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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

How frustrating can town of Vail politics get? I’m not sure, but I’m starting to find out. This whole conference center issue is making me scream. The voters, you and I, voted to start collecting new taxes to build the center. This is a black-and-white issue. We voted for it, now build it.

It seems simple enough, but alas nothing is simple here in paradise. There are some pretty powerful naysayers here in our valley. They were against the conference center from day one. They lost the election, and now they are looking for any way to change the results.

Makes you sick, doesn’t it? I’m not going to recite all the reasons why it is in the town’s best interest to build the center. I don’t have to; the citizens of Vail and not some paid focus grou, already approved it. We won, just like we won the Middle Creek decision. So now it is just an issue of figuring out some of the details.

It doesn’t sound like the two sides (VRI and TOV) are that far apart. Of course, certain members of our community (including some sitting Town Council members) don’t want you to know this.

They lost on an issue and now they are doing everything possible to stall the project. They even claim that we didn’t know what we were voting for. Stop belittling us. I resent being told that we didn’t research our votes or that our vote was wrong. I knew the issues when I voted in favor of the facility, and I still know the issues, and I want to see progress immediately.

One of the first things I’d like to see is the citizens conference center oversight committee formed. I strongly believe that we need informed citizens helping to make decisions as important as the location of the conference center.

I don’t want to leave that decision up to people who have been strongly against this facility from day one. I’m not suggesting that they would sabotage it, but they do need expert counsel. Appoint this committee now and then use the expertise contained in it to help make the decisions that are right for our community.

Mark Gordon

Vail

Civility lost

Whatever happened to civility in Vail?

There once was a time when Vailites treated each other with respect. There was time when people communicated objectively to air issues and listen to each other.

There was a time when people bonded to solve problems and made compromises for mutual benefit.

What happened to those good manners? What happened to courtesy and graciousness? They seemed to have evaporated like the spring run-off. And, regrettably, they have been supplanted by bad manners. To cite just a few examples ranging from the sublime to the trivial:

n Some Vail restaurants ask that cell phones be turned off.

I was in a fine restaurant last weekend and four people seemed to find their “cell mate’ more interesting than their dinner date, completely ignoring the house rule.

n If you drive within posted speed limits, don’t look in your rearview mirror; they’re on your tail.

n When you hunt for a parking place, you invariably find an SUV in a spot labeled “mini car.”

n People at the supermarket take the shortest line, regardless of how many items in their cart.

n At Town Council meetings, rational discourse has been replaced by emotional outbursts.

n Ballot issues have apparently been misrepresented.

I’m sure you could cite more hand-wringing examples of rudeness and impropriety than this random list. But let’s stop whining and ask what we can do about it. Is there anything we can do about it? Of course there is. I’m not chief of the etiquette police, but I’ll hazard three suggestions.

First, we would all be better off if we followed the “mother” principle; i.e., don’t do or say what you wouldn’t do or say in front of your mother. That alone will keep verbal pollution and errant behavior from contaminating the environment.

Another respectful gesture is empathy, the ability to identify with and understand another person’s feelings or difficulties. This is a lost art in Vail. “I” has replaced “we.” “My” has replaced “our.” We talk before we listen. We interrupt. We cheat to gain an edge. Empathy is hard to practice because our egos our so powerful. It’s hard to appreciate another point of view. It’s hard to walk in another’s shoes. But if we try, we’ll learn. And learning leads to understanding and that leads to cooperation.

Finally, let’s end the epidemic of ad hominem attacks. You’ve heard them; they’re appeals made to emotions and prejudice rather than reason, and attacking one’s opponent rather than debating the issue. This is a fine art in Vail. Mention a name and you get a scowl. Mention another name – yours, mine – and you get a grimace or a smirk. Why do we carry so much baggage about people? No one is perfect. Can’t we focus on projects and plans and not on people’s shortcomings? Let’s separate the person from the person’s point of view. Let’s be civil.

Is this any of my business? Nah. It’s all of our business. I’m just trying to help. If you don’t like what I wrote, please don’t attack me. Instead, as you go about your business, try to make Vail a better place. We’ll all be better for that.

Paul Kuzniar

Vail


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