Letters to the editor | VailDaily.com

Letters to the editor

Porter Wharton III

It has been my experience that often a seemingly small issue, when examined and considered, actually has a great deal of importance. Just such an issue was covered nicely in the recent article by Kathy Heicher headlined “Eagle seeks home delivery.” The piece chronicled the traffic congestion at the post office on Chambers, reviewed past studies on the “problem” and identified what appears to be some folks’ preferred solution – home delivery. The article concluded with one of the most head-scratching statements I have read in some time, attributed to Eagle Mayor Jon Stavney: “Door-to door delivery is very much in keeping with Eagle’s self-concept.” Is that so? I’m not at all sure, particularly after closely watching the ongoing flip-flopping surrounding the proposed Red Mountain Ranch project what exactly the self-concept of Eagle is, but home delivery does not fit in to my humble concept of what I want my community to be. And I don’t think I’m alone. In surveys I have read as well as countless individual conversations, the sense of community – Eagle’s smalltown feel – is the leading reason cited as to what makes this a desirable place to live.In my experience working in communities of all sizes, all over the country for over 25 years, one of the most important factors contributing to a sense of small town community is PO box mail delivery at a central post office. Where else do you run into more of your friends and neighbors on a regular basis than the post office? Not even City Market, because you get your mail more often than groceries. Look no farther than some of our neighboring communities. Vail old-timers still lament their post office being moved out of town and on to the frontage road, and most Vail residents enjoy the daily experience of running into friends and neighbors at the post office. I lived there for 15 years – I think I know. Aspen has clung to their PO box mail delivery for exactly this reason as have many other small towns. At the same time, our Eagle town leaders endlessly thrash about looking for ways to invigorate the Broadway central business area. And I completely agree with this goal. Without a vital core, a community can be characterized as Dorothy Parker described Oakland. “There’s no there, there.”Well, let me offer two suggestions. First, if you want a vital downtown, like Basalt or Frisco for example, you stop approving projects that compete with downtown. I think Eagle Ranch is one of the finest residential projects in the country, but I’ll never understand why Eagle Ranch was allowed to build a new and competing “downtown.” And now let’s increase the competition by green-lighting another “downtown” at Red Mountain Ranch. I can understand approving these projects if you don’t care about having a viable core to your community, but that’s not how our leaders act. They say they want Broadway to be viable. If that’s the case, stop creating its competition. Let Merv Lapin develop his land, put a “big box” on it if he must, just don’t do it in a way that sucks what life there is out of the central business district. My second suggestion is to put the post office back downtown on a bigger, better designed lot and keep PO box delivery. After casual observation, there seems to be several possibilities at or very near the Broadway area – some are blighted and an embarrassment for anyone showing friends our community. The relocated post office would act in much the same manner as an anchor tenant in a shopping mall. It would bring people to downtown – people that might get a cup of coffee or lunch or a toy for the kids if they were out of the car and getting the mail nearby. More people will bring more businesses, more vitality, people improving their properties, demand for more commercial space, etc. This is a way to jump start downtown Eagle. Streetscape improvement is nice, but trees don’t buy things. Business owners need people. The post office can bring people. With all due respect to Mayor Stavney, this is a self-concept. Traffic at the post office is in and of itself a relatively small issue, but it actually could be critical to the future of Eagle. Porter Wharton IIIEagleGoose, ganderComes now … that the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled making it easier for governments to seize private property from the rightful owner, eminent domain, condemnation …Comes now … that the town of Avon desires a white water park in the Eagle River for that section of the river that passes through the town of Avon …Comes now … that two sitting Avon Town Council members (Kristi Ferraro and Tamra Underwood) own their respective homes in the town of Avon along the north side of the Eagle River within the boundaries of the town of Avon …Comes now … that at the last Avon Town Council meeting, discussion on the proposed white water park centered on the fact that what is needed is “access to the river” … and in fact, the town of Avon has little to no public access within the town boundaries …So therefore … that this former Avon council member makes a motion to condemn the two homes of Avon council members Kristi Ferraro and Tamra Underwood for the express public good of providing public access to the town of Avon’s white water park.Respectfully submitted.Peter BuckleyAvonImpeach the rascalThis week I received an e-mail from the liberal organization moveon.org. They wanted my vote on pulling troops out of Iraq despite the rising violence and carnage. I voted no, but fully 83 percent of respondents said yes! It is easy to see why the majority in the U.S. want the troops home. With more than 1,700 U.S. deaths and daily bombings, Iraq has become a quagmire. Nevertheless, withdrawal would only turn Iraq into an even hotter cooking pot for al-Zarqawi and his cronies. A recently reported CIA study has concluded that Iraq has become “an even more effective training ground for Islamic extremists than Afganistan.” See what King George the second has done? He and Rummy have converted a largely peaceful Iraq under the dictatorship of Saddam into a honeypot attracting Islamic kids from all across the world to become martyrs and fight America, the great satan! Eventually this training will produce a second successful attack on major civilian targets in the US of A. George has made us LESS safe than we were before the invasion. However, we have to stay and try to keep the terror within Iraq borders. The Economist magazine says that showing the world that the terrorists had “cast out the Americans” would produce an exporting of the jihad throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Kasmir, the Balkans, and the United States, as well. In short, George has spent thousands of lives and billions of dollars in pursuit of a illegal war based on a lie and landed us in a totally intractable mess that makes America less safe. Congress (if anyone there has any balls at all) should impeach the rascal. Tom McCaldenWolcottVail, Colorado

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