolf Steiner
Kudos to all those involved in the mental-health discussion and for trying to find solutions out of a very tough situation. It’s time to promote appropriate and accessible services for all those in need here in Aspen!
Letter: Join the lodging land use discussionOctober 26, 2014 —
Join the lodging land use discussion
The community is invited to share its opinions about lodging in Aspen. The city is contemplating changes to the land use code to encourage upgrades to Aspen’s lodging bed base. Help us address and identify your concerns around a declining and outdated bed base in Aspen, including how and if to address this problem.
The city will host two days of small group meetings to gain your comments and feedback on this issue. All meetings will be at the Aspen Fire Station meeting room with light refreshments. Please RSVP to attend one of these sessions:
When: Tuesday and Wednesday
Times: 9 to 10 a.m.; 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.; 12 to 1 p.m.; 3 to 4 p.m.
RSVP is required — email Djama at Djama.Martin@cityofaspen.com and list your top two meeting choices. We’ll do our best to accommodate your first choice.
Can’t attend but have comments on lodging? Visit Open City Hall on www.AspenPitkin.com starting Tuesday to provide comments and complete a short survey.
Your comments and feedback will be used by City Council as they consider changes to the land use code related to Aspen’s bed base.
We look forward to hearing from you!
Chris Bendon, city of Aspen community development director
Jessica Garrow, city of Aspen long range planner