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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

SLAPP, SLAPP-back

For at least the second time in the recent past, a member of the Vail Town Council has attempted to discourage members of the public from exercising their right to judicial review of town decisions by effectively threatening them with personal liability.

In the first instance, it seemed appropriate to dismiss this tactic as the unique reaction of an individual concerned about the fact that the decision which he was supporting was vulnerable. This practice now seems to have developed into a pattern and practice which should not go without response.



The threat which has been bandied about is that of Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation, sometimes referred to as SLAPP. The purpose of such litigation (and threats of such litigation) is to prevent individuals from exercising their rights to review of governmental action.

Most often, the practice is based on the premise that the almighty dollar is more important than public interest or private rights. In the litigious society in which we live, leave it to the legal profession to come up with a response.



SLAPP-back is the counterclaim against governments and individuals who attempt to discourage public participation though SLAPP litigation. If the practice of threatening members of the public with SLAPP continues to be the practice of the town, or a member of the council, someone just as aggressive as he is virtually certain to take the SLAPP-back route, and the town of Vail will find itself, once again, throwing money at litigation when those funds are better spent trying to balance the budget.

Attempts to crush public rights through intimidation and threats have no place in the administration of the town of Vail. America has fought (and continues to fight) wars over such issues, and the citizens and property owners of the town of Vail shouldn’t be required to defend such basic rights on their own soil against their own elected officials.

Anyone interested in more information about these concepts need only search for the terms “SLAPP” and “SLAPP-back” on the Internet. There is considerable information out there on both practices.



Art Abplanalp

Carnes a disgrace!

Richard Carnes’ column of Oct. 14 was absolutely nauseating! His vituperative rant regarding Kobe Bryant and his attorneys was no doubt read by a huge number of potential jurors in the county. It demonstrated an egregious abuse of the power of the press and a monumental demonstration of his (and, unfortunately in this limited case, Don Rogers, editor) lack of basic integrity.

Clearly, neither of these individuals ever took an American civics class, and if they did, they obviously slept through most of it. Their interpretation of journalistic integrity is, in this case, to say the least, unique.

Carnes, after half of a preliminary hearing, has evidently no qualms whatsoever about convicting Bryant in the press and incidentally doing his best to taint the jury pool with his wholly asinine cant.

My first reaction upon reading this particular column was that both these people (author and editor) would have been perfectly comfortable with the journalistic ethics of Nazi Germany in the 1930s.

There is, by the way, no legal protection, against using an adult accuser’s name in a rape case. Mackey may have violated a judge’s fiat and offended local sensibilities in using the accuser’s name (which I still don’t know and have no desire to know).

In the meantime, the accused (remember that guy? the “innocent until proven guilty” guy?) is publicly excoriated daily on a local, regional and national level. And the Daily has become a part of this travesty. (In fairness, the actual “reporting” has been amazingly responsible, until now.)

Carnes has clearly bought into the “hang the black guy” train of thought. Otherwise he’d no doubt at least try to remember he lives in America. Men and women with even the most shallow pretense toward fairness would at least wait for all the evidence before using their power of the pen to help convict the guy ex parte.

This column was a disgrace to the Daily, the readers and every reasonably thoughtful citizen of this county. No doubt, Mackey will use this column as evidence of the need for a change of venue given the “presence” of the Daily in the lives of this county’s citizens.

Carnes (and Rogers) were simply self-indulgent and fundamentally unfair in this exposition no matter how appealing it might be to the great unwashed. For shame!

I have no vested interest in, nor do I know personally either of the parties involved in this case. What I do know is that Richard Carnes is a decidedly unintelligent man with little concern about fundamental fairness and should be stricken from the columnists presented in the Daily. (He seldom has much of value to offer anyway.)

I consistently disagree with any number of columnists and often criticize Butch Mazzuca and Kaye Ferry, but at least they offer honest exposition and deserve respect.

This column was simply garbage, and harmful, nasty, vituperative and ignorant garbage at that. I’m ashamed that this type of “commentary” would even be accepted by my friends and neighbors.

Maybe the guy is guilty, maybe not. But Carnes has no business trying to get the guy

convicted all on his own. Talk about abuse of the power of the press. Besides, the guy can’t write worth a damn anyway!

Please! If any of you care about the basic precepts of our democracy, please let this self indulgent moron know about it!

This isn’t meant as any kind of comment about the case. I’ll wait until all the evidence is in. But the decent, thoughtful and fair people that historically characterize this part of our country deserve better than this crap!

Jim Dorsey

Vail

Appreciate the help

This is a long overdue thanks to those entities who have helped the BMHS Speech Team with fund-raising over the summer and, just recently, with the BMHS Home Speech Meet.

Thanks to Vi Brown and EVCF for not only the chance to earn money by working hours but also for giving the Speech Team the lunch concession. Thanks to Katie Ryan and the Youth Conservation Corps for the opportunity to work together outside and raise some much needed funds. To the local grocery stores – Safeway, City Market, Village Market and Wal-Mart – thanks for responding so positively to our needs-requests. Your donations helped to cut he overhead and allow us more profit. We really appreciate all you do for the community.

Suzanne Foster

Head Coach

BMHS Speech Team

Tough choices

I have a question for Mr. Carnes. Given that the physical evidence has turned out to be less than compelling, what choice does the defense team have other than to question her credibility?

What if this were your son and he came to you and professed his innocence and you believed him? Would you tell his lawyers, do everything possible to keep him out of jail, but I do not want the accuser’s credibility questioned in any way? I doubt it. You offer up the obligatory innocent until proven guilty, and yet you admit that in your mind there is no way she is lying. For the benefit of your readers, why don’t you find somebody that has not made up their mind to write your column until the case is over. There must be somebody at the Vail Daily that has some objectivity left. Right?

Kristen Rowland

Mike’s photo op

As several of us were watching Kobe Bryant hearing events unfold on TV we noticed that Mike Cacioppo, ye olde publisher of Speakout, was hanging around the base of the stairwell, like he was waiting for a bus or a pizza delivery or something. As Kobe approached, YOP suddenly turned and timed his ascent up the stairs to coincide exactly with that of Kobe’s, walking shoulder to shoulder with the accused for about 20 feet or so….

When he got to the top of the stairs he stopped, acting totally innocent, and let Kobe pass on. None of us can figure out what he was up to. At the least, he got this photo out of it.

Walt Bujaryn

Meant a lot

On Sept. 8, my husband and I were visiting Vail to celebrate our seventh anniversary. We pulled off the main road in Beaver Creek to take a picture under the street sign at the intersection with Willis Drive, as Willis has special significance for us.We were trying to take the picture using our digital camera and get the street sign in the picture too. A local resident (and stranger to us) pulled over and asked us if she could help us and so kindly took the picture for us.

Little did she, or we, know that would be the last picture we would ever have taken together. My seemingly healthy 44-year-old husband died a few short hours later in Vail Valley Medical Center of acute heart failure. I hope that this kind woman sees this and knows how very much her quick act of kindness will forever mean to me and my family. Thank you so very much.

Lisa Hill Smith

Richmond, Va.


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