#33: Aspen, CO 6/27/16

If you get your jollies from talk of storm water fees or filling potholes, take your filthy mind far away from Aspen. In this luxurious ski hamlet, the city council had only the highest, most sophisticated affairs of state to discuss.

“We have a relatively light schedule tonight–and a relatively light council,” Mayor Steve Skadron waved his hands toward the two lone council members seated to his side.

“[Council members] Adam [Frisch] and Art [Daily] are traveling,” chuckled the mayor, who was sporting the most fashionable head of hair this side of Fabio. Like a true Aspenite, “Adam is golfing in Scotland!”

But this city isn’t all golf junketing and Eurotripping. They also had a very unpopular parking rate increase. Tell ’em how unpopular it was, mayor:

“One of the things we’ve done is used revenue from the parking increase to pay for–” GOLDEN TOILETS IN THE COUNCIL CHAMBERS?!?! –“the Downtowner, which are the electric cars that are driving around.”

Christ, what kind of utopia is this? You, there–shorts-clad citizen waiting to address the council! Surely you must have a complaint about how this city is going to hell in a ski lift!

“I’ve used the Downtowner. It’s a great service,” bragged the bespectacled man. “My dogs really appreciate it.”

Mayor Skadron pumped his fist. “Thank you for being such a cool local!”

With hair like that, Mayor Steve Skadron is THE arbiter of cool.

Finally, midway through the meeting, there was some drama in paradise. A group of developers was seeking to add on to the Little Nell Hotel–and all three council members had to give the thumbs up. No abstentions. No nays.

All. Three.

“What we’ve tried to do is move away from a straight up solarium and create something that is more in line with the original architecture,” a cheerful young presenter explained.

The mayor swiveled to his right. “Ann, what do you think?”

“Well,” chuckled Council Member (and the local landscape architect) Ann Mullins, “it’s always difficult to add onto a building and have it blend in. This is an improvement over what you showed us originally–”

Would she? Wouldn’t she?!

“–but I don’t think it’s there yet….The amount of fenestration and especially the skylights, the glass ceiling, makes the addition somewhat cheap.”

There was a silence, presumably so people could look up the definition of “fenestration.”

Barf! You call that a solarium?! My dog has pooped better solaria than that!

“Since there are three of us and it has to be unanimous, you get to have what you asked for,” Council Member Bert Myrin smiled nervously. “It’s okay. I’m comfortable with that.” He sounded anything but comfortable.

Turning to the lone objector, he sighed. “It’s entirely up to you.”

The tension was as thick as a Rocky Mountain blizzard. The developers huddled, frantically searching for a way to appease the Ski Queen.

Finally, they offered that the ordinance could make their building “replicate existing ground floor or second floor window pattern.”

All eyes turned to Mullins.

Council Member Ann Mullins: the most powerful woman in the Rockies

“Okay,” she caved.

The vote was taken. Everyone was a yes. The developers were all smiles as the meeting graveled to a close.

Final thoughts: For driving a hard bargain, I give Council Member Ann Mullins 10 out of 10 Scottish golfing passes.


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