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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

Jesus no liberal

Jack Van Ens wrote a column titled “Why Jesus Was A Liberal.” I’ve seen this sort of drivel before. People try to exploit Christ to promote some cause or the other. Like the anti-SUV advocates who asked what kind of car would Jesus drive.

First, Van Ens plays word games about what “liberal” means. There are numerous senses in which that word can be used, and he does the usual semantic shell game to confuse the issue.

I will say that in the context of today’s politics, it means a preference for government having a major role in providing social services and regulating behavior. Unless a lower level of government is providing such services satisfactorily – according to standards set by the federal government – then Washington should run the show.

We’re all familiar with the resulting problems. For one thing, why is it that someone in Washington is smarter or more virtuous than someone in Denver or Eagle? How can someone 2,000 miles away take local conditions into account when drawing up regulations?

And they do draw up regulations. By the thousands. One of the latest I saw was a federal standard for when schools could serve lunch. This was a condition for receiving federal aid to education. There’s a lot of that sort of thing.

Jesus was not a liberal, in the sense that word is used today, because he did not get involved in politics. He used a Roman coin to illustrate the point that some things were properly Caesar’s and others belonged to God. When Pontius Pilate asked questions about his agenda, Our Lord said that his kingdom was not of this world.

Jesus did admonish us to do things like help the needy, but voluntarily, as individuals. Perhaps the Rev. Van Ens can point out where Jesus called for government action to promote the spiritual or corporal works of mercy.

Is it true charity if we do good works with resources taken from others under pain of fine or imprisonment? Government involvement in good works ends up corrupting the government and the beneficiaries. Now, election campaigns are largely a contest to see who can promise the most to numerous special interest groups that receive government benefits – businesses, senior citizens, farmers, the poor and on down the list.

Van Ens was also out of line when describing conservatives – “a political mentality that presses for capitalization without regulation … business … without government control.” That’s flat out untrue. I can’t tell whether such notions are the product of his ignorance or some worse defect.

Terry Quinn

Eagle

Community

A GREAT BIG “Thank You!” to everyone who stopped on Valley Road in Gypsum to render aid to our son, Scott, when he recently crashed his bike and sustained a nasty concussion. –

We’d especially like to hug Karen Carthy, a friend we’d never met, who picked him up and brought him home to make sure an adult was present. As a local school bus driver she understands how many of our kids are latchkey kids. As a two-parent working family, we cannot express how much her care meant to us. This is a perfect example of why we have chosen for 20 years to live in Gypsum, a town full of community oriented and compassionate people.

Lydia and Chuck House

Do it right!

It seems that everyone has an opinion about the Village at Avon (the big boxes), but few are weighing in about the proposed expansion of the village.

Traer Creek is seeking revisions to its approved development plan and the planned unit development guide that would have significant consequences for the town of Avon and the residents of the Eagle Valley.

While the public remains largely silent, the Town Council is forging ahead in its consideration of the developer’s request for expanded dwelling units, commercial development north of the new I-70 interchange, and other changes that may not be in keeping with the character of our mountain community.

At the council meeting on Sept. 9, staff recommended tabling the proposed ordinance to allow them more time to fully evaluate proposed changes in the development standards, land use, and density. For some reason, council went against the recommendation of staff and voted 4-1 to advance the project toward the developer’s sought-after changes in zoning.

Although several council members expressed concerns about the revisions, they nevertheless approved the measure after making sure they could table it at the next step.

Shouldn’t the citizens of Avon ask their esteemed council to stop and do it right? Given the huge impact that such a development would have on our town, don’t we owe it to ourselves to take the necessary time to fully examine the ramifications of the increased housing density on the community? Shouldn’t we fully understand the impact of increased traffic? Shouldn’t we understand how this proposed amendment fits in (or doesn’t) with the existing vision for the town of Avon?

We happen to think the developers did a great job with the big boxes, and we expect that they will develop the remaining parcels with high design standards. But we don’t think we should just take their word for it.

The council has a responsibility to see to it that standards and guidelines are adhered to, and we should expect them to do just that. Traer Creek wants the council to approve the amendments before they know what the developer plans to design, thus giving them carte blanche to build anything they want.

