Letters to the Editor
Vote for Torre
I first met Torre over a decade ago when my son David was in middle school. Torre was teaching him how to play tennis.Learn more »
I’m supporting Torre
I am writing to support voting for Torre as Mayor in this election. I agree with his core values. He stands for environmental progress, says ‘no’ to a new huge city building. Every other week more parking spaces are eliminated in the core, designated for other use other than public and marked with “no parking”, so I also agree with Torre’s opinion to stop eliminating parking spaces until alternatives are put into place. Torre will bring leadership to city hall. In this campaign, Torre has put forth ideas and solutions for land use, housing and transportation and more. I urge you to vote for Torre for Mayor.Learn more »
Steve Skadron clearly distinguishes himself from his opponent in a multitude of ways and deserves another term as mayor. He constantly sees the big picture and has a balanced view of long-term community goals. He will vote “no” when those goals are compromised. His was the only negative vote on the art museum. His demeanor does not have an edginess or a “got ya!” component. This has resulted in respectful City Council meetings where all viewpoints are welcome.
This is an election where the competency and demonstrated performance of both people can be evaluated; neither are unknowns. Steve Skadron is the superior candidate.Learn more »
We owe a debt of gratitude to the early pioneers of Aspen who made decisions that have allowed us all to benefit from the “community quality” standards they set.
One of those was an early decision to put all electric and other utility services underground to allow the natural beauty of this city to shine through, unimpeded by wires, cables and transformers. That decision undoubtedly also contributes to the reliability of our utilities.Learn more »
Here is a solution to the complaints of under-utilization of the Basalt riverfront property. Why not a Glenwood Hot Springs-type wading and swimming pool? The water could be preheated geothermally. Another use would be a cross-country, ski-walking trail on the periphery of the property. Imagine these two great amenities in the center of our town.
Roy ChorbajianLearn more »
I urge voters not to lay blame for the Aspen Art Museum on any single individual. Torre appeared to be blaming Mick Ireland during one of the election forums, but in fact, Torre voted for the art museum too, as did fellow councilmembers Derek Johnson and Dwayne Romero. The only one to vote against it was Steve Skadron.
That vote, in August 2010, came on the advice of the City Attorney’s Office and the Community Development Department. The museum, if you’ll recall, was part of a legal settlement forced by the father-and-son development team of Andy and Nikkos Hecht. They had challenged City Council’s use of the resident-generated Aspen Area Community Plan in its land-use decisions. If the courts ultimately ruled for the Hechts, it could have significantly undermined growth controls and allowed a much larger, mixed-use building on the site.Learn more »
The Aspen Times edited my recent letter to the editor, “Basalt Can Benefit From the Right Type of Development,” and incorrectly identified the River Center as a project of the Roaring Fork Club. The River Center is a project of Roaring Fork Conservancy.
Rose Ann SullivanLearn more »
Before deciding where a hotel should be located in Basalt, it will be helpful for the community to better understand the reasons for considering a hotel.
Some questions to ask:Learn more »
In Aspen, we’re all nobody. That’s what we love about it. I was born here in 1960, but there were many who came before me. Miners, 10th Mountain Division men, Norwegians, Austrians, Native Americans. This is our native land and we are a tribe. We honor each other. Our word is good, our handshake can be trusted, a contract is a contract and a deal is a deal; our actions define us. In the “real world,” it is said that there are six degrees of separation — in Aspen, there are about two degrees! Word travels fast. We live on common ground, and you are no better than me and I am no better than you. We are locals and we live with dignity, grace and respect for each other regardless of how long we’ve been here, where we came from or what religion we practice. Our ripple effect will be felt quickly in this little town. Let’s continue to honor each other — it’s what makes Aspen so special.
Cindy Madsen BuckLearn more »
Congratulations to Kevin Wright who has served your community tirelessly for 16 years. For 16 years, he has been trying everything imaginable to keep from killing bears in Aspen. The science and anecdotal evidence tells what the problem is, yet the city and its residents refuse to take the necessary action to solve or reduce the problem. In Revelstoke, British Columbia, if a bear shows up at your house, you’re guilty of attracting it and you get a $500 fine. I recently visited Yosemite. Though it’s a national park, it is very similar to the theme park Aspen has become. The instructions I received, and a contract I had to initial, state: “All items must be removed from your car which may attract a bear. Please put these in your hotel room or bear-proof trash can. Be sure to remove all food, including unopened bottles, ice chests and scented items including soap, sunscreen and trash. Please understand that your car may be towed and cited up to $5,000 if any of these items are left unattended in the car.”
