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Letters to the editor

Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau Board of Directors

This November, Vail voters will be asked to approve a lodging tax to fund the construction of a conference center. With the support of its business partners throughout the community, the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau vigorously endorses this ballot initiative.For over 20 years, the VVCTB has advocated for the construction of a conference center in Vail. The reasons to support a conference center are simple: First, a conference center will attract more of Vail’s target customers. Second, a conference center will attract customers in Vail’s summer and shoulder seasons, making our economy more robust and create more year-round employment opportunities. Fundamentally, the benefits of a conference center are aligned with the mission of our organization: “to improve the conditions for business success.”The VVCTB has been at the heart of the local meeting and group sales business for many years. Since 1999, the Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau has tracked groups and associations that have expressed an interest in hosting a meeting in Vail but could not be accommodated because of the lack of adequate facilities-namely, a conference center. These meetings have ranged in size from 500 to 5,000 delegates. To date, over 130 groups have been turned away, with a potential for over 100,000 attendees. The majority of groups were interested in a May, June, September or October meeting and the list includes corporations like Oracle, Johnson & Johnson, Lucent Technologies and associations like the American Bar, American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Cancer.The conference center initiative is a lodging tax that will be paid by Vail’s visitors, NOT by Vail’s citizens. Even an additional 1.5% lodging tax will keep our lodging tax in line with our competitors. Most significantly, an overwhelming majority of Vail’s lodging community supports the conference center and the lodging tax.On behalf of the local business community and local Vail employees, please vote YES on the conference center. It’s the right thing for Vail.Vail Valley Chamber & Tourism Bureau Board of DirectorsStamp our povertyAs we all witnessed the horror of Katrina – and to a lesser extent, Rita – many of us seemed genuinely appalled by the poverty that became apparent. But now in the aftermath, wouldn’t it be great if those pictures caused us to rethink our national priorities? Perhaps then we would become motivated to spend our dollars on the important things. Maybe we’d all then ask why we’re spending $80 billion or $100 billion a year peddling democracy in Iraq while we have 41 million people living below the poverty level here in the United States. And did it really make sense to drastically reduce taxes when so many Americans are in desperate need of food, clothing and shelter?I fully understand that In order to reduce the current number of 41 million, we would have to motivate the less fortunate towards added education and specific training. I also understand that we wouldn’t be 100 percent successful. Nonetheless, shouldn’t we be giving top priority to a substantial reduction in the poverty and hopelessness that now exists? And if we did that, and some of the less fortunate became part of the work force and the economy, wouldn’t we then be a greater nation? And are we not selling our heritage and our country short by not making a valiant effort? We’re about decent lives for all of us and everyone’s participation in the wonders of our country and I say let’s get with it! David Le VineGiving up too easilyAs a mother of two young children and also a wife and best friend just like Michelle, I was devastated to learn that her own family has given up hope of finding her. As I write, it has only been seven days of searching! Can you imagine all of those missing children (and adults) that would have never been found if they were given up on in just seven days?! I can’t fully comprehend what Michelle’s family is going through. But what I do know after reading Michelle’s story for the past week is that Michelle would never have given up finding one of her children if they were to go missing. What I can’t understand is how they can give up on her!After reading your story, I turned to my husband and asked him what he would do in their situation. He told me that he wouldn’t stop until I was found! To Michelle’s family, I just want to tell them not to give up hope. You have to truly reach deep inside yourselves to find every ounce of hope and faith that you have and keep going. You are in our thoughts and prayers every day.Magon CallisGypsumVail, Colorado


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