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Letters to the editor

editor@vaildaily.com

Tax needed

Every business and government must maintain its infrastructure. If it doesn’t its services will fast lose their efficiency and effectiveness. The same holds true for the Eagle County School District.

On Nov. 4, the voters will be presented with a mill levy increase question that deserves our support. This fall Eagle County School District will retire a bond issue that dates back to 1992. The question on this November’s ballot would provide $8.6 million from this reduction of mill levy to fund more than 90 individual capital improvement projects without raising taxes. With the approval of the question, taxpayers will see a decrease of $31 per $100,000 of valuation in their property taxes rather than a $52 decrease per $100,000 valuation.



Taxes are going down either way, but by approving Question 3A, voters can refocus our tax investment on these critical needs for the next two years. Our investment will positively impact the quality of life in our school district and will assure the quality of our infrastructure long into the future.

Everyone who owns a computer knows the cost of upgrades and enhancements.



The same is true for classroom computers and for the software that a savvy organization requires to deliver quality service to its patrons without over investing in personnel.

Who can argue with the need for new roofs and boilers? These needs don’t top the charts for voter appeal, but they’re just as necessary for our schools as for everyone else. Question 3A eliminates the need to take funds from classroom support for this purpose.

You’ve got to be a bus driver or mechanic to fully appreciate the critical need for a new terminal to serve the west half of the district. The district’s transportation department has operated from its existing facility for more than 30 years and simple needs bigger bays to service its bigger buses, more room to park them, and a fueling island that can be more easily and safely accessed. Every day, district school buses log more than 1,000 road miles, and ECSD is committed to the safe and efficient operation of its transportation department.



This list doesn’t fire the emotions of voters like the do or die appeals for teachers and kids that have been approved by voters in the past. But these needs are also very important. By casting a ballot in favor of 3A, votes are saying they want to keep the focus (and the money currently allocated for the classroom) in the classroom. Please support Ballot Question 3A when you vote. Your vote won’t increase your taxes, but it will build a strong foundation for our future.

I know. I’ve been there.

Mel Preusser

Retired Superintendent

Eagle Valley School District

The VR effect

The present Vail Town Council has three people serving who are Vail Resort employees or business connected. The winners of this coming election could make it four; that is until Ludwig Kurz gets dumped in February precipitating another election that could make another VR person making it four again. Would any of them risk their livelihoods by voting against an issue favoring Vail Resorts?

Reality is we’re here because of the ski resort. I believe Vail Resorts should have representation on the council but only by one member. But there are three running. Mark Gordon is a VR employee. Greg Moffet has an advertising contract with VR. Rod Slifer has real estate ties with VR real estate.

Mark Gordon presents himself well, but he has only lived here for three years. That doesn’t give him enough town governing know-how. In the meantime he could try for one of the boards.

Greg Moffett is an incumbent. His voting record indicates a personal agenda; his strong push to keep the ice Bubble (his kids are skaters), ignoring the expansive expense of the Donovan Pavilion (its elegance will increase his property values).

Rod Slifer is the most mature – in age, in experience, and in honesty (I can personally vouch for that). He should be elected as the only VR representative.

Flo Steinberg

Gordon for council

I have always thought that my vote really couldn’t make a difference. That most politicians don’t really care what someone who works for a living thinks. In fact here in Vail that seems to be worse than other places I’ve lived.

The Vail Town Council is more concerned with their own businesses and that of their

peers to look for input from my friends and me. Even when they vote for affordable housing, it is to help their business owner friends, not to help make Vail more inclusive.

But after working with Mark Gordon over the past year, I’ve come to realize that my voice does count and my vote can make a difference. Mark has motivated me to become more aware of the politics of my chosen home. We are always discussing town of Vail issues.

He approaches these issues with compassion and intelligence. I will feel very good knowing Mark Gordon is on the Town Council. I know that if we all vote for him he will always listen to our voices. He works an hourly job just like the rest of us, and he understands what issues effect the working class of Vail.

But he is more than just that. I know that for the 12 years before he moved to Vail he ran his own business, so he has the experience to guide Vail through the tough economic times.

On Tuesday each of us have the power to choose who is going to take Vail into the future. I strongly believe we want Town Council members who will listen to our voices and who will understand what it means to live and WORK in Vail. That is why I’m urging each and every one of you to vote for Mark Gordon on Tuesday.

Jason Lowrey

For Moffet

When my husband, Kevin, and I moved to Vail nine years ago, one of the first people we met was Greg Moffet.

Although he and his family were also new to the area, I was immediately struck by and impressed with his eagerness and willingness to get involved in the community. In the years since, he has consistently demonstrated his devotion to making Vail a better place for everyone.

From serving on the Planning and Environmental Commission and Town Council, to being a member of the Rotary Club or coaching youth sports, he has shown integrity and vision.

As a father, he is particularly attuned to the needs of families in town and is a committed advocate for such constituents. I encourage you to vote for Greg Moffet in the upcoming election.

