Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor


Wolfe starts with a W and that stands for winner! The people of Avon can make a difference on Election Day and vote for a winner! Ron Wolfe!

Ron Wolfe is going to make a difference to the citizens of the town with his expertise in business and his background as an engineer. Ron is a talented man who knows how to create concepts of a project and then follow through until the project is completed. He will be a strong member of the board and will always do his homework before attending a meeting. He is presently serving the town as a Planning and Zoning Commission member. Be a winner and vote for Wolfe.

Gwen Orhan


Kid against 31

I want all you voters to vote no to Amendment 31. I am a third-grader at Edwards Elementary and am learning Spanish in the dual language program. If Amendment 31 is approved, there will no longer be our awesome program. Me and my classmates want to learn Spanish. We should be allowed to.

It is not fair that grown-ups from Denver and other places get to decide what we do here in Edwards. We can decide what is best for us here in Edwards. We do not need other people deciding for us.

Please vote no on Amendment 31.

Nick Braun


Hack job

Well, well, well, look what the paid political small-time hack that the Eagle County Democrats have hired has to say about his opponents.

Ross Palmer must really be getting desperate when he concocts these ads that are all lies about Commissioner Tom Stone. Even the editor, Don Rogers of the Vail Daily, who researched the claims made in the ads, says they are all lies.

Now we have a letter to the editor where the small-time hack Ross Palmer from Washington, D.C., attacks Henri Stone, our Republican chairwomen of the Eagle County Republicans and also the chair of the 2nd Congressional District.

I have been very active in the Republican Party over the last six years, attending 85 percent of the meetings every month, and I have never seen Ross Palmer attend any meetings. I have also been a precinct chair for five years, and I am currently the vice-chair of the Republican Party in Eagle County.

I would say I am qualified with the facts to answer the lies regarding the following outrageous claims this paid hack has made. The Vail Daily’s editor, Don Rogers, who found them despicable, has already repudiated the claims about Tom Stone.

The lies about Henri Stone shall be repudiated now. Ross, you quote Jody Caruthers, the current Eagle County assessor who was defeated by Joyce Mack in the primary. Jody lost the race because of herself and her performance. The Stones did not target her in the race.

The Central Committee must remain neutral as per the by-laws of the Eagle County Republicans and the state Republican by-laws, and I did not see any favoritism being shown either candidate during this race. I will say that with over 5,000 tax assessments being challenged that Jody’s performance was at issue with the taxpayers. Her smugness didn’t help her campaign when she spoke before the 80-plus delegates at the Republican County Assembly. Joyce Mack also out-campaigned her during the race. I myself had at least two phone calls from Joyce asking for my vote. None were received from Jody Caruthers. Now Jody Caruthers has a bad case of sour grapes because she lost the race because she didn’t run a good campaign. This is also evidenced by her vindictive comments in her letters to the editor. Now you, Ross Palmer, try and smear Henri Stone by quoting Jody Caruthers to try and help the Democratic Party. Shame on you.

I will address the imaginary claim you make about the local Republican Party being split, which is a complete and utter lie. When I got involved with the local party six years ago, maybe four or five people attended the Central Committee meetings. There was no money in the treasury and there was no direction.

With the past chairman Joe Brown’s leadership, the party grew and more people got involved. When Henri was elected chairman, her passion and organizational skills were additive. We have registered over 700 new Republicans from the last election. We have over 30 active precinct chairs and a bevy of volunteers that volunteer their time for party fundraisers and the grass-roots get out the vote effort. Henri has researched and implemented winning campaign strategies to help our candidates get elected. Ross, this is hardly a party that is split.

Ross, you bring up the name Steve Miller. This man is not on the inside. I have met him once in all the time I have been involved in the local party. He resigned because he didn’t like the way organizational committees were being set up to win in this general election. Ross, you stated that Steve quit because of comments made by Henri. This is another lie, and I have Steve’s resignation e-mail to prove it.

