Mel Blumenthal
Snowmass Village, CO, Colorado

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July 3, 2012
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Mel Blumenthal: Without pretzel rolls or common fiscal sense

Riley, Jersey, Paulette and I finally reassembled in the Village last week having traveled back here from Santa Monica via auto and airline transport. The air traveler enjoyed the scenery from 30,000 feet up in the sky and the rest of us who traveled by SUV enjoyed a close-up view along with our traditional overnight stay at the Days Inn in Richfield, Utah. Right across from the Inn is a lush dog-friendly park that Riley and Jersey look forward to each year - leashes not required - wish we could say the same about Snowmass Village.

We're acclimating to the abnormally hot, dry mountain conditions that will likely be with us the rest of this summer, interrupted only by an occasional intermittent torrential shower like the one that aggressively competed with the musicians performing at last week's Gershwin concert at the Music Tent.

The only other weather adjustment we've made so far is an earlier start to our twice-weekly Peddler road-bike excursions in order to avoid the high midday temperatures. Luckily our Snowmass Club spinning classes still remain cool at all times of the day under the guidance of a great group of talented instructors.

So far our only major disappointment is the disappearance of the mouthwatering pretzel rolls that Viceroy General Manager Hugh Templeman personally promised me would reappear on the new summer menu. I'm told the bakery that supplied the rolls has suddenly gone out of business ... another victim of our stressed economy I assume. I've already heard from several other disgruntled Viceroy patrons with the wherewithal and resources to engage a food chemist to break down the list of secret ingredients. Keep your fingers crossed, the pretzel roll might reappear in the not too distant future.

Also, I'm pleased to report that my crystal ball is still functioning quite well. As I predicted in my last column, several contentious issues that have been percolating around town during the offseason appear to have been resolved.

Jim Horowitz and his Jazz Aspen Snowmass organization walked away with a substantial gift of additional sponsorship dollars that surprised and exceeded what he asked for and what he previously negotiated with our town marketing department and the marketing board.

I'm not quite sure how that happened except several members of our Town Council appear worried that Horowitz may pack up and take his Labor Day festival to Buttermilk, so they're trying to buy his loyalty with lots of extra tax dollars, which they appropriated from the marketing department's budget against the stated wishes of the marketing board.

What the Council fails to realize is the only reason the Labor Day weekend festival is still in Snowmass is because Skico has continually refused to allow Horowitz to move it to Skico's Buttermilk Mountain property unless our town gives its consent. If for some reason Skico was to change its position and allow the move, all the money that Snowmass could muster would not be enough to keep the event here. Use of our tax dollars above and beyond the substantial six-figure sponsorship dollars we already contribute to this event is a waste of our limited economic resources, and clearly at the end of the day it won't buy Jim's loyalty. It's merely making his life a bit less stressful until he can figure a way to get out of Dodge - so much for loyalty.

By the way, one of the well-kept secrets buried in the deal with Jim was exposed during his monetary appeal to our Town Council. It appears the town has been receiving a huge stash of passes for the three-day event each year in exchange for our publicly funded sponsorship dollars. It was revealed, a bit reluctantly, that the town has been getting 100 passes each year, many of which are the highly sought-after gold and silver passes with a face value as high as $1,750. Curious minds want to know who the town is doling these publicly funded passes out to. Since these passes are given to the town in exchange for tax dollars, perhaps a public lottery would be a fairer method of distribution than whatever is and has been going on in the past.

Although some members of our Town Council gave lip service to revising the Horse Ranch PUD in order to once again allow dogs back on the north Rim Trail, we need to keep pressure on the Council and town staff to do so right away. There is enough resistance by some members of Council and staff that unless we light a fire under their butts they might push this issue under the rug, never again to see the light of day.

On July 6, all property owners in the Village are invited to an annual summer Town Hall meeting hosted by the Part-Time Residents Advisory Board from 1 to 5 p.m. in the Town Council chambers. The full meeting agenda appears in an ad elsewhere in this edition of the Sun, but suffice it to say several of the Village's high-profile leaders and newsmakers will be speaking and answering your questions concerning many of the critical issues facing all of us who own property in the Village.

Following the meeting, everyone is invited to a reception generously hosted by and at the Timbers Club from 5 to 7 p.m.

You can find me most days at Fuel enjoying an iced soy cappuccino, or if you're not in the neighborhood you can contact me at

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The Aspen Times Updated Jul 3, 2012 05:30PM Published Jul 3, 2012 05:27PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.