Blumenthal: Back in town for fall colors and local politics |

Blumenthal: Back in town for fall colors and local politics

Mel Blumenthal

I slipped back into town last week for an Enclave board meeting and to catch up on several local issues that have reached the boiling point during the past few weeks.

Along the way, I also met up with a few friends who haven’t left town yet for the offseason. We caught the weather just right and made our way up the Crystal to Marble for a bit of hiking and taking in the gorgeous golden colors and spectacular views of the local mountain peaks showing off their early white winter coats. All of this was capped off by a great lunch at Marble’s Slow Groovin’ BBQ just before it closes up this week for the winter.

Next summer, make it a point to head up the Crystal and spend a day or two wandering around Marble and its environs. Some of you may even want to road-bike up there from Carbondale, but if you do, be extremely careful when you leave the bike path and head up 133. There is a lot of heavy-duty truck and car traffic as well as motorcyclists on the road, all making for a somewhat precarious ride until you reach the turnoff to Marble.

No matter how you get there, at the end of the ride there’s a lot to take in and enjoy, not the least of which are the local natives who reside there year-round and in many cases exhibit the after-effects of winter isolation, or perhaps it’s just an act to keep the place mostly to themselves. They do, however, tolerate most tourists as long as we don’t stick around too long.

As to our hot local issues, it appears Related’s decision to terminate Village Market’s lease is still raising the ire of many in and outside Snowmass, and Krabloonik is back in the headlines again with more allegations of abusive treatment of its working dogs. More about the latter item in a future column.

In my wanderings around the village, I was asked by many who are still outraged by Related’s decision what can be done to cause the company to reverse it. In spite of the huge volume of angry voices expressing displeasure with Related’s decision, I don’t see any signs that either Related or the Clark family is rethinking it.

As evidenced by an email I recently received from Tom Clark, the Clarks are commencing a campaign to gain our support by forming a citizen advisory group to discuss the wants and needs of the community. In my response, I told him I thought it was clear that what the community wants and needs is to retain Village Market.

I also indicated that the hue and cry confronting his family should be taken not as a personal attack but as an expression of our outrage against a major error on Related’s part to attempt to fix something that has been an integral, well-respected and appreciated part of our community for 35 years — and is not broken.

I can’t think of a single person, either full- or part-time resident, who would be willing or interested in serving on his proposed advisory group, and I told him so.

Unfortunately, Related has not shown any remorse for its poor decision or given any signal that it will attempt to undo it. However, due to our own needs in the village, any desire for tangible punishment directed at Related may be short-lived. We need Base Village completed, and unfortunately Related is the only key we have at the moment to get it done. We could cut our nose off to spite our face and grant Related no further approvals, but that would just leave us in a state of further disarray for many more years to come.

As a wise sage once said, it’s better to deal with the devil we know than await another developer to come along who might end up being a bigger nightmare than Related — although that’s hard to imagine at this point.

Related has lost any vestige of the trust it worked so hard to regain over the past few years, so I suggest we deal with it cautiously. It’s not to be trusted, treated as a valued member of our community nor granted any favors. It’s merely a carpetbagger from which we will take what we need in exchange for granting it just what’s necessary to complete our resort core in a first-class manner and then watch it slink away with a pocket full of cash. To Related I say, Good riddance.

Next week my wife and I, along with four valley friends, are off to Vietnam and Cambodia for a few weeks of leisure travel and enlightenment. Assuming the Wi-Fi and Internet gods look favorably upon us, I’ll next report in from Hanoi; otherwise you may get a rerun of one of my past pieces of wisdom.

But you can still find me at

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