Letters to the Editor

Letter: Don’t believe the scare tactics

October 20, 2014 — 

Don’t believe the scare tactics

The power of “no” and the power of fear are amazing. I received a mailing from opponents of Proposition 105, which would require the labeling of genetically modified organisms in our food. Their outrageous scare tactics claim it would cost millions of dollars and that the proposition is poorly written. In fact, it will cost each Coloradan two cents per year to fund this measure — a measly total of $124,000. Their example of the “poorly” written measure is that animals raised on GMO food won’t have to be labeled as GMOs. They fail to mention that these animals are not genetically modified.

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Letter: Four more years for Ittner

October 20, 2014 — 

Four more years for Ittner

I am writing in support of another four-year term for Rob Ittner, Pitkin County Board of Commissioners chairman. In his first four years in office, Rob has brought a balanced perspective to the job by virtue of being a successful business owner as well as an avid outdoor recreation enthusiast who understands the need to protect our environment. It has been especially rewarding to have a commissioner who has been so supportive of conservation and the efforts by the Wilderness Workshop, Thompson Divide Coalition and others to designate new areas of wildlands protection and ward off unnecessary resource extraction. As a Republican, Rob brings a much needed bipartisan balance to these efforts. If our Congress had more moderate Republicans like Rob, much of the political rancor and partisan posturing that currently paralyzes our national government would evaporate. We need sensible and balanced elected officials, and Rob symbolizes the type of reasoned and creative thinking that makes government work

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Letter: Support Rob Ittner for commissioner

October 18, 2014 — 

I have known Rob Ittner for over 10 years now, and I know that if you are a Pitkin County resident and have had the opportunity to meet him, then you will agree that he is a pillar of the community. Prior to and while serving as county commissioner, Rob has been a strong leader in the community by being a founding member of the Aspen Young Professionals Association; participating in the Roaring Fork Leadership Program, the Buddy Program and the Aspen Rotary Club; and supporting many of the local nonprofit organizations. In addition to being a successful business owner due to a combination of his leadership and accounting skills, he is a board member of the Northwest Colorado Council of Governments, and he is the chairman of the region’s Economic Development District.

Personally, I see him on a daily basis preparing for county meetings, being concerned about all of the issues on the agenda for the meetings and, most recently, campaigning out in the snow. Rob is reliable, hardworking and fiscally responsible and has the energy to lead this community.

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Letter: Dirty politics unbecoming of Snowmass Village

October 18, 2014 — 

We are fortunate to have an intelligent, honest and forthright group of public officials doing the difficult and diligent work that we ask of them, enabled by their unquestioned community spirit and a clear and deliberative conscience. Notwithstanding last week’s unfortunate display of political petulance at an impending loss by a small yet vocal minority, I have a great deal of respect for the work that goes into making prudent representative decisions for the betterment and forward progress of our community.

Yes, this is a small town, and yes, random conversations occur that can help to inform an official and/or expedite a process in a manner that has no substantive effect on the outcome of a vote. I have been offered frequent opportunities to have just such conversations with Town Councilman Chris Jacobson even though, as a tenant twice over in Base Village, I am also not the applicant yet clearly have a vested interest in the outcome. Our “ex parte” conversations apparently had absolutely no effect on his ability to vote his conscience.

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Letter: Use market forces to reduce carbon emissions

October 18, 2014 — 

Climate change is way too important an issue to be turned into a sport of partisan point-scoring, as in recent opinion pieces in your paper.

What a waste of valuable time, debating how “settled” the science of climate is! Are we 75 percent sure that humans are causing climate change or 90 percent or 95 percent? Who cares? Either way, there’s an extraordinary amount of agreement about the nature of the problem, with some margin for error.

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Letter: Bettis has a proven track record

October 17, 2014 — 

I am writing this letter in support of the re-election of Kara Bettis for coroner.

I have been an Eagle County resident for 17 years, and I have been observing the campaigns of the two candidates for coroner. Just as many people I’ve spoken to, I’m pretty turned off and appalled by how Sue Franciose is running such a negative campaign. Her attack on the current Coroner’s Office and her aggressive nature seem way over the top and clearly contradict the qualities that the position requires. She tries to talk about how she is kind and caring; however, in my opinion, her rash actions speak louder and prove what an unfit match she is for an elected office that demands compassion, patience and understanding. Her desperation and lack of professionalism have been displayed not only during the candidate debates in September but in her current negative advertisements on Facebook. After all, we are talking about the coroner’s position, folks.

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Letter: What about other diseases?

