Vail Daily editorial: Great council choices
Vail, CO Colorado
The Vail election season has been rather quiet. There is no big issue that divides candidates.
The town is in good financial shape. Sales tax collections are breaking records despite the nationwide economic malaise.
Housing and parking, Vail’s perennial issues, were seldom mentioned. The big looming development, Ever Vail, is favored by all the candidates. And voting in favor of Ballot Question 1, which asks to spend the conference-center funds, is a no-brainer.
The previous Town Council has done well. Vail has outperformed other resorts in recent years. The town has attracted great events, finished big projects such as the West Vail Fire Station and managed its finances appropriately.
But the incoming Vail Town Council will have much work to do. The group must capitalize on opportunities – continuing to push special events and fostering proposed expansion of Vail’s medical facilities – while still remaining fiscally prudent in light of ongoing international economic troubles.
Council members will play a key role in growing our “resort-based” economy – these days much more resort-based than real estate-based – and that role will influence our entire county.
Meanwhile, the council is losing two veteran leaders. Dick Cleveland, voted off amid controversy in 2005, never stopped serving the town. He returned to council in 2007 to enthusiastically and capably serve as the public face of the town as mayor.
Kim Newbury came onto the council in 2003 and led Vail through growth and recession, always keeping the needs of Vail’s families and working people in the spotlight.
Now Vail is lucky that a group of dedicated residents has stepped forward as candidates for Town Council.
Each has lived in Vail for many years, cares deeply about this community and has already donated countless hours toward making sure this remains a wonderful place for locals and visitors alike. Each would do well on council. So our hard task is to recommend the very best picks for today’s challenges:
• Andy Daly. Daly, an incumbent, has emerged as a leader on the current council. He brings business sense to the board and has pushed for efficiencies in the town’s organization. As Vail returns to a more resort-based economy, Daly’s experience in the ski industry – he was a longtime executive with Vail Resorts and recently bought Powderhorn Ski Area – proves even more valuable. Daly knows what it takes to keep Vail competitive with Deer Valley and Whistler, and that knowledge will be crucial moving forward.
• Margaret Rogers. Rogers, another incumbent, has been energetic, dedicated and dogged in her first term. She brings fresh and creative ideas to the table – her pitch for marketing Vail to the growing Chinese market is compelling. She ran in 2007 saying her experience as a lawyer provided her with the skills to negotiate with developers who were trying to get a piece of Vail’s skyrocketing real estate market. While the real estate world has changed drastically since then, those skills will still be necessary in moving forward with two key projects that are far from done – Ever Vail and Timber Ridge.
• Greg Moffet. Moffet still talks about “sense of community” and bringing families to Vail, something that was en vogue in Vail elections past but has faded in recent years. That priority cannot be forgotten – even amid economic struggles – and Moffet knows that. He continues to push for ways to bring more families to Vail. Moffet can hit the ground running, as he was a highly effective council member for eight years, from 1999 to 2007, helping create key community improvements such as Donovan Pavilion and Vail’s so-called “renaissance.” He would bring keen intelligence and an analytical mind to this post.
• Ludwig Kurz. Kurz is not an incumbent but is a former mayor who served eight years on council and brings extensive on-the-job experience. He has skills and characteristics that would be important on council – he is a diplomatic and level-headed leader, and he builds consensus. He has long experience in this town, having moved here in 1966, but does not suffer from the illusion that Vail must remain as it was when Bridge Street was dirt. Also, his work with the Beaver Creek Resort Co. gives him an understanding of what Vail must do to remain competitive with mountain resorts worldwide.
Among other candidates, Farrow Hitt could have easily been endorsed here. He previously served five years on council. He worked hard, understood the issues, spoke his mind and stood up for families and businesses in town.
Rayla Kundolf brings the fresh perspective of a business operator in Vail Village. She has served on several advisory boards and has an on-the-ground understanding of the business issues facing the town.
Stephen Connolly is not afraid to speak his mind and has intriguing ideas for the town, such as an overhaul of the panels that oversee marketing and special events.
He has much experience with marketing and has served on the town’s Commission for Special Events.
The challenges for the next council are only as large as the opportunities that are presented by a great ski mountain and a special town.
Luckily, Vail has residents who are dedicated to making sure Vail is up to the challenge.
Agree with us or not, we recommend above all that Vail residents weigh in to play their part in Vail’s future.