Sound of one hand clapping

Don Rogers

The charts, the art and the patient presentation aided by Powerpoint were all great. So where were the people to take it all in?That, alas, was the last impression expressed by one of a handful of “public” who did attend a session Wednesday about the plans for a Vail conference center.Watch, he said. This happens all the time. Hardly anyone shows up for a raft of public meetings about a project. Then two days before a decision, people will suddenly come out of the woodwork. Some with their attorneys in tow.It does happen often, and not just here. All over the country.The exception to the rule, which also happens occasionally, is when a well-organized body musters a crowd and asserts that’s the community sentiment. Which may even be the truth. It does at least show someone cares, and politicians tend to be impressed by such campaigns. Mobocracy can work. More often, though, the masses cannot be moved to get involved even in decisions that matter greatly to their lives. Why is a bit of a mystery. The Vail conference center is a huge decision for that community. The implications for the future are immense. Truly. One scenario – the more likely one – is that the center would help the community economically, particularly during the off-season. The perspective at the other end of the pendulum, however, is that a conference center could bankrupt the town. Given those possibilities, you’d think the fine citizens would have just a tad more interest in the planning.Likewise, the proposal to dwarf the current Minturn with a gated community in place of the forest is a big deal not only to Minturn residents, but the whole county. Never mind the town politicians. Where are the residents on this? It’s past time to start speaking up. Vail, Colorado

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