Up in Aspen where the town, the slopes and the people range from high to highly high, they’re having an election for mayor and city council.
The election is hotly contested, there’s a lot of hot air being blown about and, as always in Aspen, the sex is steamy, if unconventional. All this makes the Global Warmers howl, but their howls are dampened by air temperatures in the single digits and a Colorado snowpack that is about 130% of normal.
All 7,000 residents of Aspen want to be mayor or on city council. That’s always been the case, and so a few years ago the mayor and city council voted to start paying themselves a salary in order to recruit for this little part-time hobby job the residents not included in the word “all.” Because inclusiveness.
One resident who wants to be on city council already is. He’s named Skippy. He has a last name too, which everyone has forgotten. He just goes by Skippy.
Not Skip. Skip-py.
Skippy is a young ebullient type who has never really worked, unless you include the work of extracting checks from his parents and trusts. Skippy has been very good at that type of work. He’s a regular trustafarian. He’s everyone’s evil twin, Skippy is.
Skippy now has a fancy reelection website designed undoubtedly by consultants paid with money he earned from his work in extracting the same from his parents and trusts.
And he has a list of people to whom he sends emails. Not asking them for campaign donations – he’s got that covered, thank you very much – but asking them to vote for him. His list generously includes people who have never even asked to be on it, such as myself.
To his credit, I suppose, his emails do set out policy positions that are substantive. Wacky, but substantive.
For example, Skippy wants to impose another tax. Because the $250 million in taxes already collected and spent by this little town each year is apparently insufficient. Skippy calls his new tax a “vacancy tax.”
You see, many of the houses and condos in Aspen are vacation homes. These vacation homes are owned by people who, like Skippy, are rich, but, unlike Skippy, are not rich enough to live in Aspen full time. They work for a living, and their work entails more than working to get checks from their parents and trusts. Their work is in places like New York City and Houston, and it precludes them from spending more than a few weeks a year in Aspen.
For that, they get hated by Skippy. Why, asks Skippy, are those vacation homes sitting unoccupied 40 or 50 weeks a year while his local constituents have to pay Aspen rates for rentals?
The answer, as mentioned, is because the owners work for a living, but Skippy doesn’t like that answer. To Skippy, it’s just not fair that people who’ve earned lots of money get exclusive use of lots of stuff that lots of money buys. Making lots of money makes them greedy bad people, and so the ungreedy good people without lots of money should take that money away from them. At the point of a gun if necessary.
Skippy’s vacancy tax would penalize people who work elsewhere for a living by taxing their Aspen vacation homes unless the owner agrees to rent out rooms in his home, boarding house style, to the hoi polloi.
Most rich people will choose to pay the tax, assuming they get caught failing to be in their house. Expect random bed checks, probably conducted by Skippy personally.
The tax would be used to supply more hoi polloi housing, in order to attract more hoi polloi, in order to increase the demand for more hoi polloi housing. That’s on top of the $3 billion in taxpayer-subsidized housing already in Aspen’s inventory, which goes first to privileged insiders with a net worth of up to a million dollars and annual incomes of up to $300,000 and is now occupied by a full 45% of the town citizens. That’s right – 45% of Aspen is on the dole.
The proposed vacancy tax is impractical and unenforceable, but the amateur Stalinists who run the town will probably do it anyway because it’s an expression of their hatred that makes them feel good. Aspen loves to envy, and therefore hate, the rich people who built the town, supplied the jobs, and paid the taxes. Someday the rich people will figure that out and will go somewhere they’re not hated, but today is not that day.
Then there’s the current mayor running for reelection. His name is Torre. Unlike Skippy, Torre doesn’t have a last name that he forgot. He has a last name that he abandoned. The name on his birth certificate is Ronald Wayne Maranian III. He legally changed it to Torre. That’s all.
He reminds me of the 1970 movie Tora! Tora! Tora! That classic story about the attack on Pearl Harbor probably could not be made today because it depicted people with skin pigmentation slightly darker than northern European pigmentation as violent and sneaky, whereas they should have been depicted as victims of the racist not-so-Pacific policies of an old white guy named Franklin Delano (he liked to use his middle name) Roosevelt who is otherwise a hero for building the American welfare state for the mere cost of prolonging the Great Depression by seven years.
But I digress.
The main qualifications of Torre! Torre! Torre! for the job of mayor are that in real life he’s a tennis instructor (hmm, isn’t there a different sport for which Aspen is known?) and he’s a fervent advocate for . . . wait, wait, let me guess . . . taxpayer-subsidized housing.
I’m again reminded of a war story, this one about the war between Iran and Iraq. Henry Kissinger remarked “It’s a pity both sides can’t lose.”
Both Skippy and Torre! Torre! Torre! will not lose. There are some smart and decent people running against them, who have zero chance of winning. It’s Aspen.
Speaking of Aspen digressions, look for my book in the next month, “High Attitude – How Woke Liberals Ruined Aspen.”
Humanity begs for answers to the question, “why am I here, what is my purpose, is there any significance for a life, why, why why? Trust fund recipients along with industry moguls ultimately need answers to these questions. Isn’t there more to life? Is there something outside of our box? Running for council is an answer.
Be sure to let us know who wins!
What? A budget of $250,000,000 for a city of 7,000? Are the streets paved with gold or something, because if they are not, they certainly should be for that kind of tax burden, especially when most of the population isn’t even there for most of the time. No wonder everyone wants to be mayor; because outside of Congress where can a person who didn’t earn it themselves get access to that kind of spigot?
