Letters to the Editor

Letter: It's time for action by Carbondale leaders

August 26, 2016 — 

I happened to be at the Aug. 23 Carbondale trustees meeting for my own purpose when I walked into the Trustee Chamber and was surprised to see 20 to 30 extremely upset women protesting the lack of action by Mayor Pro-Tem Dan Richardson and the Board of Trustees in reference to recent assaults on women walking at night.

After comments from most who attended and myself on this issue, Richardson’s response was, “There is nothing the town can do about this tonight.” In my opinion, and in the opinion of most of the women present, this was not satisfactory.

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Letter: An agnostic meets with the Prophets of Dawn

August 26, 2016 — 

This morning at the edge of a meadow, I witnessed a gathering of crows. Maybe 50 of them. They may or may not have formed a murder, for I do not know how many crows a murder makes. Nor do I know if the gathering was premeditated or simply committed in an act of passion. To be honest, I don’t even know if they were crows.

I confess: I cannot tell a raven from a crow. I do not apologize for this. For what does my ignorance matter? As long as they can distinguish each from the other, then all is right with the world.

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Letter: Good vibes

August 25, 2016 — 

Dear fearless and fabulous and truly wonderful Shakti Shala family,

Wow! It’s been quite the summer! I can’t even write another word without saying oh my God — thank you, thank you, to each and every one of you, for all of your support, participation and highly positive attitudes and the heart you give and bring to the Shala. This place has really come to be a wonderful home for so many of us — thank you to all of you who have helped shape it to be what it is.

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Letter: Support local athletes

August 25, 2016 — 

The sports for the Aspen Skiers are back in full swing starting Saturday morning at 10 a.m. with varsity soccer and at noon with junior varsity, Sept. 9 with football and Tuesday at 6 p.m. with soccer. These are all home games.

Please come out and support your Aspen Skiers. Hope to see everyone at the games. Good luck this season.

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Letter: Dems are all talk

August 25, 2016 — 

I find it strangely amusing that the Democrat Party, with all its talk about being the party of diversity and inclusion, could only field a couple of old white people for the office of president.

Meanwhile, the GOP, which the left calls “racist” and “haters,” had blacks, Latinos, whites, men and women as candidates.

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Letter: Joke of the day

August 25, 2016 — 

I read the article about Aspenites being thrown out of their gathering place (The Aspen Times, Aug. 25). I live in New Castle, so what they do with the Armory building is none of my business. I just wanted to mention that they got the answer to the riddle wrong. The correct answer to the question “How many Aspenites does it take to screw in a light bulb?” is “One.” They just hold up the light bulb, and the world spins around them.

Chip Nealy

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Letter: The long and short of it

August 24, 2016 — 

Just when I thought the presidential campaign could not get any more bizarre, it did.

Some of my friends tell me they do not read my letters because they are too long. I will try to be more like Carl Heck or Ruth Harrison, but this is a convoluted mess. Vladimir Putin-led Russia is asserting itself as the major player in the Middle East. Putin illegally inserted Russia in Crimea. Putin does not tolerate political opposition. It is shocking to me that Donald Trump wants to buddy up with Putin. Trump has encouraged the Russians to hack Hillary Clinton’s State Department emails and release them. The Russians (allegedly) hacked the Democratic National Committee’s emails; are Trump’s fingerprints on this? OK, enough — Putin and his Russians wear black hats.

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Letter: Rock bottom in the midvalley

August 24, 2016 — 

The Basalt town government is completely dysfunctional. The divisiveness is palpable and getting worse. The flames are stoked by the mayor and her faction. There’s not a cooler head to prevail this side of Willits. Well, maybe one. Auden Schendler, we appeal to your reasonableness. This is rock bottom; please help your constituents rebuild faith in their derailed government. I’m fairly certain I’m not the only one deeply troubled and saddened that it came to this. It didn’t have to. Mike Scanlon, I didn’t know you well, but I speak for many in saying that you will be missed.

Paul Noto

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Letter: Watch out for scam

August 24, 2016 — 

Over the past two weeks, the Aspen High School Booster Club together with the Student Athletic Leadership Team has been working on the fall athletic-schedule poster.

