Vail Daily letter: Headline missed the mark
Ryan Summerlin June 15, 2013
I would like to express my disappointment with the journalistic accuracy and intent of the headline on my letter to the editor Wednesday titled “Join fight vs. Habitat plan.” That headline had nothing to do with the subject matter of the letter, which was to draw attention to, as well as thank and update supporters, on the efforts to oppose a land use change request adjacent to Homestead by the Remonov Co. and Rick Mueller for Tract K. An accurate headline might have been along the lines of “Join fight vs. developer.” Nobody is fighting Habitat for Humanity here.
This choice of and slant of that headline by the Vail Daily is an unfair portrayal of my views and those of those who support opposition to approving the Tract K proposal, completely misses the point of the letter and reflects poorly on the Daily in terms of viewing this issue in an unbiased manner.
This issue is about a land-use request that is made by the Remonov Co. that carries the stated intent to convert open space that is also a mapped flood plain to housing and donate the land to Habitat. Remonov Co. makes quite clear that Habitat may not end up with this land, but they certainly get a lot of press and sympathy by stating they might donate the land. The decision to donate the land will not be made until after the rezoning request is approved.
The Vail Daily is certainly entitled to their editorial opinion. That’s their prerogative, and they hold court over the editorial page. I don’t fault them for supporting Habitat, nor do I (or anyone I know involved with this) have any quarrel with Habitat. But that’s not the point because this is not an anybody vs. Habitat issue. The nature of the letters to the editor section should be a space for citizens to express their opinions within reason and with civility and not be subject to slanting headlines to portray the writer as a bad guy just because he happens to disagree with the view of the Daily editors. It should be a place where everyone can agree to disagree and both sides can be heard. The use of headlines to distort the subject matter of any opinion expressed by a citizen is not good journalism.
The word Habitat is mentioned exactly twice in the entire letter, and that is in relation to Jon Stavney’s association with Habitat as a board member. Not once either within the letter or on the www.tractk.com website is there mention of this being a anybody vs. Habitat issue or fight. One has to ask, where did the headline come from?
Editor’s note: The land in question would be developed as Habitat for Humanity housing. The headline’s intent was to be specific in a small space about what land issue is under discussion. While we express our own opinions, our larger interest is for all points of view to be represented in this forum. The Vail Daily has not taken a position on this particular issue.