The houses and lodges in this area have already secured their trash. A similar ordinance, including all businesses and houses in Aspen and Snowmass, that is enforced would go along way to saving the bears.Learn more »
The Basalt developer sales pitch that a four-story hotel and some townhomes on the newly uncovered river jewel in the center of old town Basalt is the best way to revitalize the historic village needs further examination. This proposed four-story hotel in old town Basalt is in addition to the new four-story, 100-plus room hotel that is nearing completion in Willits. Supporters of the old town four-story hotel and townhome development proposal have maintained that their plan will “cure” what they say are Basalt’s retail woes. In reality, the hotel and additional townhomes proposed would have a marginal effect on increasing retail traffic in old town at the great expense to the town’s ambiance, ultimate desirability and vibrancy in the future. Here are the three biggest contributing factors to old town Basalt’s retail woes that oppose the idea that heavy development of a hotel and townhomes in this pristine location would be more beneficial than honoring the river:
1. Retail spending in old town Basalt was driven largely by the wealth spin-off from the real estate bubble which conclusively burst in early 2009, dropping values more heavily in Basalt than nearly anywhere in the state, resulting in a plunge in consumer spending. The retailers in the newly constructed River Walk and Riverside Plaza developments were locked into paying very high “bubble rental rates” and few were in any position to weather the oncoming financial drought.Learn more »
I love our political season in Aspen. Keep Aspen, Aspen, or so the story goes. Too much/too little development. Aspen has a dog poop problem. Yeah right. How about keeping Earth, Earth? How about just one single brave politician in our city or county government standing on a platform of keeping Earth habitable by cleaning up our CO2 poop? What would it look like to have our civic leaders demand that before any further development take place? We carbon-neutralize the mess we already have. Let’s start putting CO2 poop flags where they belong — with a humongous poop flag at the airport — and see if we can shame folks into cleaning up after themselves.
Can you imagine a community where we mandate the carbon footprint be mitigated before we double the size of the Aspen Airport? Imagine, if you can, the political will of requiring every gallon of fuel sold or used in automobiles, buses or airplanes be carbon offset just as a matter of policy. Carbon-neutral McMansions; carbon-neutral hotels. The entire country of Norway is going to be carbon-neutral by 2030, while we sit on the deck of the Titanic fully aware that we are sinking, complaining about the dog poop on the promenade and patting ourselves on the back for recycling.Learn more »
My husband and I have lived in Colorado since the 1980s and have spent the past 18 years in Aspen. We are a working-class family with two children in grades four and five. I am an interpretive naturalist and birding guide, and my husband is the city’s Open Space and Trails manager.
Climate change is something we think about every day, especially this winter, with nearly 40 record-high temperatures recorded just over the hill at the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory. We see the warming trends happening not just with this past winter but on a climate scale over the decades of our experience here. With skiing as the basis of our local economy, climate change is a serious concern for our town. And more importantly, the mountain snowpack is chronically low and melting weeks earlier, resulting in less water in the rivers for both natural ecosystems and our industries and agriculture, municipalities and recreation.Learn more »
The job of mayor, as well as council member, has evolved to understanding and being able to work collaboratively beyond city limits to address regional issues. As county commissioner, I often must work across county borders as well as across the street on issues such as affordable housing, transportation alternatives, community health, energy efficiency, transmountain water diversions, climate change — and the list goes on. Steve Skadron understands this and works side by side with other elected officials. Working together on the CORE board, the organization was successful in securing a Department of Energy grant for the implementation of the Energy Smart program in a tri-county partnership (Pitkin, Eagle and Gunnison). Representing the Roaring Fork Transportation Authority board, we traveled together to Washington, D.C., a few years back to help secure a $24.5 million grant for bus rapid transit. On the Elected Officials Transportation Committee, Steve recognized the need to fund the no-fare Aspen-Snowmass bus, and he supported the Aspen Business Center pedestrian underpass. He also understands the importance of upgrading our airport to remain competitive as a resort community.
Steve’s commitment to the health of our community will hopefully lead to a sustainable funding source from the city to bolster the county’s Healthy Community Fund. Steve understands that the protection of our environment is critical to our quality of life and continued success as a community, from joint open space purchases to expanding wilderness areas. He supported the city’s financial contribution to the county’s purchase of Sky Mountain Park with the town of Snowmass Village. This regional approach made it possible to secure this property to protect and improve the wildlife habitat as well as provide recreational opportunities for the public. In addition, he has served the past two years as president of the Colorado Association of Ski Towns, building a coalition to address legislative concerns such as climate change.Learn more »
Preserve Basalt’s river park treasure
Dear Basalt Town Council:Learn more »
How fortunate our valley has been to have a such a committed individual fighting to preserve and educate the public about our most valuable resource: wildlife.
