February 21, 2012

SandBox Comments: Glenwood Springs Post Independent "Adventure Park expansion plan goes before Garfield County commissioners today"

(Update to this story on February 22, 2012:
"The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports this morning that the request by Steve Beckley and his Glenwood  Caverns Adventure Park received unanimous approval from the Garfield County Commissioners yesterday.............

"Unapologetically pursuing and tracking patterns within the news others make since 2010."


hammerandnails, VP of operations smalltown7 said...

Been awhile since I've champed at the bit waiting on a post from you, nanny. The whole job site's been waiting on you today on this one.

Pretty bold asking for special consideration from Garco. Picking up the paper this morning on our commute up and reading out loud to 22 doing the driving, I thought we were probably needing to turn back and have a coming out party at a BOCC mtg.

They just don't get it, can't see what's right in front of their faces when it comes to the problem that is the lodging tax and how that marketing money is handled.

Maybe it's going to take more than talk and pushing. Maybe it really is time to just pull the plug on these guys. Give up on them completely and leave them behind in the dust. Wipe out their boards that they shouldn't be sitting due to interest conflicts by filling board seats with the little guys. Like the 98% of hotels in this town that collect that tax and never get front page glossies like Bosco does on taxpayers dimes.

Maybe we need to be a lot louder and a lot tougher on the stump. Go right for that same bleed out style that these men we've known most of our adult lives have been using on the tourism marketing for years. Make sure that elected seats are no longer members of the good old boys club.

You said it very well today and knowing you I expected no less. Thank you for standing up for all of us. But then you know how much it means, don't you?

McKinney jumped down my throat once over on the old PI hub for not leading the folks through this in a way that he liked. My answer to him was that he was free to quarterback his way and I will quarterback my way. We'll see who wins in the end. The little guys or a team that's made up of nothing but people who think of themselves as the quarterback. Give me my friends and peers in low places, any day.

If Beckley is granted this exception, he will not have earned it and it will be given under a veil of interest conflicts.

If he's granted this exception, he will be measuring a lot of the success of the Caverns from what he has been handed in entitlement, not what he has earned.

mack is dead on. We just spent another $600,000 plus bucks on another wasted year of tourism marketing and earned nothing but a lousy, pathetic overall 1.7% increase in sales tax revenues. Those numbers showed clear that people are stopping in to sleep over and they are not sticking around and spreading the wealth.

Just say NO to Garco granting this exception.

Anonymous said...

The truly sad part of the Glenwood Springs problem is that eventually the money will come and tourist prosperity will win out.

Sooner or later, the tide will roll the other way and Glenwood will catch up to becoming a draw like the larger resorts around it.

What can only be eventually pushed out by good people standing up and doing the right thing under the heavy fire of really ugly facets of human nature are these acts of unkind, intolerant and corrosive behavior. Now that is the real problem that's going to take a lot more than years worth of time to repair.

glenwoodsprings22, founder smalltown7 said...

I can tell you how it feels.

Every single time I stand there listening to the few women left who are speaking from their mouths in the gutter or these lions I'm standing right in front of and never looking away from their eyes; it tells me that I made the right choice to protect my loved ones with anonymity and that there's no place in the world I'm more needed than standing right in front of them.

Let's see if Jankovsky finally excuses himself from this one.

mack said...

When was it. Spring 2010 or early summer 2010. When the chamber was running every Hail Mary Marianne could think of. And then some. When Murphy, Schneider, GSCRA board, Beckley were standing at council podium in a panic trying to prevent the money and power going out of the their personal hands and into the city's. I remember Beckley preaching that he sure wouldn't go out and "buy pots of flowers" when everybody was trying to keep the doors open. How much gain have we actually ever seen out of the money spent on crony advertisers and glossy magazines where the Caverns is concerned? Great question that. How would we know? This co-mingling of conflicted financial interests is a real mixed bag. Here's how I see this expansion proposition by the Caverns.

Nothing but a bunch of new flower pots, Steve. Sorry, but no.

mandy said...

What's being asked for is unlimited freedom to build without specific permits.

A 50' high coaster towering over Glenwood Springs? 8 to 10 times the number of tram cages?

Where are the numbers to support the permanent changes all this makes to our beautiful hillsides?

I'm not talking about Steve's bottom line numbers. I'm talking about the monetary benefit that we've been promised for years that the Caverns would bring the community.

For God's sake. Say absolutely no. Sooner or later these guys have got to show the performance they promised all of us. So far, they've done little more than take that boost from taxes paying one of their biggest expenses and build up their own assets.

How about some kind of reimbursement to the town instead? At the very minimum, don't pay another dime of their advertising costs.

staple said...

She did say it well.

Pretty interesting to look over those tourism contracts smalltown got from open records. Few hundred thousand a year over at least 8 6 years into magazine and newspaper advertising. Always the same shots and copy of the same 5 businesses. It would run around $15,000 to $20,000 a year for that kind of an advertising campaign on a small business like Beckley's.

And him without being able to offer one head in a single bed. Just say no.

gws44 said...

More like $25,000 to $40,000 a year is the ad benefit, the marketing employees paid under the tourism contract and the residual exposure that kind of media power gives.

When the output is looked at historically there are primarily the 5 businesses that Nanny's post have named that reap the lion's share of the benefit. While it was very nice to finally have a first ever report from the PI and Stroud on the breakdown of sales tax revenues, a historical look at that same breakdown on a month by month and annual basis would reveal the same trending.

It is not rocket science to watch the pittance made by merchants in this town over the years. The near killing off of our downtown and how many businesses we've lost over the years. The very sad fact that we are so much more than an over crowded pool that follows the Skico's path as the highest price pass in the Rocky Mountains, a rafting company and a nearly one-time wonder cave experience with a couple rides is what rarely, if ever sees the light of our tourism marketing.

Filling directories and putting in a social website blurb or few for all the other things we are is not the same $25K to $40K average PR campaign that Beckley and company enjoy. Obviously, when you look at the fact that they are the only ones doing any real infrastructure expanding.

Contrary to what they want to spin us all to believe, the fate of Glenwood Springs tourism is not dependent on these few. It's only been since the intensity of a public microscope has been put on the chamber vendor that we've even started to see the marketing of our trails, paragliding, sports ability and outlying area center.

