Letters to the Editor

Letter: ISIS brings back chilling memories

October 2, 2014 — 

ISIS brings back chilling memories

A recent article reported that “scores of Yazidi men in Iraq” were executed by ISIS. Just a few days ago they executed 250 Iraqi-captured soldiers.

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Letter: Support Aspen Skiers for homecoming weekend

October 2, 2014 — 

Support the Aspen Skiers

Aspen High School’s homecoming weekend festivities are coming up, starting with the Booster Club Bonfire/Pep Rally on Oct. 8 at 6:30 p.m., at the corner of Cooper and Galena. The volleyball team has games Oct. 9 starting at 4 p.m. with the C Team.

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Letter: What’s the alternative?

October 2, 2014 — 

What’s the alternative?

If John McCain were President, we would be bombing seven countries now and hitting six more with drones.

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Letter: City of Aspen needs new employees

October 2, 2014 — 

More questions about parking scam

The curtain hiding Aspen’s “Parking Gate” crisis has been lifted, at least a bit. Thanks to the diligent reporting by reporters from The Daily News and The Times, we now know that those employed by the city did ask a few questions as early as 2009. However, we also know that the people employed by the city did little to follow up. For example, in July 2011 it was decided to do nothing although the unpaid debt in the previous year had totaled $27,000.

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Letter: Parking Department is to blame

October 1, 2014 — 

In Aspen, we are very fortunate to live in a town with little violence. There are no shootings of unarmed civilians, save perhaps Larkin Harris decades ago. So what the community does is focus on what ills it finds.

City employees have a fiduciary responsibility to the residents of Aspen. In their official positions, they are expected to keep informed on current trends and be aware of ways to advance the public interest. It seems abundantly clear that the Parking Department has not done this. If Aspen was one of only three cities to continue to use batch processing of credit cards, it seems clear that parking officials were not keeping informed. If credit cards were not blacklisted when the technology existed to do so, it seems clear that the Parking Department was not actively keeping informed on ways to exercise its fiduciary responsibility.

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Letter: Voting 101

October 1, 2014 — 

Election Day is Nov. 4, and as a young person concerned about the future of politics in America, I am urging all of my peers and new arrivals in the valley to make your voices heard and vote. The issues on the ballot and the candidates running for office will shape our future, and our generation needs to be a part of determining that.

Here are a couple of things to know to cast your ballot this fall:

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Letter: Pit is a blight on the valley

October 1, 2014 — 

The Elam Construction Co.’s sand-and-gravel pit is rapidly becoming a scar upon the upper Roaring Fork Valley. The excavation of this pit has visibly doubled in the past year alone, as viewed from Highway 82, Woody Creek, the Rio Grand Trail, Juniper Hill and elsewhere. The Pitkin Board of County Commissioners has approved further excavation by Elam through 2026, subject to annual review. Elam should be aware of the disfigurement of our valley that it is creating and take measures to mitigate the increasingly unsightly nature of its ongoing excavation.

Furthermore, I believe it behooves the commission and the residents and property owners of Pitkin County to be aware of this issue and take action to remedy the situation when it comes up for permit renewal again this winter.

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Letter: Neighbors help trail work come to fruition

October 1, 2014 — 

As Rio Grande Trail users have likely noticed, the paving of roughly 2 more miles of the trail as well as the construction of a new stretch of adjacent, soft-surface trail are now complete. Trail users will find the new dual-surface segment extending upvalley from the Rio Grande’s crossing of McLain Flats Road above Jaffee Park.

Pitkin County Open Space and Trails would like to thank the public and neighbors of the project site for their patience during the work, which required detours to accommodate construction and paving. The W/J Homeowners Association, in particular, deserves our thanks. The homeowners granted use of a private road through their subdivision during the project for both construction and detour purposes, helping facilitate a timely conclusion to the work and providing a detour that was far better for trail users than the other available alternative.

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Letter: ‘Parking-Gate’: Where’s the outrage?

October 1, 2014 — 

So now both of Aspen’s local daily newspapers finally start performing their duty of investigating “Parking-Gate.” Tuesday’s editions contained information from emails among city officials indicating some very interesting facts. Such as the fact that the vulnerability of the parking system to this kind of fraud was known as far back as 2009. Such as the fact that the credit- and debit-card decline rate was markedly above historical levels in early 2012. Such as the fact that Aspen remained only one of three systems in the country that was not protecting itself against this type of fraud. A careful read of City Hall emails probably would reveal a lot more unflattering facts about the lax attitude of our city management toward its fiduciary duty.

