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Voters wise AND dumb

Kaye Ferry

As the election results came in after my last week’s deadline, this is my first opportunity to comment on them.”Conference Center crumbles.” That was the headline in last week’s paper. But “crumbles” implies a gentle, slow fall, one piece at a time. And that was hardly what happened. That thing went down with a thud. Like a ton of bricks. Nothing slow and gentle about it.And the good news is that it happened without a huge budget. Without the help of special interests that had vested financial rewards at stake. Without pep rallies. Without standing on street corners with “Vote No” signs. Without bogus polls. Without photos of the mayor and his cohorts. Without the help of a totally slanted press. Take that back. Without a totally slanted editorial position because at least Ed Stoner wrote some real facts once he started covering the town toward the end of the battle.No. This decision was won on the facts and a clear reality check. The very things that were missing the first time around. And I never thought for a minute that the voters in this community would be fooled a second time. Because, like the ads said, the risk was too great.At the end of the day, the town of Vail and its citizens were the winners. While some would like you to believe it was an us-against-them issue, it wasn’t. It was about those that had the long-term best interest of Vail as their motive versus those that were looking to their own bottom lines.So congratulations, Vail. You were smarter than the proponents gave you credit for. Given the correct information, you made the correct decision.Then there’s the Town Council. That will remain to be seen. It was easy, however, to see what drove the choices that the voters made. Diana and Dick clearly underestimated the tone of the community regarding Crossroads. It was a hot topic that pushed a lot of buttons. While I’m absolutely sure that the two of them acted out of philosophical and ethical commitments to town regulations and protocols, the community just plain didn’t care. They want redevelopment on that site and they are not concerned about the details.Large, dense buildings are not acceptable in the center on the Village. Now. But they’re OK on the perimeter, especially if they provide this nebulous thing called “public benefits.” Nebulous because the definition changes depending on who is queried. And you note that I added “now” because someday down the road, even the center of the village will be open to new interpretation. There’s more to the story. Agree with them or not, both Diana and Dick provided the only real reference points on the council for what rules have guided the development of Vail as we know it. Without the conscience they provided, things will be different, which is not necessarily better. The one thing that was always really, really clear to me from the get go was that the balance would change. There was too much unrest in the community for things to stay the same. When tempers are short and issues volatile, even the most lackadaisical seem to be motivated to get out and work towards a change. A short comment about Ludy’s situation. It was unfortunate for the community, but it was particularly unfortunate for Ludy. The information came to me, primarily as a result of my role with this newspaper.People assume that they have access to me and then subsequently to you through the vehicle of this column. For that reason, I receive endless calls and comments about issues in the community that people want aired. When I received the e-mail indicating the problem with Ludwig’s eligibility, I had no choice but to pass it on. An honest oversight had been made, but one that required a cure sooner rather than later. And the town lost not a minute in stepping up to the plate with an apology and solution. But to back up a minute, I asked my source why they did not send this information directly to the town. The response I got was that they didn’t want to get involved with town business and requested that I keep their identity confidential, which I have. We should all be eternally grateful that this information made it into the public eye before an even greater problem was created. I was as surprised as anyone when this information surfaced as I had raised the eligibility question when I first heard rumors of Ludy’s intent to run again. The answer I got was that it was A-OK so I never thought anything else about it.Yet, as they say, all’s well that ends well. We have a new council. The changes will result in a little shift in balance, which will hopefully create a different dialogue. Vail is facing the single biggest period of growth in its history. Let’s hope this new group will be accessible to the community, open to change, creative enough to balance what we all love about Vail with what we need to make us competitive in the market place and tough enough to live by their convictions. If they are, it’s all we have a right to ask.I, for one, am going on vacation. But there have been a lot of things that got put on the back burner during these last few months. I’ve finally been able to get to those and they will be printed here while I’m gone. Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 600, or editor@vaildaily.comVail, Colorado


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