All the non-news fit to print | AspenTimes.com
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All the non-news fit to print

In 21 days I will no longer have an opinion about what goes on in this town. Well, at least any opinion I can share. On May 1, I will become the city reporter for The Aspen Times. As a result, “Sacked” will be sacked.As a reporter, I must refrain from forming any opinions or have any conflicts of interest on the topics I write about. As a journalist, I must remain objective even though it’s pretty much impossible since we all have a subjective view on the world and naturally want to protect our personal interests, especially our quality of life. As a community, we have proven over the years that we are extremely passionate about the Entrance to Aspen. Biases simply can’t be avoided. Our past experiences dictate how we see things. As a journalist, however, all I can do is strive to be fair and balanced. I’ll miss sharing others’ and my views here on the opinion page but at least I have until May Day to use this space to unleash my opinions.One of the conditions of employment I made with my editor was that I wouldn’t have to write about the Entrance to Aspen. Not that it’s not a crucially important issue to our community but I am interested in writing compelling news stories – not regurgitated information that has been said over and over and over and over again by the same people. I don’t intend to give those people any ink. But as long as I’m still a columnist, I’ll give myself some ink on this never-ending saga.My eyes glaze over every time I see a story about the Entrance to Aspen. Why would I want to subject my readers to the same thing? Why would I spend my time and energy giving you the same song and dance from our “leaders” and “officials”? This very issue was the basis for my hesitation about getting back into the news business here. Quite frankly, the news here pales in comparison to what I have been dealing with on the west side of L.A. for the past five years. We had more crime, which was exciting (even though it cost me two car stereos), but the issues were largely the same. Any affluent city becomes a victim of its success. Any thriving downtown area is full of traffic and devoid of parking. It’s how we handle it for the future that matters because the present reality cannot be changed. That’s why we hope that our politicians are dynamic enough to think big picture. Even more important, we need leaders who can bring consensus to our community, particularly on such a contentious issue like the Entrance to Aspen.Politically, socially and economically, there are far more important issues at hand than the Entrance to Aspen. Thus far in the City Council/mayoral race, I haven’t been impressed with the candidates’ campaign platforms or promises. It’s the same rhetoric I heard 10 years ago. These people running for office presumably meet with their constituents to learn what’s on their minds. Are they listening? If I was a betting girl (and I am), I would venture to guess the entrance isn’t the first topic of discussion. Yet, it is the predominant issue on the campaign trail.What I hear on the streets are concerns about rampant development, the raping of the land, increased costs of living, businesses going out of business, the character of town changing for the worse and our longtime residents being tossed by the wayside to make room for the rich. If we don’t start addressing those issues, we need not worry about the Entrance to Aspen because no one will bother coming here.The candidates aren’t going to get my vote based on where they stand on the Entrance to Aspen. I, like many others, have lost faith that any person we elect into office can actually bring consensus to this issue. It’s been going on for nearly four decades and we’ve voted on it at least 25 times. Why should we expect that our newest elected leaders all of a sudden are going to come in and save the day? People stopped listening a long time ago either because they got sick of hearing it or they became so confused that they gave up trying to follow the debate.I haven’t been paying much attention for the past five years but then again, I wasn’t paying that much attention even when I was a journalist here in the ’90s. The issue has been so clouded by personal agendas and politics that the Entrance to Aspen is at a standstill – literally.Preferred alternative? Modified direct? Straight shot? Cut-and-cover? Marolt Open Space? Thomas property? Direct transit way? Light rail alignment? Two-lane? Four-lane? I can’t keep it straight and I’ve been covering the saga for 10 years. But like any good journalist, I’ve re-familiarized myself with the issue by doing some research. I rented the city-sponsored DVD titled “The Entrance to Aspen, How Did We Get Here?” from the library. My housemate and I, who has voted on the entrance since the 1980s and favors a four-lane, straight-shot cut-and-cover, found ourselves yelling at the TV and shaking our heads in frustration. We’re so over it. The history of this debate made my head spin with confusion. Some of the ballot questions that were posed to us in the 1990s were two or three paragraphs long.So unless it’s earth-shattering news, don’t expect to see much about the entrance under my byline. And if you want to know where I’ll be in “peak” traffic times, look out your car window and see me passing you on my bicycle.Sack really doesn’t want to write about this topic anymore. Send her real news tips at csackariason@yahoo.com.


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