Letters to the Editor

Letter: Get involved to save Lift 1A

June 28, 2016 — 

Don’t let the Planning and Zoning Commission change the conservation zoning to allow a huge hotel on top of our slopes!

Get involved, talk to the council, and let them know your views. After the vote is too late!

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Letter: The politics of fear

June 28, 2016 — 

“We can work with fear,” say the Underwoods in “House of Cards.” Lest you think that is only a Brexit or a Trumpian problem, I ask you to look closer to home.

We have our very own Boris Johnsons. How different is “Keep Aspen Aspen” from “Make Aspen great again”? Fear and loathing have had unfettered success so far. Referendum 1 passed (albeit in a split election), the Power House has been squashed (sorry — tabled indefinitely), and now the paranoia patrol has set its sights on City Hall. Government is too big! Don’t let “them” — those evil politicians and city staff — gather in one building; they will plot against “us,” the public. Should the council not bend to the will of the Boris Brigade, then there is always the threat of referendum. Add to this a mayor who is on the eve of an election, and those vocal “no” votes may be too big a temptation to resist.

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Letter: Don't privatize base of mountain

June 28, 2016 — 

I read with fascination Roger Marolt’s recent column confessing — but not clearly explaining — his change of mind (and heart) regarding the proposed Gorsuch Haus (“On moving Lift 1A and changing my mind,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, June 24). It’s good to know that he will be OK “walking up the hill like always” on Saturday mornings, but it doesn’t change the fact that, in its current form, the proposed Gorsuch Haus would cut off access to the base of ski lift 1A, essentially turning its back on the Aspen community and privatizing the base of the mountain.

By moving Lift 1A farther away from us and constructing a massive wing that blocks the ski corridor, the proposed Gorsuch Haus would essentially restrict usage for the exclusivity of its private guests. The plans also include seizing a hefty portion of the Norway ski run. As if that weren’t enough, there also would be a large retaining wall erected adjacent to the property to further close off access, which also would require whacking several neighbors’ trees.

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Letter: The puppet of Wall Street

June 28, 2016 — 

It would appear that selling out and exhibiting no shame or integrity are new norms in U.S. society. Elizabeth Warren’s concern for battling leeches of Wall Street, many with overpriced homes in Aspen, is one of the great political frauds of this election season, for now she has endorsed Hillary Clinton, a puppet of the seedy Street. What a disgrace.

Sean Elias

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Letter: Stepping up, taking ownership and giving back

June 28, 2016 — 

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of volunteering at the Crooked Creek wetland-restoration project organized by Wilderness Workshop, the Roaring Fork Outdoor Volunteers and the Roaring Fork Conservancy. About 30 volunteers made the lengthy trek to the work site about an hour outside Basalt up Eagle-Thomasville Road. There, we assisted the Forest Service on a project to restore a wetland destroyed in the development of a defunct commercial fishing retreat. The Forest Service now manages this parcel and is restoring it to its original state as a wetland.

It was amazing how efficiently (and with big smiles) the volunteers organized and committed to their respective tasks. Some were on shovel duty, removing cubes of sedge grass from abundant regions and passing them along to teams that cut the cubes into manageable bulbs. These were loaded into buckets and shuttled to other teams of people hunkered in the mud with trowels who dug holes and replanted the bulbs. These were set a foot or so apart. In time, the root structures will connect and the sedge grass will form the basis for a healthy wetland and refuge for birds, fish, amphibians and other wildlife. The Rockies are not known for their wetland habitat, but in fact these sporadic water-soaked oases are a key component of a healthy mountain ecosystem.

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Letter: An artist's gratitude

June 28, 2016 — 

If you haven’t visited the Art Base Annex gallery for an exhibition or art talk, put it on your list!

I recently had the honor of exhibiting in this beautiful gallery. The whole experience was one of the most heartwarming, uplifting and rewarding of my career.

