Letters to the Editor

Letter: Defense needs a complete overhaul

July 28, 2016 — 

I would rather be forced to ski Vail for the rest of my life than vote for Donald Trump, but he does have a point about NATO. According to NATO’s website, the combined GDP of it’s European members is greater than that of the United States, $17.34 trillion vs. $16.157 trillion in 2014. Yet they spend on average $449 per capita on defense annually, while we spend $1,917. The Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia only exist at the whim of the megalomaniac in the Kremlin, and yet they only spend $130, $131, and $339 dollars respectively. That’s silly.

Granted we wouldn’t have to spend so much if we hadn’t been so busy destabilizing the Middle East chasing phantom weapons of mass destruction while simultaneously ensuring the safety of the shipping lanes in the pacific, so the People’s Republic can maintain it’s $600 billion trade surplus with the world. Nevertheless, the days of Uncle Sam flipping the bill are over. As The Donald keeps reminding us, we’re $20 trillion in the hole.

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Letter: Honorable policing

July 28, 2016 — 

Given the almost daily report of shootings by police officers, I would like to acknowledge and compliment the actions taken by the Pitkin County Sheriff Department’s deputies and other local law enforcement agencies as reported in your paper. The successful nonviolent result of this incident reflects positively on the professionalism, training and leadership of Sheriff Joe DiSalvo and Undersheriff Ron Ryan. Aspen and Pitkin County should be very proud of these actions.

Thank you,

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Letter: Military background didn't cause shootings

July 27, 2016 — 

Not sure what Patrick Hunter was smoking when he fantasized the story in his July 24 Aspen Times letter (“Dischared and dangerous”). Perhaps he dreamed the scenario of a news story that his warped liberal mind would like to read. However, he should get his facts straight — the Dallas cop killer was ex-Army Reserve, and the Baton Rouge murderer was ex-Marine. The thing he failed to mention is they were both black and both expressed a desire to kill cops, preferably white cops, not because of their military background but because they felt that might make amends for the imagined mistreatment of their race, but that is a discussion for another time. And I would be willing to bet that if he researched their political affiliation, he would find they were Democrats, just like him.

Back to Hunter: He seems to share his opinion of the military with such Democratic miscreants as Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and ex-Department of Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano. Pelosi thinks all veterans are mentally damaged, and Napolitano thinks we are right-wing extremists (she might be right).

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Letter: Vultures circling

July 27, 2016 — 

The upper pay-to-play Aspen crowd, the vulture class, will swoop into Aspen over the next days to scavenge for political favoritism and assure its ton of flesh, that is, attend a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. For those attending, the $10,000 to $50,000 entrance fee is chump change when considering the rewards to come down the pike — just take a look at the Clinton Foundation, which directly or indirectly rewards those who reward the foundation.

The money elite and political elite will make a few behind-the-scenes deals (e.g., help fund the Clinton campaign, and the political appointment or policy you seek will be granted), yet this meeting will really be about future social networking and future shady dealmaking among the Democrat wing of the elites should Clinton win the presidency. Exchanges of secret cell numbers and email addresses are assured (private servers and other dark communication appear to be the new norm among those with access to capital, resources and power), because strategies for future collusion are largely nefarious.

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Letter: Tit for tat

July 27, 2016 — 

Donald Trump is poison. I am telling you. Believe me. I know what I am talking about. Believe me what I tell you. Believe me what I tell you. He is complete poison. He is complete poison. I know. I know. Trust me when I say. Trust me. Trust me. Trust me when I say this.