I already have called for a sweeping, and I do mean sweeping, review by an independent consultant of City Hall’s business practices, not just in the Parking Department but throughout the departments that handle a lot of our money. And the consultant should report to the City Council and the residents, not the city manager. It seems so obvious this is called for that I am surprised the City Council has not called a special meeting to take such action.

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Letter: On Aspen hydro, fracking and ISIS

September 30, 2014 — 

As you deliberate on the residents of Aspen’s best alternative-power sources, I urge you to reconsider that the proposed (and fortunately) delayed Aspen hydro project is inefficient, ineffective, will cause more problems than it solves and has unforeseen maintenance and operational costs. Other than that, it is a near-perfect solution, but highly uneconomical. Aspen residents have voiced their majority opinion that this project — lofty in purpose but a likely failure economically — may not be viable.

Is it better to ignore valid calculations that suggest that Aspen hydro is a boondoggle? That it reflects a public that has the audacity to question the religious beliefs of a former mayor who attempted to impose his will on “his people?”

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Letter: Give meat a break

September 30, 2014 — 

On Sept. 21, hundreds of thousands of people marched throughout the world demanding action on climate change. One hundred and twenty world leaders gathered in New York City for the United Nations Summit on Climate Change. What can we do?

A 2006 U.N. report estimated that meat production accounts for 18 percent of man-made greenhouse gases. A 2009 article in the respected World Watch magazine suggested that the contribution may be closer to 50 percent.

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Letter: A warm thought

September 30, 2014 — 

About 90 percent of people believe climate change is real, yet 80 percent of Republicans on the government Science Committee deny it even exists.

Carl Heck

Aspen

Letter: Give the Aspen Art Museum a chance

September 30, 2014 — 

I appreciated reading the letter of praise for the museum by Emilie Trice (“Praise for the Aspen Art Museum,” Sept. 24, The Aspen Times).

She is looking at the museum from the point of view of a thoughtful Aspenite interested in art as an expression of human value and inspiration. These are the people — young and old — for whom museums are built.

We are blessed to have angels here who have the means and the devotion to accomplish such a feat. To their great credit, they partnered with a superb manager and a gifted internationally acclaimed architect to create a unique structure. To no one’s surprise, some people find it jarring.

I would invite these people (they include valued friends) to stand a few short minutes across the street, look at the facade and imagine in their mind’s eye that building one story lower. I think they would conclude that the loss of one floor would diminish its presence and so its importance and become ordinary. Of course, it also would lack a lot of the space it needs to fulfill its purpose. And then please look at the sidewalk in front of the facade: the gardens, grasses, bushes, flowers and picnic tables and benches. Replace them again in your mind’s eye with cars. Useful perhaps, but not compatible with the building behind or its message.

Now I will stick my neck out and make a prediction: In five years time, few will remember the loud controversy (not even the turtles) and most Aspenites and visitors will look at their museum with pride and pleasure.

Curt Strand

Snowmass Village

Letter: No age boundaries for organ donors

September 30, 2014 — 

We’d like to first thank The Aspen Times and writer Andre Salvail for the three recent articles about living kidney donation in the valley. Pepper Gomes, Marguerite Benjamin and Arturo Garcia have received the gift of life thanks to the selfless and heroic decision of their kidney donors.

In the most recently published article, “Aspen police official provides kidney to sheriff’s deputy’s daughter,” we noticed an error regarding the maximum age of living kidney donors. According to the article, “Kidney donors need to be younger than 50,” when in fact they can be up to 60 years old and are sometimes older. Organ donors in general can be all ages, and one donor can save up to eight lives and enhance the lives of 50 others through tissue donation.

At the Chris Klug Foundation, we are committed to eliminating the wait for the more than 123,000 Americans waiting for a transplant today. While the locals that The Aspen Times profiled have been fortunate, 18 people die each day waiting for a life-saving transplant. Becoming a registered organ and tissue donor is a way to have a lasting legacy, and it’s as simple as going to www.chrisklugfoundation.org to register and document your decision. For more information on organ donation or on the Chris Klug Foundation, please contact us at 970-618-7120.

