Shot in the foot?
September 22, 2002
The Entrance to Aspen question itself doesn’t have much to offer in the way of entertainment value; you either think traffic jams are quaint or you don’t.
However, the social, political, psychological, semantic and public relations phenomenon which have developed out of the Entrance debate are quite a show.
When Cliff Weiss recently wrote that I had degenerated to threats and name calling, I assumed he was just exercising an old political trick. People reading his assertions might think they had simply missed the part where I actually resorted to threats and name calling, and would tut-tut their way into believing that such a thing actually occurred.
But then, while picking through Richard Gordon’s latest contribution in search of a coherent thought, I ran across the following statement: “That’s right, Jeffrey, straight shot, No Build.”
Based on this fragmentary evidence, it dawned on me that perhaps these folks are under the impression that the term I use to describe their position, “No-build,” is intended to be derogatory.
Au contraire, “No-build” is the official nomenclature employed by CDOT in the Environmental Impact Statement to describe the option which they support, the retention of the kinked (hardly S-like) highway alignment we have today.
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If No-build proponents are interested in being as technically correct and semantically neutral as myself, they should refer to the “Direct Connection,” and not the “straight shot,” in their ads and letters.
The phrase “straight shot” has persisted in the apparent belief that it sounds negative. That in itself is a curiosity, since there is no context in our culture in which “straight shooting” is considered anything other than positive.
It has always seemed to me that detractors of the Direct Connection have really shot themselves in the foot (isn’t this fun?) by continuing to use the straight shot label.
This habit also undermines their credibility, because, in response to assertions that the existing curves help to slow traffic, the Direct Connection incorporated a curved alignment. The straight shot doesn’t exist, and the design for the direct connection has curves which are truly S-shaped.
If you like S-curves, vote for the Direct Connection.
As for my threatening anyone, Cliff Weiss may be reacting to a recent letter in which I pointed out that the Aspen City Charter actually bans the use of false statements in any attempt to influence the outcome of a vote.
If making this information available to the public was interpreted by Cliff as a threat, it’s hard to avoid the conclusion he must be harboring a very guilty conscience.
If the shoe fits, Cliff…
Up the Crystal