Time for soul searching
Dear Editor:How do we, as residents of this wonderful valley, balance the tug of modernity with our desire to protect the special qualities so prized by lovers of mountain and wilderness?While I completely understand the sentiments that prompted Tony Vagneur’s nostalgic tour of Aspen and Highway 82 (“Xeroxing our towns,” March 3), I am also persuaded that technological progress is irresistible. The carriage and buggy whip were inevitable losers in a competition with the Chrysler minivan and its ceiling-mounted, kiddy-tending DVD player.Are we all guilty of “eradicating the erratic” and “suffocating the magic”? Perhaps. To my mind, the elimination of wood-burning fireplaces in favor of sealed, gas-burning appliances suffocated some “magic,” but I guess that’s an “eye-of-the-beholder” proposition. Green-power and global warming concerns outweigh a desire to protect “the erratic,” when push comes to political shove.It seems to me that today we have very tough choices to make. Our desire to “go green” means embracing every cutting-edge, energy-saving technology at our disposal. Revamping and improving Highway 82 did more than improve its safety; it made possible greater travel efficiencies, expanded the current and future promise of public transportation, and ensured a continuing source of labor for upvalley residents.The familiar refrain that commuters are the source of all of Aspen’s problems is only credible if one can imagine Aspen cultivating its own endemic, blue-collar labor source. Such a pipe dream would place an unsustainable demand on Aspen’s robust supply of hallucinogenic substances. Housing sufficient to the requirements of such a labor force simply doesn’t exist in Aspen, nor is it likely to be approved by our current moratorium-minded City Council.You can’t have it both ways. If you want a lifestyle that is characterized by convenience, a skilled labor source in plentiful supply, and an Aspen physical plant that operates, efficiently, 24/7, then you need the participation of the downvalley population.It’s as simple as that.Much cupped-palm chest-smacking also rains down from the jungle canopy whenever there is mention of the evils associated with “big-box expansion” (e.g., discussion of Carbondale/Home Depot) and “homogeneity,” but this upvalley decrying of downvalley expansion denies several obvious hypocrisies: Most notably, the press of Aspen flesh frequenting El Jebel’s City Market, Movieland and other retail attractions.If we build it, they will come.Time to do some honest soul-searching, Aspenites. Tell us what you want; then demonstrate a sincerity than matches your lofty statements.Addison GardnerCarbondale
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