Citizen watchdogs needed
Dear Editor:There are soul brothers and soul sisters. There is even soul food. But places, too, have souls. The old Romans called the spirit of a place its “genius loci.” Not only mining booms and oil booms, but tourist booms and culture booms have drastically altered the physical and psychological landscape of places like Aspen and Sun Valley. They also crowd out older populations and bring in new ones, causing whole communities to lose their soul along with their particular character.Those of us who have been wounded and offended by the metastatic rate of development yearn for a simpler and more feeling relation to the natural world. That’s why we live here. In this sense, beauty and ugliness is a thoroughly practical matter. From a psychiatric point of view, there may be more people than we realize who are driven into personal therapy as a result of having fallen in with the ugly and made their compromise with the bottom line. These are things that make the soul sick.Some of Mick Ireland’s critics suggest that he may be too abrasive for the job of mayor. But if social and aesthetic justice – rather than money – is the ultimate bottom line, maybe it’s time to elect someone as mayor who is not afraid to say no to all those who would want to build in the city without understanding either its people or its character. We need more citizen watchdogs like Mick to bark ferociously whenever the selfish gene pops up and threatens to destroy the very “spirit of place” that makes life here worthwhile.Joel BrenceAspen
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