One cut that’s easy to make
At least some Town Council members are pointing out that the expense – $7 million to $10 million – is a bit rich, particularly the part of the bill that would go to property owners in the vicinity.
How snow-melt, an extravagance that would detract from rather than add to Vail Village’s charm, grew into anything approximating a need is curious and lends credence to town critics weary of “world-class” this and that – with accompanying “world-class” prices.
The village could use fresh pavement, new bricks. The Children’s Fountain could use a bit of care, as well. Perhaps a risk of forming a “streetscape team” and hiring a design consultant is inspiring recommendations well beyond what’s truly needed.
Not surprisingly, the costs of the project require serious paring, and soon. The water district will replace antiquated piping this spring. That project is a necessity, especially with the prospects for drought continuing this summer.
Vail should part ways with the snow-melt scheme, the sooner the better. Almost anything else on the town’s long wish list is more important than that. Why not rededicate the funding toward a new West Vail fire station? $2.1 million here and $2.1 million there, and pretty soon you are talking real money.
The $30 line
The cost of a barrel of oil – cresting $34 – is reaching toward wartime levels as the drumbeat for invasion of Iraq continues and begins even to roll.
The Wall Street Journal points out that the past four recessions in the United States came with oil prices higher than $30 a barrel. The last Gulf War saw the price of oil soar from $16 a barrel to over $40 at the prewar peak. When the “smart” bombs began falling, so did the oil price, to around $20 a barrel.
The nub: The economy abhors a vacuum of certainty.
The war debate is serious business, obviously, and there is real division at home about the value of bothering with Saddam, who after all can’t control the majority of his own country, never mind his neighbors.
The Kurds to the north and Sunni Muslims to the east and south suffer but do not cow to the man who would be their god.
Is this a case similar to the TV car oil commercial with the mechanic who says, “See me now or see me later,” with a shrug, implication clear? Or is this a pest whose nest we don’t need to bother kicking over?
Serious questions, indeed, but we can’t resist passing along this line from frustrated American diplomats about our diffident allies Germany and France: “The axis of weasels.”
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Are we seeing more bears because there are more bears on the valley floor, or because we’re all spending more time at home? It could be a bit of both.