Chris Klug

Founder and Chairman, Chris Klug Foundation

Beth Slater

Executive director, Chris Klug Foundation

Editor’s note: While there is no exact cut-off age for organ donations, there is considerable debate within the medical community regarding the preferred age for kidney transplants. Some experts suggest that a living donor who is younger than 50 offers a better chance for the long-term success of the transplant.

Letter: Highway robbery?

September 30, 2014 — 

Ali Baba and his 40 sidekicks were thieves. Now there’s a real nice bridge down in Glenwood Springs ...

Pat Milligan

Aspen

Letter: More exchange between letter writer, columnist

September 29, 2014 — 

Glenn Beaton,

First off, thanks for the dialogue (“Columnist responds to letter-writer,” Letters, Sept. 20, The Aspen Times).

Secondly, Glenn, I didn’t call you Rick Santorum. I said you were “invoking Rick Santorum.” In 2012, he gave a speech in Steubenville, Ohio, claiming his views were not “anti-science” but rather Democrats were.

Thirdly, I guess we could go back and forth citing studies and results till we are both bleary eyed:

www.enveurope.com/content/24/1/24

www.gmwatch.org/index.php/news/archive/2014/15431

www.responsibletechnology.org/gmo-dangers

www.globalresearch.ca/

argentina-cancer-deaths-well-above-the-

national-average-in-heavily-gmo-

planted-areas/5402289

You can cite your propaganda backed by Monsanto affiliates, (i.e. David Ropeik, the author of link you provided and Harvard staffer. Most of the funders of the Harvard Center for Risk Analysis are industry groups, including the Chemical Manufacturers Association, Chlorine Chemistry Council, American Crop Protection Association, Monsanto and International Paper. And the previously cited FDA, which has had seven high-ranking employees over the past decade who have employment history with Monsanto, including Michael R. Taylor, deputy commissioner of the Office of Foods.)

And I can cite my sources by those without a big corporate financial leg in the game (see aforementioned sites).

And to note, if genetically modified organisms are as safe as Monsanto wants us all to believe, why do they push so hard not to label them as such? The FDA asks for all labels to contain nutritional value, why not GMO information? Is it not a “nutritional” element?

(I do apologize, by the way, I went for the golden rice rather than the Mexican wheat. Please don’t get me wrong, I would love for world hunger to be solved safely, but to reiterate, as of yet, “golden rice” has not been proven to work. It’s still being basically beta tested in the Philippines:

www.philrice.gov.ph/?page=golden. Despite you printing that “it has alleviated blindness,” it has not been available to the public for consuming nor have I read it alleviating blindness, other than in theory, so I’m not sure where you got that “fact.”)

Your parting comments referring to pot were hypothetical, not scientific. Because, again, as stated previously, science has proven that pot is “no more harmful” than FDA-approved alcohol.

I’ll take you up on the cup of coffee to discuss more, and we can stop boring the pants off of anyone still reading this banter.

Marci Michelle

Snowmass Village

Letter: Thompson Divide area is vital to environment, community

September 29, 2014 — 

In the Sept. 17 Glenwood Springs Post Independent, David Ludlum, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association, made the claim that the Thompson Divide area is a political concept and not an area based on the Thompson Creek watershed or any other biological or geological considerations. For those of us who live and work in this community, we know this is not true.

Public lands in the Thompson Divide area provide invaluable grazing opportunities for local ranches, clean water for our crops and towns and endless recreation opportunities — including hunting, fishing, snowmobiling and biking — that support hundreds of jobs in our local economy. The Thompson Divide area also is defined by 15 different watersheds, all of which are connected through one of the last great swaths of undeveloped roadless areas on the Western Slope. Our communities rely on this area for the direct and indirect benefits it provides. Those benefits are very real and help to support our recreation and tourism-based economy in the region.

Simply put, Ludlam’s comments could not be further from the truth. Thompson Divide is not a political concept. It is an area of public lands that deserves to be protected for posterity’s sake.

Sarah R. Johnson

Carbondale

Letter: Catholic Church bigger than its crimes

September 29, 2014 — 

Jim DeFrancia is wrong (“Archaic mindset plagues Catholic Church,” Letters, Sept. 24, The Aspen Times). The Catholic Church is not the only organization guilty of covering up sex crimes committed by a tiny few in power.

