Little innocence |

Little innocence

in OLynxgate1

Environmentalists who stonewall and distort research are no different. They betray the public trust and do their cause no good.Of all entities, government needs abundant oversight because it is a monopoly. Taxpayers cannot boycott it by choosing a competitor, and the government is not subject to the many rigorous proofs that businesses are.If, for example, the INS were a private company, many of its employees would have been fired and disgraced for having allowed terrorist immigrants to kill people and destroy property on Sept. 11. If not at that point, then certainly six months later when the same agency send letters to the suicide killers, allowing them to stay in the country to finish flight school. (Of course, I could not imagine that the leader of a corporation, as did Bill Clinton when he was the leader of our country, could have received oral sex in the executive suite from an intern, lied about it, and not have lost his job and all respect.)The lynx fur fraud is no innocent act. In the Wall Street Journal, Kimberley A. Strassel wrote an editorial last January, 3The Missing Lynx. In her column, Strassel stated that 3environmental groups knew early on that getting the lynx listed would prove a gold mine. While many animals are limited to small geographic areas, the lynx had been spotted in some 22 states, and they’re so elusive they could be anywhere. A federal listing could potentially bar millions of acres of land from use, including logging, skiing, road-building and trapping.I remember how a dead lynx was found around Vail Pass, near Blue Sky Basin, a few years ago, just before the ski-area expansion there received final approval.The dead lynx appeared to have been struck by a vehicle. Skeptics found the animal1s appearance quite a coincidence, being so timely and convenient, turning up alongside the freeway.If this carcass was placed there as a last-minute ploy, it failed to stop the expansion. The environmentalists who opposed expansion went away mad<but came back to burn down Two Elk.Mike SpaniolaMinturnVoices CarryTwo Battle Mountain students, as a project for Voices Carry, have organized a presentation to inform the community about the power of hate.This presentation, produced in Denver, has been featured across the nation. It features family members from both the hate crime victims of Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr., families of Columbine victims and former neo Nazi skinhead, T.J. Leyden, are also featured.This presentation is audience interactive and teaches the audience the power of the individual.It is an award-winning documentary that inspires people to stop the escalating hate and violence.We invite parents, teachers, and the whole community to join us Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m. in the Cascade Hotel Centennial Ballroom to be part of a hate free millennium. Free admission and parking.Brittany PetersonMaggie SheahanEdwardsLeading Vail1s declineThe responses to my letter critical of a published VR food service employee1s perspective included many references to employee grievances about wages, benefits, opportunity and housing. How long can this town continue to squeeze merchants and employees and expect to get Chardonnay?I wrote my letter as a guest- but I1ve also worked and lived here<westin Hotel opening team, VA Skier Services, restaurant manager, F&B manager, and even as a VA new hire trainer. With 30 years front-line service and management experience comes the certainty that employees can1t deliver world-class service while playing manners police, judging each guest as they serve them. I even enjoyed the misguided passion of Ms. Dee Walker, who uninvited me back to Vail forever. How did this town, so dependent on service, get to the point of debating guest expectations instead of what it used to do so well<exceed them?World-class service, Ms. Walker, is a Vail lifty named Chris (Michigan) who mostly works the bottom of Chairs 11, 4 and 14. Although he doesn1t have to, he hangs out at the red line smiling, making eye contact, helping kids load and having fun while checking for safety. He greets and serves thousands of riders every day this way with an unselfish passion that defines world-class service. Chris is so looking forward to meeting and greeting the next riders that I1ll bet he has never once thought about keeping score of how many ways people screw up loading the chairs, misread the signs, or even how many failed to thank him for that backhanded comfort-load on chair 14. He even led a 3pump you up Hans and Franz theme one day with his co-workers.Vail has a great ski mountain, but it1s the star employees like Chris who build the relationships that bring guests back. Companies that embrace a 3service profit chain model wisely invest their money in people like Chris, for it is far more profitable to deliver world-class service levels that bring guests back than to buy new guests with expensive marketing partnerships and discounted ski passes.In the flat-growth ski industry, using this model would allow Vail to steal market share from the top five resorts at the same time it rebuilds the facilities and service levels of the new hotels and resorts they acquire. There are only two things keeping Vail from embracing this model<a culture of keeping the local workers down, and real estate prices.How service motivated were most VA employees this season with frozen wages, denied bonuses and the saga of the Breckenridge Ski Patrol threatening strike all season over a 3 percent increase?If Vail wants to step up from No. 6 in service, it will need to compensate employees not just for the physical job done, but also for the financial contribution delivering world-class service brings to the bottom line. Ever-increasing Vail rents forced businesses into survival mode long ago<leaving less money for employee wages, housing and benefits. We won1t improve Vail1s service levels by pushing our employees and guests downvalley for housing, goods and services. How many times will you send guests downvalley before they simply stay there and don1t come back? Why should Vail residents pick up the slack from the decreasing sales taxes that high rents have caused and allow cuts to town services, while publicly held VR builds more high-end projects and thumbs its nose at requests to share on-mountain sales taxes with the town that supports it?Did anyone see any relief for retail rents in VR1s $400 million Lionshead plan? The $70 million Front Door village project is simply lipstick on a pig if employees aren1t motivated to deliver Deer Valley guest service levels.Real estate price is based on location, square footage, supply, and demand. One solution to restoring dwindling services and affordable rents has been kicked around for decades: increase the real estate supply by burying the I-70 corridor and building a Whistler-type planned pedestrian village above it. Rent-controlled retail spaces, 3hot condos that don1t sit empty all season, a mix of affordable seasonal and long term employee housing for rent and sale, and even pet-friendly open spaces won1t only improve Vail visually, they will breathe fresh life into Vail and ensure its future. The improved revenue streams will also allow the town itself to follow the service profit chain model itself and reward its employees for the great services they provide. Affordable close-in employee housing would improve the quality of the employee pool and drive wages higher as employers compete for and reward the best.Don1t hold your breath though. VR and the town1s old-boy real estate players will fight any dilution of their real estate empire tooth and nail. If the people of Vail don1t soon embrace a way to keep its employees and small businesses motivated, happy and profitable, you can look forward to continued service level slippage, decreased property values, empty storefronts, and in the long run the slow economic death of what was once the most vibrant world-class ski resort in America.Craig WutschSan Diego

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