The black curtain
Hello my fellow valley residents (and visitors), and welcome to another day in the ‘hood.Some of you will be happy to know that my days as the unofficial town despot are over and that, for the moment, I’m going to leave parking administration to the professionals. One last thing, however: if you happen to know the locations of the few, final remaining local secret parking spaces, please don’t tell your neighbor, call your friends, announce it through a megaphone at the base of the mountain, or print the coveted locations in thousands of local newspapers.Thank you.It’s not an easy job to be the self-appointed dictator of a kingdom, even if that kingdom is small-time on the grand scale of things.Dreaming about Utopia is a healthy pursuits for any leader/citizen/minion/plebian slave of a society, in my opinion. And putting your thoughts on paper can cause quite a stir (as my pal Don Sidle so humorously points out on your right).But things don’t happen in real life like they do in my columns. Building a monorail as intelligent as it would be requires unity of the people. Voters from one end of the line to the other need to get along, agree and get started.Normally my ambition is to cause a stir, get people up in arms about our various local issues. Lethargy is a kind of leprosy, and laziness and incompetence, not meanness or evildoing, cause most of our problems around here.But when it comes to the I-70 corridor problem, it’s time we all agree. The “black curtain” above I-70 billows and flows every weekend, sending poisonous gases into our air. If those gases fill our homes or the front seats of our cars, it kills. To me it’s a high priority to take care of our surroundings and each other and agree to do everything we can to keep poisons out of our air.But once again, my despotic desires fail when the realities of politics come into play. A part-time ski bus solution is already being shot down by covetous locals who want to pass the bill to the Front Range no one seems to have mentioned splitting the bill on that one. And while we argue in circles, the cars on I-70 spew exhaust, gravel, washer fluid, radiator fluid and billions of pounds of gravel into our fragile valleys.Listen: We are the ski town that’s most responsible for the I-70 black curtain. We are the ones who spend our energy enticing people to come to the mountains, we are the ones who benefit from having so many people use the I-70 corridor, and we should foot the bill.It’s that simple.Let’s get people together, get them motivated, and convince our governments to accept the negatives of a monorail in favor of its overriding, clean and efficient positives.qTom Boyd is a lifelong Vail local and assistant editor of The Vail Trail, who loves to spout off about what’s spouting into our allegedly pure mountain air. He can be reached at (970) 390-1585, or firstname.lastname@example.org.