Rail is already here; child labor and Elvis in Aspen | AspenTimes.com

Rail is already here; child labor and Elvis in Aspen

Brent Gardner-Smith
Aspen Times Staff Writer

Now, we know we’ve made at least one mistake in The Aspen Times. So we’re never too surprised when we find articles out there about Aspen that are not quite correct.

For your consideration, we offer the following from the Sunday, Aug. 11, edition of the Seattle Times.

James F. Vesely, the Seattle Times editorial page editor, wrote a piece about urban planner John Borah, who recently shared his thoughts about growth in the Puget Sound region.

Vesely quoted Borah as saying: “Boulder, Colo., shows what happens when growth is capped. Prices go through the roof.

“In Aspen, where the average selling price of a home is now $6 million, people can’t afford to live there and work, so they built a railroad to bring working people into town.

“They sure stopped growth, though. When you restrict growth, you raise prices.”

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The average home price in Aspen is now actually around $3.6 million. Now, that is still high and, we concede, probably the result of strict growth controls.

But how about that railroad? See, it was easier to build than we thought.

A slave to summer

Snowmass got some national coverage on Friday. No, not about what a great place it is to vacation, but about how underaged kids can’t work at the Village Market.

John Stossel of ABC’s “20/20” did a “Give me a break” segment on child labor laws that seem out of whack, such as not letting kids under 16 work as bat boys or grocery baggers.

Here’s a bit from the transcript of the program:

STOSSEL: In Snowmass, Colorado, this local market used to hire kids to bag groceries, sometimes to carry them to people’s cars. It was never more than a few hours a week, but when someone brought up the child labor laws, the kids were immediately fired.

MALE ONE, FIRED GROCERY BOY: And I was really sad because, I mean, they’re not like, putting us in sweatshops and making us work. I mean, we wanted to do this.

STOSSEL: And after they were fired, how did they use their time?

MALE ONE: I’ve just been sitting at home, you know. There’s nothing really better to do in the summertime.”

Shame on you, young man, for sitting at home when you’ve been legally required to play, not work. And resort marketers take note, the kid just told every other kid watching there was nothing to do in Snowmass in the summer …

Elvis in Aspen

We’ve mentioned this before, that Elvis once hung out in Aspen. But it bears repeating, what with Elvis’ old best friend, Joe Esposito, out there flogging his new DVD about his buddy.

In The Mirror newspaper on Aug. 10, Esposito told how, the night they buried Elvis, he talked of Aspen.

“That night a crowd of us, and Priscilla, just went out for a meal. We sat there and talked about the good times. The last few years had been hard, but we didn’t dwell on that.

“I personally remembered a great holiday I’d had with him and Priscilla in Aspen, Colorado. Away from the pressures of fame, he was just Elvis. He clowned around. I remember us playing game after game of Yahtzee.”

The King came to Aspen and all he did was play Yahtzee? Come on! Tell us he at least went to the Tippler!

[Brent Gardner-Smith’s e-mail address is bgs@aspentimes.com]