Is Pitkin County for sale?
There is something distasteful about the Sutey Ranch/Wexner negotiations. It smells of the same culture that exists in Washington, D.C., and Wall Street these days. Everyone and everything is for sale to the highest and richest bidder. Lobbyists are throwing money around to gain advantage for their clients at the expense of the good of the society that the government is supposed to represent.
Instead of a Washington Problem, we have a Roaring Fork Problem. Pitkin County and its commissioners are being pressured to give up Pitkin County federal and public lands to satisfy the greed of a powerful and rich person who expects to get what he wants through the use of ever higher and higher offers of money. Wexner’s lawyers not only act as his lobbyist, dangling dollar bills in front of the community, but distort many of the facts that are critical to a reasonable decision based on the Pitkin County community and common interest.
Is the entire BLM portion up for abandonment by the BLM as claimed by the Wexners? Are there 1,000 head of cattle grazing permanently on their land today? Hardly. And on and on.
This is no longer a question of the relative merits of a land swap. This is more than that. It is now a moral issue. And that issue is: Can anyone with enough money buy whatever they want? Will Pitkin County have the stomach and fortitude to take a stand against the pressure and influence of power and money against the best interests of its community? Is Pitkin County for sale?
Here’s a suggestion to the many organizations and communities in favor of the land swap. Gather resources and buy Wexner’s interest in the Sutey Ranch for the benefit of your organizations and communities. Maybe Wexner’s generosity will help you achieve your goal for the public use of the Sutey Ranch. But don’t ask Pitkin County to give up its public lands as a gift to the appetite of outside interests and the greed of Wexner and his lawyers. Public land, once privatized, is lost forever.
It may seem a small matter today. It won’t be a small matter for our children and grandchildren and the generations that follow.
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