While contacting past advertisers, it came to our attention that local businesses are being targeted by solicitors who are scammers. These callers represent themselves as being from Aspen High School, but they are not. They also make it seem as though the money they are asking for will benefit the Aspen School District, but it will not. Only the Booster Club and the Student Athletic Leadership Team will create an athletic-schedule poster for each sports season.

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Letter: Colorado no slam dunk for Clinton

August 24, 2016 — 

I attended the Aspen Public Radio event at Paepcke Auditorium with Kevin Rudin from National Public Radio hosting the respective state party chairs from the Democratic and Republican parties. Colorado’s Democratic Chairman Rick Palacio kept saying that 90 percent of Bernie Sanders supporters, especially those who are millennials, are planning to vote for Hillary Clinton.

I don’t know what millennials and Bernie supporters he’s speaking with, but they sure aren’t the ones I talk to around Carbondale and Aspen. Most of those I know are voting for the Green Party candidate, the Libertarian Party candidate or none of the above. A few are even considering Donald Trump. Not a one has said they will vote for Hillary.

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Letter: Housing hubbub

August 24, 2016 — 

In the latest comical city of Aspen overreach, the Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority’s lawyers have demanded more than $64,000 for future rent and legal fees on a self-built house — before appeal of the forced house sale can proceed. Meanwhile, the housing authority has refused to allow rental of any rooms. (Note: Taxes are current and have never been late.)

If you’re confused, you’re not alone. True to its M.O., the housing authority’s attorney firm is meeting with the the authority’s board behind closed doors in “executive” session Sept. 6 while refusing to allow the defendant (me) to speak at the public meeting.

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Letter: Billionaires fear Trump

August 24, 2016 — 

Have you taken clear note with mind-boggling astonishment how quite a few billionaires even with so-called conservative credentials are very scared of lone-wolf billionaire Donald Trump and his Trump billionaire mentality? Funny how they include the archconservative Koch brothers, too.

Now, let’s see — we have billionaires, peasant millionaires, aliens, weirdos, Hollyweird celebrities and the rest of the rodents flying scared over the cuckoo’s nest about Trump. They must fear a Trump presidency putting them on skid row in Los Angeles pushing shopping carts and sleeping in cardboard boxes on the streets of rapidly gentrifying downtown Los Angeles.

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Letter: Community center next to the Wheeler

August 24, 2016 — 

The risks surrounding the choice to relocate City Hall and the future use of the Armory boil down to three things:

1) Will moving City Hall out of a historic building and into a new building on the periphery of the downtown core negatively impact the small-town character of Aspen?

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Letter: Don't put it on the taxpayers

August 23, 2016 — 

A small group of locals is pressuring the City Council to turn the Armory building (current City Hall) into a community center. This group seems sure it could raise the money and it would not cost the city a dime.

What this small group is not telling us is that after abandoning the Armory, the city would build a brand-new City Hall for $50 million on our public open space at Rio Grande Park. It is not telling us that we would lose that public open space where residents and tourists now enjoy views of the mountains, Shakespeare in the Park and just being outdoors. Besides, we need open space around our iconic 19th-century structures, like the courhouse, to preserve our small-town feel. These structures should not be crowded into one monolithic government consortium, a “Taj Mahal.”

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Letter: Get realistic numbers on traffic demand, capacity

August 23, 2016 — 

Fixing the Entrance to Aspen is the new old topic of the month. It’s the subject of an Aspen Times editorial on Aug. 19 (“Still seeking an Entrance to Aspen solution”). Local officials are about to spend another half-million dollars “studying” it. Studying is good if the right things are studied.

Road and traffic planning doesn’t exist in a vacuum. People travel into and out of town because they live or work or play here or because they’re going to or coming from Independence Pass. The city should start with a realistic quantitative analysis of such basics as: number of residents and visitors expected to occupy town in each month of the year (both at present and in the future as more development occurs); number of cars just using the pass; number of parking spaces they will need and at what times of day; number who will enter and leave town by bus and by car and at what times of day; and number of occupants the current infrastructure of water, power, sewage, etc., will support.

