Princess Diana, nabob of negativity |

Princess Diana, nabob of negativity

Michael Cacioppo

Vail council meeting gets ugly: A dictionary defines “nabob” as “a person of wealth and prominence.” A thesaurus describes similarities of nabob, and includes the following slang, “big shot, big wheel, bigwig, muckamuck.” Vail Council-woman Diana Donovan, in my view, is a “nabob of negativity.” That is, she’s never met a development that she likes. OK, maybe there are exceptions. But, in the 30 years or so that I’ve followed Donovan’s antics, I can’t recall Princess Diana ever letting up on people who are just trying to build new or better projects. It’s as though these people are the devil to her.Donovan, who was sharply rebuked at Tuesday’s council meeting by Councilwoman Kim Ruotolo and Councilman Farrow Hitt, deserved their wrath and the wrath of others, who are tired of her constant attack on improving Vail. Donovan, who lives out by the Vail Golf Course, has always been anti-growth and anti-progress. She’s got hers, and she doesn’t want anyone else to get theirs. You can view this fiasco by watching Channel 5’s public access show. Don’t miss the program from the 30 minute to 90 minute mark, for info on the convention cen-ter election debate, and don’t miss the really ugly part from the 3.5 hour mark to the 4.75 hour mark on TV. Kudos to councilmembers Kim Ruotolo, Farrow Hitt, Greg Moffet and Vail Town Manager Stan Zemler: Ruotolo and Hitt for the courage to speak out Tuesday night against Donovan, Moffet for telling the truth about why any thinking developer would put themselves through a Vail Special Development District application, and Zemler for trying to educate his bosses, the council, on the proper role of the planning commission versus the proper role of the council. Zemler displayed exemplary courage, which all but Donovan and Councilman Kent Logan, appreciated. Speaking of Logan: I like Kent, but he was clearly out of control at the end of the meeting, after the camera was turned off. In my view, he owes Town Manager Zemler an apology for the way he treated him. I’m sure Zemler did-n’t sleep well Tuesday night, worried about how Logan felt about him. But, Zemler should be praised for doing his job. Kudos to liberals Greg Moffet, Rob LeVine and Mark Gordon: Moffet, who has figured out that Vail must continue to improve or it will die, spoke well throughout the council meeting. LeVine and Gordon, probably two of the most left-wing residents in Eagle County, understand the importance of a Vail Conference Center, and expressed themselves well in the televised meeting. It’s nice to see liberals finally understanding the importance of supporting business in our fragile economy. Boo to the Vail council for adding a suicide clause to the election question on the Vail Conference Center: The council all but admitted that they were being held hostage by former Vail liberal councilman Tom Steinberg, who also lives out by the Vail Golf Course near Donovan, and by former Vail liberal Mayor Rob Ford. The council has failed Vail voters by collecting approximately $11.4 million in tax money by the end of this year, and still failing to build a confer-ence center to date. Now losers Steinberg and Ford, joined behind the scenes, no doubt, by vocal conference center opponent Diana Donovan, allegedly threatened to petition for an initiative to vote again on the conference center, holding up construction, after they lost in 2002. So the council added the suicide clause to dissuade them from doing so. That is, if voters don’t approve a measly $7 million increase to build, the entire project goes away. I say, let them go through the pain of circulating petitions and see if they can even get the necessary signatures. However, council acted weakly in succumbing to their alleged threats. Vail voters should not be confused by the new election question in November, asking for about $7 million more to build the conference center building. Vail taxpayers have actually paid very little per year since 2002 for the center. By far, the majority of the $11.4 million collected so far has come from the tax on hotel rooms, as it should. There has never been, since the election in 2002, nor will there be, in the November 2005 election, a property tax on locals. The 2002 tiny sales tax portion that is partially paid by locals is fair because locals will after all eventually use the building for local events. However, there is no sales tax increase proposal in the November 2005 election, which also, is only fair. Voting yes for the $7 million increase is a vote that only the users of the conference center will pay via a lodging tax increase. What could be more fair? After all, nobody will be holding a gun to their heads to use the center. But Yours Truly is aware that numerous groups and trade associations would like to use the new center. And Vail’s lodging tax will be no more than many other cities’. After all, who wouldn’t rather come to Vail than go to Keystone or Denver for their meetings? After paying $3.22 per gallon last week at Corky’s in Eagle, which is usually the cheapest gas station in Eagle County, I am thoroughly disgusted with the price of gas, our Congress, and liberals and moderates in general. Therefore, I propose, only in fairness, two prices of gas at all gas pumps. There should be a price of $1.50 per gallon for conservatives, the people who understand our economy and the importance of self-sufficiency in oil energy. And there should be a price of $5 per gallon for liberals and moderates, who continue to allow the liberals in Congress to control our ridiculous oil policy of energy dependence on the Middle East. Those in Congress who constantly refuse to allow more oil wells in Alaska and the continental United States, should be removed from office in the upcoming elections. And finally, after Tuesday’s council meeting Princess Diana told me that I should go back to Mexico. I appreciate her negative comment because it shows that my comments at the meeting must have been of concern to her. I also appreciated the kind remarks made to me by Moffet, Levine, Gordon and others. Michael Cacioppo, a former radio talk show host and newspaper publisher, is managing director of, a local travel planning consultant on vacations to Mexico. He can be reached at, Colorado

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