October 17, 2014 — 

U.S., state, and municipal health authorities are working overtime and spending millions of dollars to stem the spread of Ebola, which has killed just one person here.

Where is the comparable effort to stem the spread of heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases that kill 1.4 million Americans annually and are linked conclusively to excessive consumption of animal products? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, that’s 23 times the number killed by all infectious diseases combined, including AIDS, hepatitis, blood poisoning and intestinal infections!

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Letter: Vote yes on 1A

October 17, 2014 — 

One of the least talked-about but nonetheless very important ballot issues on this fall’s election is the question of whether to increase funding for the Aspen Ambulance District. It is very important for the continued operation of the ambulance district that this ballot issue be passed. The ambulance district has provided excellent service to which we have become accustomed since 1982 without once having to come back to the voters for a mill levy increase!

In fact, the mill levy that was passed by voters in 1982 at 0.82 mills has decreased over the years to the current 0.22 mills. The ballot question asks that a 0.501 mill levy rate be approved, which translates into an increase of only $2.23 per $100,000 in property value. The Board of County Commissioners, which acts as the board of the Aspen Ambulance District, will have the option to use less than the asked-for amount, depending on the annual budget needs. What a bargain the taxpayers would be getting by voting “yes.”

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Phillips: Van Beek is dependable

October 16, 2014 — 

It is with distinct pleasure that I write this letter of support for James Van Beek.

Working as county clerk and as a county commissioner, I have known James for many of his 25 years living here in Eagle County.

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Letter: Franciose has true compassion

October 16, 2014 — 

In late October 2009, Sue Franciose manned a wet tile saw in my backyard in the freezing, drizzling rain on several gloomy afternoons. Newly divorced after being married for almost 15 years, I found myself on my own with two young children, a tight budget and one very old house. Sue, who had much experience rehabbing old houses, volunteered her expertise, labor and time. I vividly remember her determination and self-sacrificing altruism, standing in the rain, using that wet tile saw, with her fingers cold and stiff. In the intervening years, I’ve seen Sue dedicate herself in service to others in myriad volunteer capacities. Whether it was fundraising for the Girl Scouts and the Shaw Cancer Center or just quietly helping a friend or acquaintance in need, Sue can be counted on to go the extra mile, every single time, and then some. She has an amazing tenacity of spirit, boundless energy and solid, unwavering commitment to her community.

The current coroner has been quoted saying she didn’t want to increase a family’s distress by asking about organ and tissue donation. One of the first myths the Organ Donor Alliance trainers dispel is precisely what the current coroner said. My mother, now 71, enjoys an active, healthy life. Twenty years ago, she was the recipient of a vision-saving and life-altering cornea transplant. My mom can see because somebody had the courage and compassion to ask. During Donna Barnes’ 24-year legacy as coroner, I have personally seen her apply saline-moistened gauze to the eyes of the recently deceased to preserve the corneas.

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Letter: No room for discussion?

October 16, 2014 — 

I read as many of Melanie Sturm’s columns as I find, and I must say that I am more impressed with her work than any I have read of others in the past. On this current dustup over global warming, I am afraid that if she is going to be honest, reasonable and her usual straightforward self, then there will be no room for discussion. The global-warming advocates seem to have an agenda that leaves no room for discussion. They are allowed to say that global warming is scientifically sound, noting that some of the most respected scientists agree with the danger of global warming, but we of course never really get the names of the “most” respected ones. All advocacy seems to be put forward under the caption of “there is a consensus among some of the greatest scientific minds,” etc. Turns out it’s some Third World U.N. rubber-stamper and his friends.

I applaud you for having a wordsmith like Sturm who uses facts to back up her logic and always leaves an inquiring mind salved with the best balm: truth!

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Letter: A vote to preserve and enhance our community

October 16, 2014 — 

I have lived in the Maroon Creek Valley for more than 44 years. During that time, I have been both active and vocal in support of sustaining and improving our community. I am pleased to lend my full support to Patti Clapper in her bid for a position on the Board of County Commissioners. We, Pitkin County residents, have been fortunate to have had Patti serve as a past commissioner and have seen her in action. She is honest, tried and true to her desire to see Pitkin County thrive while endeavoring to preserve a sense of reality, beauty and history.

Though I love Rob Ittner’s restaurant, I can’t say the same for his positions while serving on the present board. I have sat in on several recent commissioners’ meetings and was sad to see that Rob could give so little weight to the residents of our local rural neighborhood and vote to approve another, would-be megahome that was actually situated in an area of possible avalanche. This is not the kind of judgment that I am comfortable with.

