November 23, 2009
Since I’m more of an Irish hothead than an English poet, it’s always difficult to know just how to start these letters.
First, let me say, Pitkin County and especially Aspen, for me, is a beautiful place to live. It has many compassionate, smart, caring, generous and good people. What it also has is way too much greedy government. This government is not by, of, or for the people but is self-serving and self-perpetuating. It has a city open space and county open space. No one loves open space more than I do, but all one needs to do is walk up any one of the ski areas or Smuggler and have all the space one needs; or don’t let folks cover their entire property with unlived-in mansions.
Each one of these government agencies has a different agenda: the city of Aspen wants infill, fill up the lovely open space east of the library, develop every square inch possible. And now the county open space feels they must grab all the money they can get, never mind where it comes from. To say the least, I am very disappointed in the open space board, but thank you for volunteering.
We have the historical group that wants to keep old houses but couldn’t care less about Aspenites. And we have the Canary Initiative, which may be the only agency that does something about the environment other than talk about it. There are so many double standards and contradictions amongst the agencies that it is no wonder people in the country are suicidal.
Thank you, county Commissioner Jack Hatfield, for your stand on the open space budget. I guess you realize that the voters in Pitkin County are not necessarily the taxpayers and that most taxpayers are second-home owners who vote elsewhere. The handful of property owners who have lived and worked here for years are in the minority, and we need you folks to come speak out at the final budget meeting on open space Dec. 8.
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I am a constituent of Commissioner Michael Owsley, and he did hear me speak at a recent meeting concerning the open space budget. It’s easy to give $200 of your own money when you know you will get way more than that back from the taxpayer, huh, Michael? Try $800 on a fixed income – a low one at that.
So when we get taxed out of Aspen and have to leave our dear friends and beloved home behind, the first thing we’ll look for in a new place will be beauty, minimal government, and a place in which the people are more important than the amount of money they have – kind of like Aspen used to be.
Roine St. Andre