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Letter: Credit where credit is due

While not earth-shattering, on the front page of the July 14 Vail Daily you attributed the artwork in the weather section to Jenna Kisker. It was drawn by Addison Kisker, her younger sister. Artists should get due credit!

John Oliphant (Grandfather to Jenna and Addison)

Eagle

Letter: In East Vail debate, the choice is clear

Editor’s note: This letter was originally addressed to the town of Vail’s Planning and Environmental Commission.

Per your request at the last meeting and because I am out of town at this time, I am putting my concerns about the Triumph project and the bighorn sheep on record.

As I said at the last meeting, we labored over the words on the council chamber walls. In fact, it was tedious and sometimes painful to sit through all of the discussions of the correct wording and even where the commas should be. But there was a motive. Because the whole purpose of the exercise was to provide the very words that would guide all future decision-making.

In the case of the project under discussion, clearly the mission statement to “preserve our surrounding natural environment” and the vision statement of “environmental stewardship” should provide enough guidance. But I have an additional take on the subject.

We have been led to believe that affordable housing is such a severe crisis that we should throw all other considerations to the wind in the pursuit of its solution. And perhaps I, too, would fall into that trap if it weren’t for my long history of support of affordable housing.

Because unfortunately, I remember the squander of possibilities on the first phase of Timber Ridge. And while we are on Timber Ridge, would it not make sense to complete that fiasco before disturbing the last refuge in Vail for these the sheep? 

I also find it difficult to work up a lather over this when our last big project was for subsidized housing of high-end units sold to people who arguably could have afforded places to live without being underwritten by the Vail taxpayers — but, of course, I just digressed.

Perhaps more to the point, however, is the fact that this project is being spurred by Vail Resorts and their sudden urgency to solve the housing crisis. So, I must ask, if the crisis is so severe as to finally bring them to the table, why not develop property for which they have already received the green light, for which no one will challenge, in fact for which most will applaud — namely Ever Vail. Tell them to go for it — knock themselves out. And leave the bighorn sheep to fight another day.

My personal opinion is that this property should only be under consideration when we have exhausted all other options. Disturbing the natural environment and endangering these beautiful creatures is a decision that should only be made when there is no possibility of solving the problem in another way. Fortunately for us, we have other choices and I hope you have the common sense to acknowledge that fact and act appropriately.

Unlike many people who spoke at the last meeting, I do not think you have a difficult decision. It is as clear as the writing on the council chambers wall and should be apparent to anyone who reads it, understands its original intent and is committed enough to act accordingly.

Kaye Ferry

Vail

Letter: Something we don’t know about Booth Heights proposal?

Despite the overwhelming arguments against this project — environmental and economic — the town of Vail and the Planning and Environmental Commission seem determined to approve the project in pursuit of the “holy grail” of workforce housing. Commission member John-Ryan Lockman telegraphed the commission’s ultimate, evidently prenegotiated decision in his comment, published in the July 10, 2019 issue of the Vail Daily, that “the developer has done a good job and put good faith in the process.”

Interestingly, the proposed project has already been given a name — Booth Heights — only very recently disclosed to the public. Ginny Culp’s arguments, also published in the July 10 issue, reiterated many of the arguments against the project, including the virtually ignored costs to the town of Vail in meeting the transportation demands of the proposed project. However, Kirsty Hintz’s comments published in the July 12, 2019 issue of the Vail Daily were spot on. The entire East Vail employee housing project has emitted a decidedly bad odor from Day 1 and the very carefully orchestrated public meeting agendas have been heavily skewed toward the prenegotiated conclusion.

In a corrupt political environment, one might assume that when a governmental entity ignores the overwhelming evidence against a proposed project there has been some form of undisclosed “quid pro quo.” It would be extremely disappointing to find that such a quid pro quo influences the decisions of the town of Vail.

Joe McHugh

Vail

Letter: Booth Heights a bad deal all around

First, Vail Resorts asked for a rezoning on a piece of land that they didn’t know they owned. The Vail Town Council approved the rezoning no questions asked. So important is housing to the town council that no one has bothered to tally the number of permanent housing units lost since the council approved VRBO and Airbnb in residential neighborhoods despite the objections of residents in those neighborhoods. 

