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Sticking with devil we know

Kaye Ferry

I don’t know about you, but I’m relieved. About the Vail Resorts deal, I mean. Or I guess I should say, the lack of a VR deal.

Oh, I know. I criticize them. I think they have made some colossal PR mistakes. Not so much in the world in general, but at least in this community.

Maybe that’s partly our fault. For most of this town’s existence, there was a more local presence of ownership, and we got used to that. Now New York pulls the strings, and the Big Apple’s goals don’t always coincide with ours.



But all in all, at least we know who we’ve got. What’s that saying about the devil you know is better than the one you don’t know? And some of them aren’t so bad. In fact, there’s a lot of really great people at VR who actually do care about this community and don’t like some of the corporate decisions any better than the rest of us do.



Yet it’s not over until it’s over. There are still a lot of rumors around. Since we don’t have too many fat ladies around here who sing, we’ll just have to wait and see. Still, there’s no question about it. Someday another group will own VR, probably public but perhaps private again.

I for one would like to see that change come sometime down the road rather than now. There are too many projects about to move off the back burners, and any change would surely slow that process down, if not stop it altogether.

New people would mean a new way of looking at things, and I think the way we’re currently moving is in the best interest of Vail’s future.



So let’s hope the present owners stay in place for awhile longer. At least until the various projects get so far under way that there’s no turning back. Besides, who would we complain about if the 1,000-pound gorilla wasn’t there?

MORE SHOPLIFTING: I’ve received a lot of feedback on last week’s column. A fair number of businesses shared stories, some old and some new. Stories that aren’t very flattering to the Vail PD.

But what I was mostly struck by was the request to remain anonymous. “Don’t quote me because those guys will just get even.” “I complained once and the next thing you know, they were just hanging around my business (bar-restaurant) looking for trouble.” “Criticize the PD and you’ll start getting harassed when you’re trying to unload a delivery.”

It’s a sad commentary that in this relatively sleepy community, certainly not one rife with serious crime, there seems to be a feeling of disconnect with the PD. In a community small enough that we should all be on a friendly basis with law enforcement, there is clearly a feeling of, well, if not animosity, it’s certainly a long way from warm and fuzzy.

As one merchant asked me, “Who do these guys work for? As far as I can know, I pay their salary. But you could never tell it.”

Of course, by now, you know, give me some information and I’ll form an opinion. I’d suggest that the PD start a PR program with the business community. Maybe hold a meeting to address concerns. Get out on the street and meet the merchants. Because I was also surprised how many business owners don’t know the guys running the show.

When I talked to the PD a few weeks ago, before I did Part II, I was amazed that as I mentioned merchants who had experienced problems, the PD asked who they were. So I guess the previous comment has merit. “You work for them” is the answer, and you ought to know who they are.

It’s time to bridge the gap. There’s little reason to think the problem will be solved if we don’t address it. And surely no one should feel that reporting a problem could result in retaliation from the very people who are charged with protecting them.

LIQUOR LAWS: The first reading of an ordinance to allow alcoholic beverage tastings in our six retail liquor stores passed second reading without much discussion at the Aug. 3 Town Council meeting.

The one really significant change was to not charge for the application. Some communities just slid it through with no more than “Have a nice day.” The town of Vail staff proposed charging for paperwork that isn’t required by the state statute. Lo and behold, sanity prevailed again in those council chambers. No charge. These guys had better be careful. They’re setting a dangerous precedent.

As for the “cork and go” law, the Restaurant Association discussed it at their July meeting. They’re working with the state association to come up with a tape that can be placed across the recorked bottle indicating that the wine was purchased from an establishment with a “hotel-restaurant” liquor license.

This is intended to address the confusion with the town’s open container law that was amended to accommodate the new state legislation. Transporting a previously opened bottle of wine is still against the law UNLESS it has been purchased through a hotel-restaurant liquor-licensed location. If accomplished, the tape will say something like “Thanks from the Colorado Restaurant Association,” so legally recorked bottles will be easily identifiable.

But be aware, an establishment doesn’t have to comply with this new law. It’s voluntary on their part. All of the old rules still apply. Nothing has changed regarding age requirements or intoxication rules. If you’ve already had too much to drink, don’t expect to take that bottle home with you.

Do your part: call them and write them.

To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@vailgov.com. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com. For past columns, vaildaily.com-columnists or search: ferry.

Kaye Ferry is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.

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