Roger and out

(This letter was originally addressed to the citizens of Snowmass Village)Dear Editor:When I announced last week that I would run for the office of mayor of Snowmass Village, I wanted to be a part of the process and become a participant in the debate about what I feel has been the seriously disappointing manner in which our municipal government has operated over the past several years. I felt that I could no longer stand by and watch the continuing degradation of my town.The building code was thrown out in Town Council’s sanctioning of the gigantic Base Village development. The voting process was tainted in gaining “voter” approval for it. Precedent has been set and the 200,000-plus square foot Snowmass Center project, minuscule by comparison, is a forgone conclusion. There is a good chance that the town’s only gas station will be squeezed out as a result.The town entrance project is under way and hugely over budget. Future fiscal responsibility is in serious question over the proposed construction of a new town hall. I believe the town manager’s job needs to be more clearly defined and more carefully monitored so the person in that position is not dictating policy, in fact or appearance.The crowning blow, so to speak, came last week with news that Aspen Skiing Co. and Intrawest, after repeatedly pledging their loyalty to the community, have committed to sell their entire interests in Base Village to the same entity that owns, or has contracted to own, the Snowmass Mall and the Snowmass Center. If consummated, these deals will bring 100 percent of the town’s retail space under the control of one organization! Our economic future is directly linked to their financial health, for which information has not been forthcoming. They will have the power to demand concessions from The town for the foreseeable future. How will the local, independent business have an opportunity to build any equity when their landlord holds a real estate monopoly? Many citizens optimistically hoped that Snowmass Village would mend as a community after the bitter Base Village approval debacle. As with all other contentious issues that came before, I feel that unity could have occurred had citizens believed that the political process was fair and ethical. It was not, and the town remains divided. Even the dwindling numbers who continue to support Base Village have lost faith. Our community needs the healing that confidence in the integrity of its own government will bring. I believe that is the number one priority necessary for future prosperity – economically and in the quality of living – in The Village. In my announcement, I clearly stated that I have no particular desire to be mayor, I do not have the time to be mayor, and I possess no political experience for job. That said in no uncertain terms, I didn’t believe there was a chance in Hell that I could win in the upcoming election. However, “Hell” apparently is not far off the mark in describing the current state of politics in Snowmass Village and initial support indicates that I indeed have at least a reasonable chance to win. I can’t take that chance. I simply do not have the 20 to 40 hours per week that is demanded of this job. Continuing in this race would negatively impact my family beyond what has already disrupted all of our lives in The Village. Ironically, and sadly, this probably makes me more representative of many people who live and work in Snowmass Village. It would not be fair or ethical to continue in this election process knowing ahead of time that I cannot possibly carry out the duties of the Mayor’s office. I respectfully withdraw my candidacy.Roger A. MaroltSnowmass Village