During my schoolboy days in Aspen, it was widely known that at least six teachers had sex with high school and middle school students, resulting in at least two pregnancies. Nobody went to jail, was fired or was even reprimanded.

Leaders of college sports programs have a history of ignoring sexual misconduct and abuse, e.g. Penn State, Duke, Oklahoma State, etc.

Nobody can say how many thousands of women (and men) are raped and sexually abused in the U.S. military by a tacit and systemic hierarchy that turns its head to (at best) or condones (at worst) the evil.

You can think of many more examples.

In organizations of humans designed for good, there will always be ingratiating members with evil intent trying to exploit the organization’s solid reputation for personal degenerative benefit. It’s possible that the most noble institutions are the biggest targets for the miscreants. Nonetheless, we don’t destroy the institutions when the evil comes to our attention. We bring the perpetrators of evil to justice and carry on with the noble cause.

Roger Marolt

Snowmass Village

Letter: Councilman: Thievery cannot be condoned

September 29, 2014 — 

This from The Aspen Times’ most recent editorial(“Soul-searching through Aspen’s parking-meter fracas,” Editorial, Sept. 26.): “It bothers us that Mayor Steve Skadron reportedly was quick to agree with Councilman Dwayne Romero’s sentiment that ‘the conduct of the citizens is far more malicious and dark than the management issues inside the city.’” Huh?

The apparent and purposeful theft of thousands (possibly hundreds of thousands) of dollars of parking fees is somehow more acceptable than the actual and now admitted deficiencies of the parking-meter system itself? Really?

Let me be more clear: There is a distinct difference between a deficiency (even deficiencies) of the parking system versus the willful intent to steal from that system. I will not defend the deficiencies, but nor will I condone the apparent thievery. One can and should be fixed through technology and better/stronger management practices; the other may become a felony conviction.

Since our discussions this week, I have received plenty of input and support to approach and repair both issues — vigorously fix the metering system (and how it is managed and controlled) and pursue the alleged thefts with equal vigor. Both deserve our attention.

I do agree with the editor on his last point: A town-hall-style meeting across all stakeholders may be in order, if for nothing else than to shake out the facts from the fiction and perhaps even provide some focus on solutions. I’m also in favor of some sort of third party, independent review of the issues. At a larger level, all of this may pave the way in rebuilding trust for and among ourselves.

Dwayne Romero

Aspen

Letter: Willful ignorance by city’s parking department

September 29, 2014 — 

I appreciate The Aspen Times’ perspective on “Parking Gate” (“Soul-searching through Aspen’s parking-meter fracas,” Editorial, Sept. 26.) The city got this wrong — badly.

To be clear, contrary to your editorial: “Second, it was only three years ago that the city acknowledged that its parking meters were collecting money after hours. The parking director knew about the problem in 2008 but (as he himself acknowledged) let it slip. The city said it could not estimate how much money was collected from the after-hours meter feeders. Thus, the city kept the money — we don’t know how much — before the meter vendor corrected the problem through a software update.” The issue of after-hours collections has not been corrected — after hours, i.e. after 6 p.m., has been corrected, but as I believe was confirmed by Tim Ware on Sept. 22, the meters continue to collect fees after required hours all day on parking holidays — Sundays, holidays and offseason when parking is free both on Saturday and Sunday.

My understanding is that the capability to program hours and days has always existed with these meters (which are not 20 years old), not just after a software update, but the city staff chose and still chooses not to program the meters to accept fees only during required hours and days — to do so currently requires each meter be programed — somebody would need to walk around and touch or program each meter.

Of course, someone already touches each meter periodically to collect money. The new system will be capable of having meter times programed from the parking manager’s desk. It remains to be seen if the city will take advantage of this capability to only accept money during required time periods.

Separately, I would be willing to bet the parking meters make a record of when dollars are collected so the city can determine money collected outside of required times the city just chooses not to review the meter records.

Mike Maple

Aspen

Letter: Kindergarten approach to parking department

September 29, 2014 — 

Aspen’s “Parking Gate” represents a failure of governance. One or more city officials should be fired if the loss was due to incompetence. One or more city officials should go to jail if it was due to corruption. These are the only two possible explanations. No other explanation is possible.

