Columnist: Who’s in charge these days?
Vail CO, Colorado
Hang on guys, ’cause these county kids’ programs are a long way from over.
Yeah, we voted it down last November. But that didn’t matter. Arn and friends in their “big brother knows better” mode decided the message we sent wasn’t clear enough. So by some miraculous feat of accounting, they managed to “find” the cash necessary to float their boat regardless of what the voters said.
But it’s STILL not over. I attended the June 28 Vail Recreation District meeting and was somewhat curious about one of the agenda items: Arn Menconi representing Bright Start, “an organization of early childhood leaders and programs that rose out of Eagle County’s Early Childhood Council. Bright Start sought approval of $1.5 million. Eagle County approved $850,000 and is willing to match an additional $355,000 to be raised in the community” (for an additional $710,000 or total of $1.56 million). Arn was a no-show and a representative was in his stead.
I was twitching in my seat, knowing full well that the most dangerous thing you can do in this valley is to side against kids or dogs for any reason. But I was ready to go to the podium only to be told that the discussion would be scheduled at a later date.
So instead of waiting, I’m jumping out front now. Because this is just the beginning.
They (Bright Start) are planning their assault wherever they think there’s a sympathetic checkbook. I just hope it’s not anywhere within my reach.
Here’s how I see it. First, “What part of no don’t they understand?” I won’t even expand on that. What I want to point out are some of the issues with this program because I, for one, find the whole thing out of line and some of the specifics absolutely insulting.
To begin with, there’s the matching funds concept. Matching from whom? As this group marches up and down the valley asking entities like the Vail Recreation District, towns of Vail and Avon to support this nonsense with more of our tax dollars, it seems to me that they’re asking us to match our own funds. I mean, after all, isn’t that already our money that came from the county? Are we expected now to match our own funds with more of our tax dollars? It’s ludicrous.
Now let me tell you just one of the uses planned for that money. Every time a child is born in Eagle County, the plan is to knock on those parents’ front door and provide them with a “home visit follow-up with all new parents to support families in caring for their newborns.”
I don’t know about you, but if some stranger appeared unsolicited at my door and attempted to tell me how to run my life, I’m afraid I would be anything but polite. And to further suggest that I would entertain the thought of funding such folly almost defies comment. But, nonetheless, comment I will.
How dare the commissioners embark on this program knowing the results of the last vote, to say nothing of the simple fact that we do not live in a socialistic country nor do most of us want to.
I guess if pushed, I can understand one of our commissioners who’s almost out of there one way or the other yet seems to be hell bent on forcing his agendas regardless of the consequences. But I think it’s fair to assume that the other two want to get re-elected. I can only hope that this community has the good sense and sufficient memory to recall the actions of these commissioners at the time of the next elections. But never fear, if you forget, I’ll remind you.
Because if left to their own devices, I’m afraid that government bodies up and down this valley are all heading in the same direction. Elected officials are smarter than those that elected them. More government means better government. Everyone is entitled to something depending on who’s making the call. Housing. Child care. Health insurance. Parking. You name it.
But at the end of the day, it’s up to each and every one of us to fight back. Because if you don’t do it now, it will soon be too late.
Now let’s move up valley. So the question I ask today is “Are these guys for real?”
Well the answer is no. At least they’re not in the same real world where the rest of us reside. I’ll just ask you some questions and let you decide.
Do you think it’s reasonable in a year that has 365 days to pick the 11th of July to close the Vail Information Booth so it can be re-roofed?
Or how about this. In the same 365-day year, is it also acceptable to essentially close the Vail Village parking structure on June 5 to paint new lines between the spaces?
What’s wrong with April or May? Or October?
I’m trying to think of some analogies. Would a major hotel renovate their lobby at Christmas? Would the golf course re-do their tee boxes in July? Would any sane business owner schedule a remodel of anything during one of the busiest times of the year?
Or one better. Would you hire someone to manage the information services personnel from a computer in Iowa? Ergo the Fourth of July parade fiasco. Oh sure, he’s here a couple of weeks a year.
Let’s hear what you think. Personally I think it’s clear that these people have no regard for the business community whose sales fund their paychecks. But here’s what’s more amazing. Everyone responsible for these decisions still has their job.
It’s a good thing they work for the government because in the private sector they’d already have been canned.
Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail email@example.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. For past columns, go to vaildaily.com and click on “Commentary” or search for keyword “ferry.”
Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a biweekly column for the Daily.
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