Letter: A preposterous proposal
November 7, 2013
A preposterous proposal
I have lost complete confidence in the city of Aspen's ability to make informed and reasonable decisions. It's a shame our officials don't use history as a guide when moving forward with impactful verdicts. There are many examples of bonehead decisions made by various officials in the past.
My current dissatisfaction focuses on the selling out of Wagner Park.
Snow polo in Wagner Park is scheduled again for this December. The turf in Wagner Park is still recovering from the snow polo matches held there in 2009. What is snow polo anyway? It's a made-up sport. Why bring it back to the center of town, when the Marolt Open Space worked so well last winter?
Winter X Games concerts in Wagner Park? Our newly elected City Council must have forgotten about the near riot that occurred in Wagner Park in 2006, the last time X Games had a jam session there. You may recall the performers were pelted off the stage with ice balls.
In this proposed incarnation, "only 6,500" paying customers will be incarcerated in Wagner Park behind 6-foot chainlink fences. The nearby roads and parking spots will be closed for eight days? To prepare for the five hours of music? That doesn't seem reasonable. The mayor said "crank up" the music. He effectively approved massive under-age drinking in the center of town. Aspen managed to get one concession, a 10-foot-by-10-foot detox tent, which I've heard is already sold out.
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This is sort of related and it upsets me every year. Aspen Chamber Resort Association gets a $1.9 million marketing budget courtesy of the lodging tax. I still don't understand why City Council rubberstamps this marketing contract every year.
The $1.9 miloion is in addition to ACRA's regular operating budget. Does ACRA even have a cognitive marketing plan? Have they defined Aspen's customer or prospective customers? Does ACRA ever present any tangible results from their efforts? Nebulous measures like "a lot of eyeballs" and a "very strong summer" would not cut it in the real world. According to the Aspen Daily News, ACRA spent $350,000 on marketing and $210,000 on P.R. last year. That leaves $1.34 million for travel and entertainment. Nice! Why not put the marketing contract out for competitive bid? ACRA should have to earn their boondoggles.
Want to know how I really feel? Read AspenSpin.com.
Andrew M. Israel
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