When we had it right | AspenTimes.com

When we had it right

Dear Editor:It is too bad the fate of Explore Booksellers is in doubt. I’m sensitive to the issue because the same thing is beginning in Basalt. One day we’ll look around and wonder what happened to our town. When our hotels become time-share condos and our bicycle shop is a real estate office, we’ll wonder where all the real people went. But at one time we almost had it right.When Jacque Whitsitt was on council and Tom Baker was the town manager, we citizens were encouraged to participate in town decisions. Together the council and the people wrote master plans that would shape our growth. We committed to buying land for parks. We were directing our future. If we made mistakes they were our mistakes.Under Leroy Duroux as mayor and Bill Efting as town manager, citizen groups have been abandoned. Meaningful interaction between government and people was replaced by the two-minute public comment period at meetings. The master plans are ignored. Now we are just another place chasing tax dollars in order to build things that make us look like every other place. Heck, you can’t even find three people that know the man that planted trees all along Midland Avenue.Somehow “small-town character” became an issue. There were meetings (did anyone attend those?) to define it. It was included in the town survey. High school students were sent out with video cameras to record people’s thoughts on the subject. Well, here is a news flash: You can’t have small-town character without small-town characters.Things change but I don’t agree with the notion that it’s just progress and you can’t do anything about it. Perhaps we won’t do anything about it. In that case, when Basalt completely becomes like Aspen, I just want to be the Mary Hayes of the midvalley.Jim PaussaBasalt

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