Ross, I am sure you can dig up a handful of more names that are unhappy about the way the party is being run. There are always a few, which hardly constitutes a split. Ross, I am sure you will be importing campaign workers paid for by out-of-state unions to work this election, you being imported yourself. I will say our volunteers and candidates are organized and ready to do battle with you now and on Election Day.

Our candidates don’t have resort to lies and smear tactics to win on Election Day. They can stand on their excellent records, good ideas, hard work and good organizations to win.

Rob Spangler


Eagle County Republicans

Best candidate

It is with great enthusiasm that I write this letter of recommendation on behalf of Teak Simonton for county clerk and

recorder. I have known Teak since 1993, when I spent four years working for her as the director of marketing for Curtin Hill Sports. As the general manager of four stores in Vail Village, Teak was an amazing mentor to me and to the supervisors and staff that we hired each season.

She expected the highest standard, but did so by helping and encouraging those around her. She became one of my good friends.

Teak met every business challenge with a unique and experienced perspective that allowed the business to thrive at every opportunity, even during the slow years. It was evident that she greatly enjoyed working with people – both her staff and her customers.

I was always amazed at her ability to talk to people and make them comfortable while in her stores. She was genuinely interesting in making sure that they had a positive experience and this made many of them very loyal customers.

There is no better candidate for county clerk and recorder. Teak is the detail-oriented and meticulous individual to fit this role perfectly. If you want professional representation, if you want a person that will enthusiastically approach every day, vote for Teak!

Susan Harvey


Vote for Vail

A vote in favor of the proposed 4 mil property tax increase is a vote For Vail.

This community simply cannot allow its town infrastructure to run down, any more than Vail Resorts can allow the mountain infrastructure to deteriorate.

To do so would jeopardize the world-class status of our resort and would have disastrous consequences for local businesses and property values.

Residential property owners have long benefited from comparatively low property taxes because sales taxes were adequate to fund most of the town’s operating and capital budget.

Now that the resort has matured, sales taxes are simply no longer adequate to pay for all of the essential services and maintenance that our town requires.

The only sensible and equitable way to raise the money we need to run the town is by stepping up to a modest property tax increase that still leaves our property taxes lower than those of comparable communities. Vote YES on Referendum 2C.

Alan Danson


Running for regent

In your Sunday, Oct. 27, story on the CU regents race, my opponent is quoted as saying she fully supports the “Quality for Colorado” plan and that I do not.

I am on record as supporting the goals of the plan first proposed by former CU President John Buechner.

I am asking instead for a slower rollout so families, students, and high school guidance counselors have more time to prepare for changes in admission requirements and tuition increases.

My opponent insists on an arbitrary enrollment cap of 25,000 at CU-Boulder. The “Quality for Colorado” plan actually calls for a stabilizing of freshman enrollment between 4,500-4,900 students and encouraging more transfers and accepting junior college graduates leading to a stabilized campus enrollment of between 27,000 and 28,000 students. Clearly, my opponent is inconsistent with her stated position on enrollment caps.

My opponent has also stated that current admission standards are “too liberal.” She may not realize that the Colorado Commission on Higher Education sets the admission requirements based on an index of high school grade point average, class rank, and ACT or SAT scores. This index places CU-Boulder second in the state to the Colorado School of Mines in enrollment requirements.

As concerns gender diversity, there is a long-standing policy asking search committees to actively seek diversity in applications and the matter is a faculty governance issue. Indeed, among younger tenure track faculty women show a hiring increase between 46-48 percent.

As a 20-year volunteer, fund-raiser, donor, board and committee member of two campuses, I do not consider myself an “insider”; rather one of the most qualified CU regent candidates to ever seek the opportunity to continue to support the university to its next level of success. Should anyone have a question I might be able to address, please visit my Web site at http://www.dianegreenlee.com

Diane Greenlee


We’ll all benefit

Yes, Vail Resorts will be better off with the new conference center. But so will the town of Vail. The projections show we will increase our sales tax dramatically.

Vail has traditionally done extremely well with our community facilities. That is because Vail has a very diverse and creative talent pool of hard-working people who make things happen.

