Letters to the Editor

Letter: City helped museum prosper

April 17, 2015 — 

Dear Mayor Steve Skadron and honorable members of Aspen City Council,

This week, the Aspen Art Museum, in conjunction with city staff, formally returned 590 N. Mill St. to the city of Aspen. We want to thank the council and the residents of Aspen for providing our home for nearly 40 years.

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Letter: Enough of Clinton, Bush, Ireland

April 17, 2015 — 

It is time for young, new ideas locally and nationally. Since Aspen’s election is the most immediate, this is about no more Mick Ireland in City Council.

It was Mayor Ireland who guided the vote for the Aspen Art Museum. Whether you love it or hate it, there was zero employee housing mitigation, zero parking mitigation — besides taking parking spaces away permently — and other setbacks and height issues. So, to elect the guy who speaks jabberwocky about all the alleged variances for parking and housing as being a terrible negative, look what he does and not what he says.

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Letter: Bert, Torre and yes

April 17, 2015 — 

Please support Bert Myrin for City Council and Torre for mayor in this coming election. Over the years, Bert and Torre have shown unwavering commitment to preservation of our open space, environment and small-town character while balancing growth.

Please also support Referendum 1. It’s not the scary, chaotic referendum that its opponents portray: we are not going to be running to the polls every other week to vote on some developer’s elevator shaft. Instead, I believe a developer will simply stay within the code. Now, council will not be distracted by hours of variance negotiations but can focus on their No. 1 obligation: overseeing the city manager and how taxpayers’ monies are spent. This additional time given to the council should help prevent some of the embarrassing fiascos we have endured: parking gate, the hydro debacle, 10s of millions on Burlingame cost overruns and vastly over paying for BMC West (to name just a few). We are not tying the council’s hand by moving forth with Referendum 1, but untying their time.

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Letter: Skadron has the leadership required

April 17, 2015 — 

I strongly support Steve Skadron for mayor.

I fear that if Torre is elected, we will end up with ineffective leadership at City Hall. Two of Torre’s most egregious errors as a council member and his poor behavior during the candidate forum earlier this month are reason enough to vote against him. First, Torre was one of four City Council members to vote in favor of the very controversial deal that resulted in the art museum. In fact, Skadron was the only member on City Council to vote against the art-museum deal. Steve clearly understood the shortcomings of the deal and was ready to stand up for the values that most Aspenites share — development that pays its own way, honors our history and connects us with our surrounding environment.

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Letter: Use what we already have

April 17, 2015 — 

The phrase “If you build it they will come” does not refer to hotels, condominiums or affordable housing. It refers to parks, venues, fishing and picnic areas. When will the Planning Department and the business community progress

into this decade of sustainability, community and true vitality? People left this area to open their businesses in Willits because they were investing in their business and could then pay their own mortgage and not the landlord’s.

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Letter: That's not vitality

April 17, 2015 — 

What a bummer!

Losing our town’s harbinger of summer.

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Letter: Park and hotel can exist

April 17, 2015 — 

The idea of a stand-alone park at the crossroads of our small town may conjure up idyllic reveries of gurgling water, a large, grassy expanse dotted with shade trees, picnics on the green, flowers and children running and playing. This may be what the proponents of “no development” on the Pan and Fork site have in mind.

To my thinking, a manicured, active and populated park is the result of considerable thought, planning and expense. It needs constant maintenance and cleanup to keep its attractive appearance. Without proper nighttime lighting and activity, a park can easily devolve into an unsafe, unsavory place. Successful neighborhood parks are often located inside a perimeter of homes and businesses, but a park that’s located at the edge of town, bordered by a two-lane road with an embankment, a river and another triangle of a park? To me, that doesn’t seem like such a wise proposition.

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Letter: Referendum 1 squelches diversity

April 17, 2015 — 

Aspen is our home, we all care, our quality of life is amazing and it is important that we acknowledge we are all in this together; any dialogue that serves to pit one aspect of our community against another is not in the best interest of the community as a whole. We routinely demonstrate the ability to disagree, passionately debate and, ultimately, solve complex problems in a public dialogue. That is our democratic process.

Why would we want to support pushing that dialogue into marketing campaigns that remove any conversation for creativity, compromise and success? While this is a highly charged emotional issue, the consequences of changing the city charter results in a vote for bad government. There are other examples in the city code that require a public vote if certain triggers are met, but they are not adopted in the charter. Bill Stirling’s recent Aspen Times guest column (“Let our representative democracy work,” March 20) very eloquently expresses the reasons why this is a bad idea.

