Old Guard needs Right Guard
Something stinks in Happy Valley, and for once it has nothing to do with Avon’s water treatment plant but everything to do with Vail’s unusual election July 11.There is something special about having an election in the middle of a July heat wave. Nothing necessarily good, mind you, but special in the way like Alberto Vilar’s many donations came from “special” funds. Usually non-standard municipal elections (those not held in November or May) are only for emergency type situations such as a spending request for unexpected road or building repairs caused by extreme weather or, as in Eagle’s case, roadblock repairs caused by allegedly impatient town managers enraged at trigger-happy VPs.Either way, something stinks about this one, and stinks all the way to MagicalBeingLand. The entire process, eloquently performed by both sides of the fence on this very stage, has been racked with gross misrepresentations and enough mud slinging to fill the hole that used to be the old gondola-Karltenberg Castle-Sundance building.Kaye Ferry, Rob Ford and Diana Donovan have done their unbalanced best to represent each side. Therefore, I see no need to be repetitive or, for that matter, make fun of some the nonsensical accusations being voiced in Tipsline (tempting though it may be).What I see going on is akin to the reasons I have been sneezing my way through the month of June.At 46 (going on 39) I have never had allergies of any sort. All of the sudden, about three weeks ago, I began each morning with sneezing fits comparable to Levine and Kittay letters to the editor. I could not stop.After two weeks of denial and a few Sam’s Club-sized boxes of tissue, I am now taking mankind’s latest miracle drug, Claritin D, each day just to keep the sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes in some sort of check that I can handle.Sure, it stinks, but I had no choice other than adapting to the physical changes of my aging body. Either that or go through the entire summer with people assuming I’m plastered half out of my mind seven days a week. (“Did you see his eyes, dear? Keep the children away from the Carnes’ house.”)Vail’s newly crowned “Old Guard” is in a similar position.Most of the argument does not have as much to do with the Crossroads building itself as it does with who is making the BIG decisions for Vail’s future. Two decades of holier-than-thou fights involving convention centers, firehouses, streetscape projects, parking issues and ridiculously overpriced public art has really come down to nothing more than a tired, repetitive power struggle.This segment of the population, let’s say those involved for the first 20 years or so of Vail’s existence, has done an admirable and downright enviable job since the beginning of Happy Valley time. But you guys (and gals) must admit that times have changed. Resort markets have evolved, along with the tools needed to lure the tourists into them, right next to increased competition and someone always offering more bang for the buck than the next resort.Progressive change is good, and rarely as drastic to the overall picture as feared by those leading the ever-vocal resistance movements. The dilapidated Crossroads has been on a downhill slide ever since the Burger King went under, and I have yet to find one person who disagrees. In spite of the Old Guard’s attempts to scale Solaris back even more, I think voters will come in droves to its rescue.Movie fans will vote YES because they are already tired of driving all the way down to Edwards to be disappointed by yet another over-hyped flick by Adam Sandler.Bowling aficionados will vote YES because they are tired of driving all the way down to Eagle for their “upscale” bowling experiences, even if none can agree on what the term “upscale” actually means for bowling.Local punks will encourage their parents to vote YES, since they are tired of not having an arcade to hang out at while pretending to be older than they really are.Ice skaters will vote YES because they are tired of having to drive all the way to Beaver Creek and suffer the indignity of having to explain oneself just to get through the silly gate in order to skate outdoors.Of course, I am wrong about a lot of things a lot of the time, as a select few of you are always so eager to point out, but I don’t think so this time around.No one is trying to replace the Old Guard. No one is saying they can no longer play the game. They just need to realize the rules have changed over the past four decades, and they must adapt in order to keep playing.But if not, both sides need to do something about the growing stench surrounding the Vail political scene, or else tourists might start to notice.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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