When the bar and grill idea had to have very special bailout just to get a liquor license for Schneider and is still considered an illegal build in the eyes of most of the community, especially in No Name we all lost because that is just plain wrong to give that kind of entitlement. When we can't even approve an XCel tower on our hillsides or build additional trails because of environment and visual concerns, we sure as shoot shouldn't be even thinking about slapping up a 50' high roller coaster.

Just say NO and while you're there put a pitch in for a forensic purge of how the tourism money is spent and ask for repayment from the lions on all they've pulled for advertising coverage over the years.

jbend said...


They don't even care any more if they're seen for what they are. One little tiny group of businesses that think they own a town and can do whatever they want. At least before getting the tourism board control yanked out from under their controls they at least tried to keep this kind of ramrod push through something like Garco quiet.

I'll run with hammer on this one and put my vote up for wiping them all off every board they sit on and election knocking out any elected official that keeps writing them a blank check and letting out the pass code for the public ATM.

hammerandnails said...

has its upside jbend. got to lol that they really think its all not noticeable to the public at large. the places to hide this kind of power abuse are almost gone. yes, sir. we are the choices we make.

sent from my verizon blackberry

formerchamberemployee said...

Note to Self:

Find out what allure bethatesantero has that gets her a dozen full page articles out of Colson and the PI and at least four to six BOCC public hearings every time she wants to claim a hangnail is the result of exposure to gas fumes from the Antero well that's 50 miles away from her house.

Then go take that allure formula and put it into enough bottles to pass out to Beckley, Murphy, Bosco, Schneider and Jankovsky.

WingMan said...

Hang on now and let's put some perspective on this one.

The money that pays for all that advertising for Beckley and crony crowd is a tax that is charged within the city limits of Glenwood Springs. The city collects it and handles how its spent. But that handling control is only a newbie and is only less than 2 yrs. old now. It's estimated at around $14 million bucks has passed through marketing hands over a long time before the city got control.

Beckley sits a tourism board in a seat that many think is heavy conflicted of interests between private and public. That tourism board is responsible for handling the public tax money. One of the things people have a real problem with him on is that he gets a lot of benefit, same as the raft company owned by Murphy and they don't put up a single bed for a head.

They've lost a lot of power since the city took over and have made no bones about how unhappy they are over that. The city keeps getting smarter by the minute and just pretty much made a clean sweep on available seats on the tourism board. Even getting rid of Hooner who's been a part of the good ol' boys club for a long, long time in this town. With the council dustup last mtg we still don't know what kind of intervention council's had to put on the chamber to get that chamber seat filled. Buzz around town since the new board ordinance is that slow but sure the rank and file of groupies to the cronies is dropping off and becoming more independent. Looking out for themselves and pulling back support. Even our chamberettes branched out and hired a professional to help them come up with a brand and marketing this year.

Power is going away and money is tightly held so these guys start pushing for an attractions tax. Now, here's where it gets real tricky between city and county. McKinney brings up the major public problem with the blurring of county and city lines where Beckley's concerned and vote down the attractions tax idea every time. Think about it. How can a city attractions tax be charged on what is really the only attraction park we would have and that's Beckleys. So attraction tax is a big no-go.

A month or two later, Beckley goes around the city and heads to county with Murphy and cronies in tow. No public advance notice and slides in barely under the public eye. Sounds like Schneider and the No Name Bar and Grill, doesn't it? Who's the most enthusiastic commish yesterday? Fellow crony Tom Jankovsky and his Sunlight Ski resort.

Who gets to settle the differences? City or county? Come to think of it, who gets the benefit of the tax money charged? City or county?

hammerandnails said...

anybody who thinks for a minute that beckley will still do this kind of major money expansion if the plug on his ka-ching from tourism marketing ads is pulled, come and see me. I've got a lake in the middle of Death Valley I want to sell you. The big factor here is city council and whether they have the cajones finally big enough to stand up to something like this and say no. That answer gives all of us a look ahead at what we have to work with at next city election time.

sent from my verizon blackberry

Anonymous said...

Sorry, Murphy. The "we all benefit" spin doesn't pass litmus any longer.

Another two years of the worst sales tax revenues in the Rocky Mountain resort communities says otherwise.

Do whatever it takes. Just get them all out of office and off boards.

Garcia said...

Well we've heard from Jankovsky the crony.

Now let's hear from Ted the Shill.

Anonymous said...

The comedy and the tragedy of you guys is that you're all conservatives.

So are these capitalist hogs you chase down and hold accountable.

Anonymous said...

Occupy the GOP establishment.

WingMan said...

Anonymous #1: I'm a real Democrat therefore I now vote conservative. (colegrayson, sort of.)

Anonymous #2: It's capitalism that needs to be preserved and cronyism that needs to be sent directly to jail, don't pass go and don't collect $200 bucks of the folks hard-earned dough. All cronyism not just what's being chatted up here.

Let's put some more common man perspective on this handful of lions here in Glenwood Springs.

Beckley's biz lies half in and half out of city and county. There's always been a beef with how he's allowed to do anything. The biggest beef of all is the lack of transparency that would make him show how much he brings to the city purse and what his real benefit is to all the other businesses. It's not much because he sells his own food (once you pay the price to get up there and spend a day you eat up there. It's not like it's a walk a block gig to pop over to the brew pub. Then there's all the push around the time that he was carte blanche granted restaurant licenses being up on the mountain like that and outside the confines of the city, but let's stay on one out of bounds entitlement issue at a time, shall we?). He has no lodging and contributes zilch nada to the accommodations tax. Packages with other hotels doesn't count, they collect their own tax. Then there's the question of because he's a nice guy that entitles him to have any say in tourism promotion and marketing? Sure it does, he's got experience in the industry. That's very limited experience given the limitations of what he offers to tourists. His power came about because he and Jankovsky started the first tourism board (but let's not go there either because it opens up the tank of sewage that is really at the bottom of why we're sitting on a 70 to 80% tourism deficit spanning years now and dragging in a pathetic 1.7% when even Silt has us beat). Where the beef is stems from Beckley not doing a very good job sitting on those board seats he's held for so long. There is little to nothing trickling down to any business that doesn't have access to the lion's den.

