Editorials

Vail Daily column: Restore fairness to voter registration rolls

July 31, 2015 — 

Need to prove your identity? Perhaps you are moving through an airport’s security check point. Or, you desire to cash at your bank a third-party check. Identification is required. You show your driver’s license.

Some citizens lack disposable income to purchase a driver’s license. They don’t have money for fees at the Motor Vehicle Bureau to get a license or renew one that’s lapsed. These folks usually ride buses. They stand in long lines to receive food stamps. They live paycheck to paycheck.

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Vail Daily column: A good night's sleep

July 31, 2015 — 

I have a 6-foot-long folding conference table in my office and under that table is a mattress designed for backpacking and sleeping on a bed of rocks. It’s only about 2 feet away from my desk so I don’t get wide-awake walking from my office downstairs, across the dining room and living room to the bedroom where I would be wide-awake by the time I got there. My “office bed” is so comfortable that I seem to fall asleep within two minutes of when I lie down.

I don’t know how many times I’ve folded up conference tables, but you could tell how old they were by how much chewing gum they had stuck to the bottom of them.

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Vail Daily column: No easy parking solutions

July 31, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association Newsletter. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community. The electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at www.vailhomeowners.com.

There are no easy solution to Vail’s parking problem. Basically the town has only limited choices:

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Vail Daily column: It's a good time to buy a ranch

July 31, 2015 — 

Dear Joan,

I have been reading your ​comments on millennials​, and many other​ similar articles, and realize the trend for the up and coming generation is more urbanization. ​The population​ all seem​s​ to want to live close to each other and do everything together, i.e. public transportation to ride together, work out together in classes and recreation center​s​, join clubs​ and ski together, ​etc. I must be out of touch because I have always dreamed of having my own little “ranch” in the mountains. The thought of not seeing any neighbors, being able to hike or ride out my back door into National Forest or BLM public ground sounds wonderful to me. If I could have some water, a stream or pond​,​ that would be even better. And no covenants, so I can do what I want​,​ sounds fabulous to me in today’s world. Am I looking the wrong direction for my next financial investment?

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Myth fuels mantra about I-70

July 30, 2015 — 

Let’ see if I have this right:

We’re losing visitors, or in constant danger thereof, because Interstate 70 congestion makes it so hard to get here.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

July 29, 2015 — 

Got a quick Hit or Miss about issues, decisions or goings-on in the valley? Send yours to editor@vaildaily.com to be included.

HIT: To Avon’s new stage booking business and hopefully proving its worth for the long term. The town hardly is the only one around here to vastly overspend on a project that ultimately shows itself to be a bargain.

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Vail Daily editorial: The endless story

July 28, 2015 — 

There are plenty of encouraging signs as the Vail Valley continues to emerge from the national economic slump that struck here full force in 2009. Of course, the return of our economic vitality also comes with the return of an age-old problem: housing.

As anyone new to the valley or between leases will quickly attest, it’s damnably hard to find a place to rent. And, once again, the crunch is being felt from Gypsum to East Vail. The for-sale market is also tight, especially in the less-than-$500,000 end of the market where many of us swim.

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Vail Daily column: Advice for state agencies

July 28, 2015 — 

As I mentioned last week, I had the great professional honor of being part of a four-day education policy discussion as part of the Aspen Institute. The focus of our conversation was on the increasing role and importance of state policy in the wake of possible significant changes in federal law that would put states more in the driver’s seat when it comes to decisions about their schools.

One central question was around the appropriate role of state departments of education. These are typically big state bureaucracies and the mere mention of their names (or acronyms, like our own CDE) usually draw sighs and creates a sense of weariness among most.

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Vail Daily column: Finding a new face for satire

July 27, 2015 — 

I have always been a fan of comedy and satire.

Growing up with Johnny Carson on TV and George Carlin on vinyl, I was convinced early of humor being the best way to handle all the bad stuff happening in the world.

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Vail Daily column: Do Constitution, Bible change with the times?

July 27, 2015 — 

Do the Constitution’s bedrock principles and the Bible’s moral codes ever change? Are they influenced by evolving cultural trends? Or, are the Constitution and Scripture set in stone, like the Ten Commandments chiseled on two tablets Moses acquired atop Mount Sinai?

