A comment about cool could heat up the mayoral campaign in Park City.
Park City Councilman Andy Beerman, one of the two mayoral candidates, would have preferred that had not been the case.
A quote attributed to Beerman in a national magazine article lauding Park City as Outside Magazine's Best Town Ever has drawn attention for appearing to seem elitist in describing the people who live in Park City.
The quote, near the end of the one-page article, was said as Beerman and the writer were preparing for a ride on mountain bikes.
"There are two ways to be cool here," the article quotes Beerman as saying. "You're either a brilliant athlete or you're filthy rich."
Beerman said in an interview with The Park Record on Monday he did not use the words "brilliant athlete" or "filthy rich" when he was speaking to the magazine. He acknowledged that he spoke about Olympians and other athletes as having a certain stature in Park City, though.
"I didn't mean it as Fonzie cool," Beerman said, adding, "It was an embellished quote and not in the spirit of what we were discussing."
He said he does not consider himself a brilliant athlete or filthy rich. Beerman said he is "definitely not cool."
Beerman said a writer for the magazine interviewed him for three hours early in the summer for the article. They walked through Old Town and went on a bicycle ride. Beerman said the writer was concerned Park City is a rich person's playground.
Beerman said the magazine checked his quotes with him before the article was published. He cautioned that the comment about coolness in Park City should be printed in the proper context, Beerman said, contending that it was not.
"I think the beauty of Park City is everyone's accepted here. I don't really like the word 'Cool,'" Beerman said.
The article appears in the magazine's September issue as Park City is named the Best Town Ever. Park City was named the winner of an online contest based on its "per capita excitement," according to an explanation published with the article. Greenville, S.C., finished with the most votes, though.
A photo of a mountain biker riding on a trail overlooking Old Town is on the cover of the issue. The article includes comments by Mayor Dana Williams as well.
"They got the important part right, which is Park City is an amazing town," Beerman said.
In a letter to the editor scheduled to be published in The Park Record on Wednesday, Beerman said the comment in the magazine was a "mischaracterized quote by yours truly."
"Sorry to all the 'filthy rich' and the 'brilliant athletes' in town, but you aren't the only cool people," the Beerman letter says. "The Outside writer expressed concern that we are just a playground for the affluent, so I tried to explain that Park City may be an elite town, but is not elitist."
Jonah Ogles, an associate editor at the magazine, said in an interview the article underwent a fact-check process.
The Beerman comments come as the mayoral campaign is expected to intensify in the coming weeks. With only two candidates seeking Park City's highest office, a primary was not required to reduce the field for Election Day. That allowed Beerman and his opponent, Park City Planning Commissioner Jack Thomas, to not enter the fray as the Park City Council candidates competed in a primary that was held on Tuesday.
Thomas on Monday said the Beerman quote in the magazine is an "unfortunate comment." He said cool people in Park City include parents, students, doctors, ski instructors and business owners.
"It isn't my goal to be cool. I'm probably the uncool candidate. My goal is to be responsible," Thomas said, adding, "I don't think of categories of cool."