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Letters to the editor

Earle Bidez

I had not planned on responding to the inaccuracies printed in the article on the day before the election concerning the RV Park. I simply chalked them up to a new beat writer who couldn’t write what she heard. This is nothing new in journalism, and the people have clearly spoken since.

However it is hard to stomach your uninformed opinion piece where you seem to be willing to write as a rookie, too. Please check the facts.

I have been accused of having held months of closed-door meetings on the RV Park. This is unabashedly wrong. There were two developers we had discussions with. The Town Council unanimously authorized me to try to negotiate a deal with the first group (in open session) in June of 2003. We had several meetings with the first group to negotiate a package that we could then present to council. We never came to an agreement worth presenting.



The Rocky Mountain RV Resorts group came to us in mid-February. I, along with another council member and staff, met with them. They presented a general idea of what they were thinking. We then gave them our input. They requested that their identities not be disclosed until they had time to do a feasibility analysis to decide if they wanted to go forward or not. That was the only meeting we had with Rocky Mountain RV Resorts group until March 31. Due to the ridiculous claims in your Tipsline and the citizens’ demands to know who these folks were, I asked them at this meeting if they would present themselves at the council meeting that evening. It was not a “greasy political maneuver,” as quoted from one citizen who was one of those demanding to know what this group was about. Please note that this was explained at a previous council (in open session and on TV).

All of this information was told to your new beat writer. Where she came of with her claims, I don’t know. They certainly didn’t come from me, although she attributed it to me (March 29 issue). I have no illusions that the outcome would have been different without her shoddy reporting. I would have hoped that you, as senior editor, would at least have a clue before criticizing a now private citizen for misrepresentations that his newspaper holds sole responsibility for.



Earle Bidez

Minturn



Misinformation

Alan Braunholz’s latest missive regarding global warming is a veritable fountain of misinformation. He asserts a consensus among climatologists concerning the issue of human-caused global warming. In fact, according to a press statement issued in June 2001 by Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences, no such consensus exists.

According to the most reliable data available (satellite measurements, confirmed by balloon sonde measurements) there has been little or no net warming over the past 20 years. Data from well-controlled U.S. stations (when corrected for heat island effects) indicate that the maximum global temperature for the last century occurred about 1940. This is well before the allegedly catastrophic increase in carbon-dioxide emissions from human activity.

Contrary to Mr. Braunholz’s assertions, carbon dioxide is not a pollutant, but is instead a vital part of the carbon cycle, without which, life as we know it would not exist. Data from a variety of sources, including ocean sediment cores and ice cores indicate that carbon dioxide concentrations have been somewhat lower than at present and also much, much higher.

At present the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is about 380 PPM. Just prior to the beginning of the last ice age it was around 1,500 PPM. At the end of the last ice age the CO2 concentration was about 250 PPM. The evidence would suggest that changes in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere are an effect and not a cause of global warming.

We know that global temperatures rose by about 0.6 degrees Celsius between 1880 and 1940. This increase was undoubtedly accompanied by an increase in ocean temperatures. We know that the solubility of any gas in water decreases as the temperature of the water increases. Taken together with the fact that the largest source (by a wide margin) of carbon dioxide is ocean out-gassing, it is not surprising that the carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere has increased since 1940.

These same ocean sediment and ice core studies show that over the short course of recorded human history the planet has been both much warmer and much cooler than at present. During the Medieval Warm Period, global temperatures were about 2 degrees warmer than now. This would help to explain how Vikings were able to establish farms in Newfoundland and how it was possible to grow wine grapes in the British Isles at the time.

Subsequent to this period, beginning in the 13th century, global temperatures plummeted as we entered the Little Ice Age. During this period, winter temperatures in the British Isles plummeted to the point that trees in the forests near London froze to the heart and burst. All these phenomena occurred long before human activity was supposedly pumping dangerous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

One final point that I would

like to make is that carbon dioxide is a tiny part of the greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. The major component of these gases is water vapor, which accounts for about 98 percent of the total. Carbon dioxide accounts for most of the remaining 2 percent, but only about 3 to 4 percent of that comes from human sources (you do the math). The major contributors to atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are the aforementioned ocean out-gassing along with volcanic eruption, decay of organic materials and other natural sources.

