Boyd’s benevolent dictatorship
All right, you asked for it.Last week’s parking column has ruffled feathers from Gypsum to Vail, bringing me almost as much fan/hate mail as my NyQuil drug-binge column (see “All drugged up and nowhere to go” at http://www.vailtrail.com.) Parking may not sound as interesting as drugs, but when a lifelong local points out that we’ve been slowly getting screwed on this kind of thing for a number of years, it apparently raises some hackles.It also earned me a strong thumbs up from my local pals: people who live a guerilla lifestyle in this town because they love it too much to leave, but they wonder every day if they can afford to stay. Most of these folks are working 3.5 jobs, so they’re too busy to write a column themselves that’s where I come in. I defend their secret powder stashes, local’s discounts and hidden free parking.I am, however, open to other options.The TOV’s Suzanne Silverthorn, for example, wrote in with an alternative for me: “Why not use your next column to offer what you’d do if you were king for a day (just make sure the day includes finding places to accommodate the 22,000 skiers on the mountain, the shoppers and the employees)?”Very interesting.All of those people under my rule, and what would I do?Ah, the possibilitiesThe first order of business is artistic: I’ve just got to put a bust of myself in the main Vail roundabout.Then, faster than a Japenese bullet-train on high-speed, I’m getting a monorail constructed between Denver and Eagle. That’s one of the great things about Supreme Dictatorship no annoying votes. I don’t want to bore you with too much realism, but if we have to wait too long for the monorail construction to finish, we can add free parking on the field at Ford Park: employees only!Now that it’s (mentally) constructed, the new monorail’s popularity is only overshadowed by the notoriety of the new Pete Siebert Memorial Gondola, which allows people of all kinds (sober, drunken, handicapped, smart, ugly, broke, happy, sexy, with or without snow gear) to ride from Shrine Pass to Vail, Minturn, Arrowhead and Beaver Creek in a quick, efficient, and clean manner.Of course, the power for that gondola comes from the Greeley wind farm, our own mountaintop wind farm, and the solar power of 300 sunny days a year.Suddenly, parking isn’t such a problem.They paved paradise and put up a parking lot, so I’m leveling the box stores. See ya, bastards a field of Dutch tulips grows among the graves there now, where the people who loved and lived in this community can finally rest in peace.Does your supreme dictator seem too green for ya? Consider this: we all make our money off the beauty of this place, selling views as real estate and selling hiking, biking and skiing as vacation packages. I’m just protecting our interests.And if you don’t like it, talk to the new Division of Wildlife office, headed up by Bill Heicher and given its first bump up in personnel and pay since the early ’70s. We got the money from the Vail Parking Task Force, which was downsized immediately.There is plenty of time to discuss the quality of our rivers with Ken Nuebecker by the banks of the redesigned kayak park, made better with the help of Gary Lacy and Brad Ludden, who were allowed to make a real kayak park after NIMBYism went the way of the dodo (or is it the lynx?). We can also have valley planning meetings from the xeriscaped communities of Strawberry Park and Mountainstar, ever since the codes to the valley’s oh-so-many gates became public knowledge.After helping install bear-proof trash cans throughout the valley, I always make a point to take youths on their yearly trip to the county dump, where they get a chance to inhale the character and size of our valley’s excretions.And when they get back to school they find things are very different. Large ’50s-style schools have been broken into smaller pods, where teacher-to-student ratios have dropped to 10:1, teachers are free of certification, and principals have the power to fire bad teachers, move students to the appropriate pod, and make real change happen.Busy as I am, it’s hard to catch the high school sports games as they’re broadcast over local radio. But as much as I love Chris Freud’s commentary, I have to make time for other things: like the creation of a day-care financial aid program and a local artists’ grant foundation.Not that I’d forgo skiing or snowboarding on my days off but powder days in the Back Bowls are so much better now that wide-traverse powder poachers are immediately banished to the front side of the mountain.The backcountry is quieter too, of course, since Mike Brown helped convince snowmobilers and dirt bikers to ride only inside large, but self-imposed boundaries there’s room up there for all of us.And Chair 10, that lovely relic of old-time skiing, is allowed to remain under my rule, giving passionate bump skiers time to rest on their way to the top of Highline.It’s a nice vision a valley that can still grow, still be profitable, but a valley that thinks straight and lives clean. So many things about this place are already so good that it’s hard to think of anything else.In fact, after watching the sun set from behind the windows of my simple cabin up at Eagle’s Nest, I think I’d call it quits, sit back and enjoy the town I’ve always dreamed of.Tom Boyd is a lifelong local and assistant editor of The Vail Trail. He can be reached for comment at tboyd@vailtrail or (970) 390-1585.
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