Letter: Educate — don’t scapegoat
“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” — Thomas Jefferson
It seems that, once again, Andy Stone has spewed his own “hash” without benefit of having educated himself on the dynamics (or lack of) in the town of Basalt (“Time for a heaping helping of Municipal Hash,” Commentary, The Aspen Times, Jan. 13).
No one would stand in the way of a vote where the public expresses its views on an issue — as long as a petition that may have preceded it spelled out those issues in a succinct manner and was consistent with the facts surrounding that issue.
The people of Basalt have been pummeled for months now by rhetoric that was a combination of fearmongering, partial truths and outright lying to attempt to gain the high ground on an issue that has been discussed and debated for nearly two decades by hundreds of Basalt residents both private and professional. The conclusions reached by the participating masses have been consistent and clear: the (well-thought-out and -designed) development of the Pan Fork property along Two Rivers Road and the “preservation for perpetuity” of the 2.6 acres of the shoreline riverfront park.
The most recent amendment to the master plan that was approved by the Town Council added greater definition to what should be built and helped to protect both visual and pedestrian access to the park. We are on the road to a win-win decision that will, hopefully, benefit all parties and stakeholders and not mire the community in huge debt that might otherwise be spent for more needed projects.
Fortunately, our town has had the benefit of an extremely dedicated and talented city manager and staff. In spite of that, their well-researched and well-meaning direction is sometimes ignored by some on our council who find it easier to bow to the louder voices in the room at the time (or their “constituencies”).
Perhaps, if blame is to be focused, then it should be on not providing a balanced message in an attempt to educate the public. Accusing the greedy developers, architects and designers is not a substitute for having ignored the process that had been going on for more than a year, coming to the discussion long after the fact and being less than prepared to make an educated contribution to the outcome. But thank you, Mr. Stone, for offering to “parent” our community once again. We’ll be just fine!
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