The real problem here (not counting that old sewage holding tank these guys are gathered around every day while they don't care about the smell or whatever anyone else really thinks of them) is that somewhere along the way it's not just the city and county survey lines that got blurred. Everything is blurred. Unfortunately, that makes innocent guys standing around protecting that sewage holding tank develop their own smell.

I suggest being practical. Kinda like a liberal like me now voting conservative because we've got the worst Pres in history sitting in the house on the hill. The only thing needed to be practical is for each of those men on city council to grow a pair or strap up the ones they've got.

Send a message by making Steve Beckley live with one foot in city and one foot in county. That's the reality of life. Make those tram cars that pump up the bodies to the top of the county mountain jump through every law and every hoop in development we have in Glenwood Springs. Send a message that when you play you play within the law and the rules. Force city transparency on every dime he takes in that's a result of tourism marketing promotion and vet him next time before handing him a board seat.

The Steve Beckley I've known for a long, long time will heed the wake-up call and finally realize that he's developed a real smell of his own just by hanging around that sewage holding tank. If wrong, then at least there won't be any more collateral damage to every body else in town while Garco gives him a free ticket to ride.

Anonymous said...

all good comments but let's get real.

They're not Carlsbad.

We're all proud of it and the story of a struggling young family who built them scraping it out with a teaspoon. Everybody likes the Beckley family and that's not anywhere near what the point should be yet it's the end result of this smelly popularity contest this town has become. To hell with not messing with the chamber board of directors and their businesses. They've smelled for a long time and have no business marketing anything to do with Glenwood Springs until they're given a de-louse and bath. The real problem here is that 81601 is a lot more than an 8x10 glossy with lip gloss smeared all over the flaws. The Beckley family is worth more, so is Schneider, Murphy, Bosco and Jankovsky.

Somewhere along the way they've forgotten that. The real problem here is the power and control that's now out of control and yielding way too much power to keep the lines blurred.

It's a fact of nature that when you're out in it without a shower you can't smell yourself. Somebody else is going to tell you when you've begun to reek.

This free ride ticket reeks.

hotmama said...

Oh, I think this needs to go a lot further than just the obvious same old where the crony boys and tourism funds are concerned.

I think John Martin is getting way too comfortable in that commish seat. So comfortable he seems to have forgotten that he's a well loved icon around this county. An icon only by the grace of our votes. I just might vote Judy Jordan, God forbid before I vote for you again, John.

What is this? You three are starting to make Garfield county look like an outreach paradise for the mob. This is not how we do things and there are no blank checks and free rides. Shame, shame on all of you.

As for Jankovsky he can follow Barack's footsteps and be one-termer.

The last thing I want to look up from my west Glenwood home and see is a massive roller coaster up on that hill. It's bad enough and enough of a concession to look up from downtown at the giant swing and a stucco building that if I recall correctly was supposed to blend in to the the landscape. Those bright red tram cars aren't doing much for me either. Sage green would have been a lot better and lower impact. You want to add how many of them?

You are right. These caverns we are all proud of but they have never pulled their weight with any transparency or accountability. It's called cost accounting and projections. Business accounting 101. Your numbers are no longer private numbers when you use city money for anything. Let's see our city council start walking the talk on this one.

jbend said...

So, hm.

Does that mean that none of our BOCC can come to Dave's gangsta night when he has it for us down in Silt? Ya know. If they're the real mob and all?

sumfu said...

Round and round and always back to the same connecting link of tourism money.

Businesses come and go, make it or don't, elected authorities swear in with a surge of true stewardship once in awhile only to still stay under the thumb of established power that's just about as bad as the halls of high school and social dominance. There's even record on public file spanning over 7 years now of seriously hurt lives.

All in the name of round and round and always back to the same point of tourism money.

Cut to the chase and lay it all on the table, people. The expansions of five businessmen over the years has been greatly benefitted by unfair and out of balance handling of those funds giving them boosts up that no other business in the city or county has. You don't need council or cops to prove that. Just pick up a copy of all the ads run over the years and look at how far out of balance it all is.

That problem has now outgrown just taking too much of the pie and benefits. It's turned into a very serious power abuse problem that's been affecting city council members, boards and county commissioners for quite awhile now. So serious it's created liability. Even with something like this free pass to scoot by what anyone else would have to obey at county, the message that sends is that elected leaders don't care if the people they serve are protected. That is liability.

Round and round it all goes and all points come back to one spot and one place.

That spot is the failure of our leaders to make sure.

By their complete disregard to NOT do forensic investigations, studies and probes of where the funds have been spent and if that is effective to legal and ethical needs, our leaders fail.

My call goes out to these business families and elected officials that I too have known for a very long time.

Stand aside at least temporarily and lay all questions to rest. Put third party professional hands on the money that stand a chance of bringing us back into financial recovery. Get off the boards until you're clear and let all the the people decide how good things really are going once we see your transparency and accountability.

You fail when you pull these kinds of back door games.

That's more disappointing and painful to more people than you realize.

Lee Mulcahy said...

someone wrote occupy the GOP. how about occupy the tea party?

we must united the little people, drop our differences and hold this president accountable.

concerning lauren redfern, the teacher in basalt:
My great-great grandfather was one of the founders of Baylor University with the Republic of Texas. My father led a storybook life, grew up on a farm without electricity, worked in Los Alamos on the hydrogen bomb, on both the Apollo and Space Shuttle missions, and made his fortune the hard way is a shining example for all of us. He's leading the Mulcahy clan to Kenya, after visiting on his 50th wedding anniversary with my mom, another do-gooder, to install a water well for the village of Sotik. www.africawaterwells.org We invite the interfaith communities of Aspen, Basalt and Dallas Fort Worth to join us.

I served as a Trustee for the Aspen Historical Society for 8 years. I speak truth to power.

And I understand honor.

Lauren Redfern fell in love. Whatever. We've all made boo-boos in love; but 16 years in prison? The only thing "we the people" should charge this poor teacher with is poor judgment. Should it have been handled in a more appropriate way by all concerned?[i.e. spineless school officials + tattletales.] We as a society should be ashamed. It's about values, poor judgment, and the fact that the US imprisons more people than any country in the world. [Google prison industrial complex, big$] China's #2.