The available evidence clearly points out that the only constant as regards climate is its variability. The data also point clearly to variations in solar output as the main causative factor in climate change. To suggest that human activity is a significant cause of climate changes and that these changes are thus controllable is not supported by the available evidence.

For those who are interested in this and other environmental subjects, this information along with much, much more on a variety of topics is available on the Science and Environmental Policy Project Web site at http://www.sepp.org.

Tom Chastain

Eagle-Vail

Chance to

fix a problem

Did you know that your ability to buy a home and insure it in Colorado is threatened by the everyday practices of the homeowners insurance industry?

Homeowners who call their insurance companies to report damage – but don’t make a claim or receive funds – are being penalized. Insurance companies use private databases such as CLUE or A-PLUS to track calls homeowners make to their insurance companies, oftentimes recording a simple inquiry as a claim that could hike rates, or worse, result in dropped coverage.

Insurance companies have a duty to separate claims from coverage inquiries, and keep homeowners informed of the data used to calculate their rates. Consumers should have access to and the ability to contest inaccuracies in the information insurers use to assess them. They should feel confident that insurance companies would stick to their word when issuing a binder for their home. Also, shouldn’t Coloradans feel secure knowing that the Division of Insurance knows how their rates are engineered?

Absolutely. And Gov. Bill Owens has the opportunity to correct these problems by signing two bills (HB 1236 and HB 1292) supported by an overwhelming majority of the Democrats and Republicans in Colorado’s legislature. Their ability to put partisan politics and special interests aside in favor of Coloradans has been commendable. Let’s ask our governor to do the same!

Joan Harned

Gypsum

Awesome

I would just like to express how wonderful it has been to have the Streetbeat concert series along with this past weekends event with Blues Traveler. Much like the Tuesday night concert series the entertainment is an opportunity for the community along with Vail visitors to come together and enjoy what everyone has worked hard to build. Our town.

With that in mind, as a community we have taken pride in these events and with that pride respect for the village and surroundings increases. By having the concerts in town, Vail is approachable as a town.

Considering how many people were in Vail this past weekend for the concert, it was impressive how much respect existed for the town and the surrounding area. I look forward to more events and the opportunity for the community to come together more often.

Chris Anthony

Vail

Knife happy

This goes out to the incredibly selfish person who had nothing better to do than to slash tires in the parking lot behind the Castle Peak Building in Eagle Ranch for Easter weekend.

I’m not sure what you thought you were accomplishing with your childish acts of vandalism, but you were obviously only thinking of yourself. I know you may think it is just some tires and you may have gotten some sort of sick thrill from it all, but I hope the next time you get some stupid idea you think of the people you are affecting.

I happen to be nine months pregnant and that car was my ride to the hospital. Besides the obvious money I will have to dish out for new tires, I still haven’t figured out what I’m going to do to get to the hospital if my husband can’t make it.

Maybe you should give me your number and I can call you in the middle of the night to take me. Someone needs to show you that your life is not the only one that is important!

Lisa Bystrom

Eagle

A fishy neighborhood

I have noticed Don Rogers’ sudden concern for the town of Minturn and its citizenry. I read your paper and peruse the pro-RV articles, and your pontification on various matters of our town. The Daily did a nice job covering the candidates running for office here without too much sensationalism and ran a timely and informative story on the RV park when our public servants

finally decided to come clean on the plans.

I did notice, however, that for some reason the Daily held back on the “state of the fish” article concerning the health of our Eagle River (April 8) until after Tuesday’s elections. I think that article would have shone a bit of light on the success (or lack thereof) with our river project and the people who were responsible for it. Had it run prior to Tuesday the 6th, I for one, would have felt better informed on Election Day. … I found it interesting that “A lot of fish near Minturn were in wretched shape.” Also of interest was biologist Woodling’s hypothesis that it might be a combination of factors including increased urban impacts from development along the banks of the river. Funny that I never saw mention of the two monster-truck backhoes that spent most of last summer ripping the entire river to shreds.