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Letter: A recall to duty for veterans

August 23, 2016 — 

As a veteran of the United States Air Force, I am thoroughly disappointed with and betrayed by what I see going on in America. The levels of corruption and abuse of power at the highest levels of our national government trouble me. I asked myself what I can possibly do as a veteran to continue to honor the oath I took many years ago to support and defend the Constitution. Recently, I learned about a nationwide effort to rein in the power and jurisdiction of the federal government and return much of this power back to the state governments and to the people — in other words, to rebalance power between the state and federal governments originally intended in the Constitution by America’s Founding Fathers. This nationwide effort, called Convention of States (COS) Project (www.conventionofstates.com), also seeks to require the federal government to operate under a true balanced budget requirement as well as the merits of term limits (total years of service limitation) on members of Congress and federal judges. This is an effort I needed to learn more about, which I eventually did. I am now an active supporter of the COS Project, and I urge all my fellow veterans to take that first step to become educated about this nonpartisan effort. Support for the COS Project by veterans could prove crucial to its success, because we represent the seven percent of Americans who were prepared to give the last measure of devotion in support of our Constitution. In addition to the above web site, inquiries or requests for group presentations about the COS Project can be made tocoloradovets@cosaction.com, or call 719-482-5997. The COS Project offers veterans another call of duty to support and defend the Constitution. May God continue to bless these United States of America!

Ron Scott

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Letter: No danger in doubling lanes

August 23, 2016 — 

Success!

A hard-core Aspen establishment dinosaur finally awoke from his slumber, took the bait and provided us with a really silly statement regarding the Entrance to Aspen. Thanks to Mick Ireland for providing us with this predictable gem: “As one of my friends says, just fix the highway. Easy to understand, commonsensical. Also, a cure worse than the disease.”

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Letter: A first-rate storyteller

August 23, 2016 — 

We first became aware of Luis Alberto Urrea while attending Summer Words and living in Aspen. We were stunned and ecstatic. A few years ago, I had to leave my beloved Aspen for health reasons. Neither Andy nor I could have imagined the splendid gift in store as we have embraced a new culture and a new language after moving to Mexico. Our journey has been framed and enriched by the stories shared by Luis — providing a window into this new culture that we have grown to adore

Andy and I are Luis groupies — we actually have followed him to different venues because he brings us so much pleasure. He never, ever disappoints; he just gets better — every talk, every book or poem we read, every story. This will be our sixth or seventh opportunity to be able to share his delightful world view.

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Letter: Unclear on heroism

August 22, 2016 — 

Donald Trump doesn’t know a war hero when he hears what they have done. Why he would choose to denigrate a Muslim family who lost a son in the Iraq War fighting for America is beyond belief.

Why he doesn’t believe John McCain was a “hero,” in prison for six years and refused freedom because he did not want his countrymen left behind, is beyond belief.

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Letter: Double standard

August 21, 2016 — 

After almost every act of terror, we are told we must not punish or blame all Muslims for the actions of (a few?) terrorists, to which I agree.

Shouldn’t that same courtesy be extended to America’s 115 million legal firearms owners who have committed no acts of terror or crime?

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Letter: You get what you give

August 21, 2016 — 

If Donald Trump thinks the media are writing dishonest stories about him, maybe he should start telling the truth more often.

Carl Heck

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Letter: Curtains give idea of proposed City Hall

August 21, 2016 — 

You can see it for yourself. No more guessing about how tall the new proposed City Hall building will be if the City Council decides on Tuesday at 4 p.m. to put all offices under one roof on the library park plaza.

The Hudson Reed Ensemble has just put up curtains in the library park plaza for its backdrop for its upcoming free performances of “As You Like It.” Show time is 5:30 p.m. for the next three Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays (until Sept. 4).

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Letter: How could Trump get any worse?