As a result, I am very bullish on Vail right now and feel that the conference center and the town’s new $88 million, five-year capital improvement budget (which includes the new 4 mill tax increase) will keep Vail number one in the years to come.

I also feel that the conference center is not a stand-alone project, but a piece of a much larger rebirth of Vail’s economic engine and community facilities.

I also see the Donovan Park Pavilion, the future Vail Center, and the conference center all being important pieces in this renaissance – all contributing economically, culturally, educationally and recreationally to Vail.

Please vote for both 2C and 2D.

Chuck Ogilby


Too risky

Referendum 2D (the convention center) is a poor business risk as it proposes to use new taxes on the community to build and operate a facility that will benefit Vail Resorts more than any other business yet they are accepting no responsibility for the debt. The Vail community will have sole final responsibility for the debt.

There are many actions Vail can take to increase business and revenues without taking such an unwise risk. It should be simple to sell the space and incredible amenities we already have with more creative and effective packaging, if someone were so inclined. The proponents are quick to tell us how many conventions they could not book because large facilities were not available. They never tell us how many conferences we could handle but they failed to book. The issue to address is why our existing conference spaces are not filled!

As of today, I know of 40,500 square feet of meeting space that are approved for construction in the town of Vail. There is an additional amount of more than 20,000 square feet anticipated for approval in the near future. This would all be built and operated at no cost to the taxpayer or town. It is anticipated that all of these projects will happen very soon.

Three-fourths of all conferences in the United States can be handled by Vail’s existing, or planned, privately owned facilities at no cost and no risk to the

taxpayer. We have a marketing problem, not a lack of facilities problem. Times are too uncertain to take on this level of debt for a project that has no certainty of success.

If success were anywhere close to certain, Vail Resorts would be building it on their land and pocketing the profits. Instead, they are “donating” the land for a large write-off and asking the community to take all of the risk.

Convention center operations lose money every year and must be subsidized. Eighty-three percent of the center’s revenues are projected to come from food and beverage sales, in direct competition with existing food and beverage operations throughout the town. The larger the convention, the more the participants are controlled, thus allowing little free time to spend money outside of the convention operation.

Some businesses in Vail experienced that fact this fall. Although they were told to expect a large increase in business because a large convention was in town, they did not see any increase in business even with a discount coupon provided.

Which brings another point to mind: the larger the convention, the larger the expected discounts for convention space, lodging, food, lift tickets, rounds of golf, etc.

Generally, Vail is considered too expensive for large conventions that always expect deals. The only major, year-around airport is in Denver, which is still two to three hours away. Renting a car and driving over two mountain passes is intimidating for many, especially with our unpredictable off-season weather. Bad roads can make it a horror show. Additional time spent on travel means more wasted, unproductive time for companies.

Something that is a real factor for a mountain convention center is altitude sickness. How many successful large convention centers are located at over 8,100 feet?

One of the biggest factors affecting the ultimate success of a large convention center is the proximity of a single hotel where everyone can stay and attend events without going outside. This also gives convention planners the ultimate control they all crave. Vail Resorts’ insistence that the hotel and convention center be one and the same was one of the main reasons the recent conference center plans for the hub site were scuttled. Strange how their stance has changed when their hotel is the closest to the proposed convention site and could even have a direct connection. How many voters know it is Vail Resorts that financed the effort to get this issue on the ballot and is financing the effort to get it passed?

Funds that would be committed to the convention center could be used for essential services and public facilities instead of raising property taxes in the future. Vail Resorts and a few businesses have shifted the investment and business risk that is rightfully theirs onto the town of Vail taxpayers.

As a Vail resident, I am fearful of this proposal because the Vail community of residents, property owners and taxpayers will be on the hook financially if this is not as successful as the proponents anticipate.

The risk of failure is just to great! Tell Vail Resorts to accept the risk. Vote no on 2D!

Diana Donovan


Four more years

Anniversaries are convenient times to reflect on the past. As I run for re-election as your Eagle County commissioner and I assess what we have accomplished, most notable are the new friends I have made over the last four years.

