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Letters to the editor

I would like to speak with the person who called Tipsline complaining about rodeo and cruelty to animals. Two good photos in a recent Thursday edition of the Vail Daily are very typical of rodeo. Identify the animals being abused or subjected to cruelty. Bucking horses, bucking bulls, roping calves, barrel racing horses, mutton busting sheep? What then?My brother and I were bred and born on the ranch. Our father, also born on the ranch, used his knowledge and experience as a rancher and cowboy to become a rodeo judge. We saw countless rodeos. Some of the bigtime National Western in Denver, to the local ranch pastures where local cowboys and wannabes tested their skills on Saturday afternoons. To the best of my knowledge and experience I have never seen a rodeo animal injured or have to be put down. I’ve seen plenty of cowboys assisted from the arena by helpful friends or by stretchers manned by medical personnel.Just tell us about your experiences involving cruelty and injuries inflicted by man to rodeo animals.Frank DollRevisionistMrs. J. Rubin’s letter to the editor on Aug. 19 is a revisionist history of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. When all sides of the historical evidence are explored, it is not unfair to consider her tirade as unadulterated propaganda that unfairly denigrates the state of Israel.Let me be clear that Israel is not above other nations in committing atrocious acts from time to time. But Mrs. Rubin’s allegations are false and misleading.Now for the truth about the early years of formation of the state of Israel:– Were there villages in which Arabs were forced to abandon by the Israeli armed forces? The answer is yes. Usually, these were in strategic areas, such as near army bases or air fields.– Were Palestinians systematically killed in this forced evacuation of Arab villages? Basically, no. However, in the interest of completeness, there was a single isolated incident – the village of Deir Yassin – that Israeli irregulars (the Irgun) killed Arab civilians. It was not Israeli policy to kill civilians.– Were there atrocities committed against the Jewish civilian population by local Arabs and their armed allies from neighboring countries? Assur-edly, yes. In fact, there was a massacre of a busload of civilian medical workers and doctors – 77 mercilessly killed – on the road to Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital during the spring of 1948. Also, many Jewish villages were attacked by the invading armies of Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq and the other Arab interventionists. Many Jewish civilians were killed as a matter of Arab policy.– Most of the Arabs in the area that is present-day Israel left their homes voluntarily under strict orders of the Arab leadership. Ben Gurion and others pleaded with the Arabs to stay and work together to build a country, but the pressures on the locals by their leadership was too intense to resist. The purpose of leaving was to aid the invading Arab armies so that they could sweep into the area and kill all of the remaining people, the Jews.– At about the same time and for the next several years, 600,000 Jews who lived in Iraq, Lebanon, Tunisia and other Arab countries were evicted from their homes and businesses and subsequently taken in and resettled by Israel. Some of these Jewish communities dated back 3,500 years!Most of the land that is present-day Israel was owned by the Ottoman Empire and was not in private hands. During this time period, Baron Edmund Rothschild assisted Jewish pioneers to form agricultural settlements in what was then called ‘Palestine’. This land was purchased rightfully – usually at exorbitant prices – from their Arab owners. This land acquisition continued during the British Mandate period (1919-48) until Yasser Arafat declared that any Arab selling land to a Jew was punishable by death. Only then did Arab land sales stop.Ms. Rubin fantasizes that Israeli policy was to forcibly expel local Muslim inhabitants is inaccurate and inflammatory. Nothing could be further from the truth.Mindy KittayRifleSetbacksThank you (Bob Narracci, planning manager for Eagle County) for the opportunity to review the proposed change to the stream setback from the current limitation of 50′ to the proposed setback of 75 feet. I have a few comments and concerns about a blanket change to the regulation. A blanket change to a land use regulation has the sometimes unintended consequence of rendering properties, commercial buildings, and residential homes nonconforming and thus impacting the ability of owners of these “nonconforming” buildings to modify, enhance, or change. I would suspect that there have been hundreds of homes, commercial buildings, and other legal site improvements developed in the unincorporated areas of Eagle County under the existing 50-foot regulation. I suspect there are even county roads that do not meet the proposed standard, as well. Creating such a nonconformity could result in problems with mortgage re-finance, hinder the refinance and federal qualifications of multiple-family and affordable housing complexes, render public buildings and facilities nonconforming, and reduce the value of one’s home or property significantly. A potential purchaser of an impacted home might think twice about buying a home that cannot be renovated or expanded.I think the idea of a 75-foot stream setback is a wonderful concept and might have some merit when applied to undeveloped and unplatted lands within Eagle County.The proposed regulation needs to contain provisions which allow existing homes and commercial properties constructed under the current regulations to be exempt, allow a property owner to encroach upon the setback if it can be shown that there are no adverse impacts to the stream, and provisions allowing a variance, at a minimum.Another reason that a blanket 75-foot setback might be inappropriate is that there may be special circumstances that are unique to a specific property. For example, there are lands in Eagle County where the flat developable area of the site is within 75 feet horizontally of the edge of a creek but yet 30 feet plus vertically above the creek and not truly riparian in character. I also agree with Rick Pylman, who has suggested that there should be a hierarchy of setback requirements. The Eagle River may warrant a 75-foot setback where its tributaries may not.Before this regulation is adopted, I think the county should understand the magnitude of the impact of the regulation and how many properties and structures will be impacted or rendered nonconforming. Additionally, every affected property owner should be notified by letter that the proposed regulation may render their property nonconforming. Please keep me informed on the process and hearings dates for this application as I would like to participate in the discussion of changes to this regulation.Dominic F. MaurielloObviously too bigMr. Knobel withdrew his application for a new Crossroads. Can anyone blame him for being irked that his project went through the Vail planning department and got unanimous approval at great expense to him and then was rejected by the Town Council? It is obvious to everyone there are strong feelings in Vail against these overly-high, monstrous structures, starting with the Four Seasons at 89 feet and going on from there – obvious to everyone except to town planners.People want to see mountains, not stone high rises. The problem appears to be in the planning department as well as in the town council. They are out of touch with Vail property owners and Vail tourists and citizenry in general.At the PEC hearing Aug. 8, the Four Seasons returned with requests to decrease employee housing, shop space, and landscaping in their development even though those were among the original “public benefits” to justify throwing over zoning regulations regarding height restriction. These changes were approved unanimously by complacent planning commissioners, as was the original project. They just don’t get it. People come to Vail for mountain scenery, and mountain sports, not for urbanization, mall arcades, theaters, amusement parks, or ballrooms, and, not to walk down stone corridors that block out their views of the mountains. It’s the mountains; it’s the mountains. Why don’t they get it and give developers proper guidelines that adhere to zoning regulation and stop wasting money and time? Why don’t Mr. Knobel, the Four Seasons, and other developers get it? It’s because the planning department and town council don’t get it.Clarence AndersonImproving housingHabitat for Humanity’s Board of Directors greatly appreciates your continued support of our endeavors as we strive to eliminate poverty housing in Eagle County. We are fortunate to live and operate in a generous community and to have such a powerful advocate in the Vail Daily! Barbara DuncanTo the pointFor several years and months, this reader has followed the comments of your relatively well-informed weekly columnist on the war in Iraq.My response as follows: Butch, it ain’t happening.Bert NaumannVail, Colorado


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