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Letters to the editor

Carol Betson-Goldstein

In spite of the few people who are objecting to a law making all public places in Vail smoke free, there is solid evidence that this important public health issue has the overwhelming support of Eagle County voters. The members of the Vail Town Council need to follow the lead of the county and enact an ordinance for a smoke-free Vail. Secondhand smoke poses a real danger to all those exposed. It is not an question of the freedom to do as one pleases. No one backing the effort to make Vail a smoke-free town is attempting to deny the right of any smoker to continue to choose to engage in his/her lethal addiction. But that person must do so without endangering the health of anyone else. What is critical to understand is that when a smoker lights up in a public space, he/she is exposing everyone in that space to thousands of cancer causing chemicals and putting them at risk for contracting numerous serious health problems. No one has the freedom to do that.The old, tired and spurious argument that smoke-free areas will be bad for business has been proven wrong all over the world. This includes areas such as North America’s largest ski area, Whistler, in B.C., which draws many tourists from the Pacific Rim who are traditionally heavy smokers. Closer to home, in Summit County, there has been a very positive response to its smoke free laws. In fact, no community anywhere that has gone smoke free has experienced a permanent drop in business.It is time for the Vail Council members to do the right thing. Follow the lead of Avon and Edwards and introduce a strong smoke free ordinance for the town of Vail. Let’s market Vail as a healthy community that cares about its residents, workers and visitors.Carol Betson-GoldsteinEnglewoodProud of herI would like to say welcome home to Carissa Garcia, a former student of mine at Eagle Valley High School. I very much enjoyed the article in the Daily about her return from her second tour of duty if Iraq. Carissa is a wonderful role model for her community and I am proud to say I knew her while at EVHS. She was a committed student while in school and is, obviously, committed still to her beliefs and goals. I thank God that she has returned safely and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors.Janice StarrFormer business education teacher at Eagle Valley High SchoolDon’t get ideasThe sudden change in power in Israel should not be looked upon by its enemies as an opportunity to force Israel to make additional unanswered concessions to the Palestinian Arabs. The Arabs have expressed neither their willingness nor an ability to create a viable state. Lawlessness is rampant. Terrorists have taken over the Interior Ministry. Rocket attacks are made on a daily basis.In a pre-election video, the terrorist group Hamas vowed to continue fighting against Israel until it is destroyed. In a recent poll, 75 percent of the Palestinian Arabs supported the continuation of armed struggle until all of Israel is destroyed. With an estimated 40 percent of the Palestinian Arab vote expected to go to Hamas, expectation of a Palestinian Arab Authority willing to co-exist with Israel, our ally, is very unlikely. If a large component of the Palestinian Authority’s parliament is made up of people who openly support Israel’s destruction, there is no potential for peace.Why does our administration continue to support the Palestinian Arabs in the face of opposition to our ally and our interests? Terror has been exported from Arab Palestine throughout the world. If there are suicide murderers attacking our troops and allies in Iraq, why are we supporting the terrorists of the Palestinian Arab Authority?The Palestinian Arabs do not seem to be interested in peaceful coexistence with Israel, the only democracy in the Middle East. It is time to stop pressuring Israel in an effort to appease the Palestinian Arabs, Hamas and the other terrorist groups.Arthur KittayEagleLimiting governmentWhile our Arn and his Labradoodle are busy outlawing smoking within 25 feet of building in Eagle County, I thought I’d point out what public servants are doing in the next county: In Leadville, the mayor and town council are working together to outlaw use of eminent domain for private developement. Imagine that. The government working on behalf of its citizens to limit its powers and protect private property rights. I wish our crop of clowns would look over the horizon once in awhile. The only time I’ve heard of them thinking outside the county box was when they spent 5 million open space dollars on that ranch in Garfield County. Nice job. Chris Mech Vail Overcrowded?Martin Luther King weekend seemed to be busier then ever before. As the idea to ski under control and in a responsible manner seems to become more popular, it was not too bad out there on the mountain. But it also showed clearly the limits of Vail’s capacity and the weak points of our resort.When I arrived in Vail this season, one of the first things I read was Kaye Ferry’s comments about Vail ranking as No. 