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Letter: The reason for regulations

June 28, 2016 — 

One of the most attractive things about Aspen is that it really does have zoning regulations in place. However imperfect they are, Aspen’s zoning regs keep rampant development from spoiling the look and feel of a wonderful mountain town. That, after all, is what makes Aspen unique among American ski towns. So it’s very disturbing to learn that the city might permit a zoning change to allow the oversize Gorsuch Haus hotel to be high up in the middle of an existing, long-established ski run near the 1A lift.

Beyond defacing the hillside and significantly constricting the ski run, if that hotel does get built, it will put a great deal of additional stress on one of the steepest streets in town. There would have to be a lot of additional truck traffic needed to service the hotel and its restaurant. Plus, of course, additional car traffic to drop off skiers and bring hotel guests up and down from town. The so-called “rubber tired” solution to which the developers have referred is really nothing more than a bad joke!

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Letter: Companies should minimize river risk

June 28, 2016 — 

I would like to take this opportunity to take issue with Jim Ingram’s comment that I was “making a big deal out of nothing” in regard to the rafting incident on the Roaring Fork River (“Oklahoma family safe after river-rafting trip goes awry,” The Aspen Times, June 28).

When I arrived, the guides were not even visible, and it was only after I carried the youngest member to the side of the river that I noticed the guides ferrying a raft across the river to commence a rescue. Their attempts to get a throw line to the log was not succeeding despite many attempts.

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Letter: Good memories never die

June 28, 2016 — 

It wasn’t just the excellent performances — the singing, the dancing, the staging, the ABBA music. It was all that, of course, but it also was recalling the first time I fell in love, the second time in the ’70s and then the third time in the ’80s.

You get the idea. Falling in love, even the umpteenth time, is glorious. And if you can’t fall again, or haven’t in a very long time, the next-best thing might be feeling it in memory.

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Letter: No zoning change for Gorsuch project

June 28, 2016 — 

Development on South Aspen Street is complete with the building of Lift One Lodge and One Aspen.

Provided are the following: rooms for rent, commercial space, new utilities, a rebuilt albeit narrower South Aspen Street and underground parking for both Lift One Lodge guests and the general public.

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Letter: An ode to 1A

June 28, 2016 — 

It’s beyond late for skiing, but here’s a poem for poor old Lift 1A:

It’s late spring / The sun heads higher / Get out your mirrored shades / Get out those sleazy suspenders / And let go into the buttery grainy blessing of a Slalom Hill mogul / Find your rhythm; find the feeling of the slope; find that flow / Maybe hot dog it a bit more than you should for Mill Street and the bums.

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Letter: Bad use of money

June 28, 2016 — 

I read with great interest Sunday’s article about the numbers surrounding Food & Wine weekend (“Food & Wine Classic in Aspen: By the numbers,” The Aspen Times, June 26). However, I question the planet the writers were on when it was written, “One week after the final Grand Tasting, there is almost no trace of the event.” It seems apparent that the writers haven’t seen Wagner Park! The park is a disgrace without sod and brown grass. Granted I did read that Food & Wine did contribute $30,000 for sod replacement, but really after all the money spent on irrigation, sod and re-sodding and now partial re-sodding, this money could be better spent on deed-restricted (less than $500,000) and employee housing!

It won’t be long now when businesses will have to close because good workers cannot afford to live in Aspen. The money spent on the park is ludicrous!

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Letter: Can we do more?

June 26, 2016 — 

Dear Roaring Fork Valley residents,

This is not easy to read.

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Letter: Leave rumors out of debate

June 26, 2016 — 

My observation of the “Squirm Night” leaves me restless. While county staff has a long tradition of silence on the eve of a commissioners’ election, I am unable to remain mute. And I write as a citizen; the views expressed are my own and not those of the program by which I am often known.