I make the assertion as a former U.S. Treasury official and a consultant to the International Monetary Fund. At the Treasury, I was responsible for a group that was required to estimate the revenues from various energy taxes. With the IMF I worked with nations to design programs to estimate revenues from taxes. In Yemen and Turkey the revenue estimation programs we developed significantly boosted tax collections, much to the disgust of government officials who were on the take.

Let me be clear, revenue collection is key to good governance. Revenues are required to provide services. Every competent government — every one — develops sophisticated systems for collecting tax revenues. A forecasting system is a key component.

Revenues from parking meters are a source of revenue for the city of Aspen. The program has been scammed for three years, costing the citizens almost $1 million. (My guess is that the ultimate cost will reach $2 million if the city ever allows an independent investigator to look into the matter.) The error would have been caught if the city had a systems of projections officials bothered to compare actual receipts against projections. Such a system, though, requires competence.

Now those in city government are attempting to blame the individuals who did not pay their fees. Some city officials say these individuals are to blame for depriving the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority of financial support. Let me be clear: The city officials are wrong. It is one thing for a scam to go one, two or three months without detection. It is very different for a scam to go four years. The scam would have been caught much earlier if Aspen had developed decent revenue estimation teachings — as all competent governments do.

City officials should look in the mirror. They are to blame for depriving RFTA of $800,000.

I am tempted to assert that Aspen is being run as a country club, not a government. However, the analogy is incorrect. Any country club that survives relies on estimates of revenues and expenditures. A country-club bar is not allowed to give away $800,000 in free liquor.

The correct analogy for Aspen is to a kindergarten. Kindergartners know nothing about expenditures, budgets and revenue forecasts. Neither do the current officials of Aspen.

Philip Verleger

Carbondale

Letters: Kudos and Kindness

September 28, 2014 — 

Kudos & Kindness

ARC pool is ‘liquid silk’

The staff of the Aspen Recreation Center pool is to be commended for an especially nice job cleaning the pool this fall. The new lighting really makes a difference, and the water is like swimming in liquid silk! Thanks so much!

Linda Johnson

Aspen

A lovely gesture

I want to thank the wonderful man who not only helped me up the steps at the restaurant in Marble but also so generously paid for my lunch with my daughter. It was most appreciated! Thank you!

Ruth Perry

Carbondale

Thank you, supporters of Mercy and Sharing

On Sept. 20, Mercy and Sharing, collaborating with the Kiwanis of Glenwood Spring, held a pancake breakfast to raise funds and awareness for the 20-year-old nonprofit.

Mercy and Sharing extends a warm thank-you to everyone who supported us at the pancake breakfast. A special thank-you to the Kiwanis, a wonderful organization and a great group of people — who provided the opportunity and much of the manpower for the event. Thank you to all the other volunteers who gave their time and effort. Thank you also to The Aspen Times, City Market, Express Yourself, the Glenwood Post Independent, McDonald’s of Glenwood, Starbucks of Basalt and Theatre Aspen for sponsoring the event. And a huge thank-you to all who showed up to enjoy pancakes to help children in Haiti.

Mercy and Sharing is a Haitian-registered, nonprofit organization operating in Haiti rescuing abused, abandoned and disabled children and providing them with a home, rehabilitation, education, hope and opportunity. In addition, Mercy and Sharing operates two medical clinics, three primary schools, a vocational school, an adult literacy program, a large nutrition program that feeds thousands, clean water wells, a physical-therapy center and three greenhouses.

Mercy and Sharing programs are funded predominantly by private contributions. All donations received go directly to the programs in Haiti because Mercy and Sharing’s advisory board and board of directors are committed to covering 100 percent of all U.S. overhead and administrative costs. For more information, please go to www.haitichildren.org or call us at 970-925-1492.

Staff

Mercy and Sharing

Football thanks to coaches, sponsors

Hi, my name is Miller Clapper, and I just wanted to say “thank you” to all the people who make the Youth Football League amazing. First of all, all this could not be done with out Ron Morehead — he is tireless. Thanks also to the Aspen Recreation Center’s Keith Bulicz, the Aspen Parks Department’s Blair Elliot and the Aspen Elks Lodge No. 224 for sponsoring. My coaches, coach Ward, coach Williams and coach Sweeney, are the best coaches around. You guys have made me a better player.