Patti has always listened carefully to her constituents and made decisions that will serve our community well into the future. May she be there to help preserve and enhance our very special community.

Barbara Conviser


Letter: Look at record, not party affiliation

October 16, 2014 — 

Whatever happened to the virtue of open-mindedness in Pitkin County? To judge by some of the letters to the editors of the local papers recently about Rob Ittner, who is running for re-election to the Board of County Commissioners, Rob is automatically disqualified from the job because he’s a registered Republican. Forget the four years he has ably served as a county commissioner. Forget his support for the environment. Forget that he’s socially liberal and fiscally conservative. Forget that he brings a strong business background to the board, having been a successful small-business owner in Aspen for many years.

It’s a crying shame that some in our community choose to vilify another member of our community on the basis of party affiliation rather than the record.

From other environment-loving, socially liberal, fiscally conservative Republicans in Pitkin County (we also love dogs and horses),

Nancy Patton and Lance Hughes


Letter: We need a fully equipped ambulance service

October 16, 2014 — 

A collision on Highway 82, an incident at the airport, an individual’s fall in the shower, stroke, allergic reaction or a heart attack — some of the many scenarios in which we expect the rapid response of a highly trained, fully equipped ambulance service.

Always on call, the Aspen Ambulance District staff is there for our community, our kids, seniors, workers and visitors 24/7, 365 days a year — the service you never want to use but the one you expect to be the best possible when you do.

As you vote in November, please vote “yes” on Ballot Measure 1A to increase the funding for the Aspen Ambulance District, the only increase the district has ever asked for in its 32-year history. Rising costs for advanced medical equipment, vehicles and fuel, and an inadequate garage/office/sleeping facility, have made the budget going forward unsustainable despite vigorous management, cost-cutting and efficiency improvements.

Covering a 161-square-mile region, and offering mutual-aid assistance to other districts when requested, this vital service agency is there to offer stand-up support at school athletic events and special events like the X Games throughout the year. They transport patients from Aspen Valley Hospital to other hospitals when needed, help with flu-shot clinics and wellness fairs, promote injury prevention with kids’ bike- and ski-helmet giveaways and teach CPR classes.

In school as a child, I was taught to say a prayer whenever an ambulance drove by, and I still do. Voting “yes” on 1A, to me, is following through on the other lesson I was taught: God helps those who help themselves. Aspen Ambulance is a critical partner in our local network of skilled life-safety providers and deserves your “yes” vote on Question 1A when you send in your mail-in ballot.

Thanks for your time and consideration.

Rachel E. Richards


Letter: Pricing out Australian guests

October 16, 2014 — 

Yesterday I received an email from United Airlines offering Melbourne-to-Los Angeles flights for $1,287 Australian, and that of course does not include Los Angeles to Aspen.

However, in the school holidays — and Australian school kids have their long summer holidays from around mid-December to the end of January — the Melbourne-to-Los Angeles fare increases around 250 percent to about $3,500 Australian. Thus, a family of four traveling coach would need to spend more than $15,000 U.S. just to get here.

Then, if they have teenage kids, Aspen Skiing Co. does not sell teenager snowboard packages with lift passes, gear rental and lessons — each item has to be purchased separately.

It gets worse. Last season, when our resort’s Australian skier numbers declined from previous years, one Australian dollar bought approximately one U.S. dollar. Now one Aussie dollar buys around 86 cents.

Fortunately, Australian skiers do have an alternative to North America, and that is Japan. Same time zone, so no jet lag, and much more family-friendly vacation pricing.

Sorry to be a Jeremiah, but taking on his prophetic mantle, I suspect another decline in Australian skier numbers this year. Not many families I know can afford to spend $30,000-plus on a two-week ski vacation. My wife and I, who normally have a daughter and two teenage grandchildren visit from Australia to ski with us each year in January, must at these prices now ration visits to one person only per year.

Ian Sanderson

Snowmass Village

Letter: Perceived Aspen disparity

October 15, 2014 — 

Perceived Aspen disparity

How is it that the primarily rich and famous have gotten away with paying for their parking in Aspen with expired prepaid debit and credit cards without detection for so long? “For so long” is the operative statement.

