Editorial: Slow down, everybody
Aspen’s city leaders often express their concern about the city’s image and reputation. If that’s the case, they might just want to forget this week ever happened.
It started with former Mayor Mick Ireland’s allegations that someone punched him because of his role in the approval of the construction of the new Aspen Art Museum. But it turns out that there were two sides to this story, and the 84-year-old culprit, Allen Mayfield, said that Ireland came uninvited to a party and was rude to its patrons. In turn, the older man, who claims to know nothing about the art museum, said he grabbed Ireland by the arm and escorted him off the premises.
That was Saturday night. Around 11:30 a.m. Monday, power throughout much of downtown Aspen’s core went out for 11 hours, shutting down many restaurants and retailers that rely on summer business. LKP Engineering owner Luiza Petrovska said the error occurred while taking soil samples at 101 E. Hallam St., where the company expected to make a recommendation for foundation support at the residence. She apologized for the mistake and said she’s sympathetic toward Aspen’s small businesses.
Then, there’s the dust-up over the new Aspen Art Museum’s parading of African sulcata tortoises carrying iPads on their shells displaying footage of area ghost towns. That prompted Aspen resident Lisbeth Oden to start a petition on Change.org demanding that the museum remove the iPads from the tortoises’ backs. The museum, however, is standing by its decision, saying that it has the blessing of the Turtle Conservancy and it’s merely a display of “free expression.”
The saddest news of the week happened when Jim Nelson, 53, of Salt Lake City, fell to his death in the Mount Daly Basin. Nelson was described as an experienced climber and outdoor enthusiast.
The common thread among all of these episodes? They were preventable.
Nobody knows exactly what happened between Ireland and Mayfield, but mature behavior certainly wasn’t part of the equation.
LKP Engineering admittedly failed to acquire a city of Aspen right-of-way permit and clearly was negligent when it was doing its work.
The art museum, a source of controversy for the size of its building in the heart of downtown, also didn’t do itself any favors with the turtle spectacle. Even if the tortoises aren’t suffering, that’s not the point. Why does the museum feel it needs to marginalize itself from the community it claims to be enhancing?
As for Nelson, we don’t know exactly what happened that led to his death. But it has been confirmed that he was climbing alone, a practice that is highly discouraged, especially in the dangerous terrain of the Capitol Peak area.
Meanwhile, the summer season has been a busy one, and that’s good news. But the moral of this week’s stories is that maybe it’s time for us all to slow down and have some respect — for one another, the community and the mountains.
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