Letters: Open space funds misused?
Vail CO, Colorado
Open space blues
On Dec. 6, 2006, I submitted a letter that contained the following:
“I see the open space committee is at it again. This time they want to buy a doughnut-shaped piece of land near Basalt. They want to preserve a 245-acre ranch, 32 acres of which are in Eagle County. For this 13 percent, we will pay about $1.75 million. Pitkin County has the remainder and will pay about $3 million for their 213 acres. So we’ll pay $54,700 per acre and they’ll pay about $14,000 per acre. I mentioned that it’s doughnut shaped. Well, this is actually a filled doughnut. Basalt owns seven acres in the middle, which is used as a sewage treatment plant. Nice touch.
Additionally, a large portion of this 32 acres is in the Roaring Fork River ” not much threat of development there is there?
Then one last insult: Eagle County just passed a law that no one can build within 75 feet of a river. So a further portion of this site is unbuildable. So I’m left with a few questions: How much developable land are we really protecting down there where a small proportion of Eagle County’s population lives? When you subtract the land, which would not be developable anyway, how much are we really paying per acre? Finally, am I the only one who thinks this deal stinks?”
Not one person replied or commented on that letter, and presumably that deal went through without a peep of protest.
So I can’t help but chuckle when the open space people come up short on the purchase of prime riverfront property near Eagle. This is the price of apathy toward the perverse machinations of our government. You can ponder this as you sit idling in the drive-thru line on that piece of land at some future date.
Pardon the parting shot, but I have a “Bair” of a question for the open space committee: After five or so years in existence, have you now protected more land inside or outside Eagle County?
Doesn’t represent us
Those of us who have lived here in McCoy for 35 years are amused to hear a neighborhood malcontent, Mike Lederhause, calling the kettle black.
Lederhause’s most notable contribution to Eagle County has been to personally break up the community’s long-time effort to have an operating volunteer fire department. He maliciously opposed the effort with mass mailings and public signs saying “vote no fire department.” In fact it might have saved some of the historical landmark of State Bridge had he not so vigorously opposed our effort to establish a fire protection district in northwestern Eagle County.
After defeating the proposed fire district effort, Lederhause soon issued a pompous announcement that “now is the time!” for him to become a county commissioner. But the voters wisely saw through his shallow personal agenda and quickly quashed his pretentious ambition by giving him only 170 meager primary votes out of the 1,800 cast by registered Democrats in Eagle County.
As a big-time sore loser, Lederhause is now trying to act as a community savior by appointing himself as “Chairman, Democrats for the Recall of Arn Menconi.” But, as usual, Lederhause doesn’t have either the support or endorsement from any Democratic party officials whom he pretends to represent. Once again, Lederhause has set himself up as a self-appointed authority supposedly speaking for the Democratic Party of Eagle County, when in fact our three elected county commissioners (who are all Democrats) have stated their total disassociation with Lederhause and his make-believe committee, which no official of the Eagle County Democratic Party has recognized.
This was published in the official newsletter by the Eagle County Democrats on July 21, 2007:
“In recent papers in Aspen and Vail we saw letters written by Mike Lederhause headlined: ‘Recall Menconi’ and ‘Democrats support recall of Eagle County Commissioner.’ The Eagle County Democratic Party is not supporting this recall effort (by Mike Lederhause).”
“I think it would be appropriate to send letters to the papers disclaiming association to what Lederhause has written.” Sara Fisher, Eagle County Democratic Commissioner.
“As I have noted before, we have to make it clear that the Eagle County Democratic Party does not support the recall (by Mike Lederhause).” Carole Onderdonk, Secretary of Eagle County Democratic Party, July 23, 2007.
“I am in agreement with the letter to the editor that states clearly that we are not in any way, shape or form involved in or support this recall effort (by Mike Lederhause).” New New Wallace, Co-Chairman of Eagle County Democratic Party, July 25, 2007.
Obviously, this most recent improvised rhetoric by Mr. Lederhause is just another attempt to get his name back in the public eye, and he doesn’t mind doing so under false pretenses so long as he can get his name in the papers.
Despite his misguided efforts, the local theme song here in northwestern Eagle County remains the same ” “we want a firehouse, not Mike Lederhause!”
In this quiet little ranching community, his political ambitions and personal opinions are generally regarded as just so much burnt toast.
Merrill Hastings, Jr.
Bond/McCoy Volunteer Fire Department
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