Su Lum: Slumming | AspenTimes.com
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Su Lum: Slumming

Su Lum
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

Marilyn Marks e-mailed me at 7 in the morning (no, it was 6:39) the day my column came out last week (March 17, 2010, St. Patrick’s Day) to say I couldn’t write my way out of a paper bag and wouldn’t know a fact if it fell on my head like an anvil – no, she didn’t say that. What she wrote was, “I do take offense at the misquotes and misrepresentation, and would ask you and the AT (I assume this means Aspen Times) for a correction.”

I’m not going to turn this into a Marilyn Marks war, but she repeated her allegations of misquotes and misrepresentations on a blog attached to my column and I feel impelled to clear the air. I do not blog (and am not one of those anonymous bloggers!), so this is my venue.

Regarding her recent lawsuit being tossed out, I wrote: “Marks now says that she never expected to prevail.” Marks responded in her e-mail, “I never said that or felt that. It is irresponsible to just fabricate a statement like that and attribute it to me.”

My reply to Marilyn Marks was as follows. “I based my statement that you never expected to prevail on The Aspen Times story which said you always expected to end up in appellate court and that ‘we are not terribly surprised by the ruling of the local trial court’ (this from her own press release). I did not say you didn’t expect to prevail ultimately. Au contraire, it was quite clear that I expected you to appeal and encouraged you to do so.” Terse, and with a touch of sarcasm, but, dear readers, raise your hand if you think that not being terribly surprised that she lost the suit (which she will appeal) is somewhat, if not a lot, if not exactly similar to not expecting to win. Fabrication, indeed. I rest that case.

The other bone Marks had to pick with me was my statement, “Marks’ lawsuit brought in everything except the kitchen sink, with peripheral allegations of election misconduct, keys in boxes, validations, hints of bribery and graft.” Marks took umbrage with the “bribery and graft” part, writing “There is not even a hint of such. It is irresponsible of you to write such a thing.”

The key word here is “peripheral.”

Marks’ lawsuit (a public record) did detail a number of election “irregularities,” and, peripherally, she has stated, hinted at and implied – before the last ballot was cast on election day – that the entire election was fraught with mistakes and missteps (stopping short of “deliberate mischief”) and (my interpretation) was about as screwed up as an election could be.

At a City Council meeting she said that it was possible some of the council members had been seated illegally. In e-mail correspondence with members of the Election Commission, she said/suggested/joked that some elected officials might end up doing jail time.

The source of the “bribery and graft” remark was the very weird video skit put out by Better Bad News. While Marks has not, that I know of, claimed any responsibility for the skit, she thought it was hilarious and posted it on her website, bringing to mind the old saying, “You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

In the skit, Mick Ireland was said to have put an early voting box in front of his office and invited a parade of city contractors to visit him – at which they would pass the box.

An actor playing a city contractor said, “The mayor shook my hand and walked me past the voting box and mentioned he hoped he’d still be in office when my contract with the city was up for renewal.” Bribery, graft and total BS.

Marks has also made allegations that the voting boxes were not secure, and wrote on her website that if she could have obtained the key she could have sneaked into City Hall, opened the boxes and changed the ballots, detailing several clever ideas on the way to do this, including invalidating the ballots for Mick by adding another vote for first choice, voiding the ballot. I’ll leave it to the readers to consider the implications.

Anyway, I ain’t retracting nothing, and don’t intend to address this issue until the next court ruling.


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