2 in Ski magazine. She wrote: “One continuing complaint about Vail is that it is too crowded.” Then she did some math with the result that Vail has 3.59 skiers per acre at a max of 19,000 Skiers. Vail proudly announces to offer 5,289 skiable acres, but the reality looks different. Dont forget, there is a big difference between “skiable” and “usable.” Reasons Vail is called overcrowded:1. Yes, the skiable terrain is big, but a big part of this mountain is simply not usable for the average skier who generally wants to be on groomed slopes. Since snowboarding and carving skis are common now, almost nobody is skiing bumps anymore. Deduct from the calculation of Kaye Ferry all the bump runs. Then deduct the skied-down or tracked-up part of the Back Bowls, where the normal skier cannot ski. And also deduct the black slopes, which are normally bumpy and not groomed. As a result you will get the real skiable acres for the average skier and they seem not to be enough for 19,000 people. Just with over 10,000 snow riders, Vail gets crowded. Yes, there would be still a lot of runs around that for the ability of the intermediate skier that are not usable. They are not groomed, or they are in areas of 20-year-old chair lifts, which almost nobody wants to use. But how about the idea of grooming according to the needs? Simply do more grooming when is going to be busy, so that more skiable space would be available. 2. A restaurant on a ski mountain is not only for selling food, even when VR might see it this way. A ski resort has to offer beside restrooms places to sit down and to relax when you need a rest. To ski when you are tired is one of the main reasons for accidents. It is dangerous. There are simply not enough chairs available for the needs of skiers. That’s what people call overcrowded, and it also doesn’t support the vacation feeling and fun for which skiers come to Vail. It is nerve killing to fight for a seat when you are tired.3. There are dangerous places on Vail Mountain where it is not only overcrowded, but jammed, because everybody needs to pass there. May I mention the runout from Northwoods through lower Rivas? With all the Blue Sky skiers at rush hour. This is one of the places that clearly shows the limits of Vail’s capacity. Lower Riva is since many years the place with bad accidents. I doubt that it was the right decision to eliminate the back loading of chair 6 from Lower Prima up to Golden Peak. To make chair 6 go all the way up to Northwoods when Blue Sky opened saved money, but it created liftlines at Northwoods and it finished an important runout. The same problem you find at the end of Born Free before the Lionshead skiers bridge. Is it not necessary, or is it the fight against environmentalists, to get a permission to make those places safer? As far as I remember since Blue Sky opened, there has been not any major improvement on Vail mountain. So don’t be astonished if Vail is called overcrowded even when it is huge.Skiing since the times of Pete Seibert has changed a lot. In every city, you will find traffic planning that counts the number of cars at critical points.I think it is great when Vail gets a lot of visitors. They come because of the mountain, nothing else. Bill Jensen, the manager of our mountain, is an excellent skier and I am sure he knows all of that. But I guess he is not the person to decide where the money goes. The vast majority of all the people who make Vail sits far away from snow in well-heated offices behind their desks. And that position seems to give them simply a very different point of view. Why did Vail not get top scores in Ski magazine like it used to get? I hope after the billion dollar investment in time-share units and hotel rooms, the voters of Ski magazine will understand something what I don’t understand: It is the idea that Vail will become a much better place for skiing.Otto WiestVailToo much power!Republicans acted as if shocked at the deep and detailed resistance of every Democrat on the Judiciary committee. These Democrats performed their elected role with honor, to counteract the non-representative effects of presidential power. Samuel Alito is a career advocate of a stronger presidency, the unitary executive. Republicans are cleverly hiding the obvious: This nomination is a partisan effort to push the judicial branch to the right while making supreme the powers of the president of the world’s supreme power. This administration has muted opposition with the yet-to-be-debated claim that the USA is in great danger. If true, our nation needs sophisticated, secretive national security, while citizens depend on elected protectors for safety. We are getting tired of hearing this whopper. The USA has too powerful a military and countless police forces, but proves relatively helpless as a provider of domestic assistance.Since our government is also no longer self-limiting, thanks to a failing system of checks and balances, the USA is the most dangerous nation on the planet. Yes, even Americans need better legal protection from their own president.We have watched the executive branch claim the right to