Vail Valley: Don’t be afraid to jump into the fray |

Vail Valley: Don’t be afraid to jump into the fray

Michael Kurz
Vail, CO, Colorado

From the bridge of the USS Enterprise, Captain Jean-Luc Picard issued the clear command that in a single word, communicated that he knew what to do, where he was going, that he had a mission, a purpose, and was not about to change his mind. “Engage,” he’d say, and off went the starship at warp speed, straight as an arrow to get it done.

Yes, there were surprises when the Enterprise arrived at whatever space anomaly, alien outpost or ship-battering ion storm they encountered. And yes, there were losses, good-guy ships, bad-guy ships, new crewmen (an especially dangerous occupation, in that new faces rarely outlived a single episode) and friendly vessels with weaker armament that all took the brunt of the temporal rifts, Cardassian attacks and Romulan deceits. But that’s expected when you’re going “where no one has gone before.”

I can’t help but thinking this economy is taking us all where no one has gone before. There’s a lot of fear out there, and a lot of bad decisions are being made in an effort to cope. (Some good ones, too.) But decisions are being made not with a clear, well-trodden path illuminated to guide us and bolster confidence on our journeys, but in semi-darkness and under the duress of external forces out of our control.

Part of it is because this is unknown territory and wandering in the wilderness is, indeed risky business. Not all of us are good at wayfinding or orienteering. Some set out on an adventure of exploration and never return. But part of the bad decision making is, just as it was with our friend, Captain Picard, because folks in decision-making positions just don’t have all the information they need to make a good decision. They gather available facts, debate the merits of various options and (eventually) get on with taking what they feel is appropriate action. Then of course, they suffer the consequences, for good or ill.

Well, ladies and gentlemen, if you have issues with directions things are going, please speak up. After the fact, it’s a bear to change direction. Yet, time after time, I sit in public meetings when public comment is solicited and there is no public to comment. But very often, I hear and read opinions, criticisms, innuendo and allegations that no one listens, or viewpoints weren’t considered or “what they did was just plain wrong.” Not good enough.

There are some very important issues facing the valley that, although they don’t seem to rise to the level of the debate about Eagle River Station, will have similar impact on economic development, tourism and tax revenues. Just a few current issues to consider: the Ever Vail development, Vail conference center funds use, parking in Vail, the Connect Avon Now proposal, Eagle County’s retirement community discussion, marketing efforts for the town of Eagle and so on.

It’s easy to criticize and carp. What most people don’t know is that it’s also easy to speak your mind. All public meetings are publicized. All officials and town staff know when and where you can speak out and be heard. And, trust me, there’s plenty of room at these meetings for you to sit. You’d be stunned to know how many of these very important sessions are unattended by the public.

So gather your thoughts, check the relevant Web sites for meetings on issues that mean something to you, take a moment to bone up on meeting etiquette or customs (there’s a great example at “Citizen’s Guide to Council Meetings” on the Vail Town Council link at, and, as Picard commands, “Engage.” Remember, you can’t be heard if you don’t talk to the folks who can do something about your issues.

Event update

• March 26, 8 – 10:30 a.m.: Green Your Organization, One Step at a Time, Antlers at Vail, Lionshead. Light breakfast will be served. Register at

• March 30, 8 – 9 a.m.: Non-profit Seminar: Asking for Money and Living to Tell the Tale, location to be determined.

• April 7, 8 – 9 a.m.: Partner 101: Benefits Orientation, Vail Valley Partnership office, Traer Creek Plaza, Avon.

• April13, 5:30 – 7 p.m.: Ask the Experts, Business Entertaining: Wine 101, Vail Valley Partnership Office, Traer Creek, Avon.

• April 15, 6 – 9 p.m.: Lobster and Blue Jeans Networking Party, Vail Chophouse, Lionshead. Contact events coordinator Michelle Kobelan, or 970-477-4001 for reservations.

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