Blackball brouhaha | AspenTimes.com
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Blackball brouhaha

Aspen Times writer

Dear Editor:

I think Pat O’Donnell was going to respond to Jack Hatfield’s letter, but he will probably decline due to the huge pressure I’ve placed on him and the imminent threat of being blackballed by me. So I get to respond instead.

Hatfield says that O’Donnell’s remarks were “defensive and absurd political posturing.”

Well, of course he’s defensive! Our CEO is defending our integrity.

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Hatfield has now attacked us twice in the paper with his insistence that some horrendous punishment would descend upon us if we all didn’t vote no. I would like to be defended against that kind of mean-spirited charge: We make up our own minds based on our experience, thanks! This base area was inadequate when I arrived in ’86 and has not gotten that much better.

“Political posturing.” I’m not so sure. It seems pretty clear that the vote was a “no” vote, even though Hatfield is trying to spin it into a “maybe” with his 46 percent of “yes” votes.

Is campaigning for your beliefs an act of pressure? Who’s really doing the political posturing here? Were Hatfield not posturing, he might have said, “Congratulations on your voting down the initiative, and please let us participate with you, working together to make this development balance all the needs of all the citizens and customers – local and valleywide, human and nonhuman.”

Nevertheless, I agree with Hatfield. The community is divided up at Snowmass. (It’s actually a good thing that I’m not a resident of Snowmass Village. I would be even more divisive, since I think the new version of the project is too small.) However, I expect and trust, like Hatfield, that the Town Council, Intrawest, and the Aspen Skiing Co. will continue to work with the community as we/they have in the past to find the right mix.

However, many will not get what they want. The project is too small for my liking, and “outrageously oversized,” according to Hatfield. I’ll get over it. And so will he.

But maybe not. It seems he will only be satisfied with his version of “right size,” since he seems to not recognize the will of the majority in which he so fiercely invested before the initiative vote. Oh, but I forgot … it was a fraudulent vote because of ASC pressure and blackball threat.

Blackball?! Jeesh! The ASC is much more sophisticated than that. We don’t blackball. Actually I’m not even sure what it is or how we would do that. I mean, how would we punish an employee who voted against our point of view? Or why would we? And of course, how would we know? (O’Donnell’s point – in defense of his employees).

I didn’t work on, or contribute to, the campaign and guess what? They neither changed the lock on my office door nor canceled my pass.

Actually, this assertion about pressure is really very funny, because after more than 18 years in and out of management in this company, I’ve had considerable experience on how little effect pressure has on any of the ASC employees. It is a hopeless task to force opinions on our employees. And that’s why they’re so damn good. They are the most independent-minded, discerning workforce I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with.

Several of these fine employees (perhaps under the pressure of the ominous BLACKBALL) have suggested that Hatfield work for a few days in the busy times at Snowmass in the Big Burn Bears, so he could see firsthand how tough it is for our family guests to manage in our rundown, inadequate base area. Then maybe he would stop being such a divisive activist and help us pull together to build a Base Village that will work. In my lifetime!

Weems Westfeldt

Aspen


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