Its big govt. treading on us, the little people: look @ Phil Sullivan in Aspen, my personal hero. Little people all over the world... are delivering the same message:

hey YOU [read big govt controlled by the 0.01%]
be fair.
treat us with dignity.

Global turndowns result in the trampling of civil liberties. While Michelle Obama has returned to ski @ our limousine liberal/warmonger neighbors' house 4 blocks from mine, her husband, a puppet 4 Wall Street, with his faux populism talking out the one side of his mouth all the while working 4 his 0.001% crony Chicago capitalists, Aspen's fabulous fascists, marketed as "liberals."
Did u know our "liberal" president signed a law that enables him to ship Americans to Guantanamo and hold them indefinitely without trial after promising to close the torture chamber?

What happened to habeas corpus?

Wake up people. It's now or never.
Big govt. does not work. Democracy is a joke. "Justice" these days is trampling on little people like Lauren. Stay strong Lauren-u r in our thoughts and prayers.

And, young man, ignore all lawyer's advice. Make us believe in goodness and honor again. Take it from an Eagle Scout, and perhaps, the counsel of Tim Tebow: it's time for an 18 year old playboy to become an honorable man & stand by your woman: get on your knees and ask 4 her hand.

sumfu said...

She's already married, Lee. From what I hear it's the happened on school property and anything at age of 17. There's a lot going on with it from what my kids are just sayin. But it's a given he had a lot to do with it.

Said it before in chats with you that for me it's not the label that goes on any of it. The problem is the same all over the nation. People just can't take any more unnecessary burdens and they're done. Fed up, had it and not going to take it anymore. When I think about myself and my own little world I came to the realization a few years back that I haven't felt connected to any part of government. Local, state, federal for a long time. My patriotism sure isn't tied to that feeling and neither are my choices and actions. I think when it's time to go it will be seen that I did the best I could and made a difference. Even if it's just through my work, friends, kids and loving a very good woman. But there's no doubt that I feel a disconnect and that most everyone I know does too. The only thing I know how to do in the face of something that serious is to look out for my own. If there's something I can do on a bigger scale then I deal with each one like that when it comes.

I think progress is being made because slow and sure our local governments are getting cleaned up. Abuse can't be hidden any longer and if it does get hidden it seems to be in really public attempts. Like the skico and a certain situation down here in Glenwood Springs. Sooner or later everybody gets to see the whole truth. What I'll say to you now is that I for one am really looking forward to getting to see the public balance of any situation that's local and been so far out of balance the other direction.

Lee Mulcahy said...

sumfu, right on brother.
i hope so.

sorry, did u say that she married the 18 year old or is she married 2 someone else?

sumfu said...

already married.

glenwoodsprings22 said...

Wonder if Steve Beckley's pulled in some price quotes yet on what it's going to cost him to take 11 semi trucks filled with roller coaster and reroute them to a factory able powder coat spraying paint shop. Let those trucks sit idle including the down time for the crew assembling the Cliffhanger. Reload and convoy up to the top of the mountain and put it all together.

And a maintenance quote when about 3 years rolls by and he has to do it all again because 2-time factory powder coats don't hold up. Of all the so-called anonymous commentator things I've done as glenwoodsprings22 this one has got to be the most blatant showing of how off-course the city is over tourism spending.

It's more than laughable at this point it's disgraceful. Totally unbelievable that we don't have a single man on that dais that is willing to stand up and demand answers for everybody. Looks like there's a surprise coming real soon for John Martin in his race to stay in BOCC chambers. Samson just got one and we all know that when and if ever there's somebody with enough courage on city council to stand up, Jankovsky has a lot of 'splaining to do on where he buys his eye blinders.

Try Rifle, Steve. Keep that paint job local.

MR said...

There isn't much of anything about this move of Beckley's that's good for the community or the environment. And my bet is the comments here that we all know the powers that be read every day agree with that now that they've heard an honest viewpoint expressed.

You did say it very well, Nanny. This isn't about Beckley being a nice guy and in fact that immediate gut reaction gauge on that popularity contest of the good old boys is one of the biggest problems we have.

There is no financial reward except maybe a sleep pit stop at a local hotel for a family. He sells his own food and the only shopping anybody's going to do is in his gift store because by the time you pay the outrageous access price and haul Grandma and all the kiddos up there it's a full day. The environment is shot to heck in a basket not to mention whether or not he's engineered the risk factor from all that motion and vibration on top of a true natural wonder in those caves. Let alone the thought of how he's going to make those things safe in anchor on top of notorious shifting ground that's mostly hollow once you start getting down into some digging. The way I hear that meeting went and from the way the feedback is to watch and listen to the BOCC treated it all like an in and out thing. As jbend would say: riddle me this: "And Silt has gone through a living heck to try to get a grocery store??"

The only thing this kind of stubborn insistence to clinging to the past that has been proven so badly out of line is going to get this community in the end is the sum total of zero. I think I'll go with the majority in this thread. Throw every single one of them out of office and off every board and committee that can get stripped clean. Come this fall we can start with 2 BOCC seats and next city election we've got 2 more up. They just passed Svatos over again on the tourism board after Hemmen resigned and shoved in Hooner again. Along with Moak. Until openings are up again on the tourism board keep talking up the pitiful increases to the lodging tax that's really not a plus at all we're so far in the hole. Pay attention to all these kinds of power abuses because to get them out of office it's going to take another bloodbath election cycle or two.

Those caves can never be replaced and part of Beckley's original deal was preservation. Slapping up Disneyland on top of that hill is the farthest thing from good stewardship. At least the guy should be made to finally be transparent under Sunshine Laws for what he benefits off of public funds.

FCL (formerchamberlady) said...

Those chamber gals in the back pocket of the Tourism Lions like Steve must be thinking that they are in the clear since city and county are trying to keep this county move quiet. When the PI broke this story, there was quite a rush on getting the word out if Google Alerts were to be believed.

A lot like they did with the zip line for Schneider in 2010.

Pretty darn obvious now that Steve, BOCC, city council and the Lions have some very negative public reaction to Steve's expansion that those chamber promotion fingers are now showing up in alerts pushing the expansion hard.