Miles Knudson

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Letter: Misplaced musical criticism

July 27, 2016 — 

I’m baffled by Phil Verleger’s letter regarding the Aspen Music Festival stating there’s no classical music in Aspen (“Not the only source of classical music,” Letters to the editor, The Aspen Times, July 26). What is it we’ve been hearing in the tent and Harris Hall since the end of June? Perhaps I’m befuddled, but I thought I knew classical music when I heard it, and what I’ve been hearing have been superb performances of classical and contemporary music played by enormously talented, enthusiastic students from all over the world, plus brilliant first-chair faculty. I’m not sure which corporate types Andy Stone (“After the fall: Has Aspen lost its musical Eden?” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 20) and by extension Verleger are referencing; certainly Aspen has a lot of rich folks who fortunately are admirably generous, without whom our music students would not have a place to study and grow, our own love of classical music would not be satisfied every summer and the New York Philharmonic and the other orchestras Verleger cites would not survive. In a world of turmoil and want, with sheer survival one of the issues we face, while we live in a place so fortunate as to be beyond the wildest imaginations of most of the planet’s population, this kind of carping, grounded not in reality but in mysterious forms of pique, is mind-boggling.

Judith Barnard

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Letter: Bernie the turncoat

July 27, 2016 — 

Bernie Sanders, you can’t start a revolution and get millions of people behind you and then change your mind and join forces with the enemy. We believed you were going to lead the way. I saw images of you looking like George Washington; can you imagine Washington in the middle of the Delaware on that freezing winter night deciding he wanted to go home and sit by a warm fire, fill his porcelains pipe with some weed and forget about the revolution? What are you going to do now, go back to Vermont and be a little old man walking from your home to your office every day? Hillary Clinton does not give a crap about you, and that creep Debbie Wasserman Schultz made a fool of you, calling you an atheist socialist communist Jew. You stood down when you should have stood up against the Democratic National Committee. I don’t think you can recovery from this even if you go independent; you lost your confidence, humiliated by the DNC, and lost your followers. It’s like you were not serious. That’s a disappointment to those of us who are serious about getting rid of this corrupt system in Washington.

Hinton Harrison

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Letter: Do as I say, not as I do

July 27, 2016 — 

There are Uber drivers and others who operate under that disguise roaming the streets of Aspen. There are I don’t know how many of the free shuttles that are free for the passengers and very expensive for the taxpayer. Good Lord — it was about five years ago that I was within 12 hours of facing a trial by jury that could have given me a $150,000 fine and 15 years in prison for not having a business license and giving free rides. I think it is quite funny. Seems like my very bad and naughty idea was a good idea for Aspen and the city attorney.

I sure hope that they get a different crew of thinkers to solve the automobile problem in the Roaring Fork Valley.

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Letter: Making the grade

July 27, 2016 — 

I feel and believe that Garfield County and its municipalities are moving into a mightier leadership position in the Colorado tourism, food and restaurant industries, especially among resort and rural communities, with the advent of “County takes over food inspections” (Glenwood Springs Post Independent, July 22).

The whole of Garfield County can and will command and attract more consumer dollars, nationwide headlines and more Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank recognition than an uncaring Aspen and Pitkin County when it comes to environmental health vis-a-vis instituting restaurant and market grade systems. It can enact public posting requirements for all retail sellers of foods and beverages within its unincorporated county areas and adopting municipalities like what happened in Los Angeles County in the latter 1990s.

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Letter: Heads in the sand

July 27, 2016 — 

The recent comments by Patty Clapper and Bert Myrin of the Elected Officials Transportation Committee in the July 21 article (“Committee approves $494k for entrance study,” The Aspen Times) regarding light rail as one possible component of an approved study on the Entrance to Aspen illustrates their preconceived prejudice against a practical solution to Aspen’s congestion problem.

The upper valley has gone to gridlock hell! Our elected officials should be willing to assess all possible options that preserve our environment and quality of life. So get on the bus, Gus! And don’t you fuss, because Bert and Patty will not solve your problem, but light rail will.

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Letter: Praying for a traffic trinity

July 27, 2016 — 

What would it take for three practical, sensible people to run for Aspen mayor and City Council seats at the same time? First, it would be helpful to have a simple, pragmatic issue around which they could rally, thereby distinguishing themselves from the current political establishment.

I served on the Traffic Committee in 1984. We were about a dozen Aspen residents who regularly attended meetings, and we eventually looked at 19 different proposals for the Entrance to Aspen. Our efforts corresponded with the preparation of the State Highway 82 East of Basalt to Aspen Draft Environmental Impact Statement.

