How institutional Aspen made Lee Mulcahy | AspenTimes.com

How institutional Aspen made Lee Mulcahy

I didn’t intend to write again so soon, but since John Norman (“Mulcahy made his own bed,”letters, March 31, 2017, The Aspen Times) posed specific questions to me, it seems impolite not to respond.

In my letter regarding some of the “bans” that Lee Mulcahy has managed to collect, I did not mention the one involving the Aspen Institute because I’m not sure I understand it. Are they upset that he updated the time-honored phrase “torches and pitchforks” to “torches and guns,” thereby doing damage to cultural traditions? Or are they contending that the use of the word “guns” in a sentence is evidence of an unstable and dangerous individual? Since the former interpretation is less silly than the latter, I’ll give the Institute the benefit of the doubt.

I’ll skip over the part about Lee being dismissed from Aspen Skiing Co. for “previous disciplinary issues” and not his distribution of political material. If I were to comment, it would probably suffice to quote The Aspen Times, which reported that, “Mulcahy was once a star of the ski school as an instructor in the exclusive Diamond Pros group.”

Instead, let’s move on to the part where Norman wants to know if I or anyone else is “seeing a pattern here?” If John means the pattern of institutional Aspen acting in lockstep, yes, I think we have all seen a pattern for quite some time. This would explain why Mulcahy’s negative ratings with those institutions are seen by many as endorsements.

The extraordinary actions by the housing authority to separate Mulcahy from the home he built himself really need to be viewed in context. My previous point had more to do with selective enforcement than the sanctity of legal filing deadlines. How many other Aspen residents would not survive an “anonymous tip” that they violate some provision of the housing guidelines? Would this be a good time for an enterprising reporter to ask how many such tips are received each year and how many lead to the forced sale of someone’s home?

The other pattern I’ve noticed has to do with observational bias. Once opponents have planted the idea that a particular person possesses certain undesirable traits, it isn’t long before anything and everything is seen as confirmation of that image. No doubt, Roaring Fork Transportation Authority drivers will soon be writing in to complain about Mulcahy’s driving habits.

Meanwhile, just to be clear, I haven’t decided whether to endorse Mulcahy as the new mayor of Aspen for two reasons. I don’t know what position he will eventually take regarding fixing the Entrance to Aspen. Also, I have such a bad reputation as the guy who wants to cover the whole earth in asphalt that my recommendation could do more harm than good.

I yield back my remaining 40 words to John Norman.

Jeffrey Evans

Basalt


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