Vail Daily letter: Who paid for those anti-ERS ads?
Vail, CO, Colorado
Reading the recent pro-Yuri, pro-Brandi letters in this paper, there was a lot of conversation about “transparency,” implying that they would not be involved in any backroom deals. As voters, some of us decide intuitively, trusting the rhetoric and letting our emotions decide. But I, being a natural skeptic, felt some research was in order.
I recall that they were both involved in the core group of the political issue committee created to fight Eagle River Station in the January 2010 referendum. Brandi was the chairperson and Yuri an outspoken supporter. They were influential in defeating the project by 156 votes out of the 2,194 cast.
Brandi’s issue committee spent an amazing $74,104 campaigning against the approved development plan. That amount was $10,000 more than the developer spent defending the project.
I wanted to know who would/could spend so much money to influence a referendum in our quaint little suburb of Vail. The financial disclosure forms, obtained from the Town Clerk’s Office, show that 15 individuals, most of whom were not registered Eagle voters, contributed $3,433. Jan Rosenthal’s Citizens For the Future of Eagle contributed a massive $70,671 to Brandi’s committee. Jan did not file a public-disclosure form for her organization, so there is no public record of who contributed to her group. Whoever it was had the legal right to give her the money, but I take issue with the fact that the identity was deliberately withheld from voters. It appears to me that Jan created Brandi’s committee to launder the $70,671 and not file financial disclosures for Citizens for the Future of Eagle. Legal or not, the lack of transparency of these actions influenced the outcome of the election.
Here is why I care about this issue:
My wife and I live inside of the town of Eagle, and Eagle’s financial condition directly affects us. Since we moved here 10 years ago, we have invested both our time and money in this community. I understand that someone who lives inside of Eagle or in the surrounding area has a right to disagree on issues, but I am disturbed that people who live outside Eagle’s boundaries can influence the future well-being of our town. They may spend a few weeks in the area annually, but we live here year-round.
It is clear to me that by influencing the last election, they have denied the town of Eagle the opportunity of enhanced future revenue, and I don’t see them coming forward to write a $2 million check to Eagle to make up for our current shortfall. Do Eagle residents want a town that is unable to maintain or improve its facilities because a noncitizen does not want to see a new development in town? Even if that $70,671 contribution was legal, it doesn’t pass the ethics test with me. If money is free speech in politics today, then Eagle voters deserve full disclosure. Who is really doing the talking, and what are their motives?