Robin Deighan

For Gordon

I would like to take a moment to explain my support for Mark Gordon’s candidacy for Town Council. Mark is just like you and me – he is a local. As well as being an outdoor enthusiast enjoying skiing, hiking with his dog, and biking, it would not be unlikely to run into him at one of the free Tuesday night or Street Beat concerts, or to catch him enjoying one of the Bravo! performances or dance festivals. Mark has a vivacious flavor for this town that would carry over well into a position on Town Council.

Mark came here three years ago with his wife to “try it out,” as most of us do, and never left. He has since engulfed himself in town events, outdoor activities and has taken a sincere interest in the Town Council, which subsequently fired his desire for involvement. As a permanent resident and recent first-time homeowner, I would personally feel well represented by Mark’s ideas on my Town Council. He’s a regular guy that is easy to get in touch with and is always gladly available to discuss issues of interest with any individual.

As a local that loves this town, his main campaign focus is to integrate and balance resort and community. He believes in creating a vibrant community to have the best resort. A vibrant community would be one that would be all-inclusive, meaning affordable housing for locals as well as a thriving business sector within the town. This inclusive community would be attractive to guests, locals and second homeowners.

Some of his specific proposals are:

To turn day skiers into overnight guests using better marketing and incentives, for example, last minute hotel deals for Front Range skiers.

Turn parkers into shoppers through a parking voucher program.

Diversify the retail shops with the help of a new business incubator.

Fill empty storefronts through a dialogue with the landlords and seriously considering an empty space assessment.

Free outdoor movies at Donovan park on Thursday nights during the summer months.

Mark Gordon is all about Vail, a better Vail. The beauty of his vision is that it includes everyone here, locals and business owners, as well as guests alike. If the locals can afford to stay, they will. If they can make decent pay by having more and better paying jobs available, they will be happy. If locals feel a sense of community in their hometown and workplace, our guests will enjoy the visit of a lifetime and will make Vail their number one destination in the future.

Remember, Election Day is this coming Tuesday. I hope you will join me in voting for Vail’s future by voting for Mark Gordon.

Brandy Graff

Vail’s Front Door

Vail Village is a gem. It is a unique, special place for Valley residents and visitors alike. Vail Resorts’ Front Door project will shape the character of the village for generations to come. How many of us know what is planned? Do we like it? Is it world class? What will the project do to our economic vitality? What do prominent architects and planners think of the project? What will it cost the town?

The Vail Town Council will hear the appeal filed by a long-time Village resident on election night – Tuesday Nov. 4. This article provides both information regarding the substance of the appeal and comments on the procedural history in an effort to engage public support for making Vail’s Front Door a proud portal to the Vail Valley, the Rocky Mountain region, and the United States.

LOADING/DELIVERY

Vail Resorts intends to put a major loading and delivery facility at the foot of the Vista Bahn, funneling traffic up Vail Road into a 14 bay underground facility, then shunting vehicles back down Vail Road, Willow Road, Willow Bridge Road or Gore Creek Drive. A single hand truck portal guides deliverymen into village streets dumping out on Bridge Street and Wall Street to disperse to locations around the village, some more than 1,500 feet away with estimated delivery times varying from a few minutes to an hour per delivery.

The town’s Master Plan Transportation Update recommends satellite loading and unloading facilities in at least four corners of town, not a single, massive facility at the foot of the mountain. The Master Plan Update clearly states, “The ultimate goal is to have loading bays in dispersed terminals used to their full potential.”

There has not been any serious consideration of suggestions to reduce the size of this facility, or to escrow funds saved in the process, or to allocate escrowed funds to assure that other satellite facilities are built. Stuffing this size facility into the mountainside at the foot of the Vista Bahn increases the density of the project required to pay for it. Architect Gordon Pierce, designer of the Sonnenalp, Vilar Center, Market Square and Ice Rink, among other prominent valley architecture, comments that the benefits of the size of this facility “need to be weighed against the enormous cost and negative design impacts of creating a large underground facility. … Moreover, a centralized loading/delivery facility is inconsistent with my understanding of town of Vail master plans and doesn’t make sense at this highly visible, pedestrian oriented location. I understand the desire to eliminate trucks from the Village core. … We are doing just the opposite here: unnecessarily mixing delivery functions with pedestrian uses.”

The Frontage Road is the natural area for village deliveries to emanate. Such deliveries should not occur in the heart of the village and at the fulcrum of skier and pedestrian traffic. Because of the massive size and cost of the proposed facility, the developer crammed in high density and monolithic structures.

SEH Traffic Engineers state: “Enough detail has not been provided to demonstrate that one delivery/loading facility can reasonably and effectively serve the Village core Š documentation seems to be at a general planning level.”

