Byline Burton |

Byline Burton

Lynn Burton

“City Council says Aspen isn’t the center of universe.”

How’s that for a headline?

The kicker would be “And the vote was 4-1.”


You gotta love Aspen’s self-absorbed attitude, even if those characteristics are a little annoying to us downvalley folks stuck living in the real world.

If nothing else, Aspen residents with too much time, money and ego on their hands make for amusing newspaper stories.

The center of the universe shtick comes from a recent resolution drafted by former Aspen City Council members, and presented to the current city council for approval.

The resolution concluded: “Now therefore be it resolved that we urge the President and members of Congress to use the power of this nation not to wage war with Iraq.”

Those former city council members obviously possess infinite wisdom beyond everyone else’s, which by default places their city at the center of the universe. With their limited access to any real information about Iraq, these former small-town city council members somehow know more about that country than President Bush, who hires guys with access to space satellites and gigantic listening devices to snoop around, digging up information on Iraq.

President Bush doesn’t know whether Saddam possesses a death ray aimed at New York City, but these geezered-up former city council members do know.

The resolution didn’t say, “Go to war only as a last resort,” or something funny like, “Hey, George Dubya. Are you nuts?” or anything that might indicate these guys don’t know absolutely everything there is to know about Iraq. For this reason, the Iraqi war resolution receives this columnist’s 2002 Top Screwy Story Out of Aspen Award.

There are plenty more stories clamoring for attention, too many for this space. A random sampling follows.

This screwy story reads more like something from a rat-infested slum than a town where poodles wear diamond studded collars.

In this story, neighbors filed a lawsuit against a woman whose dogs defecated all over an apartment complex. Her defense was the feces in question did not come from her dogs.

In the story’s best quote, a neighbor said, “I personally have witnessed (her) dogs defecating in my backyard to the point my backyard has been completely covered with her dogs’ feces.”

Would anyone be surprised if these neighbors left Aspen for Carbondale due to the dogs? Their final words might be, “This place stinks.”

From “the filthy rich fight dirty” department comes the part-time Aspen couple who filed a lawsuit to prevent a 17-unit affordable housing project from being built a half-mile from their 18,000-square-foot house.

The mere thought of riff-raff such as teachers and city workers living so close to their little bit of paradise must have been too much for this couple. Last I heard, the lawsuit is still pending, and a direct call from the plaintiffs to the Supreme Court isn’t out of the question. These are Aspenites we’re talking about.

Finally, there’s the volunteer coach for the Aspen High School girls basketball team. He was caught lingering too long in a visiting girls locker room after he “accidentally” blundered in and glimpsed the girls changing clothes.

Rather than saying in newspapers, “I’m sorry,” he kept spouting off until the Aspen Times ran an editorial headlined, “Not to be rude, but it’s time for someone to shut up.”

Anyway, all those screwy stories and more surfaced in 2002. Here’s hoping 2003 is just as screwy. We downvalley folks can always use the laughs.

Lynn Burton is a staff writer for the Post Independent.

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