Scott Condon’s April 20 article (“Wildlife in the Aspen area is losing prime advocate,” A1) informing us of Kevin Wright’s retirement is bittersweet; some ofLearn more »
This letter is in support of my friend and tax attorney, Mick Ireland. He helped me through the most trying time in my life, unraveling the complexity of the Colorado Department of Revenue over the past decade. I was a nervous wreck, and he took me as a client, straightened out the mess and put me back on track, able to sleep at night.
The man is fearless, thorough and very knowledgeable, especially about everything that matters to those of us who live in Aspen all year round. He wants to serve our community again, which is amazing, considering the abuse he gets for standing up for us. For those of you who don’t remember, he won three terms as our mayor, outspent but never outworked in those elections.Learn more »
The Roaring Fork Valley Homeschool Network is hosting our free Springtime Question and Answer Event from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at Basalt Town Hall. If you are curious about home schooling, this is a great way to meet a few of the 150 families who home-school in our valley. The families in our group share a common goal: We facilitate stimulating, child-focused learning opportunities for our kids. Our families practice a wide variety of homeschooling philosophies, and we have both secular and religious families in our inclusive, respectful group. There are lots of opportunities for socializing: Our parents plan field trips, organize tutors for specialty classes and create academic and athletic group events that our kids participate in. Our children are a wide variety of ages — toddlers to high schoolers. There are so many great educational options for your kids; come find out more at our event. For information on the home-schooling network, check out our webpage (just google Roaring Fork Valley Homeschool Network).
Joanne SnellLearn more »
Just in time for the 45th anniversary of Earth Day on Wednesday, the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee has made it official: consumption of animal products is not environmentally sustainable. Its conclusions match those of a massive 2010 United Nations report, which concluded that a global shift toward a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and climate change.
Carbon dioxide, the chief greenhouse gas, is emitted by burning forests to create animal pastures and by combustion of fossil fuels to operate farm machinery, trucks, refrigeration equipment, factory farms and slaughterhouses. The much more damaging methane and nitrous oxide are released from digestive tracts of cattle and from animal waste cesspools.Learn more »
I guess the definition of an “awesome ski season,” as portrayed in a previous article, is different now than it was in years past. It used to be that an “awesome ski season” would mean it would hardly ever stop snowing, when Aspen would chalk up 50-plus days in a row with at least some snow falling and the sight of a blue sky a distant memory. When your legs were begging for a day off, but you wouldn’t dare because there were more powder stashes to ski and many more trees to ski through. Not a season where the town’s butt was saved by snow just before Christmas and another dump right before spring break and days before skiers might have had to download off the mountain, or snow sloshing down the sides of slopes from warm weather. So, I presume, the new definition of “awesome ski season” must be how many Gucci bags were sold, or how high real estate sales have gone or how much can be charged for a day of skiing. Go back 10 or 20 years or longer and read some old articles from your own paper on what an “awesome ski season” was really like.
Steven CahnLearn more »
We are writing to support Bert Myrin for City Council. For years, Bert has been tireless in his petitioning efforts to ensure that all residents’ voices are counted and heard.
To list a few of his accomplishments, he advocated to:Learn more »
As this ski season comes to a close, I would like to give a big thank-you to the Aspen community for allowing me to ski race at the World Cup level yet again. The U.S. Ski Team has required me and other athletes to pay more than $25,000 for travel and training costs per year. For the past four years, the Aspen community has funded most of this burden with donations and contributions.
My 2014-15 season was a rough but successful year. I came back from a yearlong injury to score my first World Cup Downhill points, skiing from a 56th start position to 22nd in Lake Louise, Alberta, the first World Cup of the year. Unfortunately, I dislocated my elbow the night before the Birds of Prey World Cup in early December, which forced me to miss a month of skiing in the heart of the season.Learn more »
The Aspen city election ballots are out, and looming above it all is the Home Rule Charter amendment. Candidates have lined up for or against it, but I think many residents have watched with less than amusement at the monolithic lot line to lot line development in recent years that is changing the face of Aspen. This amendment puts residents in charge when developers ask for major zoning variances in the commercial core. It’s sad that it’s needed, and critics point out that we elect City Council members to represent our interests, but those interests are influenced by money and the high price of real estate. We can always recall elected officials, but by then, the damage would have been done. Alas, passage of this amendment is essential to our future. I’m voting for it.