Enter a tale of disparity. It took place in August of this year. I parked outside Clark’s Pharmacy in a designated pharmacy parking spot. I was in a hurry, had a ball cap on and the driver’s side visor was partially pulled down. I did not see the handicap symbol above it until I returned to my car. I noticed a ticket on my windshield and then just then noticed the symbol. I immediately went to the parking ticket center in hopes of appealing the $100 fine noted on the ticket. I am a senior who lives with my husband downvalley and am not at all familiar with Aspen. On a very limited budget, $100 is a stretch. I was willing to pay some portion of the justified fine. I was, however, turned away with a tense, “Appeal it in court.” Really?

Wouldn’t you agree that this represents another piece of Aspen disparity?

Sandie Gardner


Letter: Bettis is the right choice

October 15, 2014 — 

Bettis has the ability

I have lived in Eagle County for 15 years and have known Kara Bettis for more than 10 years. I feel the need to write a letter based on the issues that are being thrown about during this year’s coroner election. In my opinion, the most compelling parts of the coroner job are: 1. Establishing the manner of death and 2. Assisting families. I appreciate a coroner who is resilient enough to handle the painstaking details of that position yet respectful enough to not blast me for tissue and organ donations in the horrific event I lose a loved one (especially when not all deaths result in possible donation scenarios). Further, I would want anyone who has to deal with a loss to have the benefit of a coroner with the 12 years of experience and knowledge that Kara Bettis delivers. Eagle County should be honored to have such a strong, committed and caring person for our coroner. Kara Bettis truly cares for this community and I believe she has the tact, the dedication and the overwhelming ability to be the only choice for coroner this election. I urge you to research Kara’s record. I am confident your decision will also be Kara Bettis for coroner.

Amy VanGoey


Letter: A true voice for Pitkin County

October 15, 2014 — 

A true voice for Pitkin County

Being born and raised in Aspen, I have seen how this community grows and changes in many different directions. I will be voting for the person who I feel is best and foster the prosperity of our community; this person is Patti Clapper. From her views on mental and human services to the environment and growth and urban development, I feel she is the true voice for Pitkin County.

Wes Graham


Letter: Voting record, not labels, matter

October 15, 2014 — 

Voting record, not labels, matter

As an incumbent, Rob Ittner runs on his record as a county commissioner, one that demonstrates concerns for the entire county and includes a pattern of well-reasoned positions within the mainstream of the entire board. The recent spate of letters seeking to paint him with pejorative labels such as “Republican,” “pro-growth,” and “right wing,” all fail to come to grips with what matters: his actual performance as an elected official.

Those following the workings of the Board of County Commissioners know that Ittner comes to meetings prepared, asks thoughtful questions, and promotes unity — not discord — and has voted with the best interests of the county clearly in mind. He does not represent any special interests and brings to the table the mindset of a successful local businessman who is well aware of the values the citizens consider important. He does not need this job, but serves out of public interest.

The critics do not and cannot point to any substantive reason why he should not be re-elected. His endorsements run the gambit of all persuasions (including this liberal registered Democrat) because he is the best person for the position. Pitkin County has made great strides with him on the board and Rob Ittner deserves another term to continue his outstanding efforts of the last four years.

Neil B. Siegel


Letter: Franciose for coroner

October 14, 2014 — 

Being coroner is not an easy job. I know because I did the job for 24 years in Eagle County. Yes, it involves knowledge for investigation of every unexpected death for foul play and cause. But it also requires a tremendous amount of compassion, empathy, handling of all sorts of grief responses, tactfulness in dealing with loved ones and a whole lot of understanding. So I am supporting Sue Franciose for the job of Eagle County coroner. Sue worked under me as a deputy and I was very impressed with her performance. She possesses all of the qualities and educational requirements needed for the position. I encourage you to vote for Sue for coroner. She is the right person for the job.

Donna Meineke Barnes


Letter: Choosing Udall to move us forward

October 14, 2014 — 

I have known Mark Udall most of my life. He didn’t get gray hair by taking the easy way out. He earned it as a senior senator, fighting for and working hard to protect Colorado’s air, water and land. Udall championed the issues many Coloradans are most proud of, a clean energy economy.

In this year’s race for the Senate, Udall’s opponent, Congressman Cory Gardner, has been taking unexpected departures from his long-held views in an attempt to appear less extreme to Colorado voters. In general, Republicans have begun to embrace more moderate policies to soften their image. Don’t be fooled.

Gardner released an ad taking credit for writing a law that “launched Colorado’s clean energy economy.” He failed to mention, however, that the legislation he’s talking about, a bill that created the Clean Energy Development Authority, didn’t fund a single project and had no impact on the development of Colorado’s clean energy industry.