There are many people in this community who have contributed to so many projects with phone calls and ideas, which I have been able to incorporate into our work. The committees and boards of talented citizens who constantly volunteer their time to enrich the community have been an invaluable resource to draw from. I would like to thank our community for their patience as I learned the job.

As many of you know, I have lived and worked in both the Eagle and the Roaring Fork Valleys. I can’t begin to mention everyone, but these people are especially close to me, as their contributions will change our Eagle County in a positive way for years to come.

Valerie Kesler did an outstanding job in coordinating the development of the Freedom Ranch Safe House with Bev Christiansen. Peter Bergh, the

gifted Berry Creek Metro Board president, is a tireless watchdog and spirited guardian of the land. Laurie Soliday has been working tirelessly to promote a new recreation district in the Roaring Fork Valley.

We have the best group of seniors in the entire state, led by Katie Harper. Juan and Rene Martinez spend countless volunteer hours with La Mesa helping the Hispanic Community as do my friends Manuel and Yolanda Pilas.

Johnnette Phillips taught me loads about fairness, integrity and compassion. Cindy Eskwith knows more about soccer and team play than I have time to learn.

I am fortunate to count on many of our staff members at the county as friends and advisors. The towns in Eagle County have councils. Their managers and staff that are bright, caring and dedicated. Many of these people have enriched my life as well.

On a more statewide and national basis, I have many people who I can count on as friends for life. Our Colorado governor, senators, congressmen and state representatives with their wives and husbands are a great group of Americans. I have truly been blessed to have their friendship, advice and help for Eagle County.

I ask for your vote so that I can be re-elected to serve Eagle County as your commissioner for another four years. It would be an honor to continue to serve with friends.

Tom Stone

Eagle County Commissioner

Sea of signs

The beautiful countryside of Eagle County has become a sea of campaign signs; clumps of signs springing up everywhere like poison ivy.

They are stuck up everywhere, especially on public right of ways. The Colorado Department of Transportation takes them down and overnight they spring back to life in the same place like weeds.

I admire Carl Miller, State Representative for House District 56, who puts up no yard signs and it doesn’t seem to affect the way he has always served his constituents for so many years. It seems to me that no one person or party can spend so much money on a race for county commissioner unless there is a larger agenda on the horizon than just Eagle County or the fear of losing the race.

I have been very careful to seek permission before I ever put a sign in the ground and if any of my few signs ended up where it should not have been I sincerely apologize for the litter and I can assure you it was not my doing.

I promise to take my few signs down immediately after the election and I also promise here and now that when I am elected and if you want me to run for a second term, I will not put up a single sign!

When you cast your vote Tuesday, Nov. 5, think about those signs, those many, many signs and remember, signs do not lead or have integrity; people do.

Gerald D. Sandberg

Candidate for

Eagle County Commissioner

Getting personal

“Best of good choices is Stone” (Vail Daily Editorial 10/21/02). That’s a good one.

All I see of Tom Stone (candidate for Eagle County District 3 commissioner) is a promise unkept.

His campaign literature boasts “Promises Kept.” To me that is akin to a social contract and one of the levels of a social contract is to be a good citizen and pay your taxes.

According to the public records in the office of the Eagle County clerk and recorder, Tom Stone has in the past 18 years amassed approximately $45,000 in unpaid homeowner assessments, state tax liens and federal tax liens. He currently owes the state of Colorado Department of Revenue $991.20. Perhaps if he had paid his taxes on time, the state of Colorado could possibly keep the driver’s license office in Avon open. Is this a man you want to represent you for the next four years?

If the answer is NO, then join me in voting for Gerry Sandberg.

Remember Nov. 5, vote Sandberg for a Stone-free District 3.

Megan E. Hammer


Editor’s note: The liens, all but the $991 one, which are also listed as paid, date back to the 1980s, when Stone’s wife needed surgery and the Stones did not have medical insurance. Stone said he made a mistake in paying the medical bills before paying the taxes. Included in the filings were clerical errors that mistakenly charged Stone again for the taxes he had already paid. He was unaware that the last lien was listed as outstanding, saying he believes that one, too, is a clerical error.


