Johnson it is |

Johnson it is

Dear Editor:Even at the risk of unleashing the Harpies – or as the Princess dubbed them in her Times column, the M&Ms (Milias and Marks) – the right thing to do would be for the Red Ants to take down and delete the website. The denial and then admission of involvement in the anti-Jack Johnson site by these Pentagon-trucker gals is as cheap a tactic as lighting a paper bag full of crap on fire on someone’s doorstep, ringing the doorbell and running away. That said, at Squirm Night for the county commissioners’ race on Oct. 21, under the neon in the council chambers, Jack Johnson and Rob Ittner showed their unease with each other. To his credit, Ittner, the intended beneficiary of the dirty trick, said the website should be taken down, while Johnson speculated that the site helped his chances. Ittner came off as earnest and inexperienced. To some this is better than experience. His platform is that he has “run a business and met a payroll,” which is code for saying we can go back to the boom times if we stop government interference; while Johnson, whose petulance is the centerpiece of his opposition, has shown during his time on the City Council that he is hesitant to let development speculation overrun us. Johnson also believes that Aspen should strengthen its cultural attractions, tourism and uniqueness, rather than rely on real estate as the economic engine in Pitkin County. The politics of the two candidates reflect the division in this country: business versus government, or, you’re either on the side of the few or you’re on the side of the many. The problem is that the few often seem like the many in Aspen, especially when real estate and development are too hot. Nonetheless, take heart. There are some trends that could favor the local economy: This past summer more hotel rooms were booked at higher rates than last, and town was busy; skier visits were up 4.3 percent last winter; Freeskier Magazine recently ranked Aspen “best resort ever” (read: dudes with pockets full of dead presidents); the dollar is down, making it cheaper for people from other countries to visit; the U.S. State Department’s Europe travel terrorism warning makes Aspen a safer vacation; and the stock market likes government gridlock, which is likely if the Republicans take back the House, and possibly the Senate, making the affluent more apt to take a ski vacation.Bearing all this in mind, Pitkin County’s paced recovery is hopeful, without having to chase another boom-bust cycle. For these reasons, Jack Johnson’s experience, moderate growth stance, and skills as a thoughtful knitter make him the best choice for Pitkin County commissioner.Tim CooneyAspen

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