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Mountain News

Bad month for bears



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Right-wingers hash out affairs

AVON, Colo. - It's well known that some of the nation's leading politicians and business interests meet behind closed doors in ski towns, but usually it's in Aspen and involves liberals.

Now comes a report, courtesy of Mother Jones , a magazine, which reported that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie met with billionaires and arch-conservatives David and Charles Koch. Citing a clandestine recording, the magazine quotes Christie introducing David Koch at a gathering of conservatives this summer in Beaver Creek. "I said to myself, 'I'm really impressed and inspired by this man. He is my kind of guy,'" said Christie in introducing Koch.

The magazine insinuated that the Kochs influenced Christie to drop out of the 10-state pact to reduce greenhouse gas emissions called the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Christie denies he had a conversation about RGGI with the Koch brothers.

The billionaire brothers, in addition to being art patrons in New York, are oil barons from Wichita, Kan. They are noted for their rejection of the science that finds great potential risk as a result of greenhouse gases accumulating in the atmosphere.


Go figure: sales tax up, real estate down

BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. - Go figure. From across the region come reports that it was a pretty healthy summer in mountain towns, at least in terms of collections of sales taxes. In Breckenridge, for example, collections were up nearly 18 per cent. Those in July were up 5 per cent. And lodging during August was up 21 per cent compared to last year.

Real estate, however, took a dive during July, as the U.S. Congress was in gridlock about spending. In Aspen, for example, sales were half of the volume of last year. No reports have surfaced of August sales.


Plastic ban ban?

ASPEN, Colo. - Aspen has had a change of mind about imposing a fee of 20 cents on plastic grocery bags. Now, several members of the city council wants to flat-out ban all plastic bags.

"Why don't we just get to the ban right now if that's what we want to do," said Adam Frisch, a councilman, at a recent meeting covered by The Aspen Times .

But there's a hiccup if Aspen does change course. After consulting with two other local municipalities, Basalt and Carbondale, there had been something of a consensus that a fee, instead of a ban, was the way to go, and they were better off working in unison.