The Clean Energy Development Authority was intended to assist in the financing of clean energy projects. Gardner supported the bill as a member of the State House. But, according to its own annual reports, the authority “doesn’t have an executive director or other employees,” “hasn’t financed or refinanced any projects” and “will not develop a three-year plan or mission statement.” And, get this, the authority was repealed in 2012.

Gardner has been caught red-handed touting a dead measure that did nothing for Colorado’s energy industry. Even 9News exposed this falsehood a couple weeks ago. What did Gardner’s campaign say in response? According to his spokesman, “Cory says that he co-wrote a law to launch our state’s green-energy industry, not that launched it.” It seemed a blatant attempt to intentionally deceive voters and alter the facts.

What’s widely perceived as launching our state’s new energy economy is the renewable-energy standard, which mandated that by 2020, 30 percent of energy from state-owned utilities be produced from renewable sources. One of the foremost champions of the standard was none other than then-Rep., now Sen. Udall. The fact is, Gardner opposed the standard, as did most Republicans in 2004.

This is just one example of the striking contrast between Udall and Gardner. A recognized expert on energy issues, Udall’s leadership has helped make Colorado a model for the nation on smart energy policy. Throughout his career, Udall has pushed to responsibly develop Colorado’s abundant energy resources — from clean-burning natural gas to renewables like wind, solar, small hydroelectric and geothermal power. This balanced approach to energy development helps grow our economy, create good-paying Colorado jobs and puts us on the path toward true energy independence.

Udall also successfully led the effort to renew the Production Tax Credit in 2012, urging his colleagues in the Senate to pass its extension. This crucial measure supports about 5,000 jobs in Colorado and gives manufacturers the certainty they need to continue creating jobs and making millions of dollars in capital investments.

This highly contested Senate race has huge consequences, not only for the State of Colorado, but for our nation, as well. If lost, it would mean a step back to a fossil fuel-based economy, the loss of valuable water from the Western Slope and our policies hauled backward into a 1950s agenda by a famed climate-change denier. Nov. 4 we all have the honor of voting to decide which direction we want to move in. I’m choosing a move forward into 2015 by voting for Mark Udall.

Ruthie Brown


Letter: Denver Post Senate endorsement is spot-on

October 14, 2014 — 

Stating that Mark Udall’s campaign to retain his U.S. Senate seat is an “obnoxious one-issue campaign” that “is an insult to those he seeks to convince,” the liberal Denver Post endorsed Udall’s Republican challenger Cory Gardner over the weekend.

In addition to its stark criticism of the content of Udall’s advertising, the Post endorsement calls for “fresh leadership, energy and ideas,” which, it states, “Cory Gardner can help provide ... in the U.S. Senate.”

Alluding to the current dysfunction in Washington, the Post observes that, “We can be sure of what will happen in the next two years on issues such as immigration, tax reform, entitlement reform and military spending if the status quo persists: little to nothing. And yet these issues are critical to the nation’s economic health and a long-awaited boost for middle-class incomes.”

The Post is onto something here, which runs counter to the conventional narrative the public has been fed by the media for several years: blame Washington gridlock on the Republican House. Contrary to this myth, the House has sent to the Senate more than 300 pieces of substantive legislation, many with some Democratic support, on such matters as jobs, the economy, energy and health care. The bills die in Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s inbox — no debate, no hope of the serious consideration they deserve and no chance that the president will need to take a stand on them. Although not stated in the editorial, a reader could conclude that changing the majority in the Senate would give rise to meaningful debate on the important issues facing the country.

The editorial asks voters to recognize that “a great deal is at stake” in the 2014 election: “A dysfunctional Congress calls for action when voters have an attractive option to the gridlocked status quo. And in Colorado, thankfully, they do in Cory Gardner.”

Frieda Wallison

Old Snowmass

Letter: Factual errors in commissioner candidate story

October 14, 2014 — 

Errors in Monday commissioners race story

As a candidate for county commissioner, I am requesting the Aspen Times correct factual errors at the heart of the recent story about my challenge to incumbent Rob Ittner.

Contrary to the lead sentence in Monday’s paper, I did not run for office in 2009 (I could not, there was no election that year) and I did not run in 2010 when the last election for this seat was actually held. Thus, the statement that Rob Ittner defeated “then incumbent Clapper to win his seat on the board” is factually incorrect and must be retracted.

The election on Nov. 2, 1020 for this district was between Jack Johnson, a registered Democrat and Rob Ittner, a registered Republican. Mr. Ittner won with 53 percent of the vote. I was not a candidate.

