Roger Marolt: Drawing lines in the frosting |

Roger Marolt: Drawing lines in the frosting

Roger Marolt
Roger This

They came to town, sold ice cream and cookies, took their formula national making a lot of mint in the process. We love them for it. We love them so much, in fact, that we are now upset that the landlord is kicking them out of the space they have occupied since before I learned how to count calories. How does that make us “libs”?

Since when is voicing support for a tourist attraction in a tourist town considered anti-business? How is it that ice cream lovers are liberals and landlords conservatives? Why does complaining about what appears to be a stupid business move make us Socialists while those who made it, angering almost everyone in town in the process, make them Capitalists?

It is absurdity promulgated by the local conservative media, the perpetual predictors of doom for Aspen. They are the harsh critics of the evil “liberal” ways that have made Aspen one of the most desirable s—hole resorts on the planet and the mockers of the “bleeding heart” architects of the master plan that has resulted in this perfectly lovely place they, too, have chosen to call home.

So, why am I a Socialist because I like Paradise Bakery? If anything, my expressed dissatisfaction over their displacement is capitalism at its finest.

We, the people, not the inhabitants of the Socialistic Republic of Aspen as suggested, but actual paying customers, will ultimately have the final word on this. If the new Loro Piana gelatoria does not serve ice cream equal to Paradise standards, we stop going there, the new business’ profits melt away, the tenant has trouble paying the rent, the space becomes awfully quiet and surrounding businesses suffer. Meanwhile, I suppose the conservative media’s answer to this will be: “Let them eat cake!”

The local outcry against the landlords for not renewing the Paradise Bakery lease is anything but a call for local government intervention. It is simply a large swath of the population, that happens to largely vote Democrat in state and national elections, asking the landlords a simple question: “Do you know what the hell you are doing?” This is not partisan politics. Think of it more as an intervention against myopia.

Are any of the business people directly involved known to be Socialists? Do we know, or care, whether the Pattersons or Hechts are Democrats or Republicans? So why label their respective supporters or detractors as such? It is cutting party lines through decorative fondant with a dull knife.

This is not a political campaign. It should not be summed up as liberal vs. conservative, painted blue or red, labeled Democrat or Republican. It’s just an opinion about where we like to go for dessert.

Do the conservatives know that Paradise ice cream and cookies are made in America and Loro Piana is an Italian company? It’s not a trick question; perhaps highly irrelevant, but not intended to confuse or incite.

This type of stupid labeling leads to the biggest misconception of all — that Aspen and Pitkin County governments are “liberal.” Try “creative” and “innovative” instead. We are one of the most copied mountain resorts in the world. The things we have done with housing, transportation, education and tourist attractions, from The Aspen Institute, Music Associates, right down to Paradise Bakery and the water fountain on the mall are enviable. The business environment is healthy. Our local economy has been persistently vibrant and recession resistant. The reason we have a housing problem is because everyone wants to be here. If anything, we are victims of our own success, not failures. And, none of this has anything to do with traditional party politics! Yes, it is true — we are all here because we are not all there. Embrace it!

If you want to label that “liberal,” then don’t be surprised that the “liberals” always win around here. When things go this well for this long, coming up with ideas to blow up the employee housing program, eliminate experiential education from our schools, curb government spending that never creates a deficit and straighten out the highway aren’t going to gain traction.

There are times when labels are necessary. In as much, labels should be used judiciously so as not to divide. The human race needs no more battles, large or small, over the phantom notion of superiority by affiliation. It seems obvious that to disparagingly call somebody a “lib” is only an attempt to incite that person while, at the same time, riling up fellow “cons” by insinuating a just-because rivalry. Where is the gain? Let’s not do that anymore.

Roger Marolt understands that most local issues are basically about our superficial quality of life. Email at