James Madison, who framed constitutional limits at Philadelphia’s 1787 Constitutional Convention, believed in an evolving founding document. Retired in 1824, Madison looked back on the Constitution’s short 37-year-history. He recognized how this founding document evolved to fit emerging national trends since its ratification. Madison noted that the 1787 “language of our Constitution is already undergoing interpretations unknown to its founders.” Such changes didn’t upset him. The original 1787 text was evolving “with the changeable meaning of the words composing it.”

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Vail Daily column: A few observations on good leadership

July 27, 2015 — 

Watching Ryan while he did a presentation was painful. We had been working together for nearly a year. The vast majority of the people we were teaching were native Spanish speakers. Ryan, though he had difficulty with the language, would excitedly stumble through conversations. In the first couple of months of working together, I would take over when the going got rough. I would jump in and handle complex questions. Now, after all that time, I was grateful and inspired to sit back and watch Ryan work. He did not realize that his tenacity and discipline were in fact leading and inspiring me. He was going to do his work no matter the obstacle.

Now, after more than 10 years as a working adult, I look around and wonder where the leadership of my friend can be found in our own community. I have seen organizations rise and erode as transcendent leadership is found and lost. As a result, I catch myself examining my own life and the stewardships I have accepted to determine if I am helping or hurting our progress to making the valley an even better place to live. In my own observations and study of leadership, a few ideas arise over and over.

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Vail Daily column: Raise minimum wage to $15 an hour

July 24, 2015 — 

“I mean, we suck,” U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said in October at a Bloomberg News breakfast, speaking on minimum wage. “We really do.”

Vail Resorts recently notified employees via email that the company is raising its minimum wage to $10 per hour. I was surprised this has received so much coverage when McDonald’s already announced that the average hourly wage for its employees at company-owned restaurants will be more than $10 per hour by the end of 2016. The fast-food giant will also help its employees with high school completion, college tuition and accrued vacation time.

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Vail Daily column: Peak days are getting busier

July 24, 2015 — 

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from the Vail Homeowners Association Newsletter. The association keeps a close eye on economic and political trends in and outside of the Vail community. The electronic version with links to supporting documents is available at www.vailhomeowners.com.

Vail has made a remarkable recovery from the 2007-08 recession. Town sales tax receipts have shown positive monthly gains for most of the past two years. The increase in sales tax revenues have offset, in large measure, a decrease of revenues generated by property and real estate taxes as the real estate market still struggles to get back to pre-recession levels.

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Vail Daily column: Disgusting to some, delicacy to others

July 24, 2015 — 

Want to hear something really gross? I ate maggots. At the time I thought they were worms, as though that was a distinction that matters. I chose the maggots because they looked less buggy than the crickets that were also offered to me by my Kunming hosts. The maggots were fried and crunchy, like Cheetos without the cheese.

My husband raves about the squirrel potpie his mother cooked for him during his childhood in upstate New York. Squirrels are members of the order Rodentia, so squirrel is just a rat with a bushy tail.

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Vail Daily column: Why ESPN got it right choosing Caitlyn Jenner

July 23, 2015 — 

Dear Caitlyn:

Congratulations on the transformation, and the ESPY, of course. Glad you are doing what you want to do. Being who you want to be. Who you believe you need to be.

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Vail Daily column: Treaty's critics circling

July 23, 2015 — 

Last Tuesday’s announcement by the E3/EU+3 and Iran (China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, U.S., and European Union) of a final agreement over Tehran’s nuclear program was the culmination of talks beginning in 2006. The agreement has strategic ramifications for the Middle East, Europe, East Asia and the United States. It will serve as a precedent for future arms control agreements. The treaty also has many domestic and foreign opponents determined to see its demise, including many within the U.S. Congress. The Senate and House recently started debating a resolution surrounding the treaty. Both have 60 days to vote for or against a resolution surrounding the accord. Several questions arise consequently: Who opposes the agreement? What are their grievances? And does the accord address their concerns?

The agreement faces opposition from various parties and for similar reasons:

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Vail Daily column: Eagle a great place to live

July 22, 2015 — 

Those of us privileged to live in Eagle know it’s a great place to live — that’s why we live here. It’s also why most of us chose to live here, because the vast majority of us weren’t born here, we moved here ... by choice. What’s more, Eagle is fast becoming recognized as a mountain bike and outdoor adventure destination.

