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Golf expansion concerns

Dear Editor:I expressed concerns over connections between the Roaring Fork Club and the Roaring Fork Conservancy at Basalt’s meeting three weeks ago, and concerns over increased diversions from the Roaring Fork River. Scott Condon’s subsequent coverage (The Aspen Times, April 8) focused more on personal attacks between Jim Poussa and Glen Rappaport, instead of substantive statements by all parties.Last week I reinforced my statements with a water level graph and more carefully chosen words, many complimenting the Club and Conservancy for some great projects they’ve done. I have the utmost respect and admiration for Rick Lafaro in particular.During this process I’ve tried my best to be objective, respectful, and to curb my outspoken tendencies. Unfortunately, Mr. Condon chose one glib sentence with the word “bulls—” in it from a phone conversation we had after the last meeting. Like Bush’s comments about The New York Times reporter, the comment was an aside, and I didn’t know the microphone was on at the time. From hundreds of sentences I’ve spoken in public on the subject, the only one that’s appeared in the paper is one that reflects the least thought and respect, and was spoken in private. Mr. Condon decided to cover this after a majority of officials echoed water concerns, and produced some good writing, but the “bulls—” inclusion reflected too much of the gossip-column style journalism that I’ve complained about numerous times in our local papers. Why is it that journalists so often focus on headline-grabbing glib comments instead of the complex and lengthy statements that some people take the time to create? We hear about issues of length for articles and letters, but are editors so inundated with content in this small valley that they have to limit what everyone has to say? It’s free content, and our papers need more! (I was called upon to shorten this letter – did it make the cut this time?) Our citizens sometimes put more time and thought into statements than the press does, and it can cost people friendships.Now I know how Mick Ireland feels, but don’t deserve to. My comments are directed towards the future possibility of an excessive development, not the past track record of the Conservancy. For me, a simple yes or no answer to the simple question of whether the Conservancy is in favor of the expansion, will tell me all I need to know about who’s interest the Conservancy is looking out for on this one. I hope their assessment has been independent, but agree with the town that the appearance of a conflict of interest warrants an independent assessment to eliminate the possibility. But let me again express gratitude to the Conservancy and Club for past contributions to this community.I will, however, continue to respectfully oppose the nine-hole expansion on grounds that we have all the golf facilities that we need and that our rivers can support in low water years. We need to draw the line somewhere on developments that continue to buy, sell, divert, and change our rivers. This project is a good place to draw the line, because the RFC is already a great club that already has 18 holes.Let’s enjoy, preserve, and give thanks for what we have.David JohnsonCarbondale


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