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Letters to the editor

Elizabeth Holland

In the Vail Daily on Tuesday, Richard Carnes said, “No one is voting for Sen. Kerry, only against President Bush.” Well, Richard, you are wrong. Obviously, your narrow opinion does not include me.I am voting for John Kerry because he helped my 86-year-old mother last year. Last October my elderly mother received a notice from Social Security that she owed $336.40 from over 30 years ago and that it would be taken out of her January check. My sister was outraged and wrote a letter to Anne Jacobsky, who was the assistant regional commissioner for Social Security in Jamaica, N.Y.Here is part of her letter: “Is this what my tax dollars are going towards??? Having someone in the Social Security Administration research records of 30 years ago? Believe me, the $336.40 you are planning on taking from my mother WILL NOT get you out of the 3 trillion dollar Social Security deficit. My mother will turn 86 in January when you plan to take half of her monthly check! In pursuing errors from 30 years ago, I bet you’ve found that most cannot be recovered – why? because most of the people are probably dead!”…Richard, my sister also sent a copy of her letter to JoAnne Barnhart, the commissioner of the Social Security Administration in Washington. There was absolutely NO response from either Ms. Barnhart or Ms. Jacobsky. A copy was sent to Sen. Kerry and he responded in two weeks. That is how he runs his office and I would expect no less when he is president. Richard, you can spout the rhetoric of the negative ads, but you don’t know what John Kerry has done for the “little people.” With his help, my sister got the problem resolved.The real kicker to this whole situation is that Social Security usually does not pursue such small amounts. How many elderly people do you think could figure out the paperwork and navigate their way to the Social Security office? If an elderly person didn’t have someone to look for them, then how would they pay for their rent, food or medicine? I wonder why this administration feels the need to target the elderly when the previous administrations of Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush No. I and Clinton did not feel the same pressing need? The elderly must be an easy target probably because it is too hard for them to fight the government unlike big corporations with their lobbyists and huge political donations. Let’s just hope that the Social Security fund is still around when all of us baby boomers retire and that the Bush administration hasn’t totally depleted it to keep the war in Iraq afloat. Richard, you should be concerned how your tax dollars have been spent by the Bush administration and why there is an outrageous trillion dollar deficit. That alone would be why people are going to vote for John Kerry. Remember he voted for a balanced budget.Another reason that I am voting for John Kerry is because I do not believe in a war of choice. Perhaps, Richard, you are too young to remember Vietnam. I had friends die over there. There were other friends that survived the war but not the demons. Some turned to drugs and alcohol; others came back with psychological problems and their lives ended all too early. Personally, I would hate to see that happen to anyone again, but that is the reality of war whether it is Vietnam or Iraq. President Bush has not demonstrated to me that he has a real strategy for ending this war but maybe you know something I don’t. Maybe you could open your wallet for the additional $20 billion that he now needs for the war?I have only given a couple of reasons why I am voting for John Kerry but believe me, there are numerous others. I believe that if someone helps you out, as he did with my mother, you repay the favor. Most importantly, Richard, remember that John Kerry has not forgotten “the little people.”Elizabeth HollandOnly his factsI’ve gotta be missing something here. After reading Minturn Town Councilman Tom Sullivan’s letter, things just don’t add up for me. In essence he seems to argue that: 1) Rocky Mountain RV Resorts won’t be paying enough for the rent on the land, 2) it will cause “unbearable traffic” through town, 3) “visual impacts will be devastating,” 4) the park will chase all the elk away, 5) Minturn citizens will have to pay for the use of the recreational facilities, and 6) the RV park will decrease our property values.As I understand the vote, the citizens of Minturn have the opportunity to express whether we are in favor of the Town Council negotiating a lease of town owned land that is presently leased as a gravel pit and ready-mix plant for an RV park. The RV park would pay $25,000 per year for this privilege, which, I think, is about twice what the town gets now. The RV park would also pay property tax on improvements they make to the site, including the rec center (including a swimming pool), pavilion, amphitheater, cabins, playground equipment and picnic shelter. We don’t know how much this will amount to because we don’t know the cost of all these facilities, but it will certainly amount to more than Mr. Sullivan mentions in his letter. Oh, wait a minute; he didn’t