The Times quote about “keeping the seat warm” and Mr. Ittner’s response that “it’s the people’s seat” creates a false drama premised on the notion that I am trying to somehow avenge a loss to Mr. Ittner. The drama is fiction

based on the erroneous premise I ran for office in a non-election year (2009) or in the election between Johnson and Ittner in 2010.

I am running for county commissioner against a self-described “right of center” Republican because I believe must we do a better job managing growth, fostering local agriculture and providing human services to our growing senior population.

Moreover, I believe neighborhood caucuses should be treated with respect and carefully listened to in making land use decisions. It simply is not appropriate to allow developers six hours of presentation time to persuade the commissioners in favor of a huge home in a hazard area and limit the neighbors to 30 minutes of presentation a week later.

Too often, Mr. Ittner sides with more development in scenic view planes and hazardous areas. We need a balance that respects our values and the environment as well as the rights of property owners. This balance must include meaningful input from neighbors, not token speaking time. We don’t need to rubber stamp every application that comes before us.

Finally, basic journalistic standards suggest that Mr. Ittner was improperly allowed to rebut my statements in an interview with The Aspen Times while I had no similar opportunity to comment on his interview. I believe I was materially misquoted by the substitution of grammar that is not my own and by changing words such as “deplanement” to “deployment.” We do not “deploy” guests and visitors at the airport as they arrive.

This is an all mail ballot election. You should receive your ballot later this week or early next week. The clerk must have the ballot in her office on or before Nov. 4. If you do not receive a ballot because you have moved or the post office does not deliver it, contact the clerk at 970-429-2713.

I respectfully ask for your support and vote in this election. Please make sure you get your ballot and return it.

Patti Clapper

Candidate for Pitkin Board of County Commissioners District 1

Letter: Information about Clapper-Ittner ‘history’ incorrect

October 14, 2014 — 

Information about Clapper-Ittner ‘history’ incorrect

This election season is heating up and there is only one locally contested race, which is between Patti Clapper, the Democratic nominee for Pitkin County Commissioner and the self-described Republican Rob Ittner. We truly appreciate the election coverage being done by The Aspen Times. However, we would like to respectfully request that The Aspen Times publish a correction to the front page article, “Clapper, Ittner bring history to commissioner’s race,” which ran Monday, written by reporter Michael McLaughlin. Mr. McLaughlin incorrectly states that Rob Ittner defeated Patti Clapper in 2009 to win the District 1 commissioner’s seat. In fat, Patti Clapper was not even in the race. Rob Ittner ran against challenger Jack Johnson in the 2009 open seat race. In addition, the article states that it is an open seat, which is incorrect. Mr. Ittner holds the seat and is being challenged by Ms. Clapper. We would also point out that Ms. Clapper was interviewed first, Mr. Ittner was allowed to comment on her answers but Ms. Clapper was not afforded the opportunity to comment on his answers.

The Pitkin County Democratic Party has strongly endorsed Patti Clapper for Pitkin County Commissioner because we know she is the candidate who is truly concerned about managed growth and who will always genuinely listen to the opinions and concerns of the affected neighborhoods when questions of growth and development come up before the Board of County Commissioners. In addition, Patti advocates for keeping Thompson Divide protected and pristine. As a registered nurse, Ms. Clapper is concerned about providing strong health and human services support and she is especially concerned about strengthening the network of support for mental health crisis intervention services in our county. Patti is pro-choice, against the Personhood Amendment and favors GMO labeling — all issues important to Pitkin County Democrats this fall.

We ask The Aspen Times to issue a correction as to the fact Patti Clapper did not run against Mr. Ittner in 2009 and that Mr. Ittner did not defeat Patti Clapper to win the District 1 seat on the board of county commissioners. In the interest of fairness, we would also ask that Ms. Clapper be allowed to respond to Mr. Ittner’s answers. I know you would agree that knowing the facts about this local race and presenting them in a balanced manner are critical as voters begin receiving their mail-in ballots this week. Just as critical is that voters should fill out their ballots and mail them in with two stamps or hand deliver their ballots to the Pitkin County Clerk’s Office on Main Street in Aspen. We now have same-day voter registration in Colorado and eligible residents can register to vote and vote on the same day, with proper ID, up until election day Nov. 4. For more information on the mail-in ballots, please go to www.pitkinvotes.org. For more information on our endorsed candidates, please visit www.pitkincountydemocraticparty.org.

