Snow gods good to Vail
Vail Resorts is having a great beginning to the season, and the businesses are also doing well, with “good” being the most common description of choice, not “great.” This translates into promising news for the town of Vail as they anticipate their tax collections.And what is the reason for the start of a auspicious season? Is it our brilliant marketing efforts? Is it the heated streets? The lighted tree in the roundabout? Is it the promise of a better tomorrow? Or is it what it always is? The one thing we pray to the gods for but have no control over. You got it – snow.Because no matter how smart we think we are or how well we plan or spread the good word, in the end it all comes down to the uncontrollable – snow. And in some perverted way, I kind of like that. That there are still some unpredictable forces out there that keep us on our toes also keeps us a little humble, particularly at this time of the year when everyone is making plans for the next 12 months. Which brings me to the topic of resolutions.The theory of New Year’s resolutions is something I’ve never understood. Maybe it’s because of the Catholic school background. You see, we Catholics always get another chance to make promises to ourselves. It is called Lent, and the nuns made sure to give us ample time to ponder the choices to be made and the consequences of failing to keep up your end of the bargain.So maybe the New Year’s thing never seemed important, because Lent was looming six weeks later. But I also think it’s more than that. I believe that you make your corrections along the way to make your life work better on a daily basis.Consequently, resolutions are not something I generally get into as the calendar flips to a new year. But perhaps there’s a different way of looking at it. Maybe we should simply look at some of the areas where we can do better and try to address those.I’d like to pick my favorite and one I complain about no matter what time of the year it is: apathy. I always find it startling that in such an educated and opinionated community, there is little or no participation on topics of great concern to the future of Vail until, yes, until the final hour. Even though the voters are given ample opportunity to listen, become informed and share their concerns, no one gets involved until the last minute. Far better that we all get up off the sofa, turn off the TV and actually get involved with issues as they are presented before the final vote is cast.But then for those who do, perhaps there should be an attempt by the elected officials to actually listen. Let’s start with this thing called “Citizens’ Participation.” It’s the 15 minutes allocated at the start of every Vail Town Council meeting when anyone with a concern can express it. Because these topics aren’t “noticed” as required by state statute, no response can be given at that time. There is an expectation, however, that an answer will come in the citizen’s lifetime. Sadly to say, more often than not, the only response given is something similar to “thank you for sharing,” like it’s “show and tell” in kindergarten, but no real solution is ever offered.Unfortunately, there is a very strong feeling in the community that Town Hall doesn’t listen, so therefore there’s little motivation to participate. What I really found ironic was one of our elected’s comments at their annual retreat in December. He stated that he wanted to encourage participation by the public on issues facing us.It’s been my experience that the few who do attend meetings on a regular basis are viewed as thorns in their sides rather participants in the process.Yet the clearest indication of voters’ reaction to the elected officials not listening came in this past election. Two sitting councilmen – I suppose to be politically correct I should say council persons – lost their seats as a response to their positions on Crossroads. I don’t think there’s any question but that the community as a whole is in favor of that project. There were four votes against it, but only two of those seats were up for re-election, and they both lost. The other two should be glad their names were not on the ballot or they would have gone down in flames, too.Like a lot of things, it simply comes down to communication, or the lack of it. But communication is a two-way street that actually requires listening, somewhat of a lost art today. I could go on because I find the public process to be fascinating even in its flawed state. So my commitment for the year is to continue to stay involved and share my observations with you. Like it or not. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail email@example.com. For past columns, go to vaildaily.com and click on “Columnists” or search for keyword “ferry.” Kaye Ferry writes a weekly column.