I live in a western mountain town, albeit not with the kind of wealth that Aspen enjoys. And we too have Progressives here who’d both like to solve all the world’s problems by spending much more and would also like to punish the people who are bringing most of the wealth into town since my town produces no where near the kind of wealth itself that it should for the spending and debt burden it now aspires to.
They also don’t seem to understand the simple laws of supply and demand, in that their vain attempts at making housing more “affordable” will only increase the demand of “affordable” housing. But they’ll happily continue to try.
Indeed. For progs, the goal is not to solve problems, but to milk them. For their personal feel-goodery.
So, what would happen if I show up in my RV and set up camp on the street anywhere in the Aspen city limits like people are doing in my town? (RV campgrounds cost almost as much as hotels these days)
Yeah … they’re definitely Stalinists alright, but with a few caveats. If they’re not champagne Stalinists then they’re the kale/tofu variety of Stalinists.
As for Skippy’s vacancy taxes … how about just taxing the vacant space between his ears?!? That should definitely qualify as a vacancy tax that tops out in the upper 90 percentile.
Tax the taxers … and tax them good and hard. There’s a lot of karma and poetic justice with that notion.
BTW … Skippy would be a terrific name for a pig. Although the low info and low-T Candidate Skippy would just drag the higher IQ porcine species’ reputation lower than the mud.
Meanwhile … Merriam-Webster suggests that the term torre refers to a commune, which is the social-utopian nirvana lifestyle of Marxists everywhere. So maybe the mayor’s name goes to his dreamy vision for a communist paradise.
Be careful there in Aspen. It sounds like the place may become an animal farm if left to its own devices …
A friend of mine bought a place in Aspen to provide some respite from the goings-on in the City of Brotherly Love, a/k/a Killadelphia, where he otherwise resides and works. The phrase, “Out of the frying pan and into the fire” came to mind when I read your post.
‘Cause I’m the taxman
Yeah, I’m the taxman
(If you buy a place) I’ll impose a REIT
(If you leave it vacant) I’ll tax the heat
(If you rent short term) You’ll gonna get beat
(If you ride the gondola) I’ll tax your seat
(If it fails to snow) I’ll tax the sleet
(If you try to park) I’ll tax the street
(If you’re on the “Affordable” dole) You better not cheat!
Don’t ask me what I want it for
(Ah, ah, eponymous Skippy)
If you don’t want to pay some more
(Ah, ah, mononymous Torre)
‘Cause I’m the taxman
Yeah, I’m the taxman
Now my advice for those old timers
Better beware us nickels and dimers
‘Cause I’m the taxman
Yeah, I’m the taxman
And you’re voting for no one but me.
The truth is that some renters suck. Some are renters from Hell who take the refrigerator and washing machine.
Some renters, though, are great. They watch out for the place, they ask if they can paint, they arrange repairs, etc.
My guess is that Skippy and Torre are renters from Hell. They want to encourage demons to torture honest landlords.
Funny, I thought the only vacancy socialists cared about were uteruses. The more vacant the better. In fact, an occupied uterus should be terminated. That’s what the Chinese communists imposed, only one occupied uterus per couple. More than that meant stiff fines and other penalties. Doesn’t Skippy understand that more occupied homes mean a higher carbon footprint, more water usage, clogged streets and longer lines at the Birkenstock sales counter? Come on, Man!
I’ll cry for Aspen some other time, like next life. Better yet, last life.
My sentiments exactly, Jack, and I actually live there (well, close enough for government work, and that’s the problem). But I think you’ll find Glenn’s book an instructive (and, of course, entertaining) parable of what has happened to ALL of us. The place is a “living lab” — or, if you prefer, a Petri dish — crawling with specimens of every kind, like the two characters discussed here.
These two characters deserve a limerick, so here goes:
Twin luminaries in the Aspen vicinity
Seek to dazzle with their cool mononymity —
Aping Moliere and Voltaire,
Or Charo and Cher,
They’re “Skippy!” and “Torre!” inimitably.
Let no one ask, “What’s in a name?”
If he were a REAL progressive, he’d suggest bringing in a busload of homeless from Denver and letting them live in Aspen rent free. I think you should suggest this
Sounds like what happened to Santa Cruz, minus the very wealthy. The town changed drastically in the late 60s when the hippies and the university arrived. The city council has been a joke since then. It wasn’t long before a loudmouth homeless advocate became a regular and demanding things for the rest of his people.
I hung out in Santa Cruz in the mid seventies.
There was a group of people there who were paid by the government to be crazy.
I swear I’m not making this up.
So, Governor Reagan looked at the expense of keeping crazy people in institutions. It was expensive. So he paid them to be nonviolent and crazy. Counselors got them Food Stamps and some Section 8 housing.
Now, the funny thing is that if you were no longer crazy–you lost your money.
The State of California saved a fortune.
Sounds like you people are the scourge that need to learn a dose of integrity. Hard to understand how people can live with themselves writing pieces like this. Apart from professionalism or humanity, speaks volume of their character and maturity. Opinion over facts. Wonder what makes you so angry. Learn the candidates first, just try. Because this the only avenue they can take to get their point across when more likely then not you agree with their principles/views. Why don’t you run for council if you know better? Go meditate or something…
As the Covid debacle has made abundantly clear, our world is in the hands of criminals, demons, and fools. (Our current president appears to be all three.)
The first two categories are beyond the reach of ridicule and satire, but there’s hope for fools, if “right reason” allows them to feel their foolishness, which has always been the mission of comedy and satire.
You may think it petty to make fun of people’s chosen names, but some monikers signal unserious people. Self-impressed people. Stuffed shirts. When such people attempt to exert power over our lives, we don’t have to submit “respectfully.”
We don’t have to suffer fools.