Vail Daily’s view: Best of great choices for Vail Town Council |

Vail Daily’s view: Best of great choices for Vail Town Council

Vail Daily Editorial Board
Vail, CO, Colorado

It’s true that you can’t go wrong choosing among the nine candidates for the Vail Town Council’s four open seats.

But there are four best choices, depending on where you think the council needs to go in these tumultuous times. There has to be.

From our vantage, the best council is the one that is best prepared, most knowledgeable, most able to articulate decisions, most able to listen (in and out of the chambers) and one that has the best range of viewpoints and perspectives.

We don’t have to agree with every position a candidate takes. Indeed, the notion that a council should make big decisions on election night, while voters are setting the course of the next majority, is very wrong, in our view. All but one candidate strongly supported the council doing the very thing in the forum we hosted with the Vail Homeowners Association. Still, somehow, the town will survive, we realize.

We do agree that the current council has responded relatively quickly to the sudden onset of the Great Recession last fall. The town was lucky enough to have built up big reserves in the boom times, and prudent enough not to spend them down heedless of the boom and bust cycle so inherent throughout mountain community history.

Now recovery could be under way, or another fall. Times have improved to … uncertainty, but everyone best bank on flat at best for the meantime.

Like it or not, the next council has to focus on what drives Vail’s economics from here. Tourism now trumps the easy money in real estate. And those tourists are looking for deals. The town should count itself fortunate if parking is a problem on a few particularly busy days this ski season.

Against this backdrop, though, our principles in weighing candidates to recommend have not changed. Who is ready to hit the ground running? What does the current council need in that all-important range of views? Who is out and about, seeking out constituents? Who communicates well?

Here is our top four for your consideration while you think about your top four:

• Kim Newbury. She has the experience, judgment, workers’ perspective and can articulate her thoughts well.

• Mark Gordon. He’s an idea factory, for a council that can use some of that out-of-the-box perspective. Some of those ideas may be better than others, and that’s why the council comprises seven.

• Ludwig Kurz. If the Vail Council can use fresh ideas, this body really needs the calming, collaborative and thoughtful touch that former Mayor Kurz brings.

• Susie Tjossem. No one has done more in the past two years to prepare themselves for service on the council. Tjossem was particularly impressive in her help putting the Vail Chamber and Business Association back together over the past year. Her range of experience with Vail Resorts and Booth Creek Ski Holdings, planning commission, chamber and running the Ski Hall of Fame position her perfectly for this next assignment.

This is not to slight the other candidates, who also bring impressive qualities to their candidacies. In no particular order:

• Kevin Foley has served 10 years and remains up to the job. He takes his role as the working man’s councilman very seriously. He also listens well outside the chambers to better understand what’s going on in town.

• Scott Proper has prepared himself just about as well as Tjossem by serving on the Vail Recreation Board and town planning commission, along with a year as president of the Rotary Club. His financial skills as a banker would indeed serve Vail very well.

• Kerry Donovan is going to be a fabulous council person at some point, maybe now and almost certainly later. She has the perspective of being born and raised in town to parents who have served well in their turn. She has the energy, the ability to engage people and judgment to reach and maybe even rise above the bar her parents set in their turn.

• Likewise, Buddy Lazier was raised in town. He has business experience and perspective through his work in motorsports, the family lodge and shows a great deal of knowledge about the town.

• Michael Charles only moved from working on the mountain and helping build a young town to growing his little hot tub business into the biggest of its kind in the Rocky Mountain region, and probably well beyond. His small-business acumen is among the highest to be found anywhere. What council couldn’t use that?

It’s difficult choosing among this group, though not nearly so difficult as the choices we all will ask council to make in this next term. Vail isn’t the only part of the larger community that counts on this municipality being run very well, after all.

So we’re going with who we think needs the least start-up time to contribute effectively, make sure the council considers the widest range of views, and can move Vail forward swiftly and confidently in rocky waters.

Agree with us or not, please be sure to vote. No body means more to your daily life as a voting citizen in Vail than the Town Council.

Vail Daily Editorial Board

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