It is not surprising that Editor Don Rogers, a staunch Tom Stone supporter, would object to the Democrats taking out ads that reflect the real Tom Stone. Or that he would claim we are slimeballs for pointing out the public record. How hypocritical.

Consider this: Tom Stone has spent more than a few hours during his tenure plotting and scheming the demise of those he would consider his political opponents. This fact cannot be disputed.

Yet the Vail Daily has become adept at whitewashing these unfortunate facts. All the while, the Democrats have been waiting until a chance to replace him with an excellent candidate in Jerry Sandberg, who would not stoop to this level.

Well here we are a week before the election and the Vail Daily editor, a card-carrying Republican, cries foul because the Democrats refuse to ignore Stone’s back-stabbing any longer.

Not only that, he argues that ads taken out by the Democratic Party stretched the truth because Tom ultimately voted for some of these issues pointed to by the Democrats. It’s called political expediency. Argue against something, but vote in favor of it so the record shows you supported it.

It’s as old as politics itself and the voters will see right through it. The bottom line is this: The record shows that the Democrats have no history of attacking their political opponents in Eagle County.

The Republicans cannot make the same claim. But in the combative political climate fostered by Stone, we have no choice but to hold the mirror up for the entire community to see.

Next time, Don, don’t blame the messenger. Tom is merely reaping what he has sown.

Stephen Richards


Eagle County Democrats

Vote for McClinton

Prudence would suggest an elected official not write an endorsement; however, I am writing this as a friend and a neighbor of Mike McClinton.

I encourage you to vote for Mike McClinton to serve us on Avon’s Town Council. I have known and worked with Mike for several years.

Mike is a rare individual. He moved here six years ago and started volunteering right away. When he moved into Avon Crossing, where my wife and I live, he immediately got involved in our homeowner’s association. He soon joined the board and has lent a great deal of his time and knowledge.

Then he learned of an opening on the Avon Planning and Zoning Commission and has served the community well on land-use issues. This past summer he participated in a 10-class seminar for elected officials and community leaders. He is a quick learner and asks the right questions about what impacts different decisions have on the economy, residents and the environment.

Mike is a deeply honest and hard-working individual. His values can be seen by his commitment to his wife Krista, daughter Scout, neighbors, friends and community. He is a calm, caring individual and would make an outstanding trusted public servant for Avon.

A vote for Mike McClinton is a vote for good values, community commitment and selfless leadership. Please support Mike.

Arn Menconi


Kaufman for sheriff

As the November election draws near, one of the most important decisions made will be for the position of Eagle County sheriff.

It is my firm belief that Bill Kaufman is the best choice for the residents of Eagle County. This is such an important position, and Bill’s background, moral character, integrity, values, involvement in our communities, leadership ability, and over 15 years of experience in

the Sheriff’s Office will no doubt enhance this position and ensure a smooth transition and secure future.

Bill has been very involved in virtually every aspect of law enforcement and understands the role of Eagle County sheriff. I encourage you to vote on Nov. 5 … and hope you will consider Bill Kaufman your choice when you cast your ballot.

Susan Kraemer


Soap opera spin

Readers should know that Ross Palmer, a paid consultant to local Democrats, once worked for a West Coast public relations firm that specialized in spinning bad news for bankrupt companies. In another day and time, Palmer would likely be out there promoting Enron and Global Crossing, all for the sake of collecting a few bucks.

Palmer highlighted the intolerance of left-wing politics, which values attacking people more than intelligent discourse of the issues. Palmer thinks that spinning a soap opera about the local GOP will somehow elevate the image of local Democrats.

But, as his tirade showed, the tact usually backfires, even on school playgrounds where its use is quite common.

Palmer also worked for Arn Menconi last election, yet Palmer’s name never appeared on any county records filed by Menconi and the same paper that published Palmer’s editorial Tuesday never asked why or, better yet, investigated the lapse.

Sadly, the Vail Daily then and now shows an increasingly unethical political bias. The paper’s latest publisher, Steve Pope, has ignored requests for years to diversify the paper’s editorial pages. Yet he has no qualms about printing outrageous personal attacks by a paid left-wing hack.

