If I had a stone … | AspenTimes.com

If I had a stone …

Andy Stone berates the commissioners for not upholding current land use codes, and he lashes out at Gerhard Andlinger. Andlinger has hauled away dirt to improve his view on his property, he has dug trenches, even across a creek.

These are heinous crimes indeed, especially when multiplied countywide, but this is the business of construction. You see evidence of this process everyday in Aspen.

The real crime to Andy is that Andlinger has money. Money hinders the heavy handed, intensely beauracratic, in your face, anti-private property rights regulations of some high-minded officials in the valley. In sum, it gives the individual a fighting chance.

Some county officials prefer the more crushable victims without the means to defend their rights. These are not wealthy people out to screw the world. They are people who want to make a living in this ever-more-expensive valley.

They want a house to live in that’s somewhat compatible with their needs and finances. The county often lords it over individuals to the extent that they move farther away, and the county is left with only the wealthy people they abhor.

Now the real crime here is not people with money. It is the hypocrisy of The Aspen Times and Andy Stone. He’s ready to stone Andlinger to uphold county regulations. He is offended by people buying their way out of permit negligence.

Yet he takes full advantage of The Aspen Times’ own power and money to try to dictate policy to the county commissioners. The Aspen Times rarely sticks to reporting the news. They push their own agenda and call it news. Isn’t this as disgraceful as anything Andlinger has done?

Perhaps The Aspen Times should work on a more balanced tone to their articles for their New Year’s resolution. Perhaps they should not berate the commissioners who, in moments of open mindedness, have seen that every situation has more than one side.

Maybe the commissioners have realized that within the list of factors to consider when approving a building permit, people are included. We, the people, are something to consider along with fire hazard, avalanche, wildlife and wetlands review. We are not asking to be the only priority, but certainly something worth being factored into the equation.

It seems that Andy Stone would close down every man-made thing if it’s a stone’s throw from Aspen. My God, there’s been a new illegal cutting of a swath in Redstone. I am not flaunting regulation, but let’s keep our head. The trees will grow back. It’s not the end of the world.

Why not quietly handle this problem without all the rhetoric? Let the paper speak out on real injustices and not promulgate its own agenda.

Mick Ireland won 60 percent of the vote. But, what’s amazing is that the sick, out-of-state, out-of-the-picture opponent won 40 percent. Mick may have had more votes, but there are many people in the county who find his tyrannical, myopic agenda offensive. We, the people, do not back many of the land use policies.

I value wildlife, clean water, clear skies and open vistas. I also value property rights and fairness. Maybe the land use code should be rewritten so that it could be followed without obliterating the rights of individuals. Maybe everyone should be a bit more tolerant of their neighbors and less concerned with what they are doing.

Andy says, “There is precious little untouched, scenic land left in the county, and every acre of it deserves to be protected with a heavy hand.” He advocates taking control of this land for his own benefit much as President Bush wants control of oil in Iraq.

Just go on in boys and help yourselves. We need this land to keep our county pretty. Fire away with the weapon of choice: tree loads of regulations. If I had a stone, I’d throw it out.

Marj Perry


[Editor’s note: Actually, the quote at the end of the letter is not from Mr. Stone’s column but from an Aspen Times editorial. Stone is no longer a staff member at The Times and is not a member of the editorial board. He does contribute a weekly column.]

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