Letters to the Editor

Letter: Fluoride's 'questionable benefit'

August 1, 2015 — 

The Snowmass water board is to be congratulated for its courage in its recent decision to eliminate the addition of chemical fluoride from its municipal water supply. Recent letters to the local papers have condemned the board for this action, but the board needs to be defended and praised for making this progressive stand.

Various dental associations have put forth a lot of money and propaganda to garnish support for the pro-fluoride position for 65 years. These are the same people who put mercury in your teeth for the past 100 years and told you it was safe. Why should they have any credibility regarding toxic metals and safety? Natural fluoride is sodium fluoride that occurs in the water, not an industrial waste product from the aluminum and pesticide manufacturing industries. They are not the same!

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Letter: World-class trails in Snowmass

August 1, 2015 — 

We are fortunate here in Snowmass Village to have a world-class trail system in our backyard. So with gratitude, I’d like to say a big thanks to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails for their stewardship of this priceless amenity.

Maintaining the trails and overseeing their use for everyone’s enjoyment must be a tall order. From data provided by the interactive map available at www.pitkinoutside.org, there are well over 100 miles of unpaved trails within 5 miles of Snowmass Village, including the ski area and surrounding lands. These trails are generally shared among different users. About 90 miles of trail are dog friendly, of which roughly a quarter allows off-leash use. Mountain bikers can enjoy more than 80 miles of single-track and equestrians can access roughly the same amount of terrain. Trail managers and volunteers are doing a good job of balancing human needs while seeking to preserve a complex ecosystem. That said, I appreciate the informational signage placed trailside describing these ecosystems and the conservation efforts underway. I’ll continue to provide my support and thanks by using trails responsibly. I invite others to do the same.

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Letter: Shut down the pot farm

August 1, 2015 — 

All of those who live near High Valley’s grow farm were stunned to hear Jordan Lewis’s proclamation in the Aspen Daily News on July 4 (“Well, can you still smell that smell?”) that he had stopped the skunk smell from escaping into nearby homes, the Roaring Fork Club, bike paths and nearby businesses.

George W. Bush’s infamous claim of victory in Iraq in 2003 and the Chicago Tribune’s 1948 headline that Dewey defeated Truman are as meaningful. The smell has, in fact, gotten worse and is there every day despite High Valley’s “high tech” vaporizing systems. Or maybe the Aspen Daily News was just late in releasing this story intended for the April Fool’s edition?

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Letter: Mistaken history

August 1, 2015 — 

I read the July 28 editorial from Sen. Scott Tipton. What a knucklehead. I’ve responded with the history of the 1929 stock market crash and the reason the Glass-Stegal Act was written in 1933. Scott needs to study his history or talk to his middle school kids to be updated/corrected.

K.C. Johnson

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Letter: Playing to the enemy's hand

August 1, 2015 — 

Niall Ferguson’s July 25 column in the Wall Street Journal, “The Iran Deal and the Problem of Conjecture,” attempts to explain (not excuse) President Barack Obama’s approach to the Iran nuclear situation.

Drawn from writings by Henry Kissinger in 1963, the “problem of conjecture” can be summarized thus: When faced with alternative policy assessments involving uncertainties, policymakers tend to choose the alternative requiring the least effort now. Neville Chamberlain at Munich is an obvious example. Applying the concept to Obama’s nuclear deal illustrates why the phenomenon repeats itself throughout history.

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Letter: That'll show 'em

August 1, 2015 — 

I recently read that John Kerry said that “Iran cannot use any of the $150 billion in recently unfrozen assets to fund terrorism, because they’re not allowed to do that”!

Great — foreign policy by a “gun-free zone” sign.

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Letter: Jacobson deserves second chance

August 1, 2015 — 

Snowmass Town Councilman Chris Jacobson has made a mistake under the influence of alcohol. The justice system will deal with that. But this rush to remove him from his elected office is so obviously politically motivated, it doesn’t even pass the smell test.

Jacobson is a whistleblower who brought to light illegal activities by two council members last fall. If the court declares him guilty in such a way that he must be removed, then so be it. He has been a longtime resident and has contributed a great deal to Snowmass Village. He should be forgiven.