mention any property tax this development will pay. But if these facilities cost about $10 million, the town of Minturn should get about another $50,000 per year, and the county about another $130,000 per year. That’s a little more than $25,000. Oh, and the park will also pay a percentage of their net income, which in the fifth year of operation they’ve projected at $114,000, and in the 10th year, $134,000, in addition to the $25,000, as a variable portion of their rent.Mr. Sullivan talks about “unbearable traffic.” Currently, the dump trucks and ready-mix trucks make about 50 trips per day. RMRVR projects about 19 trips per day by RVs. Hey, wait a minute, that’s 31 trips less. That’s unbearable? Actually, they project an additional 760 trips per day, including people going to the pavilion, the rec center and the other amenities, which amounts to an increase of 8 percent. But keep in mind that these are cars, not RVs, or dump trucks either. Doesn’t sound that unbearable. Mr. Sullivan compares the traffic tie up of RVs with school buses, another ridiculous comparison. School buses tie up traffic because they stop every 100 yards or so to pick up or drop off kids. Mr. Sullivan says that residents of “South Town,” that must be the local name for the south end of Minturn, “look out on a meadow and the cliffs of Cougar Ridge.” He forgets to mention the town garage and the ready mix plant, or the fact that if you drive up there, you get to look at a dump with old vehicles and boats and buildings. … He also seems to feel that the park will chase the elk away. The RV park takes up a very small percentage of the area and will probably have minimal affect on elk in the area. …Minturn residents will have to pay for the use of the rec center, just as Avon residents pay for the use of their rec center. The big difference is that as a private rec center, rather than a government operation, the town of Minturn won’t have to subsidize this rec center as the citizens of Avon do, to the tune of over $800,000 per year. … Tom Sullivan seems to be the only one who thinks the RV park will decrease property values. Four realtors polled all agreed that a well-run, high-end RV park will increase property values, not decrease them. So whom do you want to believe?So, back to my original theme, I gotta be missing something here. Mr. Sullivan claims that the presentations have been incomplete and deceptive, but his opposition shares the same characteristics. He says he wants to set the record straight, and clearly identify the facts. He apparently only wants to identify “facts” that support his opposition. Since we are only voting to allow the Town Council to enter into negotiations for a park, does he doubt the ability of the Town Council to negotiate a fair contract with a park operator? Or does he have another agenda that he’s just forgetting to mention, just as he did a lot of the facts about the current proposal? He also doesn’t mention where the Minturn will get the additional revenue to pay for the services we presently have but can’t afford. That’s what the RV park was supposed to do, and will do, if we can ever get it built. Bill HubbardMinturn God’s willIn response to Josef Staufer: President Bush’s morality is not all about money. If John Kerry is elected president he will most certainly approve government funding for embryonic stem cell research.Here is a man who has no intimate relationship with God. What about the thousands that have died in Iraq? What about the millions of unborn who die each day? How much longer will God cease to withhold his wrath on this nation? It will come sooner if more innocents continue to die. Embryonic stem cell research will only add to the number. The cry of the innocents scream out for vengeance. “Before you were in the womb, I knew you.”Are there any Christian voters out there? Do you ask yourself, “What is God’s will?” or what is our will? The Lord’s prayer says, “Thy will be done. … “We mustn’t blame Bush for the economic problems of this country. The sins of the nation. Everything happens for a reason, and nothing happens unless it is in accordance with God’s will.I’ve spoken with some who have visited Europe. Europeans anything but love America or Americans. Yet who stands up in defense of other countries or bails them out financially? We’re not here to please them, but to please God. Maybe God heard the cry of the people in Iraq. Perhaps America and George Bush were merely the tools he used to deliver them. Chaos will continue to reign in the Middle East until there is Christianity. Happy the nation who obeys God’s law.If John Kerry does indeed learn from his mistakes, it will already be too late.Jacqueline FifieldGypsumWar criminalOn May 6, 2001, Tim Russert interviewed Sen. John Kerry on “Meet the Press.” In the course of the interview, Mr. Russert asked the senator about his views on Vietnam. Here is John Kerry’s response: SEN. KERRY: “There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 caliber machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lt. calley, are war criminals.”In this interview John Kerry clearly is claiming to have committed the same atrocities he claims other soldiers committed. If