Along comes Triumph Development offering to build “workforce housing.” The price tag is 30 market-rate condominiums for 42 actual workforce units, most of which will be leased to Vail Resorts. Booth Heights is a humongous project at the entrance to Vail. A potential visitor coming down Vail Pass expecting an alpine village instead finds himself in suburbia. Traffic and congestion were not even addressed properly since there will be no cars anyway because it’s on the bus route.

In addition, the project is on the bus route, so proponents claim they don’t need as many parking spaces. Logic dictates that as soon as an employee has saved enough money for a down payment on a car, he will buy one.
Enough has been said about the bighorn sheep: This project will be a death sentence for the herd. If there was ever a justification for acquiring land with the real estate transfer tax, this is it.

Josef Staufer

Vail

Correction: This letter originally stated that the East Vail parcel had been “upzoned,” meaning allowing more units than previously allowed. The property had previously been zoned for duplex units on the entire parcel. The parcel is now zoned for housing on 5.4 acres, with the remaining 17.9 acres in the town’s “natural area preservation” zone district.

According to Vail Community Development Department Director Matt Gennett, “upzoning” is not exactly correct. In an email, Gennett wrote that the parcel was “rezoned,” adding that “to categorize it as either an upzoning or downzoning would be speculative and simplistic.”

Letter: United States needs to stay out of Israel’s business

Do you hear the drumbeats?

I’m not referring to the amazing music at Bravo! Vail or Vail Jazz concerts, but rather to the 2020 elections. In case you’ve missed it, the drumbeats are starting and will be in full force soon. 

Whether it’s the suddenly “new border crisis” or “Russian interference,” get ready, it’s coming!  

This week Elizabeth Warren was asked, “When are we going to stop Israeli occupation.” Her answer was “I’m there.” The fact that the question was asked by “American Jews” (pointed out by the media) and then answered by one of our presidential candidates, raises major issues.

Here we are complaining for the last two years about Russian interference in our elections, but it’s OK for us to interfere or attempt to influence another sovereign country’s policy. Remember President Obama trying to interfere in Israeli elections with no media outrage. 

As American Jews or simply Americans, what right do we have to tell Israel how to govern conduct its affairs? We can have our opinions and thanks to the sacrifice of our soldiers, have the freedom of speech to voice those opinions. But we have absolutely no right to determine and try to affect how Israel maintains its security and runs its affairs.

While we sit comfortably in this amazing country, we have zero idea of the sacrifices and the decisions that the average Israeli has made over its young history. Unless you live there, unless you have lost a son or daughter in the struggle for survival, please stay out of Israel’s affairs. 

Dan Brajtbord

Edwards

Letter: A counterpoint to Trump bashing

I read with interest the “Clear and present danger in the White House” letter in your July 13 edition. I think differences of opinion are important and worth discussion. The writer’s points are that the current president’s personality apparently leaves a great deal to be desired, and that our very way of life is at stake, and that the vast majority of the blame falls on Republicans. 

She points to recent shootings in schools and places of worship, denial of the severe consequences of climate change, hard-line immigration policies, and implies motives of hate and racism on the part of ‘white’’ folks.

Trump even refuses to show his taxes! 

And, all this ignores that for much of the recent past, it has been the Democratic party which has been in charge. Much of the decline and danger we now face is because of the policies of previous administrations. As far as the ad-hominem language is concerned, I would vote for the very devil himself, if he would enforce the integrity of our borders, make sure the immigrants being admitted to our country are legal, share our values, and are not terrorists. Besides, in all that the writer has mentioned, she ignores the vicious opposition of the other party, their legal perversions, and reckless shift to the hard left.

For my part, there is no justice unless it is equal justice! Those who break our laws must be prosecuted and jailed no matter what their status or positions may be. 

