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Stop the charade

Dear Editor:The ability to share our political views in the press is a delightful privilege of small-town life. The dialog that is sparked by such letters is healthy for our political process. Accordingly, I appreciate each of the letters written in response to my somewhat tongue-in-cheek correspondence, comparing Aspen’s power structure to the Iraqi Ba’th Party.My analogy was drawn between anti-Burlingame petitioners and the disenfranchised Shiites and Kurds, highlighting the newly won rights of citizens in Iraq to finally be able to voice their protests freely. However, trying to read more into my analogy than was originally intended, one letter writer took offense, claiming that it was “ludicrous” and even “outright insulting” to compare Aspen politicians to Saddam’s Sunni Ba’ath Party, which “murdered, raped and tortured their fellow citizens.” I would like to thank this writer for providing a wonderful springboard to extend my analogy.Although I received dozens of phone calls with positive comments about my letter, most of the people who appreciated my comparison voiced reluctance to speak publicly. The awesome economic power wielded by our City Council and county commissioners is intimidating to average citizens, including lawyers, physicians, Realtors and developers. Many are simply afraid to speak their views. They are petrified that economic necessities may someday force them to genuflect before our political bishops.Accordingly, it’s time to stop pretending that our politicians and their votes actually represent the “will of the people.” In fact, most decisions in Aspen are controlled by a small minority of empowered, college-educated white people living in affordable housing. Our genuinely underprivileged minorities, including Latinos, many nearby average-Joe residents, and the second-home owners who foot most of our bills, have been effectively excluded from the political process by gerrymandering or outright intimidation.”Murdered, raped and tortured?” Although it may not be cold-blooded murder, some of our local protesters, including Terry Paulson, Bert Myrin and Toni Kronberg, have definitely been subjected to “character assassination.” You may not have been “raped,” but if you are a homeowner who has appeared before City Council with a reasonable request, or a resident forced to pay ridiculous sums of money to move an overgrown tree on your own private property, you certainly have been “screwed.” Finally, if you are a Realtor or developer, businessmen or small-lodge owner, you understand “torture,” by the way our extortionist politicians have pulled your fingernails out through your wallet. In fact, any Realtor or developer who speaks publicly against the establishment in Aspen would have less of a chance of survival than a virgin at the Caribou Club.It’s time to stop the charade of representative government in our town. Aspen should be a town where everyone’s interests, including our workers and professionals, businessmen, second-home owners, minorities, and, yes, even Realtors and developers, are respected. Sadly, we have a long way to go. Murder, rape and torture? I stand by my analogy.Jerry BovinoAspen


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