Now the HomeSnacks folks have done some analysis and, not surprisingly, they agree with us: Eagle is in the top 10 most livable towns in Colorado.

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

July 22, 2015 — 

Got a quick Hit or Miss about issues, decisions or goings-on in the valley? Send yours to editor@vaildaily.com to be included.

HIT: From reader Barbara Bindle “to the Vail Police Department for their recent drug bust. Way to go, Vail PD. We appreciate all the hard work that went into this operation.”

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Vail Daily column: Exciting policy options

July 21, 2015 — 

This past week I had the extraordinary professional delight of attending a four-day event put on by the Aspen Institute talking state education policy. I realize that talking about education policy might sound like a dreadful way to spend one’s precious summer days, especially considering the Maroon Bells are in plain sight, but the invitation to learn, share and debate critical topics affecting education policy with a small, intimate, highly knowledgeable circle of thought-leaders was pretty exciting for me. As I reflect on this unique experience, I will share some of my thinking and learning in my next couple of articles.

The focus of the Aspen discussion was on the changing role of state education agencies. This conversation is important and timely given what is occurring right now in Washington related to federal education policy.

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Vail Daily column: America deserves real candidates

July 20, 2015 — 

As completely expected and thoroughly predicted, many of the GOP candidates for president have now whipped out the “God Card.”

Without exception, what most of us refer to as “pandering to the religious right,” is being used as a placebo emotion to hopefully garner votes from those too delusional to think for themselves.

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Vail Daily column: Had it with these 'leaders'

July 19, 2015 — 

It has been some time since the last editorial came from this computer, and there has been a lot happening since then. It’s difficult to know where to start.

Starting at the top, here are some observations about our president.

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Vail Daily column: 'Comeback kids' charge to victories

July 18, 2015 — 

During his presidency, Bill Clinton’s critics crowed about how they KO’d him. They bragged about buckling his knees on the political mat.

Like a prize-fighter who’s down but not out, Clinton showed snap-back tenacity. He rebounded from defeat and powered his way to political victories. Like Clinton’s demise, President Obama’s political cave-in has been prematurely reported.

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Vail Daily column: Innovation in practice at school

July 17, 2015 — 

Recently, Dr. Jason Glass, the Eagle County School superintendent, wrote a column about innovation in education. He offered some very interesting thinking on this point, as education over the past few years has been ripe with innovative ideas — some good, some not so good. As he says:

“Our educators are continuously working to improve their craft, adapting and learning as they gain experience throughout their careers. The spirit of innovation in the classroom keeps teachers fresh and engaged. Their ability to adapt and customize the educational experience based on student needs exemplifies innovation in practice.”

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Vail Daily column: My first day on skis

July 17, 2015 — 

Tied tightly to the roof of the nearly-new 1929 Model A Ford coupe was my two-man toboggan on which I had spent half of the semester of my seventh-grade woodshop class, with this as my first project.

I was already freezing cold as we started to climb up into the San Gabriel Mountains. Even though I had left my pajamas on when I pulled my Levi’s over my skinny legs at 4:30 in the morning, I also wore two sweatshirts and a semblance of a windbreaker. I had dipped my 29-cent wool mittens in melted paraffin to make them waterproof.

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Vail Daily column: Opinions should be heard on body cameras

July 16, 2015 — 

In the wake of police officer involved shootings from Ferguson, Missouri, to North Charleston, South Carolina, there is no hotter topic among law enforcement agencies and district attorneys than the routine employment of body cams for patrolling police officers. In next year’s Colorado legislature, which has an enormous appetite right now for regulating police, there are bound to be proposals including requiring body cams for every police department.

An undercurrent of police distrust is driving a need to not just hear their testimony in court but to see what the officer saw through the utilization of recorders mounted in their cars and upon their bodies. Similarly, police feel vulnerable to people they encounter who might make a false allegation of misconduct against them, and the officers themselves view body cams as a tool to prove their own innocence with the tap of the “play” button.

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Vail Daily column: How Catholics and citizens are taking responsibility for climate change

July 16, 2015 — 

The Catholics have begun to divest their rather large assets from fossil fuels. It’s about time the U.S. government did, too.