Peculiar was the timing of the story in light of Mr. Rogers support of the RV park and and Minturn’s incumbents who were hoping to ramrod the deal through. Nice move distancing yourself from all of the Bidez administration secrecy in your Friday, April 9, commentary, Mr. Rogers, but it’s quite obvious what you are all about. …

What really matters, I suppose, is that we are safe from your kind for the time being. Suffice it that I might respectfully petition that when it comes to Minturn would you please keep your opinions to yourself. I would be most grateful if in all matters regarding Minturn you and your paper would simply stick with your duty of reporting the objective facts in a timely manner, ideally provoking foresight and insight rather than fostering hindsight. When you have become a legal resident of Minturn by having lived here 30 days then we will endure your opinion. Until then your opinion is of no value in Minturn (and perhaps even unwelcome).

We do appreciate your concern, however, and since you are in such a position of influence here in the valley I will personally ask you for a favor. Perhaps you could lobby your cronies at the Forest Service to return the sledding to our region. I do understand that people were getting hurt at Meadow Mountain, but isn’t it ridiculous to deprive our citizens and guests of this free recreational opportunity on their own public lands when thousands of people are injured every winter on the land that Vail Resorts leases from the U.S. citizenry? The irony alone is injurious.

We do appreciate your concern, but please don’t worry about us. Minturn will be just fine. Here are some facts that I have not seen in your Vail Daily, some simple math, really: Fact 1: At an occupancy rate of 2.5 people per space this RV park and accompanying cabins, at full occupancy, would “intern” more people than actually voted in our town election (a shame, really). 2: If you figure each RV at 30 feet, and allow a 20 foot buffer for safety, that gives a length of 50 feet per unit. Multiply that times 110. That comes to over one mile. Check it on your odometer folks as you drive out of town. …

When I look up and down this valley, I am sure that I do not want our little stronghold of Minturn to throw its hat in with the sellout crowd and turn the keys of the town over to another greedy out-of-town corporation. …

In the end, this election was not about

RVs or greedy corporations. It was an election about up-front and friendly government “by the people for the people” (contrast with: “by the money for the money”). So please stop with your RV Park agenda because I actually live here and I worry that this monied mentality of “one Hummer, one vote” will poison our emerald valley. …

That piece of property in Minturn may be the last great piece of open space in the upper valley and hands down is one of the most beautiful. It would be nice to share it with the valley and our visitors, but we need to do it in a manner that we can control. We need to be able to turn the traffic on and off like a spigot, just like we do with our precious water and the Minturn Market. Would anybody like to see the Minturn Market every day of summer? With every visitor driving a fossil-fueled monster truck? I doubt it. What’s next? Escalator up to the Lion’s Head? As I understand it the Minturn Market has been working very well for everyone involved with the exception of through traffic. Why can’t we start small by paving out a nice lot over at the gravel pit and expanding the market over there? It would pull the traffic out of the downtown area and bring in more revenue at the same time. We could still have a small “premiere market” downtown but have a full-on festival atmosphere in the gravel pit without annoying anyone.

What about a skate park over there for the kids? A little climbing wall? Dare I mention an inexpensive stage on a trailer or even an amphitheater of some sort? Would Vail Resorts sue Minturn for infringing on their party rights? … It doesn’t have to be monstrous! It could be a tiny little thing with character, soul, and a respect for the environment. Cross country ski track or sledding hill in winter? Snowshoe track? What about a weekend snowmobile festival and a race over Battle Mountain to Camp Hale?

I think we should start small and work up from there, with the main idea being that the citizenry of Minturn decide what works and what doesn’t. With a little less apathy and a bit of creativity, perhaps we can squeeze Democracy’s dying breath out of our own little town. That alone might draw visitors. “Come see the town where people actually give a damn!”

You don’t have to ruin something to make money off of it. Not all great ideas start with bulldozers and cement mixers (or bombs). I think that if people take a good look around this valley and see what has been done to it, and then go look at the elk grazing peacefully above all that potential open space, they might realize that Minturn is becoming more valuable every day. … Let’s hold on to it.

Stay tuned kids, it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.

Clay Hall

Minturn


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