I’d like to see someone in the press (just as one example) thank Tom Stone for opposing the original White River Forest management plan a couple years ago. The same people who side with Palmer subjected Stone to adolescent attacks back then, too. This summer’s forest fires showed that Tom was right to fight against the heavily politicized forest plan.

Yes, Mr. Bush, we do need to set a new tone, not just in Washington, but at the local level as well. But some people and their party leaders don’t want to grow up. Local Democrats deserve better and need to regain control of an out-of-control situation.

Mike Spaniola


Yes to renaissance

In mid-December Vail will celebrate its 40th birthday. These have been exciting, mostly successful and challenging years, as we have been consistently named the best ski resort community in the country, thanks to the perseverance and commitment of many hard-working people.

On Tuesday, Nov. 5, we have the opportunity to control our destiny once again. By approving the proposed 4 mill increase on our property tax (question 2C), we will position the town of Vail to leverage the very ambitious revitalization plans which are proposed by the private sector.

This “renaissance” will serve to keep our economy strong, enliven our quality of life and serve the community well for the next 40 years. I urge all of our voters to join Dick Cleveland, Diana Donovan, Bill Jewitt, Chuck Ogilby, Rod Slifer and me, many of our friends and all who are committed to the success in Vail’s future to vote “YES” on 2C.

Ludwig Kurz

Vail Mayor

Choose Sandberg

Choices. Life is full of choices. My father once told me that we are the product of the choices that we make. This November we will make some important choices.

One choice that I will make is clear for me. Sandberg, that’s right. I choose Gerry Sandberg. I have had the privilege to work with Gerry for nearly 12 years now. When he told me that he was contemplating a run, I discouraged Gerry from running.

I did this for two reasons: 1) I felt that he had a strong chance of winning; and 2) I did not want to lose him as a valued member of my staff. You see, Gerry has been a bulldog about working on tough cases for crime victims. Because he values input, we talked heart to heart early on. I told him that contested races are very draining and they can get ugly.

Gerry sat, reflected, and then smiled at me. He reminded me he had served as a Marine, he’d served as a school board member (a form of Marine duty) and he served as an investigator that solved horrible incest and child abuse cases.

I looked at him and I knew at that moment that he would run. He’s lived draining and made it before, and he has seen truly ugly and then did something about it.

I choose Gerry Sandberg, and here are just two of the many reasons: 1) Having worked side by side with him for nearly 12 years, I respect him. I trust him. I admire his stick-to-it-ness and his work ethic. I honestly know him. I know that power will not change the core of who he is or what he believes in. I know that power will not change the way that he treats other people. Power will not blur his vision, or erode his judgment. I know that he will study, review, listen, and then do the right thing. These qualities are important to me.

2) He will stay and he will work full-time for all of us. There are no state House or Senate races on the horizon for Gerry. He will serve as long as you want him to serve. Gerry is not wealthy, but he served two tours of duty on our school board for the whopping sum of nothing. The office he is running for will pay less than the salary he earns as an investigator. It is not about the power or the money to Gerry, and it never will be. It is about trying to make our community a better place.

These qualities are also important to me. I heard my father argue a criminal case once long ago.

He was overwhelmed, and he was beat. He stood up slowly in closing argument in a heated jury trial. He looked into the eyes of the jury. He reminded the jury that they were justice. Not the law, not the judge, not the prosecutor. They were justice.

He reminded them that when they went back to the jury room, no judge, no lawyer, or clerk could tell them what was right or just. I watched as they listened to him. When they came back in they acted just.

When you step in and close the figurative curtain to cast your vote, respect the fact that you are not simply a Democrat or Republican or an independent. Like the honest jury in my dad’s case, you are charged with a much higher duty.

As you cast your vote, more than anything else, you serve as a citizen charged with hiring the best candidate for your community. As for me and my choice, I will choose Gerry Sandberg.

F. Michael Goodbee

District Attorney

Support Local Journalism