I’m voting for Mick Ireland and Bert Myrin for council. I like Mick, even as some have found him abrasive. I’ve been the recipient of his criticism but I’ve never found him to hold grudges. He’s a good man. Bert and Mick hold views on development that reflect my own, but more than that, they thoroughly understand the workings of our government, and that is so important.Learn more »
We are voting for Bert Myrin for Aspen City Council because we believe Bert to be a fair and reasonable voice of the people. We encourage all of the city of Aspen voters to also vote for Bert.
Tom and Patti ClapperLearn more »
Dear Lo Semple,
As a lover of pointing out the obvious, I don’t think “real” ski bums believe there actually is a “season” for skiing and, therefore, there can be no annual end to it. “Real” ski bums go for it year round, year after year. “Real” ski bums don’t acknowledge a “closing day” until their crossed skis mark that final mogul beneath Eternal Spring’s green sod. So, it appears that the Volkl Tiger’s stripes have been revealed: you are a pretender with a 100-day pin!Learn more »
I grew up in Aspen and currently reside in Basalt. I wish that I could cast my vote for Torre on May 5 since the decisions that are made in Aspen directly impact those of us who live downvalley as well as Aspen voters. As a commuter, I would like address the immense traffic problems. Torre is in favor of transportation solutions that that would help alleviate traffic congestion and improve buses and bikeways at the Entrance to Aspen. I moved back to the valley from Los Angeles to get away from traffic, not to be stuck in it.
I have seen Aspen grow and change since I was a kid in the ’70s. Aspen has a wonderful history and it is essential that we retain its unique character and sense of local community. Torre has suggested land-use code changes and supports local business while fostering community. Torre reflects the core community values I grew up with that make this town so special. I urge you to vote Torre for mayor in this election.Learn more »
Last year, the Aspen Poets’ Society was a first-time grant recipient from the Thrift Shop of Aspen. Its financial support helped launch our first anthology, “A Democracy of Poets of the Roaring Fork Valley and Beyond.” The book proved so successful that within the first nine months of its release, our supply was nearly depleted, and we recently took delivery of a second printing. In addition, “A Democracy” was just named one of three finalists for a Colorado Book Award – Anthology. Our book sales and this honor far exceeded our expectations and have helped the Aspen Poets’ Society to move forward with new projects and accomplish desired goals. This month, we also were fortunate to be awarded a generous grant from the thrift shop. This additional financial support coupled with the grant committee’s sentiments of praise and encouragement will keep our momentum going as we expand our activities in the community. Priceless!
Many thanks to the Thrift Shop of Aspen.Learn more »
I wholeheartedly support voting “no” on Referendum 1. This referendum is an overreaction to a previous land-use code that allowed larger buildings. The land-use code has since been amended, allowing much less height and mass. The buildings that people are upset about would not be allowed today. Please do not let fear be the reason to change our charter. If we want further change in our land-use code, this is where the amendment should occur, not in our charter, which is the framework of our government and should not have land-use items attached to it.
A more cumbersome, costly process is not the answer! There are already checks and balances in place in our code that allows a vote by City Council to be called up to a public vote.Learn more »
Initiatives and referenda have always been an important part of our representative government. Our representative government includes a long and active tradition of employing public votes to decide important local issues. Aspen voters are more than capable of deciding controversial issues.
Here is a partial list:Learn more »
The residents of Aspen need Bert Myrin on City Council. Whenever we are asked in polls how we feel about preserving Aspen’s character and history, the people of Aspen overwhelming say that this is very important to us. Most members of the current City Council don’t seem to be paying attention to us, and we want an Aspen City Council that listens. For many years, Bert has been leading the rest of us in fighting for Aspen’s character and history, most recently spearheading the referendum regarding Aspen residents having a say in Aspen City Council’s granting of variances to developers. Through the years, Bert has been one of the bravest and most tireless in speaking out for what we all want: to keep the Aspen we know and love. Bert knows Aspen and he knows us and he will fight for us. He is smart and reasonable and passionate and a good guy and he knows what is right and what is right for Aspen. I urge you all to vote for Bert Myrin for Aspen City Council.
In Su Lum’s column April 15 (“Myrin, Ireland, Torre and ‘yes’”), she said everything that I would have said here about what has transpired in recent years with our current council and why we need big changes. Right now, an Aspen City Council with Bert Myrin and Mick Ireland and Torre as mayor is what we need.Learn more »