Midvalley secessionists could use Bugsy’s help | AspenTimes.com

Midvalley secessionists could use Bugsy’s help

If only the midvalley group studying secession from Eagle County could enlist the services of Bugsy Barnard, their problems might be solved.

Staring at a rather complicated and time-consuming process necessary to remove the midvalley from Eagle and put it into Pitkin County, members of the Midvalley Caucus came up with a novel idea last night.

“Let’s just move the signs,” suggested P.J. Jaycox, the group’s new chairman.

Under the cloak of darkness, members reasoned, they could chop down the Eagle County boundary sign near Emma and replace the one west of El Jebel with a sign for Pitkin County.

Nice and simple. Political monkey-wrenching that Barnard could appreciate.

It was a different kind of sign that captured Dr. Barnard’s attention. He and some fellow activists – familiar faces in Aspen – protested the profusion of billboards along Highway 82 in the late 1950s and early 1960s. They took matters – and saws – into their own hands.

Barnard’s monkey-wrenching didn’t hurt his Aspen political career. He went on to become mayor later in the ’60s.

He’s not around to take the midvalley rebels under his wing. He met his end in Santa Fe under rather suspect circumstances.

And the midvalley rebels know it wouldn’t be that simple anyway. Eleven members of the group vowed last night to get their effort back on track after an inauspicious start.

The group formed last winter to study everything from forming a new county to joining Garfield County or Pitkin County. The effort lost steam, so the surviving members have narrowed their exploration down to one issue – abandoning Eagle and joining Pitkin.

Members were undaunted by news last week that they cannot get on the ballot until November 2000. Jaycox suggested that will give them time to make a thorough study of the issue.

The group decided to take care of three tasks before deciding whether to move ahead. First, member Jacque Whitsitt was assigned to work with the Eagle County clerk to find how many signatures will be needed from midvalley property owners and registered voters to force secession onto the ballots of the two counties.

Second, member Peter Frey was directed to find out what costs the group could incur by forcing a question.

Third, Jaycox was directed to study the group’s meager finances.

The group will meet again Aug. 16 and could decide whether to launch the petition drive.

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