Aspen Retirees Should Pass the Torch of Freebies to a New Generation

Here in Aspen, we have taxpayer-subsidized housing for people making as much as $189,000 a year. The subsidy is 60 percent to 90 percent and sometimes more.

To disguise this welfare for the middle to upper class, they euphemistically call it “affordable housing.” I call it freebie housing.

In my neighborhood, there are four units of freebie housing close to the ski slope. Based on nearby comparable places, those units are worth over $3 million each. According to the housing records, the residents got them for less than $300,000.

Aspen’s freebie housing is similarly subsidized with respect to property taxes. Because they are artificially valued at a fraction of their true value, they bear only a fractional portion of the property tax.

The way residents get their freebie housing is by winning a lottery. Insiders are very lucky in this lottery. A few years ago, four of the five city council members were getting freebie housing, including the mayor. They never recused themselves from votes on the subject.

Many of the editors, writers and columnists for the local media also are in. Continue reading

Will football follow the circus into oblivion?

As a fan, I’ll mourn the demise of football. What happens at football games during the national anthem is bad, and I’ll get to it in a moment. But what may end the game is what happens after the anthem.

Post-mortem dissections of the brains of 112 former NFL players recently revealed chronic traumatic encephalopathy (or CTE) in 111 of them. The study was published last summer in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association and summarized by the New York Times.

The Times reports that the symptoms of CTE include “memory loss, confusion, depression and dementia. The problems can arise years after the blows have stopped.”

Football players sustain CTE through frequent impacts to their heads. Their helmeted heads routinely collide violently with other helmets, shoulder pads and the ground. Even with a helmet, the impact is equivalent to driving a car into a brick wall at 30 miles per hour.

You may respond that playing football is voluntary. You may say that if people want to risk their brains and bodies to be rich and idolized, that’s their right.

I disagree. Continue reading

Does Aspen Really Need Silver Plated Sidewalks?

Here in Gucci Gulch, the enviros once tried to outlaw fur coats. And the lefty mayor once decried rooftop hot tubs atop private $20 million penthouses that are not even visible from the street on the grounds that they’re “excessive.” The hot tubs, that is.

But nothing is too excessive if the bill is paid by taxpayers. Here’s the story.

Local government bureaucrats with too much time on their hands and taxpayer money in their pockets want to use some of both to build an elevated sidewalk. It would be cantilevered over an embankment alongside Castle Creek Road, which threads through a beautiful canyon that has the misfortune of being within the jurisdictional kingdom of these rich and idle bureaucrats.

The sidewalk would run about a half mile and cost about $6 million.

Let’s do some math on this $6 million sidewalk. Continue reading