Thank you.

Miller Clapper

Aspen

Letter: Keep Crystal River Valley wireless

September 27, 2014 — 

Keep Crystal River Valley wireless

Dear Dee Malone, chairperson, Crystal Valley Caucus:

As we speak, informed communities keeping up with the collapse of wireless communication systems (health impacts, flaky reception, pork-barreled government finance, hacking and tower fires, radiation impacts on wildlife, birds, livestock, trees and humans) are now opting for a superior system wireless can’t touch.

Silverton, Colorado, as you read this, is putting the finishing touches on its high-speed, affordable fiber-optic system which will provide hard-wired connectivity to the entire community.

Delta Montrose Electric Association (Paonia and beyond) has announced its launching buried fiber-optic service — hardwiring all smart meters, providing phone, radio, TV and Internet — all at speeds five times what cell towers and WiFi can. No dummies over the hill, as the litigations, health effects, environmental impacts and wireless cell-communicating smart meter fiasco garner tidal wave proportions in the courts and hearing rooms globally.

Google has seen the light and is getting into hard-wired/fiber-optic systems fast.

Ironic, when we offered the Crystal Valley Caucus board (Dee is both the chairperson and a biologist?) a free screening of “Take Back Your Power,” they labeled (the now approaching 30 percent) the incidence of Electro Sensitization, wireless environmental effects and documentation you’ll find below as “paranoia running deep,” “problems that don’t exist,” and too risky for public exposure.

You might want to have a look at some of these and get involved with the Pitkin County Master Plan Revision which, if the corridor was up to speed, would have these environmental protections included.

It isn’t going to happen through your caucus representation with the county. Just like so much of the sandbagging of information and democracy — you’re apparently on your own.

My own conclusion, 20 years now on the wrong side of Electro Sensitization is that it’s horrifically painful, very real, totally destructive and completely avoidable, given you do the homework and pull the plug on the needless sizzle. Otherwise, buy a tent and a lot of warm clothes.

The Crystal is one of the last remaining wireless-free, pristine corridors left in Colorado. Keep it that way; you won’t be sorry.

Gary Duncan

Crystal River Valley

Letter: A lawsuit might be next

September 27, 2014 — 

A lawsuit might be next

Two fine gentleman, Bob Sirkus, chair, Snowmass Village Planning Commission, and Greg Rulan urge council to get Base Village started again. But, here’s the problem. The 2004 PUD died in the abandonment by Related and the foreclosure. The reasons and legal opinion were given to council on Aug. 18 at a public hearing.

There are other ways without all the “trust me’s” to get Base Village going again, such as zoning variances.

I love it when Aspen Skiing Co. jumps in at the last minute to help Related and get 14 townhouses approved with the promise of a hotel. Once they get the 14 lots, they don’t have to build a hotel.

Comrades, Related and the Skico are “market driven.” If the market is not to their liking, they don’t have to build or finish anything, unless bonded 150 percent of cost.

Here’s my final word. If the town of Snowmass Village tries to extend vesting or approves any new and incomplete buildings without 150 percent bonds on public and private work, I will sue everybody attempting an illegal act. If the above is satisfied, then the Metro District should go bye-bye.

Richard C. Goodwin

Snowmass Village

Letter: The money train

September 27, 2014 — 

The money train

The U.S. has laws about going to foreign countries in support of the enemies such as ISIL/ISIS/IS, Taliban, al Qaida, Hamas, Boko Harum, etc. Oh, wait, I forgot — Hanoi Jane/John Kerry set the precedent that those laws don’t apply, as long as you are in the correct political party and have money!

Michael Galvis

Woody Creek

Letter: Put an end to Aspen homophobia

September 27, 2014 — 

Put an end to Aspen homophobia

Dear community,

What if we started something that could grow and provide new frontiers in Aspen? Is there room for a LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) Bible class? Does God truly love us all the same — gay and straight? Will we have churches in Aspen that will open their doors to same gender weddings by Aspen Gay and Lesbian Ski Week 2015?

We are a “gay friendly” town, but some people believe that means that they can go on acknowledging us as second-class citizens. Being banned from lodges and drugstores feels like the banning of “people of color” from the lunch counters of “white people” in the ‘60s. As we are all aware, that resulted in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Then in 2009, with the brutal death of Matthew Shepard, we now have the 2009 Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act.

