Su Lum: Summer’s over | AspenTimes.com

Su Lum: Summer’s over

The leaves are turning already, the fanfare of the Labor Day weekend is past and, as if flushed down a great toilet bowl, all the tourists have vanished and it’s safe to come out. Even the smoke has cleared.

Onward to what we do best: the serious business of off-season in-fighting.

The opening salvos have been fired in Episode 368 of the ongoing S-curves versus Straight Shot war, promising a lively election. Speaking of curves, the county threw us a big one by putting the entrance question on their November ballot.

The strategy behind this is the expectation that the S-curves might win in the city, but the Straight Shot is more likely to win in the county. This will send a mixed message to CDOT and may further addle the voters, many of whom think the Straight Shot is a done deal. Not by a long shot.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes out. I assume that since the question will be both on the city and the county ballot, the city voters will get to vote twice. And since we’re not being asked what KIND of Straight Shot we might prefer, I assume it means a two-lane plus rail line and tunnel. We have already shot down rail, and we already have a two-lane into town. I say, stop the digging!

It looks as if the county is going to have a hard time getting its proposed tax questions passed, considering the drubbing the lesser question took in August.

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The problem with the August question was that it asked us to change our home rule charter, and the problem with November’s questions, from what we’ve heard so far, is that they won’t just ask if they can keep the $975,000 they were overpaid this year, but will be asking us to approve the increased mill levy (property taxes) permanently. This is not going to fly, nor will a question asking us to up the mill levy even higher.

I would vote for the county keeping the overage for one year, as we wait to see how our economic dust settles, but not forever, especially with new assessments coming out the first of next year.

Speaking of dust settling, at least we can be glad we’re not living in that whatchamacallit Snowmass resort down the road, which is already a hive of Tonka Toy activity spiffing up the golf course ? already way behind schedule ? and about to get much worse with the construction of a new village (motto: If it doesn’t work, double the size!) to be called, with uncanny originality, Snowmass Village.

The OLD Snowmass Village will be called The Town of Snowmass Village. The new idea to reinvent and market Aspen under the “brand name” of Aspen-Snowmass could be a kiss of death, and at the least is way premature.

Speaking of death, Aspen Highlands was like Death Hollow this summer. You could walk across the cobbled mall and be deafened by the echo of your own footsteps.

It was interesting that in last Thursday’s Aspen Times Weekly, three out of seven responses in Vox Populi named Aspen Highlands as the place they wished hadn’t been developed. “An eyesore,” “It’s frickin’ Tahoe,” “It’s horrible. They’ve ruined it.”

Speaking of ruining things, HeritageAspen appears to be on a continuing collision course from within, with directors flying out of there like toads on a griddle. Good.

Turn the name back to the “Aspen Historical Society,” turn the wonderful Stallard House back to what it used to be: a home where you could walk in the door and go back in time. Now, the place looks like the bathrooms on the mall. Speaking of them … out of space.

Pray for snow, because all the digging in the world, all the rebuilding, fancifying and revitalizing won’t cut it if we have another snow-dearth winter and another dried-up, smoke-filled summer.

Speaking of praying, pray that we don’t attack Iraq.

[Su Lum is a longtime local who is not optimistic. Her column appears every Wednesday in The Aspen Times.]