Dont play sympathy card
Jim Blannings bomb threats cost Aspen businesses a lot of money on New Years Eve. Restaurants and bars depend heavily on this night of nights. New Years Eve revenue helps pay the bills for everyone from the restaurant owner to the servers, bus boys, cooks and coat checks.We feel for the business owners and employees who took a hit that night, and have more pity than sympathy for Blanning, a man who was truly disturbed and distraught when he tossed a wrench for the ages into Aspens year-end celebrations.But a plan by a few to retaliate for the New Years debacle smacks of the same sense of entitlement that makes outsiders laugh at Aspen. Recently some restaurants banded together with plans to sue Blannings estate. One representative for the restaurants was quoted in a local paper as saying the lawsuit is not about the money. Instead, he said, its to send a message. To whom? Other psychologically disturbed, would-be bombers who have it out for Aspen?The way we see it, the lawsuit is simply an ill-advised attempt to play the sympathy card. But from what weve heard, these restaurants have been bombarded with sympathy since New Years Eve.Chances are you have heard the story of one local and anonymous philanthropist who visited at least three of the affected restaurants days after the bomb threat, and handed out thousands and thousands of dollars to the employees who took a hit.There are other locals and visitors alike who have made it a point to patronize the restaurants to give them extra business because of the bomb scare.We cant say that these kind gestures will make up for the deficit of New Years Eve, but they certainly helped. And the lawsuit is a good way to squander all the good will triggered by the bomb scare.Lost in all the hype surrounding the filing of this lawsuit is the law firm thats representing the plaintiff restaurants. Garfield & Hecht, whose name partners own a number of buildings that the restaurants occupy, is filing the suit. If the firm cares so much, then maybe it should cut its restaurant and bar tenants a break on rent.Yes, Blannings New Years Eve exhibition took a toll on everyone. It strained local law enforcement, and spoiled a special night for many tourists and locals. The fireworks were postponed. People of all types in Aspen were affected that night. Law enforcement agencies shouldered huge, unexpected costs. Unexpected costs and lost revenue were the rule for all downtown businesses, not just the restaurants and bars. Perhaps the restaurants that want to shake down the Blanning estate or whatever there is of it should consider the bigger picture before wasting taxpayer dollars and court officials time.
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