Roger Marolt
Cruising on Marolt Control
Snowmass Village, CO Colorado

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August 14, 2012
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Roger Marolt: Subtle, corrosive corruption in local politics

There's a bad wind blowing in the Village. Last week, after making light about territorial concert blankets, a couple of our elected officials went ballistic on me. Most of it was run-of-the-mill cussing, griping, and cat fighting, but there was a disturbing undertone to it. We're talking about picnic blankets in the general admission section of the concert grounds, after all. Why do they want to turn it into Tarpgate II?

The first encounter of a weird kind came from mayor, Billy Boineau, the kindest, gentlest guy a voter could hope to have running the town, except when it comes to rock concerts. Hey, he has his right to fight to party like everyone else. Without going into great detail again, he got into a tussle with a tourist over a territorial blanket dispute at last year's Jazz Aspen Snowmass Labor Day concert. Nobody got hurt. It was comical. The devil and details are in the archives.

Anyway, the mayor left a message for me expressing his disappointment that I had not interviewed him before writing about his incident. He wanted me to get my facts straight, but the only fact I used was that two grown men, a lawyer and a mayor, got into a fight over a concert blanket. What less can I say? Who needs an interview to write one lousy paragraph about it? Who does he think he is?

Then, there's Jack Hatfield, who went intellectually postal on me in a letter to the editor of this paper. He tore into me like a concert groupie into a bag of Twinkies after a 20-minute Allman Brothers guitar jam. He went so far as to conjure the ghost of my father and then spoke for him, expressing eternal disappointment in me. Hamlet never had it so rough.

As far as I know my father never attended a rock concert, much less an outdoor one in the general admission section. How was I supposed to know how he felt about concert blankets and fighting with tourists over their placement on the grass? My father was practical and I assumed he would have thought a reasonable thing to do would be to find whatever space happens to be open when you arrive at the concert. Now he's channeling through Jack Hatfield to set me straight? If it wasn't so stupid, I'd be hurt.

I tell you, it makes no more sense than Jack quoting himself in his own letter, as he did in cutting me down to size. As I'm sure I have said in some other column, "I think it's redundant and arrogant to quote yourself. That would be kind of like pulling out a business card with your title as the mayor on it to settle a dispute with a tourist over a concert blanket."

Of course, all this amounts to insignificant local banter, and that's OK. It's what we do here besides skiing. But, here's the thing we need to talk about. Mr. Hatfield also said that I needed to pay my dues which, of course, implies that he has paid his. It's a recurring theme of entitled locals. It's the martyrs calling in debts. It's trumping the "I am the mayor card" with the "I am a local card" and playing it as a "get out of jail free" card.

For the record, I don't give a twit about paying my dues here. I have more important things to keep track of. I am humbled enough to be able to live in this beautiful place without keeping a scorecard. I'm not marking time. I don't keep track of what I do here in order to feel superior or garner special treatment. I don't think it's right to claim a dues payment; it only counts when others give you credit.

Mayor Bill and Commissioner Jack are not so puerile as to pick up fighting once more about concert blankets. What has them in a tizzy is that I and the tourist at last year's concert called out their sense of entitlement they believed they had accumulated from "paying their dues." I hope they eventually figure out a way to enjoy this town in the same ways the rest of us regular people do. When you start to feel entitled for the honor of serving the public, you've completely missed the point and begin serving yourself. Of one thing I am sure, my father wouldn't have thought that was cool.

Roger Marolt hopes Jack Hatfield will let his dear father rest in peace rather than use his memory as a weapon against his son again. He's pondering this new low in local politics at roger@maroltllp.com


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The Aspen Times Updated Aug 14, 2012 06:01PM Published Aug 14, 2012 06:00PM Copyright 2012 The Aspen Times. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.