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Letter: Basalt's silent majority

August 1, 2015 — 

Why is so little attention being paid to the opposition toward dense development in Basalt? According to the Our Town survey, only 6.9 percent voted for condos.

Lowe’s proposal is to build a 47-room dumb hotel (350 square feet and 30 dumb condos, 1,200 square feet). The proposal is divided 40 percent hotel and 60 percent residential. Are we being conned for the dough?

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Letter: Music should be patriotic

July 30, 2015 — 

I, too, was disappointed with the music selection for this year’s Fourth of July concert. I would like to share some personal history to support the call for next year’s concert to revert to a collection of traditional patriotic music.

My father fought in the battle of Guadalcanal in the Pacific in World War II. Gentle-hearted though he was, his life was shaped by the occasions when he risked his life to defend our liberty. I cherish the stories he told me when I was a boy of the times he nearly escaped death, of the fear he had to confront and of the courage he had to summon in order to survive the war.

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Letter: An afternoon rush hour solution

July 30, 2015 — 

After reading several letters about heavy traffic this summer, I agree that it’s particularly bad this year. Perhaps that’s the price of progress as Aspen’s economic boom continues. However, I agree that it’s not very canary friendly for an idle-free city to have hundreds of cars sitting in traffic on Main Street every afternoon.

Everybody knows that the backup is caused by the merge at the S-curves, and long-term residents remember the Entrance to Aspen idea that proposed to expand the S-curves in various ways. Sadly, the most recent solution was strangled by red tape shortly after it was approved by voters, and the rush-hour backup remains. Perhaps in a bright future we’ll have two lanes out of town, but a lot of construction needs to happen before that solution is realized.

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Letter: Animals for all

July 30, 2015 — 

If every resident were required to have an animal, wouldn’t that resolve the question of dubious companion animals, as well as ease the load at the animal shelter? Anyone who does not appreciate the benefits of such a policy probably needs a therapy animal.

Marina Rainer and Mary Werning

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Letter: City flags traffic course

July 30, 2015 — 

This is the worst traffic I’ve ever seen in our town along with the worst road conditions and street markings.

Then the city decides to have Main Street paved during the last week of July during our peak summer season!

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Letter: A bigot among us

July 30, 2015 — 

Sean Elias has sent yet another hate-filled letter (“What has Israel done?”, July 30, The Aspen Times) questioning what Israel has done for the America, and in terms that would make even neo-Nazis blush. I won’t take the time here to document what Israel means to the United States — it’s our only dependable ally in the region.

Look anywhere for details on what this tiny country, surrounded by “Eliases” on all sides, has accomplished in any field — militarily, scientific, high-tech or otherwise.

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Letter: Both sides boxed in

July 30, 2015 — 

At the City Council meeting Monday night, proponents of Referendum 1 (now Section 13.14 of the Home Rule Charter) requested that the council honor the intent of that measure and apply it to all applications that were filed prior to its passage. There is no debate that Referendum 1 applies to certain land-use applications filed after passage (May 5), but the issue is its applicability to applications on file before passage.

The council has an opinion of the city attorney and an independent outside counsel that Referendum 1 does not apply to land-use applications pre-existing before passage. The proponents have an opinion saying it does apply. Hence a classic difference of opinion and the standoff. On one hand, it would be entirely unreasonable for council to disavow the two opinions it has received and indeed any such action could be deemed arbitrary and capricious on its part. On the other hand, the proponents have no way of testing the correctness of their position because in the absence of an actual case or controversy no court would render an advisory opinion. Thus, they are left with filing more petitions until the pipeline of pre-existing applications runs out.

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Letter: Don't destroy Basalt

July 29, 2015 — 

Basaltines need to pay attention to the Planning and Zoning Commission’s plan to go ahead and build on three parcels (Pan and Fork, Lions Park and the recycle center). The Lowe Enterprise proposal is driving this development.

Basalt needs to buy the Roaring Fork Community Development Corp. portion of the Pan and Fork property. It has the revenue.

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Letter: Fine care from AVH

July 29, 2015 — 

To the Aspen Valley Hospital, Dr. Pevny, the wonderful nurses, physical therapists and staff,

I want to thank you so much for your help during my hospital stay. I will be on my horse soon and can’t wait.

