Commissioner candidates discuss life in the public eye | VailDaily.com
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Commissioner candidates discuss life in the public eye

Scott N. Miller

EAGLE COUNTY – There aren’t many TV cameras involved, but an Eagle County Commissioner leads a pretty public life.Commissioners come in for both praise and criticism, personally and in print. That’s the subject of this week’s question to the three people running to replace Eagle County Commissioner Tom Stone, who is in the final months of his second and final term in the job.The Vail Daily is asking the commissioner candidates one question a week until Election Day this fall. To ask a question, e-mail smiller@vaildaily.com.This week’s question: An Eagle County Commissioner catches a lot of flak, from phone calls to letters and Web comments in the paper. How are you preparing to face at least four years of almost constant criticism?

I enjoy flak. It provides the seeds for debate. I only ask that the critics also try to offer positive alternatives. We need to get the issues out in the open, discuss them, and come up with imaginative solutions. Our resources, both natural and financial, have made us one of greatest recreation-based counties in the nation, but there are threats on the horizon: water shortages, congestion, pollution, loss of open space, rapidly rising energy costs, a shortage of low cost housing, etc. We have to have the courage to challenge the status quo, and address these threats before it’s too late.

Any man or woman who has been married for 40 years as I have would have 10 times the experience necessary to weather four years of criticism. (Printed with the permission of my wife.) While I read the “Tipsline” and “Wisdom from the Web” for what is on people’s minds, I do not feel these are criticisms which will make me lose any sleep. Campaign issues which I have made important are “collaboration” and “cooperation.” Discussions with individuals and groups representing all sides of issues are what I would like to use to create an understanding of how to deal with issues. It is erroneous to presume that constant criticism is the order of the day. While I have received criticism in my eight years as a town council member, I receive much more praise from people who look at the time, effort and results of what the council does. All criticism is not “flak” – some is very constructive. Constructive criticism produces alternative ideas which help to guide decisions that lead to better results. I look forward to hearing from people with differing ideas and opinions so that I may better address the important issues that face Eagle County.

I’ve served two terms as an elected official in Eagle County and I know that being highly visible comes with some criticism. However, the “criticism” that the paper refers to is overblown. To begin with, you can’t characterize comments you read in Tipsline and Wisdom on the Web as reliable criticism because they are not only anonymous, but it’s widely understood that many negative comments are often written by the same person(s). I can’t control the quality of journalism by the newspapers or react to the verbal equivalent of snipers. What I do know is that when I hear criticism from someone who contacts me directly or signs their name to a letter, I follow up and I listen to their viewpoints. It may not always be what I want to hear, but it will always be worth knowing. Vail, Colorado


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