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Letter: To clear the air

July 26, 2016 — 

I just want to clear the air. In an article written by Rick Carroll (“Wells Fargo drive-through in Aspen a casualty of moratorium,” The Aspen Times, July 12) correctly citing the moratorium and city rules on the ban on drive-throughs in Aspen, several letter writers have conflated the issue to be about idling and the city’s role. The city did not shut down the drive-through. That was Wells Fargo’s decision. The bank simply requested that it be able to go from a teller-manned window to an ATM. Unfortunately, this change would require an application that is subject to the moratorium and other rules.

This issue is not about idling, either. The city has never given a ticket for idling vehicles at Wells Fargo. We do encourage drivers to turn off their engines if the wait time is more than five minutes. Wells Fargo has supported the city in educating its customers about this issue. We support anti-idling campaigns in many forms and because of this we enjoy very clean air in Aspen. If customers are concerned about the drive-through service at their local bank, maybe the bank can address those issues.

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Letter: To the mayor of Aspen

July 26, 2016 — 

Our Aspen Times has reported it was your decision to charge Sheriff DiSalvo’s sponsored charity event supporting The Hope Center a $10,000 fee for use of the Aspen Municipal Golf Course. If this was your call it was a mistake.

Not all nonprofits are created equal. You and you colleagues at City Hall should consider The Hope Center a vital part of the city infrastructure on par with the Fire Department, Water Department and the Police Department. These agencies are in place to serve all of us. The Hope Center serves a small group of unlucky people when life slugs them a body blow and they need help getting back up. You or I, our kid, neighbor, or best friend, could be the next person life slugs and the Hope Center is there to help. The Hope Center is a resource for our police officers that helps them help others.

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Letter: Serve us rather than police us

July 26, 2016 — 

I believe in following rules. But City Council exercised simple common sense by permitting Creperie du Village to bend the rules and retain its awnings.

There’s something wrong with city staff. They don’t exercise common sense. They closed the locals-serving Wells Fargo drive-through based on a flimsy excuse about idling cars (how about the cars idling to get into and out of town?). Now they don’t want to let the creperie make its guests more comfortable.

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Letter: Disregard for community and law

July 26, 2016 — 

The article in today’s Aspen Times concerning the Creperie du Village shows a disturbing attitude held by the City Council. The wall and roof constructed by Raphael Derly for his restaurant is not only not built to code, but Derly’s explanations that it’s too hot down there and that he didn’t know he needed a permit show a disregard for a sense of community and law. It is very hard to believe that Derly didn’t know a permit would be required. It’s easy to believe that an attitude of privilege is what was really at work here.

The council is encouraging this attitude by supporting this renegade structure. Building codes are written for legitimate reasons, one of the most important is to protect the safety of people who enter structures. I wonder if Derly’s liability insurance would cover a structure not built to code? Perhaps the council feels that the city should undertake this responsibility? It certainly seems more shoddy than shady to this citizen.

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Letter: At it again

July 26, 2016 — 

I read last week and was completely stunned by the city’s decision to spend $500,000 to study the entrance to Aspen yet again. How many times has it been done previously? As far as I can tell land masses have not moved, Castle Creek is still where it was before. What possibly could be learned that we do not already know? Or have we become so numb to what things cost that $500,000 is not that much money? Its a crazy amount of money, made even crazier by the fact we have already studied this ad nauseum. Come on people! We know what we need to do, so we need to do it and not study it again. While you are at it, lets get rid of these ridiculous HOV lanes that do nothing but slow traffic down. There is too much truck traffic in each lane, people don’t generally understand it and it is completely opposite to how its done in the rest of the country.

Lee Bryant

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Letter: Not the only source of classical music

July 26, 2016 — 

Richard Felder has taken issue with Andy Stone’s column on the state of Aspen’s music festival (“After the fall: Has Aspen lost its musical Eden?” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 20). Feller concludes that the festival is alive and well, supported by “thoughtful philanthropists.”