August 21, 2016 — 

Donald Trump goes through political overseers like a golfer with a high handicap frantically searching his bag for the club that will help him break 90. First there was thuggish Corey Lewandowski with his penchant for roughing up reporters, protesters and other naysayers, whom CNN unaccountably took on as a commentator. Up next was Paul Manafort, who has interesting ties to Russian interests and especially to a pro-Russian Ukrainian nabob. And now Steve Bannon of Breitbart, a bunch so far to the right that the line between conservatism and fascism has long since been breached. I hesitate to say that this succession is a matter of bad, badder, baddest, because everything Trump does he does to the same degree. He doesn’t clarify or add nuance, walk it back or reconsider. He doubles down. This gives Trump’s pronouncements an eternal quality: No matter what developments, Trump is unchanging. He doesn’t get worse, because he started out as bad a you can get. The advent of Bannon, with the hiring of the malignant toad Roger Ailes, the former Fox News perpetrator who got tossed for multiple sexual harassments — a hideous lecher handling attractive flesh — certainly means continuing nastiness. Whether it’s going to be nastier than previously depends, again, on whether you think there’s room for Trump to get worse.

Political observers think the Breitbart-Ailes elevation means that, within the Trump campaign, the let-Trump-be-Trump camp has beaten the get-him-to-focus camp. A metaphor for this is whether Trump freewheels or reads off the teleprompter. This is both good news and really quite terrible news. It’s certainly good news that Trump being Trump can’t win the presidency of this old democracy. But the Trump phenomenon has already caused great harm to the republic and will cause it through the depredations of Breitbart and Ailes. People feel freer to vent their hatred than before, and there have been reports of Hispanic, immigrant and Muslim baiting among schoolchildren, who, of course, say what their parents say. As an explanation for this nasty business, some say the Trump base is suffering economically. The hell you say. Trump and the Trumpians are all about racial bigotry. Their political leanings are not conservative or libertarian or toward a democratic form of populism. Their creed is an anti-democratic authoritarianism. They like the unchanging sameness of the Trump line and dislike the necessary gray areas and multiple contingencies of political liberty. After Nov. 8, the bigger challenge will be to counter this developing enormity.

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Letter: More liberal mythology

August 21, 2016 — 

We all share Alecia Evans’ longing for peace on Earth, which is why I wish she’d knock it off with the anti-white racism.

In her letter “Trump is coming” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, Aug. 17), Evans places the blame for a culture of “lies and separations” on the arrival of Europeans. Is she unaware that the Native Americans she idealizes raided and plundered one another’s settlements, killing the men and carting off the women, in the same manner as Vikings or Mycenaean Greeks?

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Letter: History lesson

August 19, 2016 — 

Jim Breasted is correct in his research of “Aspen” versus “Ajax.” I have seen Josiah Spurr’s geologic map, and it is as Jim says. I also have seen an early U.S. Geologic Survey 7.5-minute map that was mapped in the early 20th century. It also names the entire Richmond Ridge, including the front of Aspen Mountain, as Aspen Mountain. However, it names a small outcropping of rock, that the road traverses up, about a quarter mile south of the Sundeck, as “Ajax Hill.” When I first came to Aspen in December 1963, I worked at the Sundeck. After lunch on a powder day, the ski patrollers would don packs and gear for an out-of-bounds trip. When I asked where they were going, they would say Ajax Hill for a powder shot and point back to the ridge. They actually were going to the powder bowls along the east side of the ridge and did not want us busboys to know or follow them. We busboys always thought that Ajax Hill wasn’t worth the effort. Then one day I followed the patrollers and found out why they were misleading us busboys. I believe this was the origin of the misnomer “Ajax.” Of course, now it is used by the newbies and some older newbies to show that they are “longtime” residents. If you really want to test their knowledge of the area, ask them where Keno Gulch is, and I assure you it will be wrong. Look on a map (not your phone) to find out.

Jim Wingers

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Letter: Be aware of school-bus changes

August 19, 2016 — 

Dear parents and community members,

As summer comes to a close and everyone starts gearing up for the start of the new school year, I’d like to inform you of the significant changes that have occurred over the summer to our school-bus routes. Over the summer, we diligently worked on consolidating our routes to improve safety and to clean up the convoluted directions of our routes. What this means for you and your children is that most of our routes’ stops and pickup and drop-off times have changed! We have the updated routes and pickup times posted on our district webpage in the transportation section; please take the time and go over each route, as you will find that most routes are different and your child will be riding a different bus or have a different pickup and drop-off location. If you have any questions, please contact Gary Vavra, director of transportation and facilities, at 970-429-6081 or contact him via email at gvavra@aspenk12.net​. You also may reach out to me at ​rmahaffey@aspenk12.net​ with any concerns or questions. Our goal and priority is to help your children reach school, home and after-school activities safely, promptly and enjoyably. We look forward to hearing from you and anticipate the new school year and seeing all our students once again.

