In the tradition of gadflies who arrive in Aspen with impressive credentials from another venue, Maurice Emmer continues to demagogue his political beliefs in long-winded postings. He articulates impatience with everyone who doesn’t see it his way. In his recent Edict of Worms-like pronouncement to the mayoral and City Council candidates (“What should be on the agenda,” Aspen Daily News, Jan. 1) he decreed a laundry list of conspiratorial suspicions.
Though political challenge is legitimate, Emmer’s regressive positions in his latest manifesto contain dog-whistle phrases such as “prioritize social welfare spending,” “whether affordable housing should be rationalized,” and “unnecessary spending should be ended and taxes reduced.” He suggests that City Council and the mayor ought to be volunteers who serve without pay, that zoning and city ordinances should be modified to attract business investment. This is eerie Tea Party talk.
Reactionary defamers such as he, with time on their hands, build careers in town by criticizing from the sidelines. They attack local government as too far reaching, harp on manufactured contradictions, find fault in everybody’s manners, feign self-righteous indignation, and tub-thump about ineptitude. Some flirt with running for political office, only to find that their synthetic outrage rings hollow in this basically progressive town. Frustrated, they eventually fade away.
The Red Ant antagonists were a past example. They orchestrated a catty campaign website and the failed mayoral candidacy of Marilyn Marks, a one-time trucking executive who dieseled into town and found fault under every newspaper box. Before her, we survived an Ayn-Randist candidate for mayor who ran on a civility-to-developers platform, and even a grande dame who championed a bitter council recall, because a muckraker rifled a wastebasket and found a scandalous note.
Orange County politics has no place here. Aspen isn’t Mayberry R.F.D. We know a city slicker when we see one.