Can anyone say: "it's 2010 and Chisholm all over again"?



The general population isn't buying this, GSCRA. All the back linking done on this story of Steve's should not be done because you put our community at risk until the questions are answered. Don't put us in the same position out there in the eyes of the public as you did with Taylor Chisholm. Come to think of it, where is our upstanding chamber board of directors in watching over the output of their employees? Come to think of it, where is our city administration, council and tourism board in watching over the output and decisions of the chamber marketing vendor?

We just aren't buying.

Come to think of it, Steve. Why aren't you stepping up and making sure you aren't creating another Taylor Chisholm heartbreak for the community?

gws44 said...

There's an interesting article on Kristen Becker and the Basalt Library in the news today. The end conclusion is that only a forensic audit of all the money will give the answers in that situation. Forensic audits are very expensive even in a small situation like that one.

Imagine what the cost would be to audit nearly 2 decades of the same marketing vendor in GSCRA who has handled millions of dollars of public lodging tax money and access to credit standings of a non-profit that likely equal the same dollar amounts in the millions. There is only one way to keep that kind of con going, if there really is merit in what 3 sets of whistles have said over the years that one person in GSCRA should be looked at. And that is to keep the field to be looked at so muddy and confused that nobody can stomach the thought of taking it on to clean it up with a forensic audit. Something that has never been done in the history of COGS using tourism promotion.

It would seem to me, an average small business owner, that ANYONE who has accepted money under contract from tourism funds OR has their entire lives and reputatiions tied to the vendor of those funds; would make absolutely sure all the questions and concerns were answered. Otherwise it may be a week from now or it may be a decade or more down the road there is going to be a slip-up somewhere or maybe even just the old age retirement of the alleged fox in the hen house that is going to expose complicity.

The Steve Beckley, John Martin, John Bosco, Tom Jankovsky,Don Gillespie and Dave Sturges that I know are not the kind of men who have dismissed the knowing they have that sooner or later something has to be done to lay it all to rest. But then again, having stood side by side with my husband and listened to the gossip and hate content slurring of the "anonymous cowards" spoken right to our faces in a public setting, I may be not as good of a judge of character as I think I am.

This expansion of the theme park obviously was concocted without publicly addressing the concerns and questions raised in this thread. That only affects your bottom line and credibility, Steve. Don't you think it's about time that you stepped up and confronted the financial rewards that you and the rest of so-called Lions have been reaping for some time? Because that problem affects the whole town.

Or are you just going to sit back and continue to let us all grow increasingly more suspect because the obvious conclusion is that there must be something to hide or a forensic audit would be a given.

My suggestion to the Basalt Library is to spend the money because if you don't it is the library leadership that will forever be at risk for lack of credibility. Kristin Becker was under your supervision. So be leaders.

formerchamberlady said...

Ethics, like sworn duty, has no blurred lines. FCE and I pulled this one from the archives of the PI. Guess who sees herself and the funds she handles as a leader with high ethics?

Circa 2005. When else? With the onset of mass email how hard would it have been for commissioners to send out a blitz asking for public opinion on Beckley's expansion? And then again there is the question of cronies and ethics.

"To paraphrase the words of Bette Davis, leadership ain’t for sissies.

Leaders don’t have the luxury of private decisions. Their decisions are typically reported in the media and second-guessed by the public. Since most people aren’t privy to the background information and education that goes into decision-making, public sentiment may be uninformed and emotional. The result is that leaders are taken to task for even the most thoughtful decisions.

Post 9/11, leadership has become even more difficult. Fast Company magazine reports that “after months of corrections, recession and scandal, we’re all ready for a break. The good news is that the worst may be over (war and its aftermath notwithstanding). The bad news is that the world has figured out that the current downturn isn’t a blip, we’re never going back.” Fast Company calls this the “New Normal.”

For baby boomers who lived through assassinations, Viet Nam, Watergate, the Iran hostage crisis, Enron, WorldCom, Arthur Anderson, Martha Stewart, the demise of the .coms, nest eggs being scrambled, natural disasters, and many boom/bust cycles, the New Normal is really about living through one catastrophe after another.

It’s no wonder that the history of the past 35 years has led to general anxiety disorder. Fast Company says that “a mood of despair and malaise can make you feel powerless.” My feeling is when people feel powerless, leaders are attacked.

Leaders are naturally visionary, “big-picture” thinkers. But due to recent history, the general public is no longer attracted to expansive visions. People instead care about the here and the now, what’s in it for them and immediate returns on investment. They expect absolute attention to detail and quick solutions that are in their own best interests. Additionally, public scrutiny has found nothing sacred (including the church, traditions or government). So leaders live in a fishbowl and get little respect for the decisions they are forced to make. In short, they become the community “bulls-eye.”

So what makes Johnny (or Janie) lead despite the poor odds for success? Leaders have the inherent belief that they can bridge the gap between the public’s view and their own; and despite the odds, leaders lead because they believe they can make a difference. Let’s respect them for that."

SandBoxBlogs said...


Stay on point. The second half of your comment is what flagged you. Just tone down your wording choices.

Garcia said...

I apologize, Nanny.

Who could forget the top newsmaker of 2005? Maybe it's time for Steve Beckley and Tom Jankovsky to remember why they started the first tourism board that year. Where they went way wrong was letting that old fox talk them into staying tied. Only thing that's changed since back then, Steve.

Is that most of us can't remember what you used to be as a businessman before you got yourself caught up and tied to the kind of ethics that are the opposite of what you are as a good man. The thing is you've sunk so far in you can't even see how obvious the refusal to give answers is.

Enjoy that extra money you're making off the rest of us. Count on it that you've lost my patronage. What this thing with the BOCC shows is that you can't see right form wrong anymore.

Anonymous said...

It's not prosperity when the benefit of public money is a benefit being used without complete sunshine and transparency.

It's scandal.

RL said...