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Letter: Don't let Ireland blunder again

April 16, 2015 — 

For those who might be thinking about voting for Mick Ireland again, here’s a few things you might want to remember. Mick and his henchman Steve Barwick (he of the lucrative long-term contract engineered by Mick) are responsible for the following: The multi-million dollar Burlingame “oops”; the $18 million BMC lumber yard fiasco; the $9 million hydro rush-to-purchase of specialized equipment before the project was put to a final vote, let alone before they even knew anything about Federal Energy Regulatory Commision and it’ regulations; the wasted legal expenses defending their refusal to let the public see the election ballot results (what were they hiding?); the parking fiasco that they tried to hang on a lower-level employee; the two ugly towers on Hyman Avenue; and Mick’s generally rude and arrogant behavior to those who disagreed with him, especially second-home owners. And why does he hate second-home owners so much? After all, we’re not here full time, so there’s less traffic or demand for services. We pay our taxes but don’t send our kids to local schools. We shop in local stores, eat in local restaurants and most of us don’t travel on private jets. So why so much animosity?

Please remember these “highlights” of Mick’s previous times in office before you bring him back to do more damage.

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Letter: Aspen can learn from D.C.

April 16, 2015 — 

I am originally from Washington, D.C., and when I first moved here, I thought “Why would there be a bus station in the prettiest part of town?” Where I’m from, we let the riders out at the tourist stops, but have enough sense to keep the buses parked and idling elsewhere. Where I’m from, the people are pretty serious, but they know how to let loose, i.e., happy hour on the Hill, July 4th on the Mall, snowball fights on DuPont. Where I’m from, there has been a building-height restriction in the core of the city since the Height of Buildings Act of 1899/1910. Even though the D.C. City Council initially passed the height restrictions in the city, it requires an act of Congress to alter those restrictions, which has been attempted a few times during the past century. Most recently, there was a movement to add an allowance for residential penthouses! Congress has not approved the variance. Why? Because it would ruin the magnificent landscape of the city.

I’m in Aspen now, and I’d like to be able to say, “Where I’m from, our mayor governs with conviction and a true understanding of the magnificence of our city, and he’s got a great sense of humor.“

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Letter: Students for Ref 1

April 16, 2015 — 

Dear city of Aspen,

We love Aspen for all the beauty and authenticity it holds. We ask that you please don’t give away our future. Don’t give away our beautiful, downtown mountain views, our downtown parking or affordable housing. Don’t give away what makes Aspen so exceptional. As first-time voters and the future of our town, we have come together on a bipartisan stance to ensure that Aspen remains as special as ever.

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Letter: Come to grips with reality

April 16, 2015 — 

I believe I’m a lot like Aspen’s voting population. That is, without either the time or a burning desire to study the intricacies, or the meticulous changes needed, in Aspen’s land-use code. Nor do I have an inclination to learn all of the complexities inherent in all of the commercial development proposals that come before the city. I think that’s reality for most of us, but that’s OK; it’s not our calling.

It’s the job of representative government. It’s the job of our elected City Council. Vote “No” on Referendum 1 and prevent misguided campaigns and ad hoc elections. Vote for the candidates you trust to engage in thoughtful and reasonable debate at the City Council table.

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Letter: A respectful councilman

April 16, 2015 — 

A City Council comprised of people who bring a variety of ideas and opinions to the table and who don’t vote lock-step with each other on every proposal before the council works for me. That’s why I’m voting to re-elect Adam Frisch.

Sometimes, Adam and I do not share the same viewpoint, but I appreciate his thorough understanding of the issues and his thoughtful comments that follow. He never acts as if he is the only expert in town on a subject. He seeks and appreciates input from all sides. His ability to remain calm and composed during some of the more heated discussions is impressive. A couple of years ago, during residents’ comments regarding a proposed building, Adam asked me a question. I gave him a snarky response. Instead of wincing, rolling his eyes or challenging my remarks, he thanked me for my input and concern in the same way he did for everyone who spoke. By the time I had returned to my chair in the audience, I decided to readjust my attitude about him being a council member (and about how I will speak to the council in the future).

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Letter: Cultural peace is not childish

April 16, 2015 — 

So, Mark Davis of Denver didn’t like my Aspen Times letter to the editor (“In my village,” April 10). He even found it puerile.

I admit the second paragraph ended obtusely. It should have read, “If these Christian bakers are all so high-minded, charitable and tolerant, why don’t they just tell their gay customers that they will be making an extra-large tithe to their fundamentalist church from the profits from the cake? That way we all win.”

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Letter: Kudos for telehealth

April 16, 2015 — 

The following letter was originally addressed to Pitkin County Manager Jon Peacock.

Thank you for bringing a new telehealth program on board to benefit the county employees. With telehealth available as an option for a simple office visit, the spread of contagions is reduced, transportation and scheduling barriers

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Letter: Frisch for City Council

April 15, 2015 — 

We are writing to strongly endorse re-electing Adam Frisch to the City Council in the May 5 election.