secretly wiretap, kidnap, render to foreign regimes, imprison without legal representation and torture Americans. People in charge are unrepentant about deplorable methods. Will Supreme Court Justice Alito help us stop them? Not likely. This nation may be at the critical last chance to stop the Supreme Court from turning forever pro-executive and anti-popular.There is no more appropriate time than now for a filibuster. The filibuster ensures that a controversial nomination is acceptable to an additional 10 percent of the Senate. What could be more reassuring than 60 senators voting for a Supreme Court nominee? Seventy? Should a nation without trust in its president be willing to confirm his nomination for lifetime Supreme Court justice with less than 60 votes? Not in these troubled, divisive times.Someone please place the blame on George Bush for nominating a candidate so controversial he might not get a handful of Democratic votes.Senators embrace the filibuster! It is not the most extreme of measures. This White House seeks to unbalance the separation of powers. Filibuster is a legal and responsible way to act now to restore balance and politely ask for a more acceptable nominee.What if fear of Republican cynicism puts Alito on the Supreme Court and as a result our judiciary protects only its corporate citizens but forgets ordinary individuals? When rank-and-file Republicans realize what the government has been doing TO them, not FOR them, there will be an embarrassing accounting. Every vote on the Alito confirmation will be remembered for a long time.We need a Supreme Court who will reliably protect us from a presidency which we know can get out of hand. Bush has invited another of his non-centrist friends onto the same Supreme Court which literally gave him his supremely powerful position. Stop this trend towards an all-powerful White House, while there is still time.Harvie BranscombCo-Chair, Eagle County DemocratsTough!Poor Butch Mazzuca. Some big construction truck is parked in his favorite parking spot on a powder day. Need some cheeze to go with that whine, Butch? Who do you think builds all the real estate you make your living selling? These projects are so big that there is NO parking on site. I have spent the last 20 years enduring parking tickets, beating the crap out of my truck parking on boulders and in snowbanks, and listening to the petty complaints of spoiled people like you. It is the project owner’s fault, not the people building it. Seen the hole in the ground at the Old Village Inn site? See any parking there? Come on over to my place and we will pack all the tools I use in a day in your Audi. See how well that works. Have some guts and attack the owner of the project, and quit being a coward at a keyboard. David Gossett Vail Extra effortThis past Thursday evening, I drove my 11-year-old son and his teammate to their hockey practice to the Eagle Rink. They play on the pee-wee team and practice from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. When the practice got started the team was fortunate to have Battle Mountain Hockey Coach Gary Defina and three of his players work with them for the entire practice on various drills. These gentlemen had a practice of their own at Dobson Arena in the late afternoon that day, and then wound up on the ice with my son’s team that night. Their dedication to these kids meant a lot, as my son mentioned how great it was to have them on the ice with his team. I would like to say thank you to them on behalf of the team, to take time out of all of their busy lives and work with these kids was a nice thing to do. It meant a lot to all the kids.Nino LicciardiBoard Member Vail Recreation DistrictWrong state?After skiing at Vail on Jan. 20, I found a parking ticket on my truck for it being crooked. I was parked a little off, but not enough to bother the vehicles on either side. I have a Minnesota plate. We did not see any other vehicles with a ticket and there were plenty parked crooked with Colorado plates. None of them had a ticket.The two men I was with could not believe this. We have been making this trip from Minnesota to Colorado for eight years. This trip will be remembered not for the great skiing but for a greedy town trying to make money from people from out of state. Does Vail not know what warning tickets are? Thomas Magnuson Waseca, Minn. Thanks for storyThe article by Allen Best about Dean Canada’s Thanksgiving lung transplant was sensitively written and presented. The support from the people of Vail and the communities of the Eagle River Valley was great prior to the article, but increased phenomenally after it was published. Allen’s gentle interviewing technique and desire to present the challenges of living with long-term illness with concern and hope touched us and all those who read his work. We are deeply moved by all the well-wishes conveyed through cards, calls, smiling nods, thumbs up, and encounters with encouraging words from the fine folks who share life with us in this caring county. Dean and Charlyn CanadaVail, Colorado


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