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Slide opponents go off course

Tom Stone

William Stone and Rick Johnson are not serving the best interests of the Beaver Creek homeowners that they represent on the alpine slide issue.Instead of channeling their energy and resources where it will do the most good, they prefer to waste their time on a losing case. Their complaints should be solely with Vail Resorts and not with the Board of County Commissioners, who acted appropriately in this judicial-like setting.In a recent letter to the editor, William Stone talks about undisputed facts. Unfortunately he was in such a hurry and rage that he failed to verify his facts. One example is that I have not worked for Slifer Smith and Frampton Real Estate since January of 2006. It is understandable but unprofessional and inexcusable that in his rush to judgment, Mr. Stone only looked at several Internet postings that have never been updated. Even if Mr. Stone were correct, there never was an employer-employee relationship, as I was a commission only broker with an independent contractor agreement. The Beaver Creek homeowners should immediately consider a different representative that will not embarrass them further.During the public hearings, I suggested several times that it would be in the best interest of both parties to have professional and sincere discussions with each other instead of pursuing legal remedies. Alternative dispute resolutions are frequently required by the courts now. The homeowners were in search of a political solution, not a legal decision. My decision was based on the facts and testimony given in relationship to the issue. As a strong private property rights advocate and what would be considered a non-activist judge, my decision was clear. The common legal terminology is that as commissioners, we should “serve without fear or favor.” Threats were made by a Beaver Creek homeowner in advance of our decision that “whoever votes for this can expect to have a strong campaign against them if they ever run for office again.” I have angered some Beaver Creek residents who have been supporters of mine because of my decision. My conscience will only allow me to vote for the truth. I could have chosen the politically easy way out if I wanted to. Since I already knew that the other commissioners were voting in support of Vail Resorts because one made a motion to support and the other seconded the motion, I could have voted no. This would have pleased my friends, and Vail Resorts would still have its approval. In another instance, Mr. Johnson tried to engage me in a discussion concerning my thoughts on the issue before we sat to hear the question in a formal hearing. He knew that I could not legally discuss it with him, yet he acted inappropriately. In stark comparison, Vail Resorts never contacted me about this decision, they never threatened me or promised me favors, and they conducted themselves in a professional manner at the hearing. Eagle County taped the hearing and broadcast it live over our new TV channel – Ecotv channel 18. I suggest that everyone who has an interest in this issue watch the replays. It will be easy for you to determine who acted professionally and who didn’t. Still, I am perplexed concerning Vail Resorts’ motives. No one has given a sufficient reason for their unrelenting push for this slide. It appears that they have only created ill will in the community. But my personal feeling had to be set aside in favor of the correct legal decision. I suppose that egos will continue to get the best of both sides in this matter. It’s too bad that someone will not work for conciliation instead of litigation.Tom Stone is an Eagle County commissioner.Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO


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