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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

Kaye’s rumor …

As much as I would like to stay out of the fray, I’m compelled to set the record straight on a false rumor that Kaye Ferry is floating in her “Commentary” column.

Let me make this perfectly clear and to the point. Ludi Kurz and I have never (my emphasis) had any discussions about my interest in serving as mayor following the election. Period, end of story.

To allude to some sort of conspiracy on my part or his part to gather votes for the position is absurd and has no factual basis. Too bad Kaye never asked me.

Dick Cleveland

Vail Town Council

Some answers

Terry Quinn: Since you seem genuinely interested in “universal health care,” I will try to answer several of your questions. However, if you don’t mind , I’ll not bother to respond to your references to “liberal demagoguery,” “Hillary Care,” “Senators Kennedy and Clinton” and “pie in the sky.”

First though, I would suggest that you search the Web for “Medicare” and log onto the official government site. This will help you to understand that a health program is in place for the elderly and that a “universal health plan” need not “start from scratch”; in many ways, it could be similar to the existing Medicare plan.

Briefly, in answer to some of your questions – the government would continue to set fees and dictate what benefits are available; it would not be illegal for providers to opt out; and you would not get arrested for seeking care outside of the system.

Much could be just as it is now for Medicare participants and providers.

Regarding several of your other questions: No, I don’t want the Postal Service managing the program – but I don’t think that’s too likely, anyway.

And I have no idea whether or not our members of Congress (be they Democrats or Republicans) will join the program (as you say, “with us ordinary people”).

And finally, any country that can afford to cut taxes while waging a stupid war can afford universal health care!

I do hope that I’ve been helpful.

David Le Vine

District shamed

I am writing regarding the incident that occurred on Aug. 4 at our golf course involving a paying guest from Denver and his 13-year-old daughter, and an elected board member of the district, J. Haliburnt. This was witnessed by numerous employees and guests, many of whom have all come forward with written accounts of the incident, including J. Haliburnt.

Apparently, the guest inadvertently hit into Haliburnt’s party. After realizing what happened, the guest drove up to apologize and was verbally abused by Haliburnt.

He then waited for the guest and his 13-year-old daughter at the clubhouse to hurl more vulgar and obscene language at the gentleman, proclaiming, “this is my … golf course and you will never play here again.”

The guest even offered to buy Haliburnt a beer to soothe the situation. He was rebuffed and told to get the … out of here. After leaving, Haliburnt continued his tirade and profanities to everyone in listening distance.

Apparently, this is not the first incident with Haliburnt losing his temper. Bear in mind that this is freely admitted by Haliburnt in his written account of the incident.

As he is an elected official, representing our metro district and the people of Eagle-Vail, I am outraged and appalled at the lack of decorum and professional behavior of this schoolyard bully and coward. Sir, how dare you confront people in such a manner while presenting yourself as a member of our board?

As you have since found out, it is you, and not the other gentlemen, that will not be playing golf on “our” golf course. It is my understanding that the board has revoked your golf privileges and has threatened criminal trespass charges should you return to the golf course.

Additionally, they have, by majority, requested your immediate resignation, as you are obviously a liability to the metro district with such outlandishly vulgar behavior. You have elected to refuse resigning. On that note, I am challenging you to behave in a professional manner, act like a man, and spare the district the humiliation of a recall effort that they are proposing. (Note: there has already been a recall effort initiated, but put on hold to give Haliburnt another opportunity to correct his childish behavior.)

The board had tried to keep this out of the public forum, but was rebuked by Haliburnt, who wanted to air his grievance in public. What say you now, J.? You have claimed in your written response that you have a fiduciary responsibility to the board and are truly concerned about the metro district and its finances. Concerned enough to rack up $14,000 in greens fees for you and your chums last year, thereby reducing the amount of paying public play? Concerned enough to chase away paying guests and anyone else within listening distance? Concerned enough to air this display of moronic, cowardly behavior in a public forum. Grow up, sir.

Further, you claim you had thought at the time his daughter was his wife, therefore your abusive tirade was OK? You also asked why no one of authority stepped in to resolve the situation. Are you serious?

As a board member, you are supposed to be the one to diffuse the situation. Get it? You are everyone’s boss! Does that make sense to you? Let me ask you, how are you going to conduct district business now that you are barred from the place you meet? I understand that Cindy Gilbert, also a board member, has refrained from supporting the board’s actions. Do you, Ms. Gilbert, support and condone this behavior? Do you believe that it is acceptable to confront guests and hurl insults and profanities at our facilities? Perhaps you should consider your alternatives to serving on our board, also. I find you abstention spineless and weak-kneed.Now that this has become a well known and very embarrassing issue to the Eagle-Vail community, I would welcome a response from Haliburnt and Gilbert.It should be also known that I was a candidate last year for the board and I gladly made that fact known. I have no ax to grind as a former candidate, however, as a homeowner and resident of Eagle-Vail, I must insist this matter be resolved by the board immediately.

Karl Berger

My side of story

Editor’s note: This is J. Halburnt’s response to the Eagle-Vail Board:

I request that this letter be entered into public comment along with the Aug. 18, letter written by Mr. Bruce Mielke.

Because Mr. Mielke’s letter references an incident involving myself and another golfer at the Eagle-Vail on Aug. 4, I feel it only appropriate to tell MY SIDE OF THE STORY. It appears that Mr. Mielke’s version of the occurrence is based solely on “hearsay,” as he was NOT present during the event. Also, Mr. Mielke does not address the fact that three members of the Eagle-Vail Board of Directors (constituting a majority of the board) were made aware of the incident and chose to take action revoking my golfing privileges over this particular situation. This action would be consistent with the golf course policy to deny ANYONE golfing privileges IF SITUATIONS EXIST THAT WARRANT SUCH AN ACTION. Since NOT ONE of the three members of this board of directors constituting a majority, Walter Allen, Bonnie Wood or Andrew Cuomo, asked me MY side of the story regarding THE EPISODE prior to taking this action, I am respectfully putting in writing MY SIDE of this incident.

