President will return to town |

President will return to town

President Clinton will again pay a visit to Aspen in an effort to raise money for fellow Democrats.

His appearance, scheduled for July 23-25, will coincide with a retreat planned by the Democratic National Committee for major party contributors, said Camilla Auger, chairwoman of the Pitkin County Democratic Party.

The schedule for Clinton’s visit is not yet definite, Auger said. Arrangements are being made by White House staff.

As was the case last year, details about his appearance – such as where the president will stay – will not be made public in advance for security reasons. But the public might see more of the president this time around.

“There’s an effort afoot for a more public event than last year,” Auger said. Last summer, locals grumbled that, outside of brief glimpses of the chief executive en route to his limo, rank-and-file citizens had little access to the president.

The Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office has just begun to plan for the chief executive’s visit.

“What we have is a very sketchy outline for a mutual aid request from the Secret Service,” confirmed Undersheriff Lorrie White. “They’ve outlined some basic locations where he may stay, and some possible event locations.” But the plan at this time leaves room for events that are as yet unscheduled, she said.

White confirmed that no public appearances are on the preliminary agenda for Clinton’s visit. But events such as this evolve as the planning proceeds, she said.

“We just got a heads-up on this,” White said. “So in order to get a jump on it, we’ve begun planning.”

As he did last year, Investigator Joe DiSalvo will act as incident commander for the security detail provided by the Sheriff’s Office, White said.

White said the Sheriff’s Office is basing its planning on what was learned from last year’s presidential visit, which she termed a “mega event.” The department is trying to maintain an adequate level of response while devoting resources to security, she said.

The county aims to provide a bit less in the way of manpower for Clinton’s visit than last year, White said.

“Last year, we provided everything the Secret Service asked for, at great expense,” White said. She said her department would ask the Secret Service to carry more of the security load this time. The department will tell the Secret Service what the county will provide, instead of the other way around, she said.

Some street closures or other such disruptions may be necessary, White said. “We need to minimize the disruption and still keep things safe and secure.” She said it would be nice if she could say there would be no disruption, but judging from last summer’s experience, that’s just not possible.

Auger said she is pleased Clinton decided to come back to Aspen for the fund-raiser. “I think it’s very flattering that they come here,” she said. “They could have this event anywhere.”

However, Pitkin County’s record of consistently delivering the highest percentage of votes for Democratic candidates in the state certainly contributes to the decision to come here, Auger said.

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