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Entries in Aspen City Council (4)


Squirm Night: Inside Out in Aspen

Squirm Night Selfie 4/16/15 Vote 4 Andy. Aspen City Council I've been to a few squirm nights in Aspen as media. Last night was my first squirm night as a political candidate.

Yeah...I squirmed a little. It's an Aspen tradition,but getting humiliated on TV was really not on my bucket list. If I wasn't sitting at the table I would have been bored to tears.  But hey, live and learn.  

I want to thank the Aspen Times (Lauren Glendenning) and Aspen Daily News (Curtis Wackerle) for asking such riveting questions which created compelling TV.  Thanks to GrassRoots TV the oldest community television station in America for getting my good side only.  I especially want to thank Rick Carroll and Karl Herchenroeder for their TMZ-style expose about my facetious sex tape post on FB.  They put on the front page of the paper in the guise of a social media article, nice.

Squirm Night was the culmination of my campaign.  I am not a political animal by nature.  I noticed the veteran politicians side-stepped some of the difficult questions.  To quote Mick..."this is not the forum...".  It's not?  Why not?   I simply answered the questions honestly and openly.  

POW Day Selfie...Top 3 POW Day 4/17/15I got to lob a few grenades last night. Make a few points.  Let some steam out.  I've been trying to be nice to everyone...politically correct...if you will.  It doesn't suit me.

Back to my plan to become the puppet master in Aspen.

1)  Shorter more productive meetings.  I'm just gonna say it right here on the web...wake me up when its time to vote.  I bought an egg timer...and if elected I'm not afraid to use it.

2) Financial Stewardship at City Hall.   This is my BIG thing.  I understand the numbers and they are enormous.  Over $100 million per year flowing through the City of Aspen (CoA) a town with 6000 residents. Squirm Night allowed me to express my concerns about the current system of internal controls or financial checks and balances within CoA. I stated that one guy should not sign off on everything.  I am skeptical of the oversight...(BOOM, drops mic.)  I said it out loud at the 24 minute mark.

3) While I would prefer a simplified zoning code...I'm voting YES on Referendum 1.

4) I got to reiterate my distain for the marketing efforts and cronism at ACRA.


Better yet it dumped like a MOFO last night.   Over a foot up top.   It was a siiiiiiick POW DAY and a defiant Andy Party schralped several laps on Aspen Mountain...old-school style...no Gondola.   The gondy was down so it was Little Nell to 1a to Ruthies.  I had just packed away all my warm gear and my fatties on Wednesday...but I made due.  I layered up, borrowed some siiiiiick Rossi Soul 7's  and got my last face shots of the season.  I'm calling it a TOP 3 POW DAY for the season.  Day # 105 for me.

So I had to squirm a little to make my points.  But in return I got a really, really good powder day...after all...thats why I'm here.  

VOTE 4 ANDY for Aspen City Council.  Mail-in, Walk-in after 4/20/15 and Election day May 5.

The Morning CommuteJerry Untracked

 Old School Lift Lines


Aspen Campaign 2015: Keep Andy, Andy

Andrew M. Israel kissing the beautiful babies in Aspen.Andrew M. Israel, a.k.a. AspenSpin, a.k.a. Andy Party, a.k.a. The Political Virgin made a guest starring appearance on Grassroots TV's Probeline with Brent Gardner-Smith.  Israel is a candidate for Aspen City Council.  

Mail-in ballots will be sent out to all voters on April 13.  Early Walk-in voting begins April 20 and the actual election date in May 5. 

If elected, Israel promises that "Monday Nights in Aspen will be Must See TV. 


You can watch the compelling interview on Probeline. Click the video link below. 


The Party Political Platform for Aspen.

It's official.  Because it's on Facebook.

Andrew M.  Israel, aka AspenSpin, aka Andy Party aka The Political Virgin has declared his candidacy for Aspen City Council.  

The time has come for me to speak up.  I believe the political process in Aspen is broken.  I have personally lost trust in "the system" and it's my goal to be a catalyst for positive change in Fat City.

To quote Moe and Larry of the the 3 Stooges--- "can we fix it"--- "i dunno can we?"  Now is the time for me to try.   Most people know me as the #1 blogger in Aspen who skis every day and party's every night.  But I am very proud of my past professional, philanthropic and academic success.

