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Affordable Aspen a bygone era

I’ve always been fascinated by the lessons told by Hans Christian Andersen in his 1837 fable, “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” In the fable, the folly of vanity and group think ends in hilarity, once exposed by what is obvious to a child. Interestingly, according to Wikipedia, there may have been several medieval source materials for this fable, one German, one Persian and one Indian. So the lessons in “The Emperor’s New Clothes” may very well be universal to human nature.

The Aspen “City” Council’s heavy-handed stop order for new permits for short-term rentals and most residential construction serves as our current case in point. (In my view, the order is also illegal — thumbs up for heavyweight attorneys at Garfield & Hecht to prove this). Anyway, what is obvious about Aspen City Council’s sudden and draconian act is this: The real estate boom, powered in part by the ease with which high-earning professionals can work remotely, is taking aim at two sacred cows of Aspen, the ski-bum lifestyle and the middle-class entitlement housing monstrosity of APCHA (the Aspen/Pitkin County Housing Authority). According to Aspen’s virtue-signaling lords, neither sacred cow may be called into question, let alone threatened. All must stop until the fiddlers on Aspen’s Taj Mahal government roof can strike a new tune for us all to live by.

In my view, the imposition of this blunt force will only postpone the inevitability of the rise of some and the decline of others. This is life, regardless of whether one’s fortunes are rising or sinking. Let’s adjust and plan sensibly and immediately call into question the obvious sacred cows. For inspiration, I would suggest reading the 1939 Welsh novel, “How Green was my Valley” or watching its 1941 movie which won Best Picture. “How Green was my Valley” embraces gratitude for a bygone era and heralds realistic and sensible expectations for the future.



John Hornblower

Snowmass Village





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