An attempt to influence |

An attempt to influence

As co-chair of the Citizens for One Library Committee, I am pleased beyond words that voters agreed with our position on the Basalt library question and rejected 4B and 4C by a wide margin.

I am also pleased that our committee stayed on message, focusing on the issues while not impugning the competence of the library board or the integrity of those who stood to gain by the passage of the ballot proposals.

The Aspen Times enjoys a strong voice in our valley and as its editor, you have every right, indeed an obligation, to express your views on matters critical to our citizens. However, your election day edition with its front-page article on the library issue, as well as an editorial column justifying a policy reversal in its regard, was a distorted treatment of our campaign. In my view, it had the earmarks of an attempt to affect the election outcome.

The nonresident property owners at the Roaring Fork Club have strong justification to be concerned, and influence as best they can, the proper and effective use of substantial taxes they pay into our valley.

You admit that “outside influences pump money” into Aspen and Pitkin County elections for years, and you feel it newsworthy that this now happens in Basalt. Understand that those who have watched the second-home market spread all the way to Glenwood know this “phenomenon” has been building downvalley for years.

What you failed to address, and Scott Condon treated almost as an aside in his article, was that a Denver firm supplying the bonding services, if the proposal passed, was the largest contributor ($1,450) to the library board campaign.

That company stood to make substantial fees on the bond issue, but would receive no continuing impact from the costs of library operations in years to come. This, in my estimation, is the ultimate in “outside influence.”

You can “cherry-pick” the facts to slant this issue and editorialize in an attempt to justify it. But, in the end, what is not lost on your readers is that you further the degradation of your newspaper.

Charlie Cole


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