Vail Daily letter: A foregone decision
Vail, CO Colorado
The Sept. 23 Eagle River Sta-tion meeting started off with the Eagle Town Attorney Ed Sands stating that “staff enthusiastically and unani-mously makes a recommendation for approval.”
When a citizen asked just “who staff is” his answer was himself, Town Man-ager Willy Powell, Town Engineer Tom Gosiorowski and metro district con-sultant Paul Benedetti. For the record, the town manager is now also the town planner since they no longer have one, and both the town attorney and metro district consultants are just that – paid consultants – not town employees.
This statement is all so telling about politics in our daily lives, in our small town, in our county, in our state and nationally. Do our representatives and their staff not have access to the voice of the people, those for whom they supposedly serve? Or, to put it from our side of the equation, do we not have the ear of our purported representatives?
And, in this, I am reminded of the current debacle in Washington regard-ing a national health care system where those on the upside of the bal-ance of power are determined to approve a bill, notwithstanding the majority and polled voice of the people adamantly opposed to it.
Assuming that all of the staff and consultants are of reasonable intellect, would there not be some disparity between them regarding their unani-mous recommendation of approval? Reasonable men do differ, especially intelligent ones. Yet, astoundingly, they are in lockstep for approval. Men of pause and wisdom usually have doubts and senses between them-selves regarding a common issue; there simply seems to be no individu-ality between the members of staff and paid consultants with regard to Trini-ty/ RED Eagle’s complex, convoluted and speculative application. This observation makes one wonder who the drummer is to whom they all think upon the same beat. It certainly cannot be the residents of the town of Eagle and its environs, since I am aware of no official or meaningful poll taken to tap the voice of the people regarding this project.
I, therefore, am relegated to the con-clusion that this unanimous recom-mendation is the offspring of a fore-gone decision on the part of the Eagle Town Board of Trustees – to give its anticipated approval some credibility and to counteract the fact that the Eagle Planning and Zoning Commis-sion twice had rejected the ERS con-cept. Why else would staff be in such lockstep? Isn’t there a provision or nuance in Trinity/RED Eagle’s applica-tion upon which at least one staff member might disagree?
The other day, I moseyed over to one of the coffee shops I frequent in Eagle for my morning libation, and discovered that Starbucks had closed. This brought to mind Trinity/RED Eagle’s assertion that it had many interested retailers on line for the proj-ect, including Target. So, I leave you with one parting thought: Starbucks and Target are both national retailers with financial clout in the marketplace, but the former has experienced the travails of a recession in the Eagle economy and has succumbed to that market. The latter only speculates that such market would be kinder to it.
In light of this, would not at least one staff member entertain a doubt about Trinity/RED Eagle’s representation that it has “lots of interest from various retailers”? Trinity/RED, for thee the bells toll!
– Fred Butler, Eagle
Editor’s note: The referenced quote from Eagle Town Attorney Ed Sands actually referred to the town staff’s unanimous recommendation that the Eagle River Station development agree-ment be approved if the Eagle Town Board decided to approve the develop-ment application. The town staff has not yet made a recommendation regarding approval or denial of the Eagle River Station project.