we are to believe his statements above, “Yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers,” then we must also accept John Kerry’s other allegations of war crimes. In Kerry’s 1971 testimony before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, referring to the veterans investigated for war crimes in Southeast Asia, Kerry said: “They told the stories at times they had personally raped, cut off ears, cut off heads, tape wires from portable telephones to human genitals and turned up the power, cut off limbs, blown up bodies, randomly shot at civilians, razed villages in fashion reminiscent of Genghis Khan, shot cattle and dogs for fun, poisoned food stocks, and generally ravaged the countryside of South Vietnam. …”And 30 years later Kerry said, “Yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers. …” In so doing, Kerry is proclaiming himself to be war criminal. Why would anyone freely choose to support a self-proclaimed war criminal?Thomas AndersonEdwardsW.’s a fanaticI believe George W. Bush is the first president to use extreme faith as a basis for governing in a Western nation. He speaks in code to all his followers (the new American Christian theocracy) with phrases like “you know who I am and you know what I believe.” People who attend church are told it would be a sin to vote for anyone other than George W. Bush. Like David Koresh or and Jim Jones, W. believes he is the chosen one who will lead the righteous Christians into the promised land. He does not have to explain his actions to anyone because he is infallible. He is the chosen one and he is incapable of error. It appears that nothing else matters, like the economy, the environment, health care. The war is the only thing that really matters to W. I believe it has something to do with End Times. I don’t know what that is exactly, but it sounds like a big war. I wonder if Osama Bin Laden believes himself to be infallible? One man’s god is another man’s devil. I hope the larger population of Americans will see this man as he is: a fanatic with the keys to the greatest power on earth. Let’s take his keys away on Tuesday. Bob CallicrateEagleOne answerI believe that one’s desire to be president of the United States should be the first criteria for their dismissal from candidacy.McGuire ScrogginsAvonMy choiceYou’ve read the letters from fellow citizens supporting certain candidates, specifically De Clark and Runyon. They make it clear who they want, and try to send messages across the minds of all the readers to try to persuade them to see it their way. Partisan this, non-partisan that, exploit this preserve that, this is right. that is wrong. Its all a matter of opinion. The fact is, growth and prosperity are the product of development and none of us would be here otherwise.I migrated here 21 years ago from St. Louis. As I drove across the Great Plains, I wondered what my future had in store for me. As I headed toward Vail, my final destination, in pursuit of my fame and fortune, I could hear opportunity knocking on my door. I thought, “Man, a guy could make a fortune out here. “There’s gold in them thar hills,” I thought, and I’m sure I’m not the only one. After leaving my birthplace, the same place where the likes of my late great great uncle Robert Brookings so masterfully developed rail stations that would catapult commerce out and across the Great Plains and eventually to the West Coast, I thought, “This is going to be great. I’ll be the next Ramsey, a real slam dunk.” Well, it didn’t really work out the way I was thinking. The big dudes were already here and they keep coming out of the woodwork. But nevertheless uncle Robert, who in my mind was like a god, would still be proud of me. He paved the way for modern economics, and it’s all about economics, and economics is money, produced by supply and demand. Because of the fact that Brookings never married or had kids, much of his enormous wealth was given back to society. He was one of the nation’s first great philanthropists. In the 21 years since I landed in the valley, I’ve seen radical changes in our community. This place relies on growth and development like anywhere else. Intelligent growth and development, I might add. Richard De Clark just may possess some of the same qualities as Brookings, but on a smaller scale. He’s a brilliant man with a sound understanding of what it takes to make money. On the other hand, remember the famous quote by Ivan Boske, “Greed is good.” Look where it got him. I’m not implying that Richard is greedy. I simply don’t know him well enough, All I know is that certain powerful and influential members of our community want him to be our county commissioner, for better or for worse. Now I’d like to share with you an experience I recently had. I was on my way to Denver one day last summer. As I approached Eisenhower Tunnel, I realized I was ahead of schedule so I decided to pull off and take a quick hike. The trail became increasingly smaller the farther I went until it virtually disappeared. At that point I was just walking into a different dimension. It was a world untouched and unspoiled. To my left I noticed a slight cut traversing the side of the mountain leading up and over