Blanca O’Leary

Chair, Pitkin County Democratic Party

Letter: Western Slope College Fair “Best Ever”

October 13, 2014 — 

Western Slope College Fair “Best Ever”

A week ago, it was clear something big was afoot at AHS: dozens of buses unloaded 1,753 bright-eyed, well-dressed students, transported from 78 Western Slope high schools, all eager to meet with the 230 college admissions officers attending and the handful of mentors who would help them create their futures. The Western Slope College Fair was celebrating its 10th successful year. At the opening, UPenn’s former Head of Admissions summed it up: “It’s not just the best college fair in Colorado — it’s the best in the country”

Based upon students and admission officers’ glowing reviews, this year’s event delivered on all of its promises to open horizons for both kids and colleges. “I thought an Ivy League school was financially an impossibility, but I learned in the “Highly Selective Schools” seminar that they cover up to 100 percent of tuition! Now I’m going to try for Georgetow,” said a Telluride student. Jenn Gandy, admissions officer for Harvard, observed, “these kids can do everything big city kids do, plus build a snow cave to save themselves in the backcountry — we love that !”

From seminars to layout, the fair was organized to give the admissions officers and students the easiest, most convivial environment to trade their stories. Kathy Klug, director, came up with an innovation that banished long lines — instead, students approached the individual college tables four at a time, so all could engage in the conversation effectively. “I’m absolutely going to suggest this to the other fairs we attend,” said one admissions officer, “it’s so much more efficient.” Another nodded, “This really is an amazing fair — every detail has been thought of.”

It takes a Village to put on an event as well-run, multidimensional and just plain excellent as our College Fair. Here’s a toast to the 100-plus volunteers from Sarah Stevens on seminars to Beth Mondry and Zibby on activities, to Blanca O’Leary on Hispanic outreach, to Carolyne Glah on, well, everything, Kris Ferguson on parking, Ilse Allen on photography, Mme de Rosa on brunch, and the countless others who make the Fair so exceptional. And, of course, every Village needs a mayor – here’s to Kathy Klug and Kelly Doherty.

If you are a parent with students in Aspen schools, you owe it to your kids to join this committed, competent, inspired village, pitch in, and ensure that our College Fair remains, as Penn’s Dean attested, “the best in the country.”

Kevin Ward


Letter: If someone doesn’t sue, I will

October 13, 2014 — 

If someone doesn’t sue, I will

Regarding the illegal four-year extension of the Base Village planned unit devlopment, I call for the resignation of Fred Kucker. As an attorney, he should have known better. If you want to help SkiCo/Related/Dancing Bear, you must be squeaky clean. If Fred thought no one would know, he should know you cannot keep a secret in this small town. As for Ms. Butler asking for hotel clarification, it doesn’t pass the smell test. Even our mayor trying to juggle the books is highly questionable. I call for the resignation of all three town council members and the canceling of the second ordinance vote immediately.

Congratulations to Chris Jacobson for “sniffing” this out and to Jason Haber for the support. These are the two council members who dug in their heels on the manager’s overpay and saved us $125,000 per year. They are the type of leadership we need now that the fox may be back in the henhouse. But for how long?

Besides the above described illegal behavior, there are too many loose ends to be clarified with the fox, Related. I question if they have any legal “standing” just because SAC, Related “shell” owns some land and incomplete buildings.

Since there are not adequate safeguards, by my experience, if someone doesn’t sue, I will.

Richard Goodwin

Snowmass Village

Letter: Not the image for Aspen we want to create

October 13, 2014 — 

Not the image for Aspen we want to create

Do we really need or want a “pot patch” facility as the first thing we see as we drive into our beautiful, little town? Is that really what we want to use that beautiful Victorian house for? Isn’t it bad enough that as we are driving up from Basalt that we have to look at that monstrosity of a building: a giant pot-growing facility. Welcome to Aspen, or MarijuanaLand! Stop in, have a sample. Pick up some pot gummy bears for your kids! What’s next, a meth lab?

This pot-patch facility is obviously not a medical manufacturing facility. Joshua Meacham is quoted in The Aspen Times as saying, “It’s really hard to say, but about 100 grams of hash oil would make about 10,000 patches” (“Aspen to get marijuana-patch production facility,” Oct. 8). Really? It’s “hard to say?” Is that how all our medicine is made? What authority approved this medicine-making method? The patches contain anywhere from 10 grams to 30 grams of THC. That is a huge spread. There will be no prediction of the effect one will experience from this “medicine.” Maybe their pain will lessen for a bit. Or, maybe they will hallucinate and freak out. Or, maybe they will die. Best of luck with that, I hope it’s their lucky day.

