Vail Daily columnist: Richard Carnes: A few bright headlines don’t change the grind |

Vail Daily columnist: Richard Carnes: A few bright headlines don’t change the grind

Fostering the proud Bavarian tradition of an Irish rock n’ roll cover band to celebrate Oktoberfest seems so appropriate to me. With proper apologies to Helmut Fricker, nothing screams “Oompah!!” more than “Sunday, Bloody Sunday.”

Admittedly though, the pretend U2 band in Beaver Creek last weekend was extremely entertaining, and with enough Bavarian Boogie Juice (those were huge mugs) and your eyes closed, one might — just might — fantasize they were in the actual presence of greatness, even though deep inside you knew better.

Sort of like Glenn Beck the weekend before.

Speaking of hiding behind masks, with Old Man Summer withering away and Infant Autumn rearing its golden head, a few local headlines of late have done little more than prove pigs are still running around wearing multiple shades of lipstick.

One day we’re reading about lodging occupancy increases helping with jobs and the next about longtime locals leaving because they can’t find jobs.

Which is it, or is the entire scenario simply business as usual?

I see restaurants being shut down for not paying sales taxes, property tax delinquencies on a sharp rise, and in Vail proper, sales tax collections are up less than 1 percent for the year, and that’s when compared to the dismally disastrous time frame known as 2009.

Yet I see exclamation marks being used when talking about the around-the-corner future, further blurring the line between cautious optimism and blissful ignorance.

I truly hate to poo poo all over some of these recent real estate headlines, but the ugly truth is that hardly any real estate is selling at all. Yes, there are a few here and there, yet a handful of astronomically high sales in Vail Village do indeed skew the numbers, and anyone with more common sense than your average anonymous online commenter understands the reality of our situation.

I suppose I can’t really blame marketing departments for at least trying to make things look better.

And the headlines seeming to boast about school enrollment numbers not drastically dropping? The reason many families have not left the valley is simple: They cannot sell their home. Therefore, they are stuck here, lest they join the foreclosure club.

Granted, “here” is one of the best places on earth in which to be stuck, but that’s not the point, as we should consider ourselves lucky to be riding out the storm in Happy Valley as opposed to, well, as opposed to damn near anywhere.

Either way, many will continue to struggle regardless of how much snow we receive this winter or who wins what election in about eight weeks. It took years to make this mess, and it will take a few more for things to stabilize.

Economies are cyclical, and just like a U2 cover band playing for Oktoberfest in September, we just have to wait a while longer for the real thing.

Richard Carnes of Edwards writes weekly. He can be reached at Comment on

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