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Calling out the blog

Dear Editor:

The Red Ant blog by Marilyn Marks recently personally attacked longtime local and internationally recognized biochemist Phyllis Bronson for speaking out against the size, height, impacts and high-end luxury lodging orientation of the Lift 1A master plan.

The blog details a six-year-old real estate deal between Bronson and the developers of the Residences at Little Nell. Because Phyllis didn’t want to move her family from their home of 10 years, she negotiated a different deal with the developers than her neighbors. Marilyn Marks characterizes the private-sector real estate transaction as a “shake-down.”



I and many others look at the same facts and see instead a local resident who understood and demanded the true worth of her property (the future site of fractional units that came to sell for $1.9 million for Christmas weeks) and was strong enough to stand up for herself in the face of tremendous pressure from the developer. I believe that it is the same understanding of the true community values at stake and her strength and conviction that are leading Phyllis today to insist that Aspen get a better deal from the Lift One developers: smaller buildings, less traffic, more affordable lodge beds.

Worse, Marks in her personal attack on a local citizen just for speaking out on legitimate community concerns seems to be employing a double standard, violating the very principles she expects from local media. As reported in her Red Ant Blog of Nov. 2. titled “Fear and Loathing in Aspen, Colorado” Marks says “The Red Ant has recently found herself the subject of multiple public records searches and inquiries …” “Yes, those records searched are indeed public: real estate purchase prices, property taxes, car registrations, etc. But when confronted and interrogated by the local press and questioned about personal finances and investments… The Red Ant feels that this has gone a little too far. The message is clear to those who might consider speaking out.” (Emphasis added)




I would call upon all of those with a financial stake in the Lift 1A master plan, the owners of the two sites, the Aspen Historical Society, the developers’ representatives and agents to denounce the Red Ant story and the politics of personal destruction, and to commit to a civil and respectful community dialogue as this issue goes forward.

No matter what the outcome of the public vote, it is my hope that Aspen remains a healthy and functioning community after the ballot. Parties on all sides should apply the great principle of a free and civil society, as stated by Voltaire, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it,” rather than engage in petty personal attacks.

Rachel E. Richards

Aspen


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