Letters to the editor
As election day approaches for the Vail Town Council, it’s becoming obvious we will have some new vacancies. I for one will be joining with my fellow locals to help dismiss the myopic members of the council who seem to vote a no to any development that may enhance the lives of our ever-growing, year-round, local community.However, who we vote out of office is as important as who we vote in. For the sake of the town, I suggest we be methodical in our selection of new potential candidates and, of their agendas.As we vote in a “new guard,” it is our duty to examine and pre-qualify the political personalities that could represent our town. I’ve compiled a vague list of these attributes I think may be fitting for potential candidates. Please forgive me. I know I don’t speak for everyone. I hope others for change would also chime in on this list. Please understand.We want development of corner gas stations that do not engage in obvious price fixing. We want development of rental and ownership housing that is affordable for long-term locals. We want entertainment options (outside of bars) for our family and friends in Vail Village. We want police enforcement of trash laws that protect our forest and forest-dwelling friends. We want new development that does not alienate honest potential investors with games of City Council Ping-Pong. We want candidates who understand that this valley will grow and are willing to help the new infrastructure to be competitive and environmentally friendly, yet harmonious to the needs of the community. We, the locals of Vail, do not want to continue to spend our tax dollars downvalley, where our vitality is being swept away.Vail Village is no longer “just a seasonal tourist town.” We are a family of voting, year-round locals, and the collective votes of change is in our hands. The old establishment says through their voting record that if development for locals is allowed to take place, our town will lose its charm. It is my belief that Vail must redevelop itself in order to retain our charm, equally for our locals, as well as our guests. Vail has so much potential, it’s becoming more sad each year as our neighboring communities develop to cater to the needs of their locals and we sit idle, in our engineless F-1 race car.Yet, we cannot be turbid in this next election and must not trade one devil for another. Candidates who are yes men to all development projects must be rejected. I strongly believe in a personality component that cannot be fratricidal as current – rather, ambiguous and respective to the above aforementioned.Lastly, I don’t believe this valley has to be a center of a class warfare. Cannot the ideals of old gently provide wisdom for the new?Fellow locals, let us join together on election day and guide Vail Village back to the free thinking ideals on which this mecca was founded.Stephen R. PorterVailGood summerIn early September the Nature Discovery Center atop Vail Mountain closed its doors after another successful season providing outreach and education to local residents and visiting guests. Nearly 5,000 people walked through our doors this summer and learned something new about the amazing natural environs surrounding Eagles Nest. I’d like to thank everyone who visited the center, took a guided naturalist exploration, or participated in the new Eagle Explorers Junior Naturalist program. Gore Range Natural Science School is indebted to Vail Resorts for their unwavering support and commitment to developing the Nature Discovery Center as Colorado’s most visited resort-based environmental learning center. Thank you Vail Resorts and especially Bill Jensen for believing in and advancing Gore Range Natural Science School’s mission to raise environmental awareness and inspire stewardship in Colorado’s Rocky Mountain ecosystem. We also extend our gratitude to the U.S. Forest Service, Holy Cross Ranger District, for partnering with GRNSS and Vail Resorts on the Nature Discovery Center. GRNSS’ partnership with the U.S. Forest Service included a remarkable line-up of new summer programs on the White River National Forest. This was a summer of wonderful firsts: staffing the information desk at the Holy Cross Ranger District; community programs on Camp Hale; evening programs at Gore Creek Campground; and wildflower hikes at Vail Pass. We also thank Tom Gaylord and the Vail Recreation District for another successful summer of programming at the Vail Nature Center. Over 2,500 visitors enjoyed a visit to the Vail Nature Center, walked the trails along Gore Creek or participated in a beaver pond tour, bird walk, wildflower walk, or evening program. It’s a pleasure to work with all our education partners and we look forward to many more successful seasons. Thank you all for the wonderful opportunity to better serve the residents and visitors of Eagle County. Our community and Gore Range Natural Science School grow stronger because of you. Markian FeduschakExecutive DirectorGore Range Natural Science School It’s not racismI’m tired of all of the liberals griping about racism in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Race is not the issue. The response to Katrina simply reflects the values of our political and economic systems. These systems have made America the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth.Within these systems, medical care, housing, food and other resources are not distributed on the basis of race or need (except in life-threatening emergencies, which no longer exist for Katrina’s victims), but on the ability to pay, or the ability to deliver votes and/or campaign contributions. In the aftermath of 9/11, Congress explicitly mandated that compensation to survivors of victims not be shared equally, but calculated lost earnings into the value of each life lost. As a result, wealthy victims received far more compensation than the poor, who arguably needed it more. Even a man who jumped, killing a heroic firefighter below, received greater compensation than his victim. Not only does our legal system accept that the lives of the well-educated and well-compensated are worth more than that of the poor and ignorant, but this underlying economic fact, and not racism, is also the reason we send the poor and uneducated war. Don’t let the liberal media fool you, of the 37 million Americans who live in poverty, only 8.8 million are black, while 16.1 million are white. As Barbara Bush so eloquently put it, “So many of the people in the arena here, you know, were underprivileged anyway, so this is working very well for them.” They had very little and thus deserve little compensation. It is the owners of businesses, expensive boats, beachfront homes, etc., who lost the most, and thus deserve the greatest compensation. This is the American way. If you don’t like it, quit complaining. Leave the country or start a (peaceful) revolution.Todd RymerBefore it’s too late Rumor has it that the big box Costco will open its doors at the Gateway business center east of Gypsum in the summer of 2006. Is this true? Does it make sense to stop this high-end big box from going in east of Eagle just to see it go in on the west side? Does this, along with the Ginn development near Minturn, spell the end of smalltown rural Eagle County? Are we going to be just another extension of the strip city octopus that is ever spreading its arms out from the mega cities on the East Slope? Small businesses unite and fight before it’s too late. Roger Brown GypsumC and DIn one of their television ads, the opponents of Referenda C and D claim that passing these measures would “give politicians a blank check.” This statement is not true: The money released for expenditure by Referendum C will be spent as follows: 30 percent on K-12 schools, 30 percent on community and state colleges, 30 percent on health care and 10 percent to fund bonds for the infrastructure expenditures on Referendum D. The Referendum D expenditures are divided very specifically between roads and bridges, K-12 schools, higher education and firefighter/police pensions. All of these expenditures are necessary if Colorado is to maintain the level of education and infrastructure it needs to attract investment and jobs.On another level, the statement that Referenda C and D would “give politicians a blank check” is even more disturbing. Although we all love to pick on politicians, in this case they are the people we voted for so that they could spend our tax money on things that we as Coloradans need. Like roads, schools and health care for the elderly. Most of our elected representatives on the state level are responsible people who are doing a difficult job for not much money. Most of them are accessible to their constituents, and they are all accountable when election time rolls around. This state of affairs is called representative democracy. When the opponents of Referenda C and D demonize our elected representatives as a group, they are insulting Colorado voters.Referenda C and D will not raise our (low by national standards) state tax rate. They will correct the “ratchet effect” of the Tabor Amendment, which causes state expenditures to be referenced to the worst recession years instead of years when we have normal economic activity. They don’t give anyone a blank check. They have an unprecedented level of bipartisan support. Our schools and colleges desperately need the money they would provide. Highway 6 needs the money they would provide. Let’s allow our state representatives to do the job they were elected to do. Cynthia LepthienEagleVail, Colorado
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.