OSHA and MSHA are the ones that should be made sure to be notified on this. How Steve thinks he can slap up that much anchored weight, on top of vulnerable and fragile cave life, on the edge of a canyon that has constant rock slides and shifting ground just because God made it that way is beyond an grasp of reasonable thought. We lose our wildlife, we have endangered raptors in that area and the noise alone will insure they never return to nest. And he's thinking he can pump out a few thousand rides per hour? OSHA and MSHA just might have something else to say. CDOT maybe as well. That kind of vibration is bound to increase rock slides. What a fool thing this was for Martin, Samson and Jankovsky to pass this through blind. God help us if there's ever an accident on that cliff.

gws44 said...

Deja vu all over again:


glenwoodsprings22 said...

No matter what questions are raised got to keep pumping out that 8x10 glossy. Keep those dollars incoming no matter what gets run over to do it. You're right, RL. MSHA, OSHA and CDOT all need to weigh in the real feasibility of this expansion. So does BLM and Parks and Wildlife.

RL said...

I agree, 22. Someone emailed this link to me today. Very, very enlightening as to how Steve thinks when it comes to impact, feasibility and permit approvals. Go clear to the last 2 minutes of him on video to hear it.

My question for Martin, Samson and Jankovsky is if this is the way the developer does things then exactly who it is that's looking after the rules and just overall due diligence for things like the environment surrounding his private property? Sure isn't Garco BOCC obviously.

The whole video of Steve is enlightening. If the investers in Iron Mt. Leasing are tourism lions then real questions get raised on the interest conflicts and cronyism. These are public dollars with an obviously vested interest.


glenwoodsprings22 said...

Now that is an interesting link, RL. You'll never catch me advocating that a man cannot do what a man wants to on his private land. That is a right within a Free Republic.


When that private land enjoys the benefit of the use of public dollars for personal and private financial gain; it's dead wrong.

Looking at the date of this talk Beckley gave to the center and running that down the timeline smalltown has on hand from 1997 forward on the path of controversy over the tourism marketing dollars and credit uses attached to those dollars; it's pretty easy to see what Steve's panic mode was in his flower pot speech to council in 2010.

That's the complaint. nails is right. Anybody who thinks the conditions of Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park would be where they are today and moving full steam ahead with the arrogance now of blowing right by every regulation and permit process we have if the advertising dollars paid by the folks were pulled; is nuts.

Steve has been enabled by that cronyism and that is a very wrong thing. What makes it something that is rising every day into fierce contention is that Steve is a good man who no longer looks like one because of the refusal to answer the questions into sunshine. All the questions.

Thanks for the help with the link.

The real focus now needs to go right into the laps of 3 commissioners and 7 city councilmen that are just letting sunshine and transparency be kept locked in the closet.

Maybe OSHA, MSHA, CDOT and Parks and Wildlife can lend a hand with that lap dumping.

inkwars. Member of smalltown7 said...

I think what might be just as appropriate is to do a little digging and see what other tourism related companies are going from right to left pocket through Iron Mountain. See if there are similar ties to cronyism as we found when we dug into poor performing contractors and vendors that somehow still always end up getting a re-up on very lucrative contracts each year through the tourism marketing vendor.

There is nothing wrong and there is everything that is right about capitalism that benefits the good of the whole.

The very, very real problem all of these tourism lions have is the foundation of public funds they didn't just start on but keep building on and benefit to the detriment of others every day. There is no glory in greed.

Thank you for the link, RL. I didn't know about this talk Steve gave but do recall now someone mentioning skepticism last Christmas over what he said. Didn't dawn on me at the time that the root problem here has possibly muddied the water so much that Glenwood Springs has other off-shoot companies that have relied on that same cronyism.

Back to the expansion question itself. It is a very poorly thought out idea that raises serious questions on impact and feasibility. I'll support turning the questions to these agencies so that those questions can be made to be answered by the powers that be.

hammerandnails, vp of operations smalltown7 said...

good to know inkie. let's see how fast Martin and Samson fish or cut bait. there's a lot of things that could be done to enhance the caves as an attraction that don't have the harm potential as these ideas do. i don't even really have a problem with what he wants to do as long as my questions are answered and he follows the same processes we all go through for the same cost we all go through.

this thing is like the deal over macgregor wanting fees waived on the latest ghetto phasing. why should the folks give up the fees to somebody who could care less about the impact of all they do?

we might even get the real answer to murphy's comment at this bocc mtg. we all benefit. question is some more than others. no problem as long as the folks money has no part in the success. if these guys don't like that then instead of dodging and staying behind the locked doors to answers then fish and cut bait to get clear of the muddy water and prove legitimacy.

what do you want to bet that colson and stroud do nothing to follow up over the next few months before that cliffhanger gets installed? that's always the m.o. isn't it? when the newspaper you work for stays alive only because of its cronies you don't rock boats. good thing the shadow folk don't have such ties and can call on the aforementioned agencies to check it all out. never thought i would see the day that the steve beckley i know would ever let this kind of shroud cover his life and family. only thing that makes sense is that he really must be deaf and blind.

sent from my verizon blackberry

Ben said...

One of the first things that jumps out at anybody who pays attention to the past when it comes to tourism marketing dollars in Glenwood Springs is how many layers of fast-speak there are in the new plan for expansion at the park.


There isn't anybody who really believes the shuck and jive is deliberate on Beckley's part. He's not that kind of man. But somewhere along the way that sense of entitlement and hanging with the tried and true tactics of crony right to left pocket in this town at the expense of others and the rules obviously has him blinded.

Tx for the links and research, ladies. I've got some time to dig around in details and will do that. Right off the get-go what's blatant is that none of these agencies and comment requests are talking to each other. Same old problem we've got in every single development in Garfield county and Pitkin county. Everybody only looks at what's in front of them and the tiny little piece of the puzzle that's theirs. With none of the staff linking county to city to state to federal. With politics playing a role in all of it. I've already got a take-off list and it's growing. The agencies that need to go back to are Parks and Wildlife, CDOT and the S.O. Nowhere is there noise, vibration impact on ground, rock or wildlife. Worse, Steve's press releases and that incredible video of his own words that RL brought up don't jive in any way with his max limits of 1,551 bodies on place at one time or safety impacts on how hanging over the side of a cliff in a used roller coaster is going to be handled for any kind of emergency evac. All these comments are only looking out for their own limited focus.

Biz as usual in land and development in Garco. Leaving the strange bedfellows of right to left pocket tracking as they relate to who gains the most from tourism marketing dollars to you gals.

glenwoodsprings22 said...