A hearty debate on the management of the public’s land is wonderful and provocative. Less so were the personal accusations regarding the integrity of Hawk Greenway as regards Hawk’s private property in Little Annie Basin. To assert he should simply have given the land away violates a primary tenet of our land-conservation ethos: fair compensation for value. More disturbing is the innuendo that Hawk abused his position on the open space board in seeking land-use approvals while also serving the county. To begin with, the permits in question were not under the purview of the open space program and were administered by the Community Development Department and by the county commissioners. In my entire 17 years of watching the same, I will say unequivocally that the county places more scrutiny on applications by those well-known to the staff and elected board than otherwise. To suggest otherwise is an affront to the professional staff and elected board of the county. As for Hawk’s integrity, by my reckoning, during his 18 years of volunteer service, the man has donated well over 1,000 hours to the betterment of land conservation and public rights on public lands. He also donated a public trail easement on his lands on Richmond Ridge. Very few in this world of NIMBY-ism have done as much. Watching the personal accusations leveled at Hawk during Squirm Night could only remind me of McCarthyism — no shame in the pursuit of a political gain.

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Letter: In honor of Ideas Fest

June 26, 2016 — 

I have some great and useful ideas that are free and simple and actually could change the world and leave it a better place for our children.

1. Since the government is talented at creating diseases like HIV, cancer and Zika, how about it creates the disease of unconditional love and inject everyone with it? At least the autism rates would drop.

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Letter: Not a fan of Clinton's

June 26, 2016 — 

Regarding “Trump views U.K. exit vote as validation,” by The Associated Press’ Julie Pace (The Aspen Times, June 25), Julie states, “Britain’s stunning vote to bolt from the European Union sent political tremors across the Atlantic on Friday, fueling Donald Trump’s confidence that frustrated U.S. voters will back similarly sweeping change and rattling Democrats who are banking on Americans ultimately choosing a more conventional leader in Hillary Clinton.”

If she is conventional, no wonder rank-and-file Americans are ready for change — lost her lawyer job working on the Nixon impeachment because of poor ethics, removed U.S. taxpayer-owned furnishing from the White House when moving out (returned some, paid for some), Benghazi scandal around loss of life, enabler of spousal misconduct, liar extraordinaire and, of course, unsecure email threatening national-security personnel.

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Letter: An accomplished candidate

June 26, 2016 — 

I write this letter to ask voters to vote for Scott Writer for Pitkin County commissioner.

Scott’s active involvement in the community spans five decades. He was one of the leaders in getting the Aspen Recreation Center built and has served as a coach on various teams over the years for a generation of young people here in the valley. He is a business leader, father, skier and husband.

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Letter: Oversight needed on open space

June 26, 2016 — 

The Pitkin County Board of Commissioners and the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails staff met for the first review of the draft for the 20,000 acres of Pitkin County open space lands.

If Open Space and Trails is allowing motorized vehicles on trails to accommodate motorized wheelchairs, then specify motorized handicapped vehicles, and don’t allow the e-bikes, scooters and who knows what other mechanical contraption humans will use to circumvent the original intention of a rule. The Roaring Fork Transportation Authority’s Rio Grande Trail should not be compromised by adding motorized vehicles — ever! That is what roads are for.

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Letter: The wrong project for Aspen

June 26, 2016 — 

I write to you in opposition to the Gorsuch development proposal that now appears to be headed to a hearing before the Aspen Planning and Zoning Commission. My perspective is of someone who has been skiing and hiking in Aspen for nearly 40 years. I live in Connecticut but fly out four to five times a year, often with children and now grandchildren. I don’t have to elaborate on the effort this involves, but we think of Aspen as our second home and always look forward to coming here — the town, the mountain and our many longtime friendships.

We don’t have to put up with the challenges of getting here, snow is the same everywhere, and there are places far more convenient to get to. But nowhere have we found the feeling and look, the vibrancy and spirit of what a ski town should be. I see this slowly changing — big-box-like structures (the art museum and Little Nell Residences come to mind) — and now Aspen is on the verge of completely girdling its magnificent mountain with yet another over-the-top structure. And for what? A few more rooms marring the view for townsfolk and visitors, cutting off the last vestige of direct access to skiers (mostly local), all to the benefit of a couple of developers, promising a further erosion of the qualities that make this town so special.

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Letter: Gondola gratitude

June 25, 2016 — 

The Aspen Art Museum would like to thank Steve Sewell and Mary Catherine LaMar of Aspen Skiing Co. for generously donating gondola passes to our Summer Workshop participants, enabling them to view Shinique Smith’s mural “Resonant Tides” at Elk Camp in Snowmass.

