I'll go with a track record
Response to Jack Van Ens' Oct. 7 commentary: Sunday morning I read another of Jack's disturbing commentaries on all the things wrong with Republicans.
I, too, grew up in a household in which my parents were staunch supporters of Ike. In addition to supporting Ike, unlike Mr. Van Ens, my God-fearing parents were ecumenical about other religions. In fact, unlike Mr. Van Ens, they were also ecumenical about the opposing party.
Perhaps Mr. Van Ens would better serve the readers of the Vail Daily if his by line identified him as a leftwinger rather than a man of the cloth. I find his continuous Republican bashing very disturbing.
In my religious upbringing, men of the cloth looked for ways to bring people together, not tear down those they disagreed with. In fact, I never could determine who the men of the cloth that I looked up to disagreed with.
Jack, I am almost finished with Mitt Romney's "No Apology," and unless there are two versions, you are reading with a very jaundiced eye. In virtually every passage I have read thus far, Mitt talks about how he worked with other politicians and government officials of all stripes when he was governor of Massachusetts.
Oh, and for you to suggest that the Mormon Church "accents" a "can-do, take charge, get out of my way so I can succeed" spirit is an insult to the Presbyterian ministry. Really!
I can only imagine Mitt's response to your suggestion that he sees Donald Trump as a role model. Really!
Mitt's track record as a "take charge, get things done" leader so far surpasses our president's record that it isn't even worth discussing.
I'm no big fan of the way in which all our politicians conduct themselves. That said, what we really need in our next president is a leader with a track record of success rather than someone whose only notable accomplishment in the past three-plus years is burying us in a mountain of additional debt.
I'll vote for track record all day long.
Layman for commissioner
Jeff Layman has long experience in public service in Eagle County. As a leader in law enforcement and lately as general manager of a metro district, he has served his community well in good times and in bad.
He is a leader who has a proven track record of being able to achieve consensus among many different faction on a wide variety of issues. It is this ability that will make him an outstanding commissioner for Eagle County.
The twin challenges facing county government for the next few years will be balancing the needs for essential services with the specter of a seemingly ever-falling revenue streams.
In the past, Jeff has managed both budgets and personnel in tight economic times and is well positioned to do so in the future. He will represent the views of the entire community in the tough decisions to come.
Fire district needs funds
We are seeking citizen help and support.
The Citizens Campaign for 5A group supports the Eagle River Fire Protection District's 3.77 mill levy, which is on the ballot for this November's election.
As you are aware, Eagle River Fire has experienced a severe revenue decrease due to recent unprecedented drops in property values in Eagle County, with another 20 percent decrease projected. The district receives 90 percent of its revenue from property taxes.
In response to the decrease, the district has: cut 70 percent of its administrative staff; implemented rolling station closures; deferred critical equipment purchases (including apparatus necessary to fight a large-scale wildfire in our area); used funds from critical reserves for operations, but still must close stations.
Your local fire station is not staffed 24/7 at this time. If the mill levy does not pass, two stations in the district's service area will permanently close in 2014.
Voting yes for 5A will: ensure your local fire station is staffed 24/7; ensure your insurance costs don't increase due to lack of nearby fire protection; ensure the district can purchase critical equipment to effectively respond to a large-scale event, including a wildfire; ensure your family, your home, and your community are protected.
The Citizens Campaign for 5A would appreciate your time and/or monetary support to promote this critically important ballot measure.
on behalf of the Citizens Campaign for 5A
Ryan for commissioner
In this election season, we are inundated with information all about candidates and what they are going to do to change our world and make it so much better, as if your next breath after the election might rely upon it.
These politicians spew out numbers loosely to sway you, throw out somewhat skewed information as if it were fact, and we absorb it all hoping to make the right choices for our lives and our families.
So, really? I would not be writing this letter unless it really meant something to me and I felt strongly enough to share it.
Jill Ryan is not a spewer. She is an information gatherer and a thoughtful leader already. She worked for the county for five years, leading the public health agency. Before that, she directed two programs at the state health department.
She has a lot of managerial experience. Her style is one of collaboration and partnership. She is a member of the Eagle County Planning Commission and is well practiced in truly caring about the future of this amazing place where we live.
She is conservation-minded, but is compassionate about the future of Eagle County and moving forward thoughtfully, making the best choices for our quality of life within Colorado.
Jill cares deeply about long-term river health and believes strongly in open space and the advantages of public access to the pristine beauty that surrounds us. She is aware of the economic advantage that it brings to our area.
Last spring Jill met with the Watershed Council, not to campaign, but to learn. She asked thoughtful questions, took notes and has since volunteered with a shovel on the river. She has met with numerous other non-profits and groups to learn about the issues of importance that affect the lifestyle that we live here for.
A vote for Jill Ryan would be a thoughtful vote that will positively impact our county.
Bruce Brown for DA
I have been practicing criminal law since 1979, and have been a prosecutor and a defense attorney. My cases have ranged from minor traffic matters to death penalty cases.