But we didn’t elect Traer Creek. We did elect the Avon Town Council to represent our best interests, and we believe that can only be done if they provide the time to allow staff to do its homework and make sound, reasoned recommendations to the council.

-We don’t know what the developer’s time line is, and frankly, Scarlett, we don’t care. We do care that we stop and do this thing the right way. As Town Manager Larry Brooks said to the developer and the council, “Your urgency is not my crisis.” Amen.

The extra time required to “do it right” will ensure that there will be strong community involvement in the council’s decision on the requested amendment. It will ensure a better working relationship with the developer of the Village at Avon, who has even larger designs for its holdings under its previously approved development plan. Lastly, it will ensure that the integrity of the plans for managed growth in Avon and environs will be upheld.

Let’s all get involved and ask the Avon Town Council to stop and do it right.

Don and Sharon Greene

Missed event

On Sunday Sept. 7, the town of Avon hosted the eighth annual High country Triathlon/Duathlon with absolutely no coverage from the Vail Daily. One-hundred-forty athletes braved the pouring rain and cold temperatures with smiles on their faces. This deserves some recognition in our own local paper. Not to mention the people who work hard every year to make this great LOCAL event happen.

In The Vail Daily I can catch up on the news in Whitehall, PA or Austin, Minn., but not in my own back yard.

Sara and John Marricco

Avon

Better use of funds

When the shouting is over and we look back at what the county commissioners have done, we will see precedence has been set for squandering our money. Apparently $40 million in the general fund is burning a hole in their pocket, and what is a meager $2 million?

For example, an eyesore problem that really sticks out but has nothing to do with environmentalism is the Edwards interchange. Most of the day it is a traffic frenzy. Forty million dollars in the bank or doing some good – that is the question.

Or is that too complicated? Maybe it isn’t politically correct or maybe they can’t grub some federal money out of it. I don’t know. But what I do know is that the interchange is a real problem, not a hypothetical one such as the Bair Ranch.

Arthur Kittay

Eagle

Wet and wild

I would like to thank, on behalf of the ECO Eagle Valley Trails Committee and the ECO Trails program, the terrific sponsors and participants that attended the Sonnenalp’s annual Casual Classic Bike Ride from Breckenridge to Vail on Sept. 7.

And what a ride it was! We appreciate the many people that signed up.

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t ideal and after 18 years, the event had its first rainy start. Several brave souls did venture out and all survived the challenging conditions. It was wonderful to finally arrive at the Sonnenalp’s Bully Ranch restaurant to warm up and enjoy the best lunch in town.

The Sonnenalp Foundation very kindly designated the ECO Trails Program for the third year in a row as the beneficiary of the funds raised by this fun annual event.

The cost of the construction of the regional trail system is estimated at $15 million and every donation towards the project is greatly needed and appreciated.

The event sponsors generously provided transportation, fantastic food and lots of great prizes.

Contributors included Allie’s Cabin, Balata, Beano’s Cabin, Bike and Ski Valet, Bully Ranch Restaurant, Christiana at Vail, ECO Transit, Kind Cyclist, Julie Spinnato, Larkspur Restaurant, Mountain Pedaler, Nova Guides, Pedal Power, Piney River Ranch, Sato Sushi, Sonnenalp Resort Spa, Sonnenalp Golf Club, Sonnenalp Logo Shop, Sweet Basil, Timberline Tours, Triple G Inc., Up the Creek, Vail Mountain Adventure Center, Vail Bike Services, Vail Bike Tech, EPS Design and Print, JB T-shirts, Colorado Mountain Express.

Special thanks to Ruth Rosenberg and Nancy Knill and their volunteers for their expert organization of the event and to the members of the Faessler family and the Sonnenalp Foundation for selecting ECO Trails as the event beneficiary. We sincerely appreciate the recognition of the trails program mission and the financial support.

Dick Cleveland

Chairman

ECO Trails Eagle Valley Trails Committee

Parental homework

For starters, I do understand that in these days and in this environment, many parents are strapped for time and quite often, both parents have full-time jobs.

Nevertheless, it seems to me that we put too much of the burden of education on our schools and our teachers, while we don’t assign very much responsibility to the parents of our students. So, what I would like to suggest is a “letter of understanding” that focuses on the contribution that the parents could make.