I have faith in the Catholics, but not so much in weaning off the subsidies, that most pernicious welfare of all, for corporations. Listen, we can’t even shed mohair, never mind wasting public money on Exxon that ought to go to, I don’t know … schools?

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Vail Daily Hits and Misses

July 16, 2015 — 

Got a quick Hit or Miss about issues, decisions or goings-on in the valley? Send yours to editor@vaildaily.com to be included.

MISS: To the notion tourism has peaked in Vail or anywhere else in the valley. Utter nonsense.

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Vail Daily column: Outsiders staying off script

July 15, 2015 — 

Kids say the darndest things. When asked her religion by her classmates my daughter replied, “American.” On her first day at summer camp a few years ago Brigitte told her counselor she was from, “Earth, the green parts.” While the remarks of children can be refreshingly honest and uncensored, they also often lack diplomacy and tact; such as the time my son greeted me in the morning with, “Mom, your hair looks crazy.” Pot meet kettle.

As the 2016 election cycle gears up, cue the carefully crafted photo ops and the scrupulously composed political statements by the politicians running for office. Most of the veteran politicians will be surrounded by teams of pros who will orchestrate their campaigns and ensure every utterance stays on message. It is enough to make you look forward to attack ads.

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Vail Daily column: Pot tax not a panacea

July 14, 2015 — 

This week, The Cannabist (a spin-off publication from The Denver Post covering marijuana related news and culture) proclaimed that tax dollars earmarked for schools “soared” based on revenue collected in May of this year and “crushed” 2014 earnings. Ricardo Baca, the journalist writing the story, put on a decidedly editorialized spin, stating that “the Colorado Department of Revenue’s just-released marijuana tax data for May 2015 shows one clear winner: schools.”

To set the record straight before any salacious rumors get started, I’m not a regular reader of The Cannabist. But when the story popped up in my Twitter feed following Colorado education policy news, I took notice.

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Vail Daily editorial: Just act, already

July 14, 2015 — 

William Shakespeare’s Hamlet was a notably indecisive prince. His dithering brought literature one of its great lines — “To be or not to be; that is the question.”

Vail’s town council has now brought Hamlet-level vacillating to the topic of whether or not to allow retail marijuana sales in town. The latest act in this not-terribly-interesting play came last week, when the council approved yet another extension of a moratorium on sales. That moratorium was first imposed shortly after the 2012 passage of Amendment 64, which legalized possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana.

Since then, most other Colorado mountain resort towns have authorized retail shops. Eagle County’s towns are the exception to that rule. Only the town of Eagle allows sales. That has allowed the rest of the area’s retail marijuana business to open up in unincorporated Eagle County, most notably in Eagle-Vail. There are now several shops open along what some call the “Green Mile.”

Vail, meanwhile, has researched and investigated the topic, and continues to avoid taking action.

Vail residents voted for Amendment 64 by a margin exceeding the 66.5 percent of the vote the amendment gained in Eagle County and far more than the 55 percent of statewide votes. As an aside, the amendment passed even in the conservative stronghold of El Paso County (the Colorado Springs area) and also passed in Fremont County, home to the state’s highest-security prisons as well as the federal supermax prison for the nation’s worst offenders.

Vail’s substantial vote in favor of the amendment has been one of the sticking points against imposing a full ban on sales. On the other hand, the overwhelming majority of public comment at town council meetings has been against allowing sales.

In fairness, most of the people who have bothered to address the council on the topic probably didn’t vote for the amendment or have business reasons for not wanting a retail marijuana store near their storefronts. Still, there’s been very little in the way of pro-pot comments in public sessions at town hall.

The view here is that Vail should just ban retail pot, at least for now. For one thing, the industry is still working itself out. Who knows which of the several shops in Eagle-Vail will still be open three years from now? Then there’s the fact that marijuana remains illegal under federal law, which means it’s tough for those in the pot business to do business with many banks. Anti-marijuana groups have also recently launched new legal campaigns against some businesses, filing federal racketeering lawsuits against a couple of state businesses.

Vail would be wise to sit back and wait before acting on allowing those businesses in town, and another council could easily reverse a ban passed now.

Enough dithering, folks. Just act and be done with this until, ahem, the smoke clears.

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