I believe Felder is wrong. Perhaps he is distracted by Aspen’s horrible traffic problems and has lost his sense of direction. The purge of good people described by Stone has destroyed the Aspen festival. It is as if Donald Trump had taken over.

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Letter: Embarrassing terrain

July 25, 2016 — 

So Lo thinks I want them to extend Lift 1A down toward town because I like beginner terrain, huh? Well I know he supports the construction of the Gorsuch Haus hotel blocking Norway Slope at the base so that he doesn’t have to embarrass himself trying to ski possibly the best run on Aspen Mountain anymore.

Roger Marolt

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Letter: 21st century entrace solution

July 25, 2016 — 

Innovations from technology companies like Google and Tesla will soon deliver “robot” vehicles that will drastically increase the capacity of current roadways while improving speed, convenience, safety and fuel efficiency. With technology like Uber, fewer people will need to own a vehicle, drastically reducing parking needs. Technology entrepreneurs can solve our entrance problem. Spending another $500k of taxpayer money to study an 18th-century technology solution just keeps us stuck in the past. Instead, encourage free-market solutions without wasting precious taxpayer dollars. Likewise, I suspect that a creative use of technology could reduce the amount of people and square footage necessary for government offices in the valley, and save a fortune of taxpayer money building the Taj Mahal.

George Robinson

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Letter: What is community?

July 25, 2016 — 

According to Google/Merriam-Webster: “Community” is defined as:

A) A group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.

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Letter: Thank you, Boogie

July 25, 2016 — 

The fantastic success of the pop-up sale exceeded the most optimistic expectations! A tremendous amount of money was raised, all due to the generosity of Boogie Weinglass.

The ladies of The Thrift Shop of Aspen are thrilled to thank everyone who helped make the sale an unprecedented success. Ruth Kruger, Charlie Weaver, JP Nevada’s Trust and Bob Langley donated and secured the venue for the event. Victoria and John donated all profits from coffee and lemonade sales. Shoppers were patient and tenacious as they cheerfully joined the mayhem to find the perfect designer jeans, boots and t-shirts. An army of Thrift Shop volunteers worked tirelessly and even brought husbands, grandparents and children to help set up and organize.

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Letter: Longstanding pothole

July 25, 2016 — 

I know Related with its unfunded subsidiary SAC is anxious to get out of here ASAP. But would they please fix a pothole in the driveway to the Snowmass Center that has been there for years? It’s about 200 feet up from Brush Creek Road. Small but deep.

Richard Goodwin

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Letter: Keep Hillary out at all costs

July 24, 2016 — 

Melanie Sturm’s article was a reflection of the thinking of many Americans (“My delegate dilemma: To be conscientious, in good conscience,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 18). If you attended the Ideas Festival, the many thinking people of America were not present. It was mostly a body of people mirroring a Hillary Clinton bias. Many gooed at the mention of her name and booed at the mention of Donald Trump. Discussions of substance were lacking as the entrenched expressions, more an excuse, to have the first woman Democrat for president stirred me to refer to her lemming contingency as Femocrats.

The point you make, though, recognizes her character was created not from the DNA basis of life but from the malignancy of the Clintons. The dilemma: If not her, then him? It is a lip-biting ballot frustration. Now consider your own words: “Most importantly, it’s about defeating Clinton, the most corrupt and deceitful presidential candidate in modern American history, thereby dismantling the two-tiered justice system before it’s entrenched.” Where does that leave us? After the crash there will be a survivor. Trump has yet to be the most corrupt and deceitful of the two. And if preserving our Constitution is essential, then we all must have the Supreme Court in view when we check the top lines of our ballots.

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Letter: Discharged and dangerous

July 24, 2016 — 

In two separate incidents in recent weeks, police officers have been ambushed and some killed by former U.S. Marines. Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump responded to these events by saying that no more discharged Marines should be allowed back in the country. All ex-Marines must be brought in for questioning and detained when necessary. Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was mentioned as a site for the ex-Marine detainees.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani said the nation needs to be very, very afraid of these ex-Marines. The nation is sitting on a powder keg. No one should feel safe.