a saddle in the horizon. When I reached the top I was looking down into the most beautiful high alpine ecosystem completely isolated from the rest of the world. It was a huge open bowl above timber line that words just cannot describe. The sun was low so the light was spectacular. The silence was eerie. I was so awe inspired. Just less than an hour before I was at a major interstate highway, where the sound of traffic was defining. It was as if I had died and gone to heaven. It made me think of the famous quote by Jonathan Livingston upon his discovery of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe: “Scenes such as this must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight”. As I scanned the valley I soon spotted five bull elk peacefully grazing the wrinkles of the valley floor. Looking a little farther I noticed the landscape itself began to move. Then I realized I was looking at an enormous herd of elk to the likes of which I had never seen. There had to be at least 200 head coming out of the woodwork, meandering their way up into a colossal grassy valley at the base of the jagged granite peaks that make up the Continental Divide. Chuckling to myself, I thought, “Who am I kidding”, This is why I moved here 21 years ago. Now, who do you think I’m going to vote for? It’s a choice.Brooks Wallace RV park criticjust wrongI would like to respond to the false accusations and misstatements made by Minturn Councilman Sullivan in your paper directed at me and my company (Rocky Mountain RV Resorts, or RMRVR) and the ballot question 2B for Minturn. In his letter to the Vail Daily, Sullivan says “it is necessary to set the record straight and clearly identify the facts” and accuses RMRVR of using “scare tactics” and “incomplete and deceptive” information. Let me respond to Sullivan’s major objections and misstatements of the facts:– RV Park Concept: The town of Minturn Visioning Committee (volunteer concerned citizens) spent five years evaluating different uses for the current junk yard, cement batch plant and old gravel pit site and in 1999 determined that of all possible options, a luxury RV park would be the best use to provide revenue to the town with minimal impact on the town’s character and charm.– Financial Need: Sullivan’s fundamental reason to oppose this project seems to be financial: Sullivan states that the town’s budget is and will continue to be sound without new revenues from investments like the RV park: Minturn has had a difficult financial situation, and this is the reason that RMRVR was invited by the Minturn Town Council to propose a RV resort.– Town Reserves: The town has a reserve “goal” of six months’ operating costs. There is no reserve for major capital investment requirements for roads, sidewalks, public amenities or water plant. A major emergency would have to be funded with a tax increase and/or a reduction in services. — Rent: Regarding the fairness of our financial proposal to the town I have two comments. First, we will be investing an estimated $14 million in improvements to this site, at least $4.5 million of which is strictly due to requirements imposed by the town for clean up of the site, infrastructure improvements, road improvements, a recreation center and an event pavilion (which are NOT amenities we provide in our other RV parks). The town is getting over $4.5 million of improvements for which it would have to pay $200,000 or more a year to finance. Plus we will be providing a big jump in the commercial property tax base and the foot traffic for the sales tax base. Whether we make money or not on the project’s operations, the additional tax revenue to Minturn will be over $200,000 per year by 2008. More importantly, our proposal has NOT been accepted by the Town Council. Voting yes on 2B will allow the Town Council to negotiate with us. Voting no will send the town back to the drawing board to figure out how to provide sustainable revenue for adequate services and capital investment reserves.– Water Tap Fees: In evaluating our offer of $100,000 for water tap fees as inadequate, Sullivan references the town’s water tap fees for a typical single family housing project. Our engineers have calculated that our project will require a commercial 3-inch water tap, which was our basis for the $100,000 estimate in our proposal. In addition, we will be funding all of the costs of getting water and sewer lines extended from Cemetery Lane and Highway 24 to the site, and then to each location within the project. — Size: Councilman Sullivan says the “32-acre” parcel is worth $6 million. We are proposing to lease only 1819 acres, not 32, and there has been no appraisal of the property. The number of sites we have in our two RV resorts in Estes Park are 170 and 120, compared to the 74 sites we are proposing for Minturn. This is certainly not “huge” by industry standards for luxury RV resorts.