We are grateful to continue to build on our collaboration with Skico.

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Letter: Support Hawk Greenway

June 25, 2016 — 

I support Hawk Greenway for Pitkin County commissioner. He distinguishes himself from Greg and Scott in many ways, and I encourage you to vote for him in the Tuesday primary.

All three candidates are longtime residents of our valley who have multiple associations with our community and who care about the quality of life here. Hawk stands out as the strongest candidate. He has an extremely keen intellect that enables him to understand and navigate complex issues. He has 18 years of experience volunteering for the Open Space and Trails Board and this role gives him insight into the responsibilities of a county commissioner, exposure to how our local government operates and skills for collaborating with county employees and citizen boards.

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Letter: Beware of barbecued bugs

June 25, 2016 — 

What ever happened to the good old days when our worst worries on the Fourth of July were traffic jams and wayward fireworks?

A well-warranted worry, according to the Department of Agriculture¹s Meat and Poultry Hotline, is food poisoning by nasty E. coli and salmonella bugs hiding in hot dogs and hamburgers at millions of backyard barbecues. The hotline’s advice is to grill them longer and hotter. Of course, they avoid mentioning that the high-temperature grilling that kills the bugs also happens to form cancer-causing compounds.

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Letter: Leave it as it is

June 24, 2016 — 

In response to Mick Ireland’s commentary (“Keep open space, open,” Aspen Daily News, June 20):

Hi, Mick — a group named Responsible Citizens for Open Space has been organized. In principle, we are opposed to a 25-year or even 20-year extension of the tax to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails, as no entity anywhere deserves a tenure of that length. Open Space and Trails wants to redefine “trails” as “transportation corridors” and to change the name “historic agriculture” to just “agriculture.” We are vehemently opposed to such name changes, as they are historical and valid names. What purpose would the name changes serve? We also are opposed to humans invading the backcountry where wildlife has been disrupted so badly that mountain lions are now invading rural areas such as Woody Creek and mauling small children because of man-made trails that go into the wilderness, where people don’t belong on bicycles or any motorized vehicles, often even foot traffic. The bears, lions, elk, deer, bobcats and so on don’t have anywhere left to go but to invade our backyards here in Woody Creek, where we try to keep a balanced life of farming, ranching and fostering the wildlife in the backcountry, which is becoming increasingly difficult. Yes, we want to keep a gravel and rural road for a trail system, as this is a rural area. You are in an urban area where the roads are paved, and I assume you want to keep those roads paved and urban. We don’t try to impose our will on you; why impose your wants on us down here in Woody Creek or in our rural ranching areas? It does not make any sense, Mick — leave us to our lives here, and stop funneling your agenda and activities into our backyards, where they impact more than just farmers and ranchers and just plain folk trying to live a rural existence, as it hugely affects the wildlife that is severely impacted by your wants and needs. There are dozens of trails already and dozens of places to ride your bicycle, so have at it, but stay out of Woody Creek if you don’t like it the way it is, and leave our neighborhood alone!

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Letter: On the topic of guns

June 24, 2016 — 

Maurice Emmer states, “Automatic weapons are illegal in this country” in his editorial “Court makes the law” (The Aspen Times, Commentary, June 24). With all due respect, Mr. Emmer is misinformed and incorrect. I personally have fired a fully automatic Uzi. It is quite an experience but can be very expensive unless you load your own ammo. I still don’t see a need for them in hunting applications as some people would argue they are needed or used.

Here are some facts I gathered from a Type 7 License-holder gun-enthusiast friend and Google:

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Letter: Commissioner commentary

June 24, 2016 — 

As a relative newcomer to the area, having just arrived in Aspen in 1970, I really need some help with historical context.

Can anyone tell me if there has ever been another general election year in which not one single incumbent elected official in Pitkin County faced a challenger for their office?

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Letter: Court makes the law

June 23, 2016 — 

This is regarding the letter to the editor “Getting facts straight” in a recent edition of your paper (The Aspen Times, June 22).