SEH contacted a Budweiser distribution representative working in the Vail/Beaver Creek area. The “Bud Man” estimated that his delivery time would increase fivefold by having a centralized facility, the number of delivery trucks will need to increase, and additional costs will likely be levied.

Vail Resorts points to Beaver Creek as an example of a centralized facility that works. However, Beaver Creek Village is a fraction of the size of Vail Village and has much broader pedestrian corridors at the base of the Mountain, in contrast to Vail Village’s natural funnel into Bridge Street.

Again, Mr. Pierce states: “The one-story skier services building presents a weak image. Š The building is too large and out of scale to its neighbors and looks more like a standard strip mall than an extension of the architectural fabric of the village.”

By reducing the size of the loading and unloading facility, a higher percentage of the unbuilt site area can be used to integrate natural landscaping solutions, view corridors, and pedestrian/skier friendly connections.

WORLD CLASS?

Vail Resorts has refused the suggestion of engaging outside architectural and planning consultants to address these issues. Indeed, Jeff Winston, frequently used as a consultant for the town of Vail urban design, has not been engaged to provide comments or suggestions regarding the final plans approved last month by PEC. Gordon Pierce’s comments have likewise not been considered to date, nor has the council seen fit to provide a 4-week continuance to hear the appeal so that quality consultations and input can be honed and provided as positive alternatives to the developer’s self-serving plan, choosing instead to have a lame duck council rush approval through on Election Night – a time when lots of distractions preoccupy their minds.

Moreover, the estimated operating costs to the town of the loading/delivery facility have not been made public and should be carefully considered at this challenging time. Shouldn’t the public know what operating costs we are assuming for running this massive facility?

SUGGESTED IMPROVEMENTS

Vail’s Front Door needs to serve the town, community, ski company, and visitors alike, not just Vail Resorts. To date, Vail Resorts has myopically pushed for approval of its own plan. The motives of Vail Resorts, town and community coincide: to improve village vibrancy and economics; to honor our precious natural beauty; to create world-class architecture; and to integrate the character of the new project seamlessly into existing character of Vail Village. The following will make this project better for all:

n REDUCE THE SIZE OF THE LOADING AND UNLOADING FACILITY

n KNOW TOV COSTS OF OPERATION

n LEAVE MORE OPEN SPACE AT THE BASE OF THE MOUNTAIN TO ACCOMMODATE A SPECIAL, OUTDOOR FEATURE THAT CAN SERVE AS A FOCAL POINT FOR PROJECT AND VILLAGE

n CREATE A VARIETY OF RESIDENTIAL UNITS TO AVOID REPETITIVE APPEARANCE IN CURRENT PROPOSAL

n CAREFULLY STUDY TRAFFIC CIRCULATION PATTERNS TO AVOID GOLD PEAK TRAFFIC PROBLEMS

n ENGAGE A PLANNER AND ARCHITECT WITH EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE TO REVIEW ARCHITECTURE, CIRCULATION, AND OVERALL INTEGRITY OF THE PROJECT TO MAXIMIZE OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE THIS ONE-OF-A-KIND PROJECT A SOURCE OF DEEP PRIDE FOR THE ENTIRE COMMUNITY

Public process is inherently tedious and frustrating. However, the land exchange aspect of this project has not yet been considered or approved and building permits cannot be issued until the land exchange is done.

Therefore, consideration of the points discussed herein will not delay completion of the project. A delivery plan, management plan, architectural consultant, cost/benefit analysis of TOV operating costs, escrow for satellites, environmental study, and land exchange all need to occur to complete a world class project.

The Town Council should demand consultation with the best available planners and architects, assurances of satellite delivery facilities, and economic and environmental impact studies BEFORE carte blanche approval. Doing so will make Vail’s Front Door more beautiful, more functional and more economically vibrant.

Andy Littman

Littman represents Ms. Luanne Wells a longtime resident of One Vail Place, in her appeal of PEC approval of the project.

Drop Bryant case now

I have been reading your editorial on the case of the People of Colorado vs. Kobe Bryant. I share most of your views. They are very objective. Confidence in the People’s case against Mr. Bryant has been severely eroded since the preliminary hearing. Confidence in the sheriff’s and district attorney’s offices has also been eroded. It all boils down to the fact that the investigation into the allegations was substandard.

This case has been bound over for trial because there was blood found on Mr. Bryant’s shirt which matches that of the accuser. It is a trace amount which the detective investigating the case did not notice until the shirt was returned from the forensic laboratory. This leads to a lot of speculation. Additionally we are led to believe that the alleged victim bled from the time of the act to the time she reported to the rape nurse the following day. This is unlikely in light of the size of the vaginal injuries we now know. It also does not support the amount of blood found on the alleged victim’s underwear and on Kobe’s shirt.

I think more of an injustice has been done to the alleged victim by going forward with this case. I cannot see how she will be redeemed after being laundered in the media. I think the district attorney should do the right thing by dropping the charges now and ending the circus now.

Gemma Thomas


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