I was playing golf on Aug.4. On this particular day, the pace of play was extremely slow. … After teeing off on No. 18, we proceeded down to our tee shots, mine coming to rest close to the net on the left side near the netting next to the creek. We were in clear view of the No. 18 tee box. And I was aware that there were people standing on that tee box. (It also later came to my attention that the twosome behind us teed off a full hour AFTER we did). I proceeded to my ball, and decided that I had to play the shot out because I had no shot into the 18th green.

As I addressed my ball, I saw a golf ball come within inches of hitting my head, landing just behind where I was standing. The twosome DID NOT YELL FORE! At this point, I looked up in shock and threw my arms up in the air as to say “what are you thinking?!” I believe I was in shock at almost getting hit by a ball. I was extremely upset and couldn’t believe what had happened. I proceeded to hit my shot out and then a second shot into the green.

As I walked back to my cart, the man who hit the shot into me came down with the lady who was with him to say he did not see me and that he was sorry. I told the man that we would discuss the situation when we got back to the clubhouse and that I would wait for him. I was curt but displayed no anger at this point. I wanted to seek out Mark Kizzire or Bill Vancuren to help mediate the situation.

After I finished No. 18, I drove my cart back to the clubhouse and asked the two employees outside if Mark Kizzire or Bill Vancuren were there. I was told that neither of them was there. It was 5:15 p.m. I then explained to the two employees that a man behind me had just hit into me on the 18th fairway and that I was very upset because I was in full view of this gentleman. I told them that I would like to get his name so I could explain the situation once I was able to discuss it with Mr. Kizzire. When the man finally came up the hill, he said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you.” I said “bull(…)” I then asked if he was from the area, and he said no, he was from Denver. I then asked his name and he said I’m not going to tell you. I said fine, I’ll get it from the tee sheet.

At that point, I walked away and into the clubhouse where I went to the bar to have a beer. I did say some nasty things once I got to the bar to employees of the district who I knew well. There was no one else in the bar except Larry, Brian, and another outside employee eating dinner. A few minutes later the man who hit into me came into the bar and asked if he could buy me a beer. I said, obviously still shaken by the incident, “no f-ing way.” He then left.

I read several UNSIGNED hearsay accounts of what happened and one said that his 13-year-old daughter was with him. This came as a shock to me, and it may be the case, but it appeared to me that this woman was much older. I assumed it was his wife. One of those UNSIGNED accounts even refers to the woman as “his wife,” so I wasn’t the only one who thought the woman was his wife. The woman certainly did not appear to be 13 years old.

I never threatened anyone, and I never identified myself as a board member. I was upset because a golf ball came whizzing by my head and landed ONE yard from me. I ask – have you ever been hit by a golf ball? Would you want to be hit by a golf ball? Would you be startled, shocked and even (the horror!) P(…) OFF? Well, I was. I blew my top, ranted for about 10 minutes and used a whole bunch of curse words. Do I regret it now? Absolutely! I was in a temporary state of shock and behaved poorly.

I spoke with the director of golf a few days later and tried to explain the situation. He cut me off and said, “J, don’t worry about it, go out there and have fun.” Therefore, I had no idea that there was a problem. Why didn’t anyone communicate with me?! I apologize for my actions, but I’m not sure my actions arrant me being banned from the golf course and golf course property for the rest of the season. However, this is the action that the three “majority” members of this board chose for me AND I WILL ABIDE BY IT. Yet, in my own defense, I would also ask WHY wasn’t someone of authority present at 5:15 at OUR golf course to POSSIBLY CURTAIL this situation? And is “hitting into another golfer” a SERIOUS situation that our golf course employees or representatives need to intercede and resolve (by interviewing ALL individuals involved) BEFORE any type of ramification enter into the equation?

I’m not sure why Mr. Mielke writes accusatory letters against me personally. Especially in this case, where he is totally basing his opinions and recommended actions on second-hand information or rumors. Is it because he was once our district administrator and feels he has some “unfinished” business or responsibility for district policies, financial administration or employment concerns? Is it because he recognizes the fact that the district’s golf course has incurred financial deficits since his employment with the district? OR is it because he lost in the last election, finishing 6th out of 8 candidates? I have no idea! All I can say is, I wish Mr. Mielke would get his facts straight before he accuses me of “causing a serious breach of (my) fiduciary responsibilities to the District and constituents of the Eagle-Vail community.”

Here are some of the FACTS regarding MY FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITIES TO THIS DISTRICT. I am the only member of this board who did not vote in favor of the 2003 budget. I knew there was no way we would make budget this year based on previous financial trends. The current year’s unfavorable variance to the golf budget through August 15, 2003, is minus-$241,295. If things remain on the current track, this will be the third time in four years that Eagle-Vail has lost money. It will be the second time in four years that we will have lost over $200,000 in a single golf season. And, please, please, don’t blame the 2001 losses on 9/11. Our golf season was all but over when 9/11 happened. Also, in the year we didn’t “lose” money, it was because we cut back on grounds maintenance expenditures, cut HOURLY staffing, and put some equipment purchases on hold. All of this is public information. I take my fiduciary responsibility to this district VERY SERIOUSLY.

Any time anyone has a question, problem, thought, ANYTHING they’d like to discuss with me, my door is always open. Please don’t take someone else’s word when you can call me yourself.

J. Halburnt


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