I grew up in suburban Detroit.  It was sort of a Leave it to Beaver type childhood, with two grounded parents. I am the youngest of 3 brothers.  I earned a B.S. in Accounting  from Michigan State University,1980 and an MBA from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, 1985.  I practiced as a C.P.A. in Michigan and Colorado for 3 years prior to attending The Wharton School. I am currently a licensed Real Estate Broker in Michigan and Colorado.  I spent more than 5 years working for The Taubman Company, a super-regional shopping center developer, owner and manager.  At Taubman I worked on projects such as Beverly Center in L.A., Cherry Creek in Denver and The Mall at Short Hills in NJ.  I had a wide variety of real estate experiences at Taubman, including leasing, management and strategy.

In 1992, I began a new phase in my career, managing money at Morgan Stanley in NYC.  In those days Morgan had a small but elite high net worth division.  I was chosen to join that group as one 200 professionals around the World .  I performed as a stock broker, investment advisor, money manager and hand holder to the top 1% of the 1%.  Billionaires only.  My timing was fortuitous and I developed a talent for picking and trading stocks and equity options.  I personally profited handsomely from the 90's bull market and managed to "retire" to Aspen in 2003.  Since then I have logged over 1100 ski days.    I served as a PSIA Level 1 Certified Ski Instructor for 3 seasons at ButterMilk and then founded AspenSpin in 2006.  AspenSpin a is a life-style blog that documents the over-the-top social scene in Aspen. The rest.... it's documented history on Facebook, twitter and AspenSpin.

The Party Political Platform for Aspen is quite simple;

1)  No 7 hour meetings.   Not only is a meeting that long and late ridiculous, its unproductive.

2)  Simplify the process. One set of codes and laws enforced consistently for everyone. 

3)  Promote financial stewardship and fiduciary responsibility as a core value in the City of Aspen.




Save Wagner Park  

FULL DISCLAIMER:   I live near Wagner Park in the center of Aspen.  I love Wagner Park.  My dog and I have played ball in Wagner Park almost every day for 11 years.  I believe that open spaces should be cherished and protected.   I want to save Wagner Park.

I have lost complete confidence in our elected officials and the City of Aspen to make well informed and reasonable decisions, especially concerning Wagner Park. They always seem to sell out to the highest bidder.  My Mom & Dad taught me to stick-up for myself, but warned me not to be a complainer.  Every once in a while those two traits come to loggerheads.   I don't want to sound like a complainer....but here's my take.

Polo Models...heeyyyy.SNOW POLO.  What the f*#k is Snow Polo?   It's a made up sport. In Aspen, it's a bunch of marketers trying to draw the seemingly upscale polo crowd to town in December (not exactly off season) .  I've attended  the snow polo matches several times... in Wagner Park, Rio Grande Park and Marolt Open Space.  Does Aspen really benefit from Snow Polo in the center of town?  What does Snow Polo bring to Aspen?  The crowd that attends breaks down as follows, A few rich older guys who are passionate about their expensive hobby.  Two Ralph Lauren male models...you know the guys...Nacho and Nick.  A few super hot chicks.   The rest is a  pack of freeloaders and hangers on who can drink almost anybody under the table...especially at a posh sponsored bar. A couple of years ago you may recall the White House wedding crashers were in town for Snow Polo and left a trail of unpaid bills behind them.

Wagner Park has never recovered from the last Snow Polo event held there in 2009. The turf was decimated...and no one disputes that.  When there was a lot of snow around here, before climate change, my dog and I found frozen horse turds in Rio Grande Park for months.   Hey...I'm not putting down Snow Polo...it works great at Marolt Open Space...except for one problem.   Everyone was too drunk to drive home...oh yeah,  and one of the horses had to be put down.  

PARKING STRUCTURE.  There has been a lot of talk  on & off about digging a parking structure under Wagner Park.   I will lay down in front of the bulldozers before that happens.  We already have a parking sturcture that nobody uses.  It's "off the beaten track"...fully...wait for it... 2 blocks from the center of town.  You want a parking structure?   Go to Vail.  And if you're a tea partier...go to Vail too.

Riots; Hopefully not in Aspen.X GAMES CONCERTS.  Have you been to X Games?  I have.  It's not exactly a tame crowd.  The town is packed, in fact its over packed.  One motel room easily sleeps 8 to 10 extreme sports fans.  A condo secured on VRBO can sleep 40-50 party mongers.  Lots of kids sleep in their vans...or just pass out face down in a pool of their own vomit. Yeah, I've been to X Games.   I love music.  I especially love outdoor concerts.  But a plan that calls for 6 foot chain link fences, 8 days of road closures,  huge spot lights and 50 extra security guards seems a bit extreme.

