Vail Daily letter: Important issues missed
November 2, 2013
There you have it:
• The meet the candidate forum — attending or watching on TV.
• Separate Vail Daily articles of candidates views on the town's top issues and reasons for running.
• "Vote for" posters sprinkled around town.
Do the voters have enough perspective to select up to four candidates on their ballot and do we get a sense of how the council will operate with at least two new faces — with two incumbents and five folks who have never been on the council competing for four seats?
My answer is we had missed opportunities with certain items not addressed or addressed very well. Let's peel the onion:
Vail Resorts not really mentioned: How can you talk about economic growth, branding, etc., without addressing the process of working with VR, realizing we are joined at the hip for many aspects?
Financial stewardship: Over the past few years the town's capital position has been going way down, even without spending $15 million for a new municipal building. The original idea was a 50/50 split of incoming funds between current expenses and capital improvements. To draw a line in the sand, the council (subsequent to the forum), established a new rule of at least 38 percent going to capital improvements. No financial stewardship focus for this or other issues was touched on by the candidates, either from forum questions or the individual's own ideas.
Listening to the electorate: A question from the floor at the forum was something like: "Does the council consider enough of the public's input during their deliberations?" Candidate's responses ranged from platitudes to let's repeat something like the "Vail Tomorrow" community-wide information exchange program from some years back (some folks remember this). Another observation was the council's format of the public only getting to hear about something at the first reading, where the whole thing is largely set in stone due to the "staff recommends" perspective. Finally, one observation was folks complain about not enough public consideration when they don't get their way.
Vail's vision: The council some time ago declared Vail needs to become an international destination as a "health and wellness" center, especially in light of global warming. But no mention of this, especially in light of the town putting in almost no resources or focus for this goal.
Trust: This was touched upon by some of the candidates and does bring up a very important issue. It's a broad subject and we could start out with some small steps that residents, homeowners, second-home owners, business owners, voters, nonvoters and the like can see as serious efforts to enhance trust —the lifeblood of any society.
In summary, good topics have been touched upon in this election cycle, but some very important issues may have been missed. The key thing is to cast your ballot for up to four candidates and hopefully some missed items can be addressed by the new council!
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