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Letters to the editor

T.J. Conners

Matt Zalaznick, do you have any idea what was behind the separation of the Vail Recreation District from the town? Did you bother looking in the archives for some historical background? Your editorial piece on March 3 did not at all reflect research or history. It just offered an opinion based on what other towns do. Can you really think your simplistic solution would work? Your statement, “The same people who answer the phones for Town Hall could answer them for golf and gymnastics without breaking a sweat” is an insult to those who work for the VRD, shows how little you really know and how biased an editorial you wrote. Before 1993, when the town managed recreation, it did so in a manner that was not very satisfactory and we overwhelmingly voted for the VRD to be created. We had suffered with fewer programs and vacillating recreation budgets based on the town’s financial crisis of the moment where recreation was always seen as a fund that could be raided for other purposes like more police, fixing potholes and such. The reason for separating the town and the VRD was to ensure that recreation’s funding and growth was protected and that there was one organization just focused on recreation. You do some research and you will find that true. You advocate disbanding the VRD that has given us programs including men’s, ladies and youth ice hockey; Vail Golf Club adult golf clinics, Teva Trail Running Series, Beaver Creek & Vail Mountain Challenge Bike Series, junior tennis camps, ladies’ and men’s tennis clinics, mixed doubles tennis sessions, summer slow pitch softball league, Lacrosse Shootout, invitational soccer tournament, indoor volleyball league, men’s flag football league, adult figure skating camp, summer ice skating school, Vail Invitational Skating Championships, Bob Johnson Hockey School, Rick Heinz Goalie and Hockey School, Rocky Mountain Baseball Camp, Skyhawks Lacrosse Camp, Major League Youth Soccer Camp, junior golf camps, Fred Alexander Memorial Golf programs for youth; Howard Head Youth Performance Enhancement Camp, Mini-Hawk Sports Camp, preschool gymnastics classes, martial arts, gymnastics league teams, dance classes, Pre-Camp Vail for kids 30 months5 years old, Camp Vail for kids 5-12, Camp Eco Fun for kids 7-11, Planet Fun Creative Spot, Mini Mountain Hikes, Leapin’ Leonardos, Safe Sitter babysitting classes, 4th of July float decorating, Vail Skatepark. skateboard clinics, Easter Egg hunts, Trick-or-Treat Trot, New Year’s youth event, Spring Carnival, adult backcountry hikes, Eco-Tour hut trips, nature photography workshops, morning bird walks, fly fishing and stream ecology classes, wildflower walks, evening beaver pond tours, Bright Stars and Flaming Marshmallow adventure, snowshoeing, winter photography, just to name a few!WASTE: You propose returning stewardship of Vail’s Recreation to a town govern ment that has wasted public monies again and again. Witness the more than more than $250,000-plus in wasted architectural fees for the first plan for Donovan Pavilion that was scrapped; the $800,000 for Seibert Circle and its art that may end up being wasted monies because the Town Council does not like the plan their predecessors approved; the town’s management plan, or lack thereof, for parking and deliveries during the construction planned for the next few years and the more than $12 million spent for Donovan Park. RETT funds that are mandated for parks and recreation have been used for streetscape and other projects that are a very loose interpretation of Parks and Recreation, further demonstrating the Town Council’s inability to be a responsible steward for Vail’s recreation needs. PARKING: Vail now has a parking structure top level that was meant for the locals who paid for this structure and for shoppers which is now full with construction vehicles every day, many from downvalley. Why not have planned in advance staged parking for these workers? Why not have the proposed Crossroads project, Sonnenalp addition, convention center, Four Seasons, new Lionshead hotels and other new projects help with our parking problem by requiring them to participate in a constructive and cooperative plan to build addition public underground parking in return for the exceptions to the zoning regulations they all ask for? We have construction in Vail Village with no evidenced plan for delivery vehicles to access the stores and intended clients without being hurried and harassed by police and other enforcement officials. We need more solutions and planning in advance of projects. SUGGESTION: Matt, you are looking at the wrong end of this tale. You took an underinformed and cheap potshot at the wrong target! I expect more from our only daily newspaper. Maybe next time you’ll get it right. Perhaps the VRD board which has expanded programs, renovated the Dobson, built a gymnastics facility, dramatically improved the golf course, kept user fees down while reducing payroll costs by more than 15 percent should take over the town government or at least serve as a good example for them. The error of not requesting taxes due for one year is not reason enough for your article and the director of the VRD’s resignation was the price he paid for his mistake. What price do our councilmen pay for their mistakes, which are plentiful? The truth is that all elected officials can be second guessed and that we should be thankful they agree to serve and hopeful that they have enough humility to admit their mistakes and learn from them. T.J. ConnersSafety firstRule No. 1 for a successful business: “The customer is always right!” As far as I remember, rule No. 2: “In case that the customer is not right, go back to rule No. 1. But tell me now, who is the customer on Vail Mountain? Is it the local employee, who skis for free or for dramatically reduced prices? Is it the Denver skier who comes only on weekends? Or is it the Vail destination visitor? And what happens to the customer if the cook eats his own meal? In other words, do we need visitors if the Vail employees are enough to keep this mountain busy? We just had a weekend when the restricted ski passes did not work. The halfpipe was empty and the mountain was peaceful. Then, the third day was everybody’s day. What a difference. Boarders shooting down and the local experts enjoyed their high-speed skiing.Those locals are wonderful people, as long as you meet them at their business, in a bar or on the chairlift. But on