Booze ban creates discontent |

Booze ban creates discontent

Joel StoningtonAspen, CO Colorado
Paul Conrad/The Aspen Times

SNOWMASS VILLAGE Dozens of people expressed displeasure Monday over this summer’s BYOB ban at the Snowmass Free Concert Series.No policy changes came out of Monday’s Snowmass Town Council meeting, although nearly everyone who spoke was dismayed with the decision to make the town the sole provider of alcohol at the popular concert series.”We’re the only one in the valley trying to enforce this,” said Snowmass resident Greg Rulon. “How did we get to this situation without having the discussion in a more public venue?”Many accused council members of discussing the issue behind closed doors. Though Councilman Arnie Mordkin denied any decisions came out of the executive session, Snowmass Sun reporter Steve Alldredge stood behind an editorial in the paper accusing the council of discussing the issue in private and then making a decision soon after. Snowmass business owner Sherry Flack said that many of those she’s talked to about the issue believe Snowmass is just trying to make money. Town staff said it would expect to break even on alcohol sales and that expenses likely would go up because of additional security. Staff members maintain that BYOB breaks a state law forbidding people from drinking in public unless it’s in a place that has a license to serve alcohol. Hence, staff and the marketing board that oversees the concert series decided to get licensed, serve alcohol and begin searching all who enter.

“I am not in favor of creating a bureaucracy for selling alcoholic beverages,” Mordkin said.

Mordkin and fellow Councilman Reed Lewis called for people to break the law during the upcoming series and said they will be first in line to be cited for bringing booze. The other three council members were apologetic about the decision but toed the line with Town Attorney John Dresser, who maintains that the town cannot continue to let people bring their own liquor to the concerts.

Mordkin, an attorney, and other lawyers who spoke Monday believe the town would not be breaking the law by keeping the status quo. Further, he said, police officers probably have more important things to do than enforcing public consumption laws. “It is my suggestion to the council that we do absolutely nothing,” Mordkin finished.”Was that a motion?” someone in the audience asked.

“I’ll try to run this meeting,” Mayor Douglas “Merc” Mercatoris responded.Joel Stonington’s e-mail address is