Archived Ants


Anatomy Of A “Language Error”

The now-infamous Burlingame Brochure and its outrageous financial misrepresentations are continually explained away by the City as “language errors.” But what exactly is a “language error?” History paints a vivid picture. Famous “language errors” help inform us. To wit:

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”

“It depends on how you define ‘alone’.” – President William Jefferson Clinton

“Mission Accomplished.” – President George W. Bush

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You Thought Burlingame Couldn't Get Worse?...#6

Some called it a "punch in the stomach," others "complete incompetence," but Thursday, most of the volunteer professionals of the Burlingame Construction Experts Group expressed surprise and dismay when informed that the City had essentially granted bullet proof veto rights to current Burlingame homeowners to prevent density beyond 236 units! The group, working for the past three months to increase Burlingame density was informed that any increase will require a 100%* (yes, unanimous!) vote of the homeowners! (Could even a March powder day garner a 100% affirmative vote in Aspen?

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Ant Alert: Ants Crawls Across TV Screen

In a fun experiment to extend the reach of our message, The Red Ant is filming a few Grassroots TV shows focused on the amusing activities in the Ant Hill at Hopkins and Galena.

Tune in and give us feedback and ideas for future shows. The first two shows air this week, beginning this morning on Channel 12 locally. ADDITIONALLY, simultaneous video streaming on the internet at

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The Words We Were Waiting For

Tuesday's Ant Alert merits an update. Citizens' quick response seemed to move the Council to do the right thing, and drop both ill-conceived last minute surprise ballot proposals. Between Monday's and Tuesday's meetings, we heard from Council the words we'd all wanted to hear for months about the premature and reckless ballot measures. Those welcome words---WITHDRAW and POSTPONE.

Doubling Council Salaries--WITHDRAWN

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ANT ALERT! Meeting: Salaries and Election Timing

Two controversial topics of strategic importance are being decided today at a 4 p.m. special Council meeting. The time-sensitive decisions are regarding whether to include measures on the November ballot to:

1) Increase (basically double) Council salaries.
2) Move the May election date to June, as being proposed by Mayor Ireland.

The salary measures were added to the agenda late last week, and as a result, have gotten little attention,---which may have been the intent. (In fact, last night, it was clear that some of the measures have been quietly under consideration for some months.) The election timing question was suddenly added last night during the meeting. Decisions will be made this afternoon---hopefully with input from the public. Please consider attending.

Framing Today's Debate --Click Below to Learn about the New Debate

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The Menu Police?

While I've long been an advocate for encouraging and even incentivizing "locally serving businesses," the Cooper Street settlement arrangement for a price-controlled menu looks a bit heavy handed. Upon reading the news story, I immediately called my friend Elizabeth to laugh about the latest government micro-management. When she quipped, "Welcome, Chairman Mao's Diner," I insisted that she write the following piece for The Red Ant. I think that it is a hoot, but has a serious message!

Chairman Mao's Diner in Aspen

In an unprecedented turn of events, City Council recently agreed to settle with local developers over their plans for the Cooper Street Pier project. In exchange for the ability to redevelop their private property in accordance with Aspen's land use code, including the required workforce housing,--the owners must, as stipulated by City Council, provide for a "People's" restaurant in the basement space. The Cooper Street Pier's basement, formerly occupied by Lucci's and then Siamese Basil, must now adhere to Council-dictated financial guidelines that restrict not only the rent, but also the hours of operation and, of all things, the menu prices!

Welcome to Aspen, Chairman Mao's Diner. Chairman Mao's Diner will be REQUIRED BY LAW to serve meals that are priced "within the third lowest" of all restaurants in town. Can you just imagine, after a long day at work or on the slopes, popping in for a quick bowl of rice and watery gruel? Will there be silverware? Or will everything be served in a hand-forged tin bowl, presumably created by "the guests" serving time in the Pitkin County Jail? Will the wait staff wear grey-green pajamas and serve the People with cold indifference? And who will work there? Are the wages also capped to be "within the third lowest?" In this time of staffing challenges, one can only imagine the rush for wait-staff positions in a restaurant that will surely mandate pooled tips on the cheapest dinners in town! Without information on the exterior signage restrictions for Chairman Mao's Diner, one should anticipate a big red star that will show the People where they can find Aspen's newest state-controlled cheap eats!

Council Weighs the Veggie Burger Requirement--Click Below to Read About the V.B.R.!

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Stone Walls Not Transparent

Stone walls are awfully easy for the government to erect, and terribly difficult for ants to penetrate!
We have seen a disturbing lack of transparency for the last thirteen months. We will cover the disconcerting history (the untold story of the undisclosed and false data behind Ordinance #30) in another issue.
In the last few days, The Red Ant filed Colorado Open Records Act requests (similar to a federal Freedom of Information Act request), on a variety of unpleasant Burlingame-related topics:
1) The unfounded basis for the false claims in the City's press releases on the two audits.

2) The initially submitted opinions/reports from the Burlingame auditors (before they were "negotiated.")

3) The basis for the City's claim that the "miss" between the brochure and actual on Burlingame included $32.9 million of "construction inflation."

"You Can't See the Audits You Paid For"---Click Below to Learn Why!

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Mayor Gets it Wrong. Hospital, School Get it Right.

Single women listen closely when men use the "commitment" word. So this one did not get past us---

Mayor Ireland recently stunned some citizens as he announced at a meeting on August 8th that the Hospital and the School Board had made "commitments for a number of units at Burlingame II at FULL COST." I was more than a little peeved to think that the leadership of those publicly funded organizations would write multi-million dollar blank checks when the per unit cost is unknown but expected to be well over $500,000. How could responsible board members even consider creating such sky's-the-limit liability, especially given the known fiscal mismanagement of Burlingame? And most particularly in the case of the Hospital, which has just recovered from its own issues of confounding debits and credits! This announcement seemed hardly consistent with the seriousness with which those board members appear to take their fiduciary duties. Surely the zeal for employee housing had not so overshadowed their common sense!

First stop: City Hall, with a formal (Colorado Sunshine Law) records request for documentation of those Burlingame II "commitments." The official written response came from Steve Barwick, City Manager, stating Mayor Ireland was speaking of those boards' "verbal commitments." Little comfort there. Would those boards really have given their word, absent cost estimates and due diligence?

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