Go for sure to the engineering comments.

From the county submit:

"Permitted uses shall include, but not be limited to, Gift Shop, Ropes Course, Mini-Golf

Course, Photography Studio/Shop, Candy Shop, Shade Structures/Pavilion (6), Maze (Fort

Maze), Bungee Trampoline, Spider Zone, Children's Climbing Center, Simulator Attraction

(Wild West Adventure), Petting Zoo, Train Ride Attraction, Children Climbing Area (Foam

Factory), Mechanical Bull, Canopy Tour, 4D Movie Theater, Horse Back Riding Tour,

Banquet/Restaurant Facility, Traveling Museum Exhibits (Within Banquet Facility),

Employee Housing, Alpine Coaster, Zip line, Bungee Jump, Giant Swing, Climbing Wall,

Fossil Dig, Botanical Garden Butterfly Exhibit, Indoor Children's Play area, Care Takers

Quarters, Water Storage Tanks, Nature Trails, Picnic Areas, Geode cutting, Gemstone Sluice

Mining, Astronomy Observatory Area, Visitor Center, Souvenir Shop/Expansion, Indian

Education Center (Teepee), Passenger Gondolas, Bus and/or Van Transportation, Employee

Housing, Maintenance Facility, Foam Factory Children's Climbing Area and Cave Tours."

Any current or back document on the park is all about the aesthetics coupled with the sales pitch from tourism. Nowhere, anywhere that we can find are the any engineering assessments done on how they're going to install something like the Cliffhanger. That's shifting earth up there and shale rock. What are they going to do to anchor install this thing safely enough to withstand constant g-forces over the cliff hang? The swing is a safety harnassed gravitational ride. All this other is mechanical. The current Alpine coaster is low g's and is more like a scenic ride.

The beef Ben. One of them. Is that BOCC has waved their hand with no thought and none of the standard rules that something like this requires. Because Ken Murphy stands up and says "it benefits all of us" and everybody's eyes go ka-ching with fantasy dollar signs doesn't mean they can blind pass a "no permit" on the list I just gave you. You've got access we don't, buddy. go for it.

Anonymous said...

Can be justified as called "fantasy dollars", 22. But only to the 81601 community that the tourism marketing is supposed to be putting us up at least in the 1, 2, 3 million dollar a year marketing bracket like everybody around us. Not in single digit gains that really aren't gains because we're so far in the sink jar.

Very real dollar gains to a leasing company that's been started with bottom line success because of free advertising in the big leagues that they now have the money to go out and buy equipment like this and rake in 8%, every depreciation value there is and still get leasing dollars for years after. Let me guess. Schneider's zip line on that leased equipment lease along with all their grill and restaurant equipment?

This reeks. Post up the same double and triple dips the chamber board is doing in their annual marketing contract, 22. Then I'll feel more like just looking at the engineering of the install.


hammerandnails said...

Setting up a separate entity and leasing back is as old as time. 22 and I do it on a lot of the line item needs we have.

The difference and the real problem here with anything public dollar tourism related is unjust enrichment. And that little teeny tiny problem of alleged credit card kiting that bought all the equipment and the means to come up with website domains and cute logos over at the marketing vendor. That itsy bitsy issue of the city being hornswoggled into "leasing" back every year under the tourism contract. Nobody can even stand up and defend themselves against that allegation because nobody will let the locked doors of this town to get broken down.

What we have in side companies and leased back to ourselves was earned by our sweat and our sweat alone. Steve Beckley and those family, friends and associates he's talking about in his video doesn't look like he can say that.

Inquiring minds want to know what Steve Beckley and cohorts look like. The gals are really good, as we all now from safe and small, in getting down into that stagnant water and tying up all the connecting dots. In the meantime, raise your voices and call your pick of agencies to ask your questions of.

Anonymous said...

I understand the public dollars factor makes all the difference in the world.

It still reeks.

What you just described could pretty much be a description of the congressional insider trading scandal while millions of people are hungry out here and losing jobs and their own businesses. The arrogance that shows up every single time somebody like our 3 esteemed commissioners waving their hand when we all know they're aware because one of these guys sits with them is what's bothering me more than anything else.

By god, I want every single man or woman I trusted with my vote to just do their job. Just do it. We shouldn't even have questions like this in our town, hammer. And you know it.

SandBoxBlogs said...

OK, kids.

Time out.

I'm not pulling the plug on this thread. You're just in a cool off time out. Go take a nice walk somewhere. Pour yourself a soothing but bracing cuppa of tea. Buy each other a beer and a shot and hash it all out belly up to the bar.

This is a very hot thread and moving like lightening out there. You have a lot of good information and I appreciate your keeping it fairly clean. And that's the problem. Your information is very good and very legitimate. Give it all a chance to simmer and stew for awhile, get into the hands of people who can give you answers. Give Beckley, John Martin and Mike Samson a chance.

just sayin.

I'll put you back up again on this one at some point.

SandBoxBlogs said...

Ok, kids.

You're back up on this one.

Ben said...

Thank you, Nanny.

A lot has happened behind the scenes on this story of Garfield County relying on surface information, not digging into Beckley's expansion like they would anyone else and then just giving a lifetime of permit-free nod to do whatever he wants to do.

The most significant points that those of you who are upset over this and want to get the solid facts in front of the public eye or into your complaints are:

1. His biggest issue and what Martin, Samson and Jankovsky have to worry about the most if they do not stop this expansion and force adhering to the environmental and safety impacts; is Steve's original permit. The one that he is talking about in the Lowenthal video:


There were probably a lot of good reasons his first bank wanted more detail.

he permit limitations is one of them. At no point in time can there be more than 1,551 bodies on that mountain, on POW property. Pretty tough to pump out a few thousand rides an hour. Not to mention we all know he has broken those permit barriers so many times already. Without the draw of this expansion.

2. The second major hurdle with his original permit that trumps everything up there, is that nowhere is he given the ability to put up a ride like the Cliffhanger. Nothing that large or invasive is approved. His existing coaster maxes him out on capability. Probably because anything like the Cliffhanger is going to have the huge impact and safety problems, not to mention the install problems of anchoring that many g-forces into the geological formation, on top of the caverns brings. It is ironic that there would likely not be a single cry of protest if he would do the things on his original permit only. They are mostly non-invasive and are appropriate.

