Well, it is commentary | VailDaily.com

Well, it is commentary

Kaye Ferry

It appears as though some of you don’t know how it came about that I’m writing this column. To begin with, I was asked to write, by both the publisher and editor, as far back as last September.

I didn’t go looking for this job – it came looking for me. And make no mistake, my opinion influences both the content and context of this column. Across America, columnists are paid for their perspective. So like it or not, agree or not, I am paid to express my point of view. If somebody wants to pay you for yours, good for you. Go for it.

And why might anyone care what my opinion is? You’ll have to ask Steve and Don, as I can only speculate. They have both told me that they like my “style.” They feel that I have an insight that is thoughtful and well presented even if it rarely agrees with the Daily’s. But that’s good, too, because it also feeds in to my motives for writing.

I want to present issues that the community doesn’t always hear from a perspective that they might not normally consider. I also want to represent the group with which I am most closely associated, the business community. And I believe I am in a unique position to do that.

I owned a business in the heart of Vail for 15 years. I was the founder and president of the Merchant Association and Chamber for 12 years. I rarely miss a Town Council meeting and have served on more boards than I care to count. So you bet, my view is skewed. But it’s mine and I’m paid to express it.

And to another criticism, as to why some of my columns appear to be too “newsy” – too fact-based for their location, I can only say this. I think that the very paper for which I write must be held to some scrutiny.

I’ll only review one issue as an example, the convention center. The public needed to know that they had voted on a ballot item with only part of the information available to them.

Subsequent to my columns, more than one person said to me that the topic should have been researched and presented by the news department of the paper and not via the commentary page. And I couldn’t agree more. But the news department didn’t get that information out. However, that does not mean that the message should never have been delivered.

Many topics fall into the cracks and that’s precisely why I choose them, all the while knowing that my choice is motivated by what I think is important. And I will continue to point out the inconsistencies, inadequacies and errors in the systems as I view them.

But when it’s all said and done, and most importantly, it’s working. Specifically, parking has made it to the front burner. The convention center finally has a home even if all of the other details are very much in flux. Both business organizations received their funding. So the things that I care about are being addressed and argued. Awareness and the ensuing debate is part of the American process and ultimately serves us all well.

So if I have been of any help in raising the community’s consciousness, I am satisfied. And while it might not agree with your perception of my job, it’s also not your job to define mine. At the end of the day, it’s much like the complaints registered against television programming. The off button is an option. In this case, turn the page.

Better yet, write your own column. Find someone willing to pay you for your thoughts. And then sit back and wait for the tomatoes – for they WILL come. But keep in mind, it’s far easier to be the antagonist than the protagonist.

On another topic: As you know by now, I closed The Grind on July 29 because that was the expiration date of my liquor license. I was initially told by someone on the Liquor Board that meant the end of the business day on the 29th, which would have been 2 a.m. The police told one of my managers that midnight was the time. So I decided to check again, but the chief was on vacation so I was left with the sergeant in charge who informed me that we had to stop serving at midnight. Somewhat of a problem when it was our last night after15 years and the night promised to be a big one. But that’s really beside the point. I was given the wrong information. But however inconvenient, I believe it was an honest mistake.

So now we finally get to the point. At 11:30 the gendarmes started appearing. By 11:45 there were four across the