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More wealth means more votes?

I own a house in Edwards.

Lucky me.

I also own property in Vail, Avon and Gypsum.

OK, lucky-lucky-lucky me.

Some of it is private, some commercial, but I pay property taxes on each.

One of my commercial tenants is Vail Resorts (don’t tell Adam), so I have a sincere financial interest in their fiscal priorities. Another tenant works for management in Vail Resorts, while yet another works for the town of Avon, and I’m sure one or two downvalley work for one or the other also.

All pay me with regularity, and I like it that way. In fact, I depend on it.

For clarification, I am not a seasonal worker, and I am committed long-term to the area as a whole. In my 20 years of living in Happy Valley, I have invested – and am continuing to invest – large sums of money in Vail. Same goes for Avon, Edwards and Gypsum.

My permanent residence is in Edwards. Therefore I vote in Edwards for issues affecting Eagle County, the state of Colorado, and the United States of America. Currently, I am refused access to voting booths in Vail, Avon and Gypsum.

Vail’s town council can have a direct influence upon my tenants, and so can the councils of Avon and Gypsum as well as the commissioners of Eagle County. Having the “right” people in office helps cast a long shadow from my personal obelisk of happiness.

Based upon a strong belief in combating “taxation without representation,” I feel I should be allowed to vote in all elections in each of these areas, as long I promise never to vote twice on the same issue. If a state government like California can give driver’s licenses and health care to illegal aliens as a way of controlling and thus trusting the influx of such, then you can certainly trust “one of your own” to keep his word when it comes to voting.

I have a sincere vested interest in who serves on these boards, and thus feel deserving of the right to have a say in each election. Believe me, you do not want me or the other non-resident owners of 70 percent of the residential real estate in Vail to feel “disenfranchised.” Not only is the word ugly, so could be the consequences.

This question has been dealt with by the courts in northern Michigan, Long Island, down by Telluride, and in our own back yard over at Snowmass Village. Whatever we decide to do here will set further precedent for resort communities nationwide. Vail has always been a leader in the resort industry. I see no reason for us not to continue that trend.

Either way, it’s my money, dammit, and I have earned a say in how the taxes it generates are spent. No lame unconstitutional, anachronistic law should be able to prevent me from doing so.

n n n

Are you throwing tiny little eye darts at my tiny little photo yet?

This is probably a good time to let you know that the above scenario is total fiction (for those easily confused, that means I made it all up). However, the hypothetical situation it presents is not only plausible for quite a few folks around here, but it actually does exist (well, at least the arrogant parts apply).

To paraphrase a proponent of this narcissistic endeavor, I believe it is “patently absurd” that I, or any other hypothetical out-of-town property owner, be allowed to vote in more than one location. The logistics alone would be a Chad-ish nightmare ridiculed even by Florida voters.

Claiming that wealth and land ownership gives one a free-pass to vote wherever they feel it applies – and threatening litigation at the expense of local taxpayers if they don’t get their way – is akin to a schoolyard bully asserting his role as King of the Mountain when there are four or five separate piles of sand in the schoolyard and he just simply jumps from pile to pile declaring his superiority. Only in this case the bully is named “Chip” and he attends council meetings with the arms of a $279 wool sweater tied comfortably around his shoulders. And he has perfect teeth.

C’mon folks, make the decision: Where do you really live? And once you’ve decided, then please, stick with it. We would love for you to vote here, just as long as you don’t play this bizarre Clintonesque “Arkansas hillbilly representing New York” scenario.

Happy Valley has much bigger problems to deal with than the selfish undertakings of a few self-made egomaniacs with extra cash burning a hole in their mountain mattress. We’re truly happy that you have been financially successful in life, but that does not alter the rules for you personally when it comes to the democratic process.

Richard Carnes of Edwards can be reached at poor@vail.net


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