From my knowledge and background, what I see as legal liability to Garfield county is this railroad method of approving the expansion.

They did Steve no favors with what he faces if he goes ahead. On sheer safety issues alone; no one should set foot on that coaster.

From ethical and community standpoints; Steve is where he is at because as hammer stated: he is one of the ones standing in the middle of controversy stark naked with none of the powers that be doing their jobs and binding to their sworn duty.

The other factor that needs to be said, as much as it pains me to do it, is where in the 'h' is code enforcement and the law? There is more failed duty here with Steve than simply Martin, Samson and Jankovsky having blind eyes. People are hypersensitive because of the unjust and unethical perceptions they have over the tourism marketing dollars and his heavily conflicted interest.

My summary on this is that commissioners did no favors for Steve. This is of serious concern.

sumfu said...

Like I keep saying. Round and round and all the roads go back to the same baseline point. If we had anyone that would do their job in elected office and uphold the duty to get every fact out in the open, we wouldn't be here. It's pointless to keep hashing that over. The people do get a lot done out here by just going right to the sources of real power and enlightening their purposely muddied minds. Nobody doubts that Steve has always been a great guy. He needs to step up and clear it all up. Commissioners need to shut it down until they make sure. And the law needs to enforce the existing code now. That's always been something on my mind every time I drive by that tram parking lot. That there had to be a limit to body count the minute they leave that concrete and start heading up. What's it going to be trying to corral dozens to hundreds of bodies at the bottom while they control the numbers they're allowed at the top? A walking nightmare back and forth to the whitewater park to pass the time? Or more drugs and gang trafficking action down at Two Rivers park that puts those bodies in the line? Or maybe crossing back and forth on Hwy 6 so that traffic cops can have more to handle while the folks go to Subway? With no foresight and even less responsibility for their actions, BOCC has just put us in the round and round shuck and jive shuffle again.

Anonymous said...

All they'll do is pad his existing permit like they did on Schneiders illegal restaurant out in No Name. Always an easy fix when you've got a lot of crony karma. Or a lot of pit-fall depending on your ethics.

If they were smart they would clean it all up. Spread some sunshine and add in finally cleaning up 2 Rivers and maxing it out with tourist draws. GOCO funds for outdoor rink, state of art amphitheater and more. Engineer the river and create that geothermal visitors center and kiddie whitewater kayak teaching park. Save the wetlands down there and capitalize on them to a visitors center. Set up a shuttle from the whitewater park to 2 Rivers for family needs now that has grown out of control for bodies during their events. Then build the real amusement park down in Silt. Give the Cliffhanger to Dave for some income to Silt. Think regional tourism and everybody rolling in profit and bliss.

Will they do that?

H no. Too much money and personal gain in cronyism.

jbend said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jake said...

Division of Oil and Public Safety under State UE is the state agency. Federal agency is Consumer Product Safety commission. A complaint isn't against Steve personally it's against the entire problem. When the people can't depend on who they elect they have to do something. In this whole problem we've got an elected city council, an elected district attorney, an elected board of county commissioners and an elected sheriff. When that many elected bodies do not throw open the doors to full transparency and people have to live in fear just to speak out, that's beyond wrong. Shut it down until there are answers and toss them out of office and boards.

glenwoodsprings22 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
RL said...

Thank you for mailing us the links, FCL. Nanny, you have that problem well in hand now. We will leave comment at that. As far as the public ramifications and the (great terminology by the way) collateral damage done to us all by the lack of law enforcement and the apathy of what must be greed filled elected officials; there is only one thing to do. Keep up the pressure and keep talking. Thanks for giving the open thread of this forum for one of those outlets.

Ben, thank you for the insight. I came to the same conclusions going over the presented plan.

Plus, nowhere is there any consideration by planning for the engineering of the installation and the impact this type of coaster will have on the land and the caves themselves. I also have to wonder at the elevation factor and uneven ground up there. Pouring out the pad is going to have to be leveled. More concrete only makes the install that much weaker. The gravitational pull at that elevation and 60' in the air (it is 60' according to all specs and tech sheets for that exact coaster)is also much greater. There is no way that they can safely anchor the thing to withstand vibration or g-force repeatedly pounded into that unstable ground and rock. The problem goes further because nowhere in the county planning screening is there any delving or even questions asked for the tech aspects and feasibility.

Oil and Public Safety governs amusement park rides in Colo. Right now the permit held is for a low-safety concern. That is exactly the place that anyone with concerns over this should go direct to.

Obviously the apathetic officials we have in city and county with all things tourism would not only not give anyone the time of day; you run the risk of exposing yourself and loved ones to the wrath of social, business and personal retribution from the associations those officials insist on maintaining. It simply is not worth it. Just go direct to source is excellent advice.

hammerandnails, VP of operations smalltown7 said...

Going public and straight to source with a wide detour around politicians, crony greed and hired positions of trust who are more concerned about a time clock and paycheck than their duty is the only way.

That and all out community involvement in local elections.

hotmama said...

Tx for sending over the full copy RL.

I see everything you're both saying and more. The BLM input that's only anxious over weed control when they're approving a rollercoaster that's going to run at least a 14 hour day every day on top of cave life that is a natural treasure. I still come back to the noise levels. What will they do, put gags on the screamers? Wildlife will be gone for miles around and we already put up with the screams from the swing.

The most troubling aspect of this is that now our county planning, with a city that didn't even bother to weigh in, is now wandering from idea to concept to execution without every step in-between doing their job or tracking accountability or performance. Just like all things tourism in this town. We wander from gimmick to discussion, no money to money and fat cat advertise for a few. If anything, Steve should have been put through hoops.

What I want to know from John Martin is why we have this many holes.

Anonymous said...

An eyesore is what it will be sticking up all of that metal on top o the mountain. That light tan building has always stuck out and should have been the same dark green as the landscape. Those are low height trees and scrub. Doesn't matter if it's 30' high or 60' high. How can something like this pass slick and under the wire when we can't even design a parking garage without two years of debate?