What message are we sending here? How is this good? Who is this really helping? Well, it for sure is helping the new legal drug dealers — they are getting rich quick! But are they going to take care of all the kids who will now get addicted because it’s “safe” and it’s “medicine?” I don’t think so! The kids are their future customers. They are brilliant for creating pot gummy bears and candy — very tempting to those future customers.

If part of the reason for legalizing marijuana is to get rid of the black market, then how were there just two busts of illegal pot-growing sites? Estimated value of one of them is $6 million to $8 million dollars! I don’t think we were going to be seeing any tax money from that. This black market will not go away.

Oh Aspen, where are we going with this arijuana mission? Dumbing down society, particularly the next generation. Making more mental illness, lowering IQs. How is this good?

Angela Marion


Letter: Time to change the subject

October 13, 2014 — 

Time to change the subject

This is a postscript to Melanie Sturm’s response to Auden Schendler, titled “The Archie Bunkers of settled science” (Aspen Times, Commentary, Oct. 9).

The thing I find so irksome about the claim that theories of climate change constitute “settled science” is that anyone who has read Thomas S. Kuhn’s “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions” knows that there is no such thing — that there is no body of scientific knowledge that has had a useful life of more than a few centuries.

Ptolemaic astronomy, to be sure, lasted long before Copernicus and Galileo came along. But Newton’s physics was settled science for barely two centuries before Einstein and others showed how unreliable it was once you left Earth. The same was true of the phlogiston theory of combustion before Antoine Lavoisier offered his new paradigm of the atmosphere as a blend of distinct gases, one of which, called oxygen, is the central component of combustion.

The latter example brings us to the crux of what’s suspect about Schendler’s rebuttal of Sturm. Kuhn details how scientists such as Joseph Priestly, whose life’s work was invested in the phlogiston explanation, fought Lavoisier’s new science tooth and nail the way religious orthodoxy attacks perceived heresy.

A look at Auden Schendler’s website and resume reveals that his entire professional career — indeed, his very identity — is bound up in the crusade against manmade global warming and climate change. If you shake up the paradigm that he shares with Al Gore and Robert F. Kennedy Jr., as the last 15 years have done, and as Sturm has done, you can expect to be treated as a heretic. After all, you are threatening to take away the thing that gives his life meaning and a sense of self-worth. No one can be expected to take kindly to that.

Still, he might be expected to exercise a little humility and not brand his critics as the new Holocaust deniers and flat-Earthers who are “willfully blind or statistically illiterate.” His own house may prove to be made of glass.

Of course, now that Ebola can be added to the list of diseases streaming across our porous borders, a year from now we may wonder how people could worry about the climate. Perhaps both Schendler and Sturm need to “Think Again” — perhaps it’s time to change the subject.

Chad Klinger


Letter: Thanks for supporting Filmfest

October 12, 2014 — 

We want to thank this amazing community for your enthusiastic support of Filmfest. Our greatest pleasure is connecting audiences with special movie experiences. In the world of film festivals, 35 years is an impressive age of achievement. Thank you for making this fall celebration such an eagerly anticipated tradition. Enormous thanks to the tremendous businesses and individuals whose generous contributions of resources, talent and time made this edition a resounding success, most especially: The Aspen Times, the city of Aspen, the Embrey Family Foundation, Aspen Peak magazine, Aspen Public Radio, Ravenheart Gallery, Theory, Aspen Out, Les Dames d’Aspen, the town of Basalt, the Colorado Office of Film Television and Media, ANB Bank, Realtor Melissa Temple, Aspen Alps, Aspen Mountain Lodge, Aspen Square, Chateau Blanc, Frias Properties, The Gant, Hotel Aspen, Hotel Jerome, Molly Gibson Lodge, North of Nell, Sky Hotel and St. Regis. Special appreciation to our rock-star venues: Gram Slaton and the entire Wheeler Opera House team, Ryan Folse and the Isis Theater staff, and Bob and Kathy Ezra and the Crystal Theatre. And biggest thanks to our spectacular volunteers who welcomed filmgoers day and night.

George Eldred, Laura Thielen and Rebecca Mirsky

Aspen Film

Letter: Kudos to prolific letter-writer

October 12, 2014 — 

You have got to take your hats off to Bruno Kirchenwitz, of Rifle.

The guy has been writing letters to the editor for more than 20 years. I discovered this when I did research about an underground parking garage at Wagner Park.

While he worked at a job in Basalt he was shot at because he stands up for Americans in our country.

You must admit his American bravery keeps coming at you, doesn’t it?

Enough said!

Emzy Veazy III

Burbank, California, and Aspen

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