More clout? Not needed
September 7, 2007
Oh great, just what I wanted to hear! ACRA is going to get more political (“ACRA moves to step up its political clout,” Sept. 5). That’s the reason that so many of us quit them long ago. I wanted no part of a marketing organization that took political positions that I was dead-set against. At the time, the issues were the construction of the Ritz hotel, cloud seeding, airport runway expansion and other pro-growth measures that many of us opposed. By written agreement with the city of Aspen, ACRA must remain uninvolved in influencing local politics.
Now ACRA seems miffed because the City Council rejected an oversized, inappropriate and code-violating lodge proposal. They want to wallow into a realm where they really have no business at all. Some of us are interested in the long term nature of Aspen, rather than a growth at all cost philosophy. We think business might even be better that way.
A few years ago, I did rejoin the chamber for one season, and I wholeheartedly regret it. I was told (by the chamber president at the time) that if I didn’t join, and a tourist walked into the visitors center and asked where the music store was, or where they could buy CDs, that as ACRA employees they weren’t allowed to mention my shop … even though, for 37 years, we’ve been the only music store in town. So what were they going to do, lie about it and say we didn’t exist?
I also think that the ski pass deal exclusive to ACRA is blatantly discriminatory and is the only reason that many businesses join at all. We all contribute to the economy of the town in our own ways and are equally deserving of a discount ski pass … or no one should get one.
Just what is the chamber doing with it’s $1.76 million-plus budget in the way of solving the real business problem of Aspen … lack of employee housing? They should be working for rent relief measures or subsidies and housing construction instead of goosing the real estate market.
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