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Letter: Priceless police

July 29, 2015 — 

July is the month when we honor our men in uniform. Here at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, with Project Gratitutde, we match each pound of fudge we sell with a pound we send overseas during the holiday season. This past week, my red, white and blue T-shirt reading “Fudge for the Troops” must have stirred the interest of two Aspen Police Department officers, as they insisted on helping me back to the store with two cases of soda. Our men in uniform here in Aspen have always been here for us. Thank you, Aspen Police Department. You are always on our minds.

Linda Smisek

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Letter: Owning the trail

July 29, 2015 — 

I’d like humbly to present the Employee of the Month Award to Pitkin County Open Space and Trails staff member Janet Urquhart for her tireless effort thrashing thistle from the bottom of the Cozyline bike trail all the way to the top! She set a good example for everyone.

I was truly heartened to see all of the hard work she did making the route better for us. Working on our local trails gives one a true sense of ownership. Way to own it, Janet.

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Letter: What has Israel done?

July 29, 2015 — 

Do people really believe that Israel is a friend of the United States? One must ask, “What has Israel ever done for the U.S.?” Absolutely nothing positive. Allowing Israel to drag the U.S. into multiple Middle East conflicts is like going out every night with a drunken idiot who starts bar fights wherever he or she goes. We lavishly supply Israel with billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars and political support. In return, Israel spies on the United States, attempts to undermine our political process, shuns our attempts at diplomacy and is now pushing for the release of Jason Pollard, an American spy who jeopardized American lives and supplied Israel with a treasure trove of U.S. intellectual property.

Israel exploits, deceives and uses the U.S., is certainly no comrade and has become a fanatical state that is clearly an enemy of the U.S. due to its hostile, uncompromising government. The belligerent state of Israel will figure a way to involve the U.S. in its future conflicts, because Israel and those who support a warmongering Israel are cowards unwilling to fight their own battles and appear to have unlimited resources and means of creating mischief to achieve such ends.

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Letter: Thanks to RFTA for more buses to the Maroon Bells

July 29, 2015 — 

I just heard that the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority has extended its bus service to the Maroon Bells to include all weekdays in September. In the 1970s, Wilderness Workshop lobbied to get the first bus service to the bells to reduce pollution and traffic. It’s great to see RFTA continuing to expand this service. For the past several fall seasons, Forest Service rangers have been pulled away from important duties in the backcountry to direct traffic and parking at the Bells. For an already understaffed organization, this has meant reduced trail work, less visitor education and difficulty ensuring compliance with regulations such as requiring bear-proof containers in the backcountry.

More buses to the Bells means our Forest Service rangers can get back out in the woods to help manage and protect our trails and public lands. It also means fewer cars, reduced carbon emissions and less air pollution. Sounds like a win-win to me.

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Letter: A personal plea for energy investment

July 28, 2015 — 

This public letter is respectfully written to Lester Crown, owner of Aspen Skiing Co.: History and posterity need you now (not next year, Mr. Crown) to take a global leadership role on climate change.

In his 2009 classic “Getting Green Done,” Auden Schendler wrote,”More than individuals, businesses can influence policy because they carry huge weight with government. And businesses can get things done while waiting for policy change to take place.”

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Letter: Two parties, same garbage

July 28, 2015 — 

Today’s so-called liberals and conservatives advocate different degrees and aspects of the same BS, but advocate it they do!

Michael Galvis

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Letter: Retread Republicans

July 28, 2015 — 

Love him, disagree with him or outright hate him, one thing is for sure: President Barack Obama is no lame duck. This is what happens when there is a thoughtful, intelligent person in the oval office. The man is amazing.

Another amazing thing happened just the other day — on Fox News of all places! There was a Fox contributor gleefully stating that Hillary Clinton is in trouble with the latest polls and that she is a criminal for her email-server problems. After that, this person stated how amazed he was about the depth of the top 16 Republican presidential candidates running in 2016. This poor guy was so excited; he made me laugh so hard. It’s great when Fox News is the comedy channel. Plus, this is mid-2015. Quite a way to go until Election Day.

