May 27, 2012

SandBoxBlogs: Aspen Daily News "Owning the town 
comes with a price"

Dave Danforth:
"An Aspen developer felt he had to deny an open space ranger’s report that the developer swore he’d get the ranger fired after receiving a $100 ticket for trespassing on a closed trail.

Usually when someone denies an account written up by law enforcement, they take issue with a fact or two. But Nikos Hecht simply denied the whole thing. The April 7 episode, featuring an (allegedly) irate Hecht who claimed he’d contributed to saving open space, never happened, Hecht said. 

Hecht eventually paid the ticket. Whatever his attitude towards the ranger, the (alleged) adventure raises an interesting question. Is there a limit to the number of people who can suggest that they own the town?

If wealthy folks are willing to pay up for a little special treatment, do we really have a beef with that? Why not accommodate them? Hecht’s (alleged) behavior is simply an example of a well-heeled citizen wondering why, in view of his wealth or stature, he isn’t owed a little slack......

.......Yet there’s a phalanx of others who think they’re due a little extra respect not because of lifetime achievement, but because of lifetime wealth.

It wouldn’t be entirely facetious to simply accommodate them. Instead of making developers crawl through all sorts of twists and turns requiring a band of experts (lobbyists), let’s grease the skids a bit. For a lofty contribution to the right cause, (Open space? Employee housing? A few park benches? Free jazz?) couldn’t they just buy the fast track and get it over with? They’re going to get the same result anyway.

We’ve given unparalleled power to a band of meter enforcers, whose sole job is to raise revenue for City Hall. Instead of making esteemed citizens feel like crooks, why not sell them a season pass? Now, for a discount, we’d get a 10-pack of violations. We’d feel entitled...........

...........So, who owns Aspen? First and foremost, the true candidate will never be caught dead proclaiming such stature. They don’t have to. (Think Klaus Obermeyer). And, in an ideal world, the next open space ranger who runs into the next (alleged) Nikos Hecht will have a “square” (credit card swiper) in order to dispense a little favor on the spot for a well-earned premium payment..."
(Read more?  You should.  Click title)

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