Adam was one of the first people we met when we moved to Aspen a little over 10 years ago, and we often credit him and his wife, Katy, as being one of the reasons we chose to make this town our home. They were incredibly welcoming, introducing us to their friends, showing us the many facets of Aspen and engaging us in local organizations.

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Letter: Climbing the walls

April 15, 2015 — 

The Wild West $100 bounty is offered to Basalt resident Nathaniel Spicer, 24, Breckenridge freestyle skier Gregory Tatlor, 26, and Denver snowboard pro Dillon Gross, 22, toward the defense of liberty and “keeping Aspen Aspen” for their recent Aspen Art Museum climb/art project/arrest. Note to Aspen Shortsfest filmakers in town from Los Angeles: hilarious short-film subject.

Lee Mulcahy

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Letter: The Iran illusion

April 15, 2015 — 

Cute letter by Richard C. Goodwin (“Peace serves everyone,” Letters to the editor, The Aspen Times, April 14). Yeah, sure, Iran won’t misbehave. And Tawny Kitaen will call you back! You gonna get a Hillary bobblehead doll or buy stock in Russian missiles?

David Olexsak

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Letter: Referendum bad for Aspen

April 15, 2015 — 

The Art Museum, Aspen Core and Aspen Mews would not have had to go to a vote if Referendum 1 were in effect. Know the facts, Aspen! Vote “no” on Referendum 1. Visit www.aspenvoteknow.com.

Maria Morrow

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Letter: Hurting for hydroelectricity

April 15, 2015 — 

I find it of interest (but certainly for the public good) that our local officials have agreed to oppose further transbasin water diversions to the Front Range. How ironic! According to Aspen Journalism (“Colorado River roundtable makes water projects priority,” The Aspen Times, March 30), securing flows on the Colorado River is tied to the Shoshone hydropower plant senior water right, which dates back to 1902 (Aspen’s are 1889). Yet the preservation of Aspen’s historic hydroelectric water rights on Castle Creek seems to have been met with indifference by Aspen Journalism and opposed by respected environmentalists and wealthy streamside property owners on both Castle and Maroon creeks.

Yet the restoration of clean, renewable hydroelectric generation will ensure the preservation of Aspen’s historical water rights and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, all laudable goals for Aspen.

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Letter: Kudos to Basalt mayor

April 15, 2015 — 

Old Town Basalt is a wonderful town and has a very special, unique character that many towns have lost through overdevelopment and poor planning. I fear the Lowe plan may have the same impact on Basalt. I believe it is too large and will bring very little vitality to downtown and actually detract from the beauty of Basalt.

The development of condominiums at the price of $500,000 and up will most likely attract seasonal residents who will contribute little to the vibrancy of the community and chase more residents farther downvalley. I believe Basalt needs to create longevity and liveliness for our community in order to enhance our town to attract young professionals, diverse families and their extended families. Three hundred sixty families and a thriving business were displaced due to this development. It is our responsibility to our community to bring their energy back to Basalt. My concern is that developing high-end unaffordable condos will detract from both the beauty and the character of Basalt. I truly believe that creating a vibrant, interactive park space for children, families and community members to interact in will bring more to our community than the Lowe project attains to do. Let’s create an area unique to the valley that is complementary to the Rocky Mountain Institute, preserving our world-class fishing water combined with education about our waterways while protecting wetland and wildlife migration. The former home of the Pan and Fork trailer area should become a safe and enjoyable space to attract visitors and for everyone in the community to spend time in and enjoy. Look at the success that the tram and Two Rivers Park has brought to Glenwood Springs. No other communities in our area allow for large development along the river corridor; it is preserved land for trails, memorials and outdoor entertainment. Let’s do something different by preserving the true character of Colorado and its history.

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Letter: Make development pay its own way

April 15, 2015 — 

Let’s elect a slate of candidates who will initiate change in making development pay its own way and maintaining community values Aspen’s residents want to preserve.

Last year, a majority of the City Council voted to do away with all or most of the requirements for parking, affording-housing mitigation and height and mass on commercial lodging and condominium tear-downs. This favors developers entirely, leaving taxpayers to mitigate for parking, housing needs, loss of views and Aspen’s small-town character. As Mick Ireland has said, growth should pay its own way when the public is always on the losing side.

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Letter: Thanks from the Thrift Shop

April 15, 2015 — 

Every month, volunteers of the Thrift Shop of Aspen meet to continue to accomplish our mission: to make grants to other nonprofit organizations in the Roaring Fork Valley. We are grateful to all the community members who continue to support our efforts by donating and purchasing gently used clothing and household items. For the month of April, we are pleased to announce the following recipients:

The Aspen Music Festival and School, Challenge Aspen, the Early Childhood Learning Center, Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers, the Aspen Poet’s Society, the Aspen Camp for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Aspen Choral Society, Lucky Day Animal Rescue, Windwalkers, the Roaring Fork Youth Orchestra and the 5-Point Film Festival.