If we had a trial in Aspen resulting in federal prison time for the perpetrators of discrimination, bias and prejudice, how many people would be found guilty and spend the rest of their lives in a federal prison? If the current suicide rate increases, we will make national news negatively, which could hurt our tourist trade. Is this what we want? How many more have to die before we do something? Call or email me if you want to join this project to eliminate homophobia in Aspen and decrease deaths in both the straight and LGBT communities. A venue to find common ground could be a start. What did Jesus say about same-gender love? Answer: nothing!

Jan Hamilton

Aspen

Letter: A bridge to nowhere

September 27, 2014 — 

A bridge to nowhere

After reading a lot of letters lately about the proposed bridge replacements, I’ve come to a couple of conclusions:

One, if that misbegotten monster gets built I’m going to ask my boss if I can move into his up-valley basement for the construction duration.

Two, widening that perfectly serviceable and maintainable bridge will increase car and especially truck traffic through the heart of Glenwood.

Build it and they will come. Aspen can discourage traffic and we need a bridge to facilitate it?

And to those whining ninnies who claim great fear while driving on our Grand Bridge, I say take some driving lessons and get your eyesight checked.

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Rifle

Letter: It’s the GOP that demeans women

September 27, 2014 — 

It’s the GOP that demeans women

In her letter to the editor, Susan Gomez says that Democrats demean women by assuming they are concerned only with their reproductive rights (“Dems demean women,” Sept. 24, The Aspen Times). This is a myth being perpetuated by Republicans, the party that wants to take these rights away. In fact, intelligent women know that the Democrats support the environment and sustainable energy, that they support raising the minimum wage, that they support civil rights, public education, the middle class, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

The Republicans don’t — and they want to take away access to birth control and, even in the worst scenarios, abortion. All of these are women’s issues as well as men’s issues. There is a party that demeans — and hurts — women, but it isn’t the Democrats.

Karen Glenn

Carbondale

Letter: The Catholic Church’s staying power

September 27, 2014 — 

The Catholic Church’s staying power

When in his letter“Archaic mindset plagues Catholic Church” (Sept. 24, The Aspen Times) James DeFrancia declares that “the church is running about 300 years behind the rest of Western culture,” he reminds me of precisely why I chose to become a Catholic.

Let’s see, 300 years ago is when the French Enlightenment began its crusade to stamp out belief in the existence of Satan, as being nothing more than backwards, archaic mythology.

It succeeded so well that — fast forward — The Church of England is now setting about removing all references to Satan in its Rite of Baptism.

Tell me again, what is the purpose of baptism? With Satan out of the picture, isn’t it rather like vaccinating a child against a disease that doesn’t exist?

And if Satan doesn’t exist, then tell me, what need do I have of Christ (who, strangely enough, spoke of Satan frequently)? I mean, why did he even show up in the first place, dropped like a paratrooper behind enemy lines, as C. S. Lewis characterized it?

Not surprisingly, 18th century enlightened rationalists concluded that, indeed, they didn’t need him (after all, claims of his divinity were also mythological): All they needed in order to navigate the waters of life was to exercise their reason.

Fast forward again: How’s that working out? Our spiritually sterile school curricula and social sciences have not kept us from becoming a nation of dependents, addicts and suicides, with many more of us leading lives of quiet desperation. And this is the world that Mr. DeFrancia says the church “needs to join ... in order to be relevant.”

No, the reason the church is fondly called “The Rock of Ages” is that rocks are not easily moved or eroded. The church is in the world, but it better not be of the world. The more it accommodates its orthodoxy to post-modern tastes and values, the more irrelevant and useless it will be to anyone and everyone.

Western culture is on a suicide mission. My hope is that the church will be there to pick up the pieces.

Chad Klinger

Basalt

Letter: Stop destroying Aspen’s character

September 26, 2014 — 

I’m writing as a concerned 25-year resident in beautiful Aspen. I fell in love with this town years ago because it was unique, small and picturesque and had lots of character and interesting people.

When I read about building taller buildings and doing away with parking requirements, it makes my blood boil. Why do the City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission even consider relaxing our codes? Let’s be strong and do what’s best for the city of Aspen and not relax the zoning regulations that have made Aspen what it is and has been for years.

Susan Welsch

Aspen

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