The letter might be mailed to the home or it might be given to each student at the start of the semester. (If appropriate, it should certainly be bilingual.) It would be read and signed by the parents (or parent) as an indication of acknowledgement and returned to the school. It would not be a binding document, but hopefully it would serve as a means of inspiring and giving direction to parental participation.

The letter would be composed by school officials. It would briefly highlight the content of the various courses that the student would be taking that semester and would offer suggestions as to what could be “contributed” at home. Suggestions might include a parent-student dialogue regarding the courses themselves; the joint viewing of certain television programs or Web sites; periodic discussions regarding various sections of the newspaper; a list of cultural, historical or geographical places that could be visited. In short, anything that would inspire conversation and contribute parental insight.

I certainly know that all of the letters would not be signed and returned or that good intentions might be quickly forgotten, but maybe in some small way, the program would be helpful.

David Le Vine

Successful fund-raiser

We want to thank the many people and organizations who helped with our car wash last Saturday. The Gypsum Fire Department let us use hoses, nozzles and a splitter. Steve Carver bought us lunch and donated to our program. Dave Scott allowed us to use the high school’s parking lot. And Jan Hiland organized this very successful fund-raiser.

Also thanks goes to our incredible sponsor – the town of Gypsum and other businesses who continue to support us – AmericInn and Eagle Dance Academy.

Thanks to all of the people who bought car washes and please come and watch us dance at the next home football game in Gypsum on Sept. 19. We’ll see you at halftime!

The Eagle Valley High School Dance Team

A parable

Once upon a time, many years ago, the dream of a young man attracted a young gorilla to the Eagle River Valley.

Nurtured by the valley (and access to some capital), the gorilla quickly grew to be a strong and powerful 800-pounder. The gorilla was smart, and had major plans to reshape the community as he saw fit, and his tracks and trails soon spread over much of the valley floor and surrounding mountains. Tourists came to play on the trails, and life was good.-

Over time, it came to pass that the forest where the gorilla lived and the town that the gorilla caused to be built grew to fear the critter’s economic and political power and strength. And it became apparent that the gorilla had lost sight of the very folks that kept bringing him his bananas each day.

A great many of these same folks were also growing weary of trying to make ends meet in the town that the gorilla caused to be built and moved downvalley, where it was sunnier.

Soon, over 75 percent of the houses in the town were not occupied by the people who brought the bananas every day, but by total strangers who lived far away and didn’t care much about the town at all. It began to show, and many of the people who liked to come and play on the gorilla’s trails went to Canada instead. Life was now not so good.

And then two strange things happened!

First, the forest realized that it had a 1,200-pound gorilla of its own that had the power and strength to deny the 800-pound gorilla its daily ration of bananas (and permits) that it so badly needed and wanted in order to stay fat and happy.

Second, a 2,400-pound gorilla, enticed by all that was going on in the valley and the quality of life that was offered, decided to make his home here and after talking to all the realtors in the valley chose an unincorporated area that the locals called the “Banana Belt” or “Greater Edwards.”

All the people that live in the Banana Belt are real people and love the valley and the mountains and want to protect it from the gorillas that have a habit of eating too many bananas.

Their new neighbor, who lives in a beautiful attainable housing project that was specially configured for his modest needs, likes his new community and new neighbors very much. So much so that he has pledged to use his considerable muscle (political, that is) to make sure that the valley grows and prospers in a way that while allowing for a reasonable amount of new growth, preserves the natural environment that is so attractive to so many people.

The people who live in the Banana Belt understand that the few people that live year-round in the town that the 800-pound gorilla caused to be built might be afraid of the political muscle of the 2,400-pound gorilla, but they have nothing to fear.

The Banana Belt folks are kind and wise, and will exercise their political muscle in such a way as to benefit the entire valley, not just a small portion of it.

A true story.

Peter Bergh

Edwards

Bair opinions

I thought Kathy Heicher’s Sept. 8 “Boon or Bomb?” article on the Bair Ranch conservation easement was excellent. I’ve been following articles and editorials on the issue and it was great to read an informational piece that reflected various opinions.

I am personally very glad to have my tax money protect the Bair Ranch from development, and even more glad that the public of Eagle County will not be able to take their four-wheelers there. But perspective is important and I appreciate reading others’ opinions in an impartial way. Thank you and continue to keep us informed.

Susana Canseco

Vail


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