The philosophy and leadership of the district attorney's office is critical in the criminal justice system.
Eagle County has an election for district attorney this year. I know both gentleman running for this position. If you are happy with the district attorney's office now, and are happy with the leadership of that office over the past nine years, then you will want to vote for Scott Turner, Mark Hurlbert's assistant.
If you want fresh and enlightened leadership in the DA's office, you should vote for Bruce Brown.
It's time for a change. Please vote for Bruce Brown for District Attorney.
Layman for commissioner
For over 30 years in Eagle County, Jeff Layman has demonstrated the ability to work with a wide range of opinions and arrive at solutions.
His educational, budgetary and professional accomplishments will be of a particular benefit as a county commissioner. Jeff knows the people and economic needs of Eagle County due to extensive community involvement in key positions.
Jeff is what Eagle County needs now, a proven problem solver throughout his career, the person who can represent all of us on the Board of County Commissioners.
Open space is important
To my surprise, the $4 million open space tax seems to be the main item of contention in the 2012 county commissioners race. As it is such a small part of the $84 million county budget, far, far less than law enforcement, roads and bridges, health and social services , for instance, and is not even a discretionary expense for commissioners but one provided for by statute, I am amazed.
Do some voters fail to understand how much bang we get for those bucks?
Personally, I am careful in my own spending, looking for ways to cut expenses while being generous with friends and family. I don't own a smart phone and have only an expanded basic cable service, for example.
Therefore I do not regard the amount of open space tax I pay as trivial. I am, however, happy to pay this one, as I get so much from it, as do most Eagle County citizens.
I hike and watch wildlife on many of the parcels, especially enjoy recently increased river access, and always see many, many members of the public doing the same. I believe it increases my and others' quality of life in this county, as well as enhancing our property values. Why would we then want to repeal this statute?
Furthermore, it makes little sense for the local economy. In recent years $89 million in GOCO and other partners' funding has flowed into Eagle County and its economy as match of our local tax contributions. This has produced recently an extension of the Miller Ranch park and open space along the river, boat access areas where few had existed on the Colorado and elsewhere, protection for special places like Pitkin Falls off Lupine in East Vail, and most recently working with Homestead homeowners a large linkage of public and private lands in a heavily populated part of the valley. And the actual list is much longer. Without local seed dollars from the open space tax, these projects would not have happened.
The personal and community benefits leveraged by this tax make it more than short-sided to eliminate it. It would be cutting off our nose to spite our face. Even risking its loss by allowing a vote on it at a time when many are embittered about all government and taxation would be foolish.
This community recently voted down tax issue for local schools and fire protection. Let's get some distance on the Great Recession before we look at cutting or sunsetting the open space tax.
Layman for commissioner
With great pleasure I offer my enthusiastic endorsement of Jeff Layman as Eagle County commissioner, District 1. I have known Jeff for over 20 years, and he has always been a consummate professional, clear thinker, one who listens, and an individual who gathers the facts before making a decision. I'm extremely confident his decisions will always be best for Eagle County.
As a Vail policeman, police chief in Avon, Eagle County undersheriff, and now as the community manager for Eagle-Vail, Jeff has proven to be a facilitator of ideas, always working to bring people together for a common cause. I believe these skills will make Jeff an excellent Eagle County commissioner.
Jeff possesses high moral character, is a devoted husband and father, and is a caring and compassionate individual who has served on many different boards and has always made a positive impact. His willingness to serve as Eagle County commissioner will be of great benefit to all county residents.
Priorities in line
Recently, the Vail Daily raised the question of whether we are placing a priority on open space over education and the school district. I would like to point out that Eagle County taxpayers spend $64.8 million annually in taxes for our school district, compared to just $4 million annually in taxes for our open space program.
That's $64.8 million for schools versus $4 million for open space.
Obviously, we do not have our priorities wrong. We spend 16 times more tax money on schools and education than we spend on open space.
I agree that we need to give very high priority to our schools, and that educating our kids is the No. 1 number one issue. I am very glad that we place a value on local education to the tune of $64.8 million.
However, there are also other priorities in Eagle County, and one of those is to provide the people of our community with open space protections and local conservation programs so that we save and protect the mountain landscapes, the alpine rivers and the unique wildlife habitats that make Eagle County special and fuel our tourism-based economy.
I don't think spending one-sixteenth the amount on open space that we do on education and schools means that we have misplaced our priorities. The people of Eagle County deserve great schools, and we deserve open land and accessible rivers to view and enjoy. I'm glad that we live in a community that provides funding to both programs in proportion to the priorities we place.
Remember these numbers: $64.8 million for schools versus $4 million for open space. Let's work together to have the best schools and the best open space programs to complement what we already have -- the best county, the best ski resorts and the best community in the state of Colorado and the world. Yes to schools, and yes to open space. We can and should have them both!