Letters: Change Eagle County open space policy
Vail CO, Colorado
Just a snowball
Recently I read an article about a young Australian man who faced assault charges for throwing a snowball at a young woman. It is disgusting to think that something that was done in jest could be blown so out of proportion that a young man’s future is now at stake. The woman who was involved in the incident should drop the charges and allow this young man to get on with his life. Perhaps she should also invest in a sence of humor.
Change open space policy
The Open Space Coordinator for Eagle County writes that those who oppose the way open space funding is spent are misinformed. They make comments that are not factual with regards to the “voter approved” Open Space funding. The coordinator continues the “voter approved ballot” does not list public access as a priority.
Referendum 1H was passed in 2002 not 2004 as stated by the coordinator. The citizens of Eagle County approved the referendum by a vote of 5,658 to 5,607, a slim margin of 51 votes. This was not a mandate to pursue a policy of using our taxes to purchase land the public has little or no access. While 51 votes is a majority, it is not an overwhelming mandate to give our tax dollars to a few county citizens for them to maintain their lifestyle.
The selling of the Open Space Referendum in 2002 contained misinformation, deception, and half-truths. Vail and its progressive approach to acquiring land for open space, which is reserved for parks, bike paths, hiking trails and wetlands, would be an example of the benefits of approving Referendum 1H for Eagle County. The comparison was made to Teddy Roosevelt and the creation of Yellowstone National Park.
Eagle County citizens were informed by the proponents that if we did not act now (in 2002) and approve Referendum 1H, the I-70 corridor would be lined with condos on both sides of the interstate from Glenwood Canyon to Avon. We were led to believe by passing Referendum 1H the land acquired would be open to all citizens of Eagle County and the I-70 corridor would be a priority.
In essence, we were deceived by the proponents. They used double-speak by giving the referendum the title of open space. The actual intent and the implementation of Referendum 1H, while noble in cause, is a failure in the community benefit of how our taxes are spent. This is just another example that contributes to the mistrust the citizens of Eagle County have towards their elected officials.
Nowhere in Referendum 1H does it state the citizens of Eagle County would be denied access to the areas bought with our taxes. The citizens of Eagle County are not opposed to preserving land for open space. We just expect full access to land that is bought with our taxes, like Yellowstone National Park. Going forward, we do have choices. We can elect and hold our county commissioners accountable to a rational and sensible approach towards open space, we can amend Referendum 1H or we can repeal Referendum 1H.