the slopes they get wild. Don’t ask for right or wrong – just get out of their way. Simply read the comments in “Tipsline.” After somebody complained about dangerous skiing in the Vail Daily on Feb. 20, you could read this comment: “This individual claims they have been skiing here for 30 years. Maybe it’s time for them to move on and ski somewhere else, like maybe Aspen, I don’t know !”VR and the town of Vail try to attract destination guests, and local skiers chase them away. Such comments you would never hear in the European Alps, as even the last farmer knows there that tourism feeds them all.”If you don’t like my behavior go somewhere else.” You can hear that again and again. What gives these people the right to send others away? Shouldn’t they be happy themselves to get the possibility to ski here? Do you understand when I ask “who is the customer in Vail?”Whose ski mountain is this? Is it the privilege of locals (whatever that means) to use it, and guests are allowed also to be on it. Or is it a ski mountain for the visitors and the locals accept their needs of safety and their well-founded fear of speed skiing?It is simply irresponsible to go full speed into blind spots which are behind corners, steep edges and so on. It seems to be only a question of time until we have another horrible accident.I was very pleased to see finally the yellow flag “No Jumping!” where Riva enters Golden Peak. But why did it take so long until this sign was finally put up there? How high is the value of a skier’s life compared to the freedom on the ski mountain?On the other hand, is it not very sad that it is necessary to put up a sign like that?How high is the responsibility or intelligence of somebody who jumps into a busy hill without seeing at all where he is going to land? The fact is that there are still too many guys on this mountain who ignore the word responsibility or at least leave their brain at home when they go skiing or boarding.The best speed skier is world champion Bode Miller. He crashed this season in most of his World Cup slaloms, which means he missed a turn.There are kids on Vail Mountain who call themselves expert skiers. They declare they are well able to ski fast – everywhere! Are they better then Bode? Will they never miss a turn? If Bode misses a turn, it’s only a speed gate that he skis down. If a “Vail expert” misses a turn, it might be a person that he knocks down. And where do these speeders show their downhill abilities? No, not on the black runs. Not on Forever, Genghis or Blue Ox. Not at places where almost nobody is skiing. They want to be seen, so they ski green and blue runs. Why is there not finally some sign – “No straight downhill run on beginner slopes” or into the constantly crowded run-outs of the mountain?If some people are too selfish and ignorant to understand that they should do, then there is the necessity to get them under control! But the biggest problem is not how to control them. The biggest problem is that a lot of them seem to be Vail employees, who also seem to have special protection or special rights.You cannot drive at high speed in downtown Denver, and you cannot go straight into a run-out of Vail Mountain. To close both eyes and to declare this is the freedom of skiing makes no sense to me. To make Vail a safe ski resorts would attract more skiers and get more money to this place. Believe it or not, the biggest need of Vail’s customers is safety.Otto WiestThings change, all rightI, too, would like to know who took the “public” out of the Vail Library? I was recently 86’d by the library not because of fines, but because, according to the manager, I reside in Red Cliff (which I have for almost 20 years). I might also add that I have had a library card at the Vail “Public” Library for about 25 years, and have never had a problem checking out a book. On my last visit to the library I was told there was a “problem” with my card and was asked to show my driver’s license. I did and the woman at the desk informed me I would have to speak to the manager before I could check out a book. I spoke with the manager (whose name I don’t recall) and she informed me that because I am a resident of Red Cliff my property tax dollars are allocated to the Avon Public Library and I was therefore no longer welcome at the Vail “Public” Library. My card was confiscated. She then told me in no uncertain terms that “we are here for the tourists and we need to have materials available on the shelves for them.” It has always been my understanding that the tourist were not issued library cards, as proof of residency is required. Should we all assume that the Vail “Public” Library will now be closed during the months of May and October?I was truly appalled by this woman and for some time I tried to reason with her. First of all, I really don’t have a choice where my property taxes are allocated. I pay them and even vote on issues that are important to me that affect my tax dollars, but overall I feel they are a necessary evil and I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about them. (I’d rather be reading a book).I then explained to her that I had been using the Vail “Public” Library for about 25 years. Her only reply was, “Things change. This isn’t the same place it was 25 years ago.” Lame explanation, I’m aware of that.She then informed me that if I were to go to the Avon Public Library that I could get a card there, and then I would be “eligible” to receive a new Vail “Public” Library card. However, I was not to use the Vail “Public” Library as my primary library. It was to be considered a supplemental library.I’m not opposed to getting a card at the Avon Library. I just don’t think I would use it, as I work across the street from the Vail “Public” Library. Walking over to grab a book on a break or a rainy day used to be a simple pleasure, available to anyone in the valley who could prove residency. I’ve always thought libraries were here for those who love to read and learn. How sad to find out otherwise. Maureen ArnoldTough walking hereI am a pedestrian and would like to remined all the drivers out there that please give right of way to pedestrians when crossing roads at roundabouts and at pedestrian crossings in Vail and Avon.I have had close calls where one car stops and in the middle of crossing the road, some other car just happens to want run me over as if I have no right to cross the road. Please give way to pedestrians.Brighton KhumaloAvonVail, Colorado


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