The cover-up continues |

The cover-up continues

This letter was originally sent to Dave Danforth, owner of the Aspen Daily News.

Dear Editor:

On Sunday your column references Troy Hooper’s unethical flirtation with Aspen’s finest. You gleefully closed with the damning truth that your musings will “float in cyberspace forever.” You described the e-recordings of Troy, Elizabeth Milias and myself in the context of the Detroit mayor’s text messaged indiscretions and wasting of millions in taxpayers’ funds, and Richard Nixon’s ultimate undoing. Are you actually implying that the Marks-Milias willingly made public e-mails raising questions about problems with Aspen’s election are in any way comparable?

Your paper has joined various community leaders in manufacturing disapproval toward me and any efforts to secure election transparency. You have consistently attempted to paint over my vision of a return to a figurative glass ballot box with the same tar-coated brush that you use to paint the Detroit mayor and Nixon. Meanwhile, how much whitewash is applied to the brush to minimize your paper’s multiple “errors in judgment?”

Election Commissioners Milias and Chris Bryan properly made public upon request all available written communications – even their personal travel schedules. Nothing was held back. That record was then unscrupulously cherry-picked by a hostile opponent who selected excerpts, twisted their meaning, and widely distributed them. A complete reading of the correspondence reveals a handful of people attempting to bring to the public’s attention some serious election problems. It also shows that these interested citizens received a shocking amount of government resistance against a background of public apathy or fear.

Mr. Danforth, that government resistance has not been covered in your paper. Nor has the fear. Neither have serious election problems that have surfaced.

Instead, you and your editor have joined the city in aggressively divining imaginary nefarious plots by scouring the harmless e-mail excerpts. The Daily News consciously spiked the community’s facts with politically motivated fictions, and helped lead the Greek chorus in demonizing my efforts. You brand me the “sore loser.” You repeatedly implied my lobbying with the commissioners was wrong, as if they were analogous to a series of Valerie McFarlane episodes. Instead, commissioners were purposefully appointed as a bi-partisan team by the GOP and Dems to aid and represent citizen participation and to evaluate and oversee the election. The fact that they listened, and both concluded that further research was warranted was too much for your newspaper and the city to accept – and sadly far from something you were willing to report.

Unless your continued obstruction remains successful, the facts surrounding the election, and the details of government gambits at deflection and cover-up, will eventually become clear. When the burning snake oil has cleared, the public will finally realize that the Daily News is failing to fulfill its community role. An independently owned community newspaper should demand government transparency, not defend the government in demonizing the reformers.

Citizens now have real reasons to question the credibility and private goals of the Daily News. In Aspen, both government and press have worked to hinder analysis of election data, while in Humboldt County, Calif., they work together towards transparency:

Citizens will ultimately rise up to support efforts to take our back our elections – from the government and from the more myopic and biased members of the press. For more information visit

Marilyn Marks


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