Letters to the Editor
Vail CO, Colorado
A visitor’s view
My family and I have been visiting Vail for every year for the past 10 years. We are Lionshead property owners. In general, we support the parking garage redevelopment. I have been following the redevelopment closely and I reviewed the Lionshead package in the town library during a visit last week. That package still had the performing arts component in the plan.
In our opinion, as longtime visitors to Vail, the one thing that the town of Vail lacks is an indoor venue for serious performing arts. The Vilar Center, in our opinion, does not fill this void. Although we talk about going there every time we visit, we have never done so because it seems to us that the Vilar is too hard to get to.
Attending events at the Vilar Center requires us to either drive 20 or 30 minutes at night or depend on the bus. I must admit that we haven’t even looked into the bus option because the effort to get dressed up, then catch a rather inelegant bus if there is one that matches the event schedule, then return to Vail on yet another bus doesn’t seem appealing. Driving to Beaver Creek precludes making the event a night out, including having a good dinner and drinks. I would bet that the overwhelming percentage of the audience at the Vilar Center comes from locals downvalley and people who are visiting Beaver Creek.
If this is correct it seems to me that Vail could support a performing arts venue of its own especially in view of all the new construction now being conducted and planned. In our opinion, such a facility in Vail would serve a far greater number of visitors than the one in Beaver Creek. The fact that the town and its facilities are right off the interstate would also serve to attract people to the venue from towns downvalley that are rapidly becoming filled with resident families.
With regard to the additional parking to be provided by elimination of the performance arts option, it is our belief that additional parking will not benefit us longer-term (several days to several weeks) visitors because we park in dedicated parking provided by our lodging. As we see it, the new parking will primarily benefit the day visitor from Denver on weekends and a few especially heavy ski days. We doubt that they will be spending the money that we longer-term people do.
Perhaps some compromise can be found to allow a smaller venue or to come up with another creative way to use the conference center for performances and still retain some of the additional parking.
There is one other point regarding the economic analysis being done by staff that should be addressed. In their economic benefit analysis they assign a $52 million value to the new garage. I believe that this is flawed because it does not take into account the value of the existing garage. It appears that both appraisals considered only the land diminished by the constraints imposed by the town. Although the existing facility is old and, depending on who you talk to, needs a lot or a little of repair it, still has a value that should be applied against the value of the new facility to get a net benefit value to the town. Adding in a value for the existing garage will likely push the perceived net value of the project into the red. This should be considered in the negotiations with the developer and it may justify the addition of a performing arts venue.
Menconi the menace?
Commissar Menconi is at it again. Arn Menconi’s ill-considered decision to purchase a new fleet of Toyota Priuses for the county staff was a self-gratifying, feel-good move that could only have been intended as self-promotion. These toy cars are ill-suited for much of the work performed by the county staff; ill-suited to our adverse weather conditions, and as a result many of the intended recipients have refused the cars! Perhaps Menconi should have asked his staff what kind of vehicles were required to do their jobs, but this is not the Menconi way because Menconi knows best. Just ask him.
This should come as no surprise because Menconi has made lots of very poor unilateral decisions. Despite his mild-mannered demeanor, Menconi is a politically ambitious fellow. Dissenters are summarily dismissed.
But then we already know he’s a tyrant. When the people of Eagle County voted to establish an open-space fund, they did NOT give Comrade Menconi carte blanche to subsidize it from the county’s general fund. He did so anyway, despite objections.
Menconi even spent millions of dollars in Eagle County open space funds on a measly easement for land outside of Eagle County! Not only does the bulk of Bair Ranch lie in outside Menconi’s jurisdiction, the pitiful easement purchased with taxpayer dollars provides no public access to this privately owned and operated property. This was another stupid Menconi decision, and a huge waste of Eagle County tax dollars.
When the Avon Town Council refused to bail out the mismanaged Buffalo Ridge condos, Menconi stepped in with a quarter million dollars of from the Eagle County general fund. It’s easy to be magnanimous with other people’s money!
Menconi squandered still more Eagle County money to repave his neighborhood bike trail because the existing pavement wasn’t smooth enough for his delicate spandex.
Menconi now wants to pilfer the county’s general fund yet again to pay for his latest pet project. Never mind that Eagle County voters rejected the proposal to create yet another tax that would’ve been used to get Eagle County into the daycare business. The county general fund is NOT Arn’s personal slush fund, and any surplus cash should be returned to the people who paid it. Money in the general fund was collected for specific purposes and is earmarked for existing county services. All those other county services will suffer if Menconi is allowed to take millions of dollars from the general fund to replace his nanny tax that was soundly defeated by voters last fall. County taxes will then have to be raised to replace those funds, effectively giving Menconi his nanny tax despite the results in the recent election.
Menconi is a menace and must be stopped. Recall him now.
In a recent speech before an American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPC) policy conference plenary, Pastor John Hagee, founder of Christians United For Israel, discussed the dangers in the Middle East. “It is 1938,” Hagee said, “Iran is Germany, and Ahmadinejad is the new Hitler.
We must stop Iran’s nuclear threat and stand boldly with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East.”
Recent headlines in the Jerusalem Post read like a war zone: Israeli vehicle damaged by stones near Kalkilya; two Arabs nabbed in Jerusalem for 15 car break-ins; Kassam rocket lands in western Negev; IDF finds bomb near southern Gaza security fence; five Arabs held for firebombing and stoning attack.
Iran’s proxy terrorists are launching rockets and bombs at Israeli cities bordering Gaza. Suicide bombers are attempting to infiltrate Israeli cities in an effort to kill and maim civilians. The lessons Iran has learned through its terror proxies in Israel are being put to use in other parts of the Middle East.
It is time to recognize that despite the fact that the media does not headline the daily attacks, the level of attacks are a serious threat to Israeli civilians. It is time to step up and stop those who support Palestinian Arab terror.
It is time to stop all aid to the Iranian proxy Palestinian Arab Authority.