Vail Daily Editor and Publisher Don Rogers: How easily we may forget
Vail, CO Colorado
Vail, at least for the moment, is back to normal.
Business this winter was great for the town and ski company and – surprisingly to me – even better for us on a year-to-year basis. We all just need the economy away from the ski slopes that’s tied to development, construction and real estate to perk up and the folks who just hate that sort of prosperity to be happily griping again.
Don’t know about you, but I’ll take that over the misery that has piled foreclosure upon foreclosure, mom-and-pop upon mom-and-pop closing, furloughs, pay cuts, job cuts, loss of income, loss of population, loss of jobs, more demand on charity, more depression, more of most everything bad on our collective plates.
I know there are silver linings and essential lessons from the Great Recession. I’ve learned a few the hard way, and we have the strongest crew ever at the Vail Daily. I know that completely.
You know it, too. Everyone kept the cream through the ugly necessities of hard, hard times.
Now the school district – beneficiary frankly of artificially propped-up property taxes – faces the cliff. They’ll need to trim their spending by nearly a dozen percent. I feel for them and they will be better for enduring their gantlet. Yes, I’m pretty confident they’ve run with some fat. We all did. You just don’t know it until you have trimmed it away and Armageddon didn’t immediately follow. Instead, what tends to follow is this thing called innovation.
Meantime, Vail’s tourism business swelled up in traditional ways, and our business attached to that sector swelled even a little more. I wouldn’t say it was historic, but I will use the word traditional here. Once again, all the big sea changes forecast by the same wizards who failed to see the downfall also failed to play out as predicted. The snow fell, the people with money came, and they spent. As they always have when they had the income to do so.
This is good, and maybe also bad. For me, it’s a warning. Will we all fall back to our fat, stupid, maybe a little lazy ways? The irony, of course, is when the dollars are rolling in like a good tsunami, we tend to pat ourselves furiously on the back, exclaiming how smart we must be. I believe it works just the opposite way, actually.
Here’s a sure sign that we can easily fail to learn the lessons of the historic recession: Vail has $9.3 million burning a hole in the town coffers. Fine. So why are they fooling around with a referendum on projects that cost $16 million to $20 million?
I would say this is a sign of missing those crucial lessons.