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Letter: Let the court process play out

July 28, 2015 — 

I think it safe to say we have all done things we are ashamed of or regret later. All too often, those things occurred while consuming alcohol or other substances — especially in this valley known for its substance abuse.

The alleged mantra of the U.S. judicial system is “innocent until proven guilty,” is it not?

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Letter: Dance party was over the top

July 28, 2015 — 

A record crowd of 500 people came out in force July 17 for the best freakin’ dance party in Jazz Aspen Snowmass’ history, celebrating our 25th year in great style befitting the occasion. The spectacular setting, uber-cool lounge look and decor, incredible nonstop dance performance by Nile Rogers and Chic and closing-night jam with bassist and guest DJ Christian McBride — it was a night for the ages that united longtime friends of Jazz Aspen Snowmass with seemingly hundreds of new faces from near and far!

A few special thank-yous to a group of people who made this night the incredible success it was: Bob and Soledad Hurst for allowing us to use their beautiful property; our generous event hosts, Don and Marianne Buchholz, Donald Drapkin and Sue Hostetler, Art and Marcy Falcone, Richard and Kitzia Goodman, Tim LaRose and Lorrie Wright-LaRose, Earl Michie, and Richard and Nancy Rogers; our talented event co-chairs, Rick Crandall and Laura Welch; our great longtime friend and 25 for 25 honorary Chairwoman Kathryn Fleck Peisach; and our new friend and 25 for 25 Committee Chairwoman Kimberly Paige.

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Letter: Music doesn't stop at Thrift Shop

July 28, 2015 — 

Thanks to the Thrift Shop for the up-cycle! They don’t just sell art, they help make it happen.

Ever tried making a mosaic with old CDs? Well, it looks really cool except you need a lot of CDs to cut up and paste. Where, oh where would I find a lot of old compact discs? Why, our very own artists supply store the Thrift Shop of course. These bits of holographic plastic got a new lease on life as decorative bases for the Aspen Ideas Festival logo art installation. You may have seen the stained glass leaf sculptures out in Anderson Park next to JR’s photos. That’s a much better place for all those CDs than the dumpster.

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Letter: Fourth of July concert was un-American

July 28, 2015 — 

Dear Mr. Fletcher (Alan Fletcher, CEO of Aspen Music Associates):

My wife and I want to express our disappointment with the music selections chosen for the July 4 concert at the tent. Since that day we also have heard from several of our friends from the Roaring Fork Valley and beyond who like us had looked forward to a July Fourth patriotic concert based on most of the previous July Fourth concerts at the tent, only to wonder why there was only one patriotic march and that was played during the encore.

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Letter: From oppressed to oppressor

July 28, 2015 — 

In your newspaper on July 2, in the World & Nation section on page 26, there was an article about Israelis protesting attacks by Palestinians. What is Israel’s right-wing government doing about these attacks? The opposite of what the protesters want. Israel, by stealing Palestinian land and violating human rights, provokes more attacks.

This oppression of Palestinians, which is constantly criticized by the U.N. and the international community, is responsible for a new wave of anti-Semitism around the world.

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Letter: Hardly an achievement

July 28, 2015 — 

Stefan Edlis and I often disagree but are mutually respectful. With respect, I disagree with Stefan’s characterization of the Iran deal as “our president’s extraordinary achievement (“Criticism of Iran deal is political,” July 24, letters, The Aspen Times). Unless, of course, by “achievement” Stefan means an “achievement” in self congratulation.

The comedian Jackie Mason summed it up well. The New York City Health Department can inspect a restaurant kitchen in New York City anywhere anytime without notice. In contrast, the Iranians can stall inspections of their nuclear program almost at will. We are safer from a tainted tuna sandwich than we are from Iranian nukes.

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Letter: Crowded by design

July 28, 2015 — 

Problem: Traffic.

Aspen’s Solutions:

-Narrow roads causing longer delays (including the Castle Creek Bridge)!

-Change Mill and Mail to two lanes!

-Have less parking available!

Continue to give construction permits!

Problem: Crowds (town and wilderness).

Aspen’s solution: Build more hotels.

Ruth Harrison

Aspen

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