– Respect: Sullivan accuses me of showing the town’s residents and their land no respect. This project is as important to me as it is to the town. We have devoted countless hours of time since February and invested more money than the town itself has to investigate the topographical, geological, environmental, traffic and infrastructure aspects of this project. We have also devoted time and money to educate the voters on this matter, including hosting site visits every weekend for the last month. I think that shows great respect. — Traffic: Sullivan claims Main Street property values will decline because of increased traffic. The total traffic increase is estimated by a consultant to be 8 percent, including trips to and from the rec center made by residents, with a net DECREASE in large vehicle traffic of 50 per day – a big reduction in noise. — Elk: Last but not least, Sullivan says “If the RV park is permitted to be built, we may wake up one day with no elk.” The site was home to three extremely invasive operations for many years (a gravel mining and rock crushing operation, a trucking firm, and a cement batch plant). The Division of Wildlife has reviewed the plans for both the KOA project and the RMRVR project, and expressed no concern about the impact either of these development would have on the elk population. The most important message I want to leave with Minturn voters is that a Yes vote on 2B does not guarantee that this project will come to be. It simply authorizes your town council to continue negotiations with RMRVR to utilize the land for this purpose and sends a message to Vail Resorts that you want their support in releasing the deed restriction to free up and clean up this land for Minturn’s benefit. A No vote sends you back to the drawing board.Pam BardHave to be a liarAn ostrich could make the same argument. But ostriches are ingenuous while this paper’s leadership can’t claim the same.In endorsing the incumbent the editor asks us to “trust” that the current administration will “find its way back” from a path of mistakes. He wants us to believe that the direction in which we’re heading is the right one for this country and the world.Let’s take a look at how trust has been earned here.In the end days of a term won by an election stolen at outset from a trusting public, the man and his advisers who lost by popular vote resorted to coercion to get unilateral support. In no small way some of our “conservatives” have continued to divert this country from its philosophic foundations by questioning the patriotism of those who inquire more deeply about current policies. Perhaps these “conservatives” are quite liberally subverting the Founding Fathers’ intent.Then there’s that charming cast of characters who also came to dinner four years ago and never left – Cheney, Ashcroft, Rove, Wolfowitz, Perle. What an inspiring bunch. To a man they intentionally avoided military service, slept with profiteering companies, and earned our admiration by their wise and selfless counsel.In light of political and economic reality, their justification of this war as a principled American response to tyranny seems more than fishy. Why have we not sent troops, liberators to Tibet, a country with an incredible culture? Wouldn’t the Tibetans, too, be better off without torture, imprisonment, re-education, execution? Oh, I forgot, that perpetrator is China.Our incumbent and gang would’ve earned much more of my trust had they simply told the hard truth, even after the “smoking gun” of WMD went cold.The success of any human endeavor is directly related to the relationships of the people involved – that’s an axiom for enlightened conduct of business and politics. Certainly our skilled diplomacy and collaboration recently has earned us unwavering trust and confidence here and elsewhere.Frankly, I want a president who, like any other capable and responsible leader entrusted with confidence, lives and futures besides his own, will continue to assess and reassess as he moves forward. Just as great mountaineers, explorers, military officers and CEOs do. If our country were a corporation, the board would’ve deposed this guy a long time ago.So now that half the nation’s trust has been lost (remember, he had four years to earn it), what could retrieve it?For me, well, I want a president who is capable of conversing with diverse people from a variety of cultures.I want a president who is willing to seek coalitions, collaborations and pursue if not consensus, at least compromise.I want a president who will seek to understand just why we have earned such hatred, and why the multitudes who feel this grow in number every day.I want a president who can balance a checkbook, because it’s my money he’s spending.I want a president who READS, for God’s sake.So in light of all of the above, just how was this endorsement made, and why might the Vail Daily and an ostrich be different?Perhaps our editor’s charge that the opponent has no position is meant to pander to a reader-advertising base composed primarily of the incumbent’s (and the editor’s own) party. Perhaps it’s weak and deadline-induced sophistry. Perhaps the editor really is well meaning, after all.Careful consideration of what’s truly being said by the incumbent’s challenger flies in the face of all these arguments. In the end, the editor’s solicitation of trust in our current leadership is more than ingenuous. It is irresponsible. Joanne YankovichMinturnVail, Colorado


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