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Letter: On dogs and driving

August 19, 2016 — 

I love you, Aspen, completely. Absolutely. The air is clean. The rich, the poor, the good, the bad, the ugly. Yep, all of those are here. Love it. Makes life interesting. But I am calling bulls--- on Andy Stone and his op-ed piece “Looking around Aspen, I see trouble in Dogtown” (Commentary, The Aspen Times, Aug. 17). Takes all kinds, Andy. Big dogs, small dogs, medium dogs, bad dogs, good dogs, rich dogs, poor dogs. Makes life interesting. I have smaller dogs. Yep, I do. Woogie and Boogie. They are small, but they are all dog. Big-hearted, dog-humping, butt-sniffing boys. My mama always said, “Don’t be fooled by someone’s size.”

Here’s the nice thing about small dogs: They poop less and eat less. That makes them environmentally green. And while I am on the subject of poop, Aspen, we have dogs pooping at random, and ain’t no one picking that s--- up. Bet you didn’t know that it got so bad in Laguna Beach, California, that the city hired a company to come in and pick that stank up. Why? Fecal matter has bad stuff in it that leaches into the groundwater. It’s nasty, folks. Frankly, most people are lazy; they don’t want to carry a plastic bag of steaming crap. It just is not in the cards. Think about it, Mr. Mayor — Aspen Poop Patrol. Give some folks who need some extra cash a job. Get that poop off the ground.

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Letter: Other side to the story

August 19, 2016 — 

On Wednesday, the deputy director for Aspen-Pitkin County Housing Authority lied to the Aspen Daily News (“APCHA wants homeowner to pay $63,254 during appeal,” Aug. 18).

She said the city of Aspen didn’t demand that my family sell the house we built for $180,481 while we were in rural Kenya.

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Letter: A stellar event

August 19, 2016 — 

The Aspen Center for Environmental Studies, the Aspen Science Center and Aspen Skiing Co. would like to thank those who contributed to the success of last week’s Stars Above Aspen event. This first-ever community astronomy night drew a diverse and eager crowd to the top of Aspen Mountain for an evening to celebrate and learn about the universe.

We are very grateful to several participating organizations for helping to provide a range of activities, including keynote speaker David Aguilar and Three Rivers Astronomy Club, Spellbinders, Kristy and Jeff Bibbey of the Poudre School District, Jayne Gottlieb of Shakti Shala, Amanda Martin from Colorado Mountain College, and emcee Lane Jonhson. Special thanks also goes to Anna Kate Belinski, Ben Belinski, Connor Coyle, Devin Randal, Sofia Randal, Olivia Oksenhorn, Nic Vitari and Ricky Wojcik. This exceptional group of current and former Aspen High School Astronomy Club students volunteered their time and expertise and brought unparalleled enthusiasm and excitement to the event. We also would like to extend a heartfelt thank-you to the gondola and mountain operations teams, whose professionalism and hospitality were much appreciated during challenging weather conditions.

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Letter: Replace lights with roundabouts

August 18, 2016 — 

As a longtime valley commuter, I’d like to comment about the Entrance to Aspen. They don’t need another costly study. Simply put, traffic problems continue due to the shortsightedness of the redesigning of Highway 82.

Starting with the two lights at Buttermilk and going through Cemetery Lane, all traffic-control signals should have been replaced with traffic circles with a speed limit of 15 mph within the circles. An overall speed reduction, starting at the airport, to 35 mph would slow traffic entering the circles.

Had this been done, there would at least be a flow to the traffic regardless of the reduction from four lanes to two lanes, and the high-occupancy-vehicle lane and bus service would not have been affected. Instead, all they did was put in one traffic circle (the roundabout). The traffic-control signals previously named effectively negate the flow of that circle and defeat its purpose.

Other communities with multiple roundabouts have solved their flow problems. Why not Aspen? What conversation could have taken place, or still could take place, between the city and state to foster a real, workable solution on Highway 82?

K. Tafejian

Carbondale

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