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Letter: Three reasons to say 'no' to Referendum 1

April 15, 2015 — 

I am voting “no” on Referendum 1. Here are three reasons; any one will suffice:

1. The proponents contend that their elected officials cannot be trusted with any discretion to do their jobs on land-use applications. The charter amendment, they say, is needed to stop such unchecked power by the City Council and mayor. But the same proponents are currently running (and in some cases previously held office) for the same jobs — I can’t be trusted, but elect me anyway?

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Lum: Myrin, Ireland, Torre and 'yes'

April 15, 2015 — 

As the column title implies, I am supporting Bert Myrin and Mick Ireland for City Council and Torre for mayor and am voting “yes” on Referendum 1 to, as the motto rather clumsily says, “Keep Aspen, Aspen.”

For me, this was a very easy decision, except for the mayor’s seat. I like Steve Skadron a lot — he’s smart and he’s on the right side of things, but I think that Torre is even more on the right side of things and, in this election, the more the better.

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Letter: Support your public lands while you shop

April 14, 2015 — 

Did you know that Wilderness Workshop runs free backcountry hikes all summer? Our summer hike series is one of many ways that we celebrate the beauty of our wild places and encourage their continued protection. And with your help, we can keep this programming free! This spring and summer, Wilderness Workshop is thrilled to be a recipient of our local Whole Foods’ “Your Change Creates Change” program. Now through July 5, for every reusable bag that you bring to Whole Foods Roaring Fork, you will receive a bag credit that you can donate to Wilderness Workshop. Your bag-credit donation will support our public-lands advocacy, education and outreach work, including our free summer hike series. Please consider supporting Wilderness Workshop when you shop, and join us this summer for a hike!

Lindsey Palardy

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Letter: Basalt needs a river park

April 14, 2015 — 

I’ve been a valley resident for most of my life, and though I live in Aspen, I have always loved Basalt and visit often. Though Basalt has a nice little park and I have attended events there, now there is an opportunity for Basalt to have an awesome park on the river. The Roaring Fork and Fryingpan rivers are such a part of Basalt’s identity, but there is no river park in Basalt. Think of the possibilities. I’ve been reading some great ideas in the letters to the editor. It seems like the overwhelming majority of locals desire to have a park to enjoy the green space and the sounds and sights of the river, with places to picnic, venues for music, theater in the park, sports events, weddings — so many possibilities. Depending upon what the people of Basalt want, there could be a little dog park. Some might like a skateboard park, maybe a beach along the river, a Saturday market, an art fair, a food fair — the possibilities go on and on, but only if condos and a hotel aren’t built there. We in the Roaring Fork Valley love nature, our rivers and our trees, and we love to get together with friends and family and enjoy these priceless amenities. What better place than a river park in Basalt? I don’t think that there is going to be another opportunity for a centrally located park in Basalt. Once that land is developed for condos and a hotel, the opportunity is gone. I hope that those of you who want Basalt to have a beautiful river park will make your voices heard. Sign a petition, go to the meetings, and talk to your neighbors. You can make it happen. I hope you do.

Lani White

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Letter: Basalt can benefit from the right type of development

April 14, 2015 — 

I am a 12-year Basalt resident. I also worked for the U.S. Forest Service years ago and lived in affordable housing (a run-down converted garage). I left the valley because it was obvious that I could never get ahead if I stayed. There were few well-paying, professional positions, and most were like mine — temporary. Not much has changed.

I wince when people say, “I hope my children will live here when they finish school.” Unless they have family money, how can they? Where are the good jobs that would allow them to have careers and some measure of financial security? I would rather see Basalt working to bring more professional “clean tech” opportunities to the valley and diversify our economy than building more not-so-affordable housing. Why not facilitate clean-tech-based clusters of innovation around our unique asset, the Rocky Mountain Institute? Instead of building more not-so-affordable housing, let’s encourage business formation and growth and attract investment and higher-paying, permanent jobs.

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Letter: Lacrosse action in Aspen

April 14, 2015 — 

Today, the Aspen Skiers boys lacrosse team will play another great game against the Dawson School Mustangs (4-4 overall, 2-1 league) starting at 3 p.m. on the Aspen High School turf field. Please come out and support your Aspen Skiers (6-2 overall, 4-0 league). Good luck, and go, Skiers.

Lauren Jackson

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Letter: Can't force neighborliness

April 14, 2015 — 

I applaud Tom Mooney for wanting Americans to be charitable (“In My Village,” Letters to the editor, The Aspen Times, April 10). But his letter opposing the Indiana law confuses the issue. The law does not forbid charity. Nor will its repeal, or revision, affect anyone’s actual love of neighbor.

The law does not allow discrimination against homosexual people. It doesn’t even let bakers out of gay weddings. It simply provides that people may plead before a judge when the government forces them to act against their consciences.

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