Here is a serious question: If I buy a street version of an H1 Hummer, is it accurate to say I have a “military” vehicle? No. The military Humvee is an almost totally different vehicle with different capabilities.

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Letter: A candidate who understands

June 23, 2016 — 

I’ve never endorsed anyone for local government before. Well, there’s a first time for everything. Vote for Greg Poschman, please.

It’s not just because he remembers what this valley looked like before monster homes. It’s not just because he remembers monastery eggs and Delice sandwiches. It’s not just because he’s managed to grow up an Aspen kid and grow into a dedicated Aspen adult (as much as you can be an adult in Aspen). It’s because he gets it. He gets that the woods, the bears, the foxes, the coyotes, the deer, the elk, the lions, the hawks, the eagles, the trout in the rivers — they were all here first. We are interlopers. The mountains in which we live are not the ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese’s created solely for a few giggles and YouTube video. We have a greater duty, a greater responsibility, a tougher job than just jobs, housing and transportation. Those are all important, but our greatest task is to live gently on the Earth with all creatures great and small. Do this, and the rest will follow.

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Letter: Feeding young minds

June 23, 2016 — 

After Richard Branson concluded an informative and joyful Ideas Fest presentation telling of his aspirations, his determination and the decision making that went into his life’s story, several of us said, “Wow, I had no idea!” However, it is the young folks, those just starting on their life’s journey, who also should be benefiting from hearing these inspiring and knowledgeable individuals. That opportunity is available this year for 14- to 21-year-olds for only $15, and scholarships are available.

The Aspen Institute’s Ideas Festival’s first Young Adult Forum is taking place Monday from 2 to 5:30 p.m. at the St. Regis for an afternoon of big ideas with Rajiiv Vinnakota, Aspen Institute vice president of youth and engagement, and other presenters, including Supreme Court legal expert Neal Katyal; New York Times reporter and author Charles Duhigg; Theaster Gates, artist in residence at the Aspen Institute and professor at the University of Chicago; Alex Wagner, senior editor at the Atlantic; poet and community activist Donte Clark; author Adam Grant, who is the highest-rated professor at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania; Kristen Soltis Anderson, author, Republican strategist and columnist at the Daily Beast; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Navina Khanna, director of Heal Food Alliance, who is an educator, community organizer, policy advocate and recipient of a James Beard leadership award; Clint Smith, a teacher, writer, national poetry-slam champion and presenter of the TED talks “The Danger of Silence” and “How to Raise a Black Son in America”; poet and activist Sonita Alizadeh; and Jose Anton Vargas, a journalist, media publisher and founder of Define America.

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Letter: Please don't sensationalize animal killings

June 23, 2016 — 

I have been following the articles in The Aspen Times about the recent mountain lion attacks in Woody Creek. I do not blame the parents for anything they did, and my heart goes out to them for what must have been a terrifying experience. Nor do I question the actions by the authorities in making a difficult decision to put down the lions to prevent another attack. I do, however, question the necessity of showing the animal’s bloodied carcass in the paper repeatedly and making it seem as though the animal was a vicious predator and that its death was some type of victory. We live in a wild area, and we share habitat with these creatures. It’s unfortunate that bears and mountain lions sometimes cross paths with us, but it’s often (perhaps not in this case) due to humans intruding into their habitat and our carelessness with trash and food. Showing pictures like this sensationalizes the incident and perpetuates the Old West stereotype of man’s necessity to conquer and kill anything that might pose a threat. We need to learn to live in harmony with nature and take intelligent steps to protect both human and animal life.

Jeff Bay

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Letter: Thanks for supporting recreation

June 23, 2016 — 

Basalt Recreation would like to thank the Aspen Elks Lodge for its generous support of our recreation programs. Each year, the Aspen Elks Lodge helps us provide scholarships so everyone can participate in our programs. This year it also provided funding for us to purchase swimming-lesson supplies for the Basalt pool. We truly appreciate the support of the Aspen Elks Lodge for its continuing contributions to the Basalt Recreation Department.

Dorothy Howard

Basalt Recreation Department

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