We are actually much safer now in our relations with other countries, and this will improve even further in the future. And, by the way, the economy isn’t doing too badly either. The major beneficiaries of this have been the blue-collar workers, and minorities. Since when are records in unemployment and job creations unimportant?

So, I couldn’t disagree more with the writer viewpoints and welcome the discussion.

Morton Mower, M.D.

Beaver Creek  

Letter: A heartfelt thanks for July 4 concert

On behalf of the Vail Veterans Program, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all those that supported the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Patriotic Concert on the Fourth of July.

Thank you to the Vail Valley Foundation, Bravo! Vail, and all the patrons that purchased tickets to the concert. Your contributions will provide transformational programs designed to build confidence, create lifelong relationships and tap into the freedom the mountains bring out in all of us.

We were honored to have retired Army captain Greg Galeazzi, a Vail Veterans Program Alumni, narrate a piece called “Gardens of Stone,” an incredible tribute that pays homage to the military men and women who have sacrificed their lives for our country. 

Greg shared, “Vail is a community like no other, and what a privilege it was to participate in the festivities for Independence Day! It was a remarkable sight to witness such American pride and patriotism beneath the serene backdrop of the Rocky Mountains. But above all, it was a refreshing reminder that, despite the numerous problems in our world and in our nation, that this country is still very much worth fighting for. Thank you VVP for allowing me to be a part of this incredible celebration.”

Our many programs are made possible because of the generous support of our community. Together, we believe we are positively affecting the lives of wounded veterans and their families.

A special thank you to all veterans in our community. There are not enough words to thank you for your service, for inspiring us, and for making us proud to be Americans.

Cheryl Jensen

Lindsay Humphreys

Vail Veterans Program

Letter: 10 good reasons to run or walk the Gypsum Daze 5K

  1. Only $10 entry fee. ($20 after July 18)
  2. Great goodie bags
  3. A Gypsum Daze hat to every finisher
  4. Enough drawing prizes for approximately half of the runners
  5. It’s only 3.1 miles (Not 6.2 like a 10K)
  6. It finishes downhill
  7. Friendly volunteers at every change of direction on well-marked course
  8. Ribbons awarded to all place winners in each age group for run, overall for walkers
  9. Kids free play area, hometown parade and huge car show after the race
  10. Proceeds go to purchase children’s books at the Gypsum Library

Hope to see you out there at the Gypsum Town Hall on July 20.  Register online at townofgypsum.com or in person at the Gypsum Town Hall or day of race at Lundgren Boulevard and Valley Road starting at 7a.m.  Race starts at 8 a.m. sharp.  We’ll have another fun time and there’ll be plenty of time to rest up before the Scotty McCreery concert at 7 p.m.

Tom Edwards

Gypsum

Letter: Clear and present danger in the White House

The current president of the United States is arrogant and ignorant, dangerous and disgusting and a clear and present danger to our country. Our very existence as a Democracy is at stake. I do not understand the people still supporting him and his policies. What do you Republicans stand for?  It certainly isn’t honesty, civility, or integrity or caring about the future of America.

 In the last six months, there have been four mass shootings in places of worship and another one in the school in Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and now another one in Virginia Beach in a workplace. The president is still not taking steps to try to alleviate this horrible situation. In fact, he is promoting violence with his rhetoric of hatred toward all people who aren’t white and there are folks who are listening to him and his hatred is being spread throughout the internet. He is still doubling down on his comments following the racial protests in Charlottesville, Virginia.

President Trump denies climate change and global warming, despite dire warnings from scientists. His hard-line immigration policies are separating children from parents at the border while they are fleeing their own country because of horrendous circumstances. He lies with almost everything that spews from his mouth and continues to refuse to show us his taxes and other finances. What is there to like about this president? 

When evangelist Franklin Graham says that Mayor Pete is sinning because he’s gay, why does he condone the lying mouth of Trump when he degrades women, makes fun of handicapped people, insults people of color, lies, and cheats in business dealings, etc.  This is the height of hypocrisy, is it not?  I’m speaking now to all of you so-called Christians, the evangelicals! 

Linda Carr

Eagle

Letter: Talk about incoherent