A mental ghetto? | AspenTimes.com

A mental ghetto?

Dear Editor:Well, Mick Ireland admitted that Bert Myrin never did send him an e-mail offering to withdraw two referendums, as Mick alleged in one of his letters. Nor has anyone claimed the $100 reward I offered for proving that I ever used the language Mick put in my mouth.Now he’s dredged up another charge, and is milking it for all it’s worth, to wit that both Joe Edwards and I at some point used the word “ghetto” in referring to the Burlingame project. He portrays this use of “ghetto” as a vicious attack on future residents of Burlingame. That’s such a perversion of meaning that only Mick could be that disingenuous. Here are some definitions gleaned by way of Google:Sense 1: The original meaning of ghetto was “the restricted quarter of many European cities in which Jews were required to live,” or “a district of a city having some distinguishing character: ‘the Latin Quarter.'”Sense 2: “Any segregated mode of living or working that results from bias or stereotyping: ‘no escape from the ghetto of the typing pool.'”Sense 3: “A poor, densely populated city district occupied by a minority ethnic group linked together by economic hardship and social restrictions.”It’s this third sense that Mick has adopted, adding a lot of pejorative nonsense of his own, and disregarding the fact that even the most deplorable ghetto reflects far more on the people who created it than on those who inhabit it.People commonly use the word in a much broader sense than the one Mick prefers. For example:”Brought up in what he describes as ‘a middle-class ghetto,’ he imagined that all people were as privileged as he was.”Burlingame Village would be a ghetto only in the sense of being segregated from the rest of Aspen and restricted to those who meet the city’s eligibility criteria. Those are facts, not fantasies, and no character assassination was involved or intended.It is Mick alone who is “invoking images of crime, violence, poverty, rampant drug use and other bad things that have no relevance to the need for Burlingame.” And it’s Mick alone who is trying to associate me with “Willie Horton, Reagan’s welfare queen strategy, the Swift Boat Veterans, and Karl Rove.”I happen to think the money and energy spent on Burlingame would be better spent on housing employees within Aspen proper. I know that many Burlingame proponents insist that that couldn’t possibly work, but there have been some really good ideas offered and not a single one was ever tried. Especially in housing matters, city government conveys the attitude and belief that theirs is the only right way of doing things. Anything that originates outside their circle seems too far beneath them to merit the slightest consideration. One might liken this to a mental ghetto, but far be it from me to use that word again! Connie HarveyAspen

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