Letters to the editor
Will keep speaking
First, I would like to sincerely thank everyone who supported me in both of my runs this past election season. I’m still new enough in politics to be completely flattered by each of your votes. The many phone conversations and meetings over the past six months have been incredible. I’ve learned so much.
We live in a fantastic place full of intelligent and caring people, and it has been my honor to give voice to many of you.
Sadly, I’m not writing as a Vail Town Council member, just an ordinary citizen. I believe that my absence from the Town Council leaves a gaping hole in the makeup of the council. In a town that progressives and Democrats make up almost 40 percent of the registered voters, we have none on the council.
We have a couple of moderates, whom I’m thankful for, but there are no progressives to be found in town government. The voices of the environmentalists are absent. The voices of people who believe it is a government’s responsibility to care about the quality of life for all of its citizens and not just the ones with money are absent. The voices of the people who believe an effectively run government can be a force of good are absent. The voices of the newcomers are absent. This is a distressing situation.
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We cannot continue to let Vail be run by a group of powerbrokers who think of Vail as their own private club. The latest example of this is the response to the Middle Creek project and snowmelt. We already have one Beaver Creek in this valley; we don’t need another one. It is this situation that I plan to address as a private citizen activist. Just because I didn’t get enough votes to sit on the council doesn’t mean that I don’t have a constituency. In both elections I received over 30 percent of the votes. In fact I received almost twice as many more votes in November than Farrow Hitt (new councilman) received in January. And I feel that I have a responsibility to give a voice to these citizens of Vail.
I’m still going to speak my mind. I believe that snowmelt for the village is stupid. I believe we need to build the conference center and not let the small minds in the community go against the wishes of the voters. We need a world-class skate park. The gymnastics facility at Red Sandstone School should include a public climbing wall and a workout-weight room funded through the Vail Recreation District’s proposed mill levy increase.
Our government needs to work on retail mix. We need a voucher program to turn parkers into consumers. We need to offer low-interest remodeling loans to make Vail an attractive place for middle class people to move into. Timber Ridge needs to be redeveloped into a mixed-use high-density neighborhood. We should explore a living wage ordinance (thanks Farrow). The sign code needs to be re-re-explored (The Verbatim Situation).
It is time to begin working on a countywide rail system. Speaking of the county, Vail’s relationship with Eagle County needs to be re-examined. For too long we have financially and recreationally supported the valley, and now the suburbanites are abandoning us. Sure, they want to ski on our hill, but they don’t care about the people who live here. This has to change. We need more festivals and more events.
Vail needs to be fun again. And I’m not talking hanging out at Sweet Basil or in the living room of a Town Council member fun. I’m talking community fun that doesn’t cost anything. In the next month I will be making a proposal for a free outdoor cinema series during the summer. Vail should be the home of the best blues festival in Colorado. A street performer (busking) festival in the fall would fill empty hotel rooms when the weather is still fantastic and the leaves are changing. There are so many more ideas.
I think it is time for the progressives in this community to find their voice. We must organize. For too long we have been silenced by the prevailing power structure. We have to bust up the good old boy (girl) network. Yes it is great that you were a “founder” of Vail. But if you’ve been singing for years, we’ve already heard your song. It is time to begin to share the power with the newcomers. It is our home too, and I’m not sure you have our best interest in mind.
I’m asking the citizens of Vail to join me in making Vail our community. There is so much potential for the future of Vail it just has to be managed intelligently and our voices have to be heard. Once again thank you for your support. Please e-mail me at email@example.com to learn more about the developing Vail Progressive Alliance.
It has been a busy construction season for Leitner-Poma in Colorado…