 Sure Disney...throw a show.  Bring in the Beatles.

Remember the last Winter concerts we had in Wagner Park in 2006 ?  it was a near riot.  The band was pelted off the stage with ice balls thrown in a drunken fury by many of our "guests".  So many people got wasted, that it looked like a battle field.  Oh yeah... the weather cooperated by giving us a sleet storm the night of the show.

We did get one concession from ESPN  this time around...a 10 x 10 detox tent.  The line for that will be staggering. I've heard it's sold out.

FOOD & WINE:  Wagner Park closes down for 3+  months in preparation for this bacchanal.  The streets are closed for 2 weeks.  Sure, its a good time...I know.   Many Aspenites feel F & W is a "great event" for the town.  Maybe it is?  I won't argue against that.  Is it good for the park??   Do we really need to "sell out" the park for more than 3 plus months for 2 days of F & W.  You would think there could be some sort of a compromise reached and F & W could be facilitated on the cement...where it belongs.  Watching 70 year olds stumble home in a drunken stupor is not new for me.  It's just not a pretty sight in the light of day.

USA PRO CHALLENGE:  Hey, I like the bike race.  It's a good time. I'm even OK with subsidizing it within reason.  Do I think the entire town should be shut down for 2 days?  No I don't!!!  You sure wouldn't want to get sick...or have a baby...or plan to fly or drive in or out of Aspen on those days.  Sorry.... the road is closed.

I keep hearing about how USA Pro puts Aspen on the "international stage" and of the millions of dollars in p.r. value we get from the USA Pro Challenge.  This past Summer I missed the USA Pro Challenge. Ironically, on day 1, the HUGE first stage..."live" from Aspen, I happened to walk into the Trek Superstore in Solana Beach, California. It's the #1 Trek bicycle dealer in the USA.  They had a TV playing in the store...but it was not tuned into NBC Sports and the USA Pro Challenge.   I asked the clerk " hey, who won the first stage of the USA Pro?". He looked at me blank faced...he didn't even know the race was happening.   I think the bike race is very cool...but does the entire town need to be closed down...I think not.

Do I sound cynical?  Do I sound angry? F#*k it...those are two of my best qualities. 

Let's audit the T & E. ACRA.  I laughed out loud at the recent article in the Aspen Daily News about ACRA's marketing budget.  ACRA gets an extra $1.9 million over and above their operating budget each year. The "extra" money is earmarked for marketing and originates from the lodging tax that was increased to 1.5% in 2010.  According to the ADN, ACRA spent $350K on advertising and $210K on p.r. last year.  That leaves $1.34 million for travel and entertainment.

 Niiiiiiice!!!   Boondoggles for journalists? Trips to NYC and California and Australia and South America for staff?  Awesome!!!   What is ACRA's marketing campaign?  Do we even have a slogan or a tag line for Aspen??   Like... Virginia is for Lover's...that kind of thing.  ACRA describes their success in nebulous terms and with projected and formulaic calculations about the actual reach.  Conclusions like " lots of eyeballs", "targeted story angles" and we had a "very strong summer" would not cut it in the real world.  

Lower occupancy rates...albeit higher average room rates does not translate into success as far as I'm concerned.   Placement in USA Today...wow??? I know a lot of people in the Forbes 400...not one of them reads USA today.  You can get a free USA today at any Hampton Inn.  ACRA's website set a new record in August with 75 ,000 visits??? Are those unique visits or page views? Either way, is that even impressive???  Not in my world it isn't.  Do they even know who their customers are?  Has ACRA targeted legitimate potential customers?  They seem to be going for "broad" coverage.  Thats one of the dumbest things I've ever heard of, especially with today's targeted ads.  Do they even look at the data and analyse it?

As a former member of ACRA, it appears to me that ACRA is most interested in ACRA. They are desk protectors who often put their own selfish goals ahead of their members.  Every year they pat themselves on the back for a "successful"  marketing program that yields very few tangible results.   Yet Aspen City Council continues to nod  their heads and rubber stamp ACRA's marketing contract.   If they put that thing out for competitive bids...I'd be willing to bet that Aspen could get twice the marketing coverage for half the price.  Who wants to bet?

So that's it.  That's my take.  Soon, Aspen Mountain will be open and I can re-focus on skiing and other recreational activities instead of all the transparent political bullsh*t that has been part of everyday life here in Aspen for more than 50 years.   

Why do I care so much??  I'd be better off if I didn't.