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Letter: Music is alive and well in Aspen

July 24, 2016 — 

When Andy Stone asked himself whether Aspen has lost its musical Eden (“After the fall: Has Aspen lost its musical Eden?” Commentary, The Aspen Times, July 20), he should have visited the new campus, spoken with students and attended one of this summer’s concerts. The answer is obvious. The Aspen Music Festival and School is alive and well — continuing to realize its place in the Aspen Idea of body, mind and spirit. Instead, Andy chose to revisit the board fight of yesteryear and misconstrued the cause and outcome of the decisions to reduce the number of students attending the school and revitalize the faculty. Alan Fletcher was not doing the bidding of cost-cutting businessmen on the board. He was catching up on implementing long-overdue reforms to be sure the festival and school could face the challenges of thriving in the 21st century.

Today, the festival and school are blessed with a board populated by thoughtful philanthropists, dedicated faculty members and members of the Aspen community. Andy’s belief that “hard-nosed businessmen” have changed the character of the festival and school is simply not correct. The new campus and the “Where Dreams Begin” fundraising campaign were designed to benefit the music school and provide endowment funds for faculty salaries and student scholarships.

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July 24, 2016 — 

Letter: Team players

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Letter: Blast from the past

July 24, 2016 — 

Wouldn’t it be cool if we could renovate the original historic Lift 1 and use it to transport skiers from Dean Street to the next Lift 1A? We already have the lower bullwheel and two towers; all that’s needed is the upper bullwheel, a cable and a bunch of single chairs. What a great way to honor Aspen’s skiing history!

Robert Scherer

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Letter: Great art can be transformative

July 24, 2016 — 

Too often, “art experts” make remarks that confuse the public about the nature of art. I was annoyed to read critic Jerry Saltz’s recent quote at an Anderson Ranch lecture, stating: “No one in the art world can prove that Vermeer is better than Norman Rockwell.” I know Jerry and suspect he said it to be controversial. However, it implies there is no specialized training or knowledge to determine quality in art, and he knows better!

Vermeer was the most brilliant painter of light who ever lived. His works are extraordinary examples of imagery that transcends time with no clear message or story. Vermeer’s paintings are loved by all who see them, whether “art educated” or not. In part this is because of the incredible nature of his brushwork and because the works convey an intimacy to each viewer that reaches across the centuries. It is impossible to imagine a future time when Vermeer’s work will not be considered masterpieces of wonder and brilliance. As with all masterworks of art, each viewing reveals something new and different in the work.

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Letter: Fewer studies, more solutions

July 24, 2016 — 

I can’t believe that the Elected Officials Transportation Committee approved a $500,000 study of light rail and bus rapid transit for the entrance into Aspen. There is no way this will ever come about, and this is a total waste of money. All there is are studies after studies of the problem with no hope of any solution. It’s time for action, not studies. The traffic situation into and out of town is ridiculous.

I believe the best solution is to provide a one-way straight shot into Aspen from Highway 82, starting from a point between the roundabout and Cemetery Lane, over the Marolt Open Space and coming straight in through Main Street. Then the existing road could be changed to a one-way out of town. This would provide separate two-lane roads into and out of town, which should solve the problem. In addition, a parking area could be provided in the open space with shuttle service into town. If there is a better solution, I would like someone to present it.

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Letter: Don't even think about it

July 23, 2016 — 

Recently, The Aspen Times printed a letter suggesting that our surrounding national forest be opened up for public (employee) housing (“Put employee housing on federal land,” Letters to the editor, July 20). I reply with a resounding “no.” Our forests were created not for private dwellings but as a preservation of our national heritage and for the recreational use of all people. Were this concept cracked and privately or publicly funded usage be permitted in the form of housing, the floodgates would open, and there would be no end to the demand and spread in the years ahead. Perhaps the most compelling factor in the popularity of the town of Aspen is its size, determined in large part by surrounding federal land.

Start populating federal land with houses and people, and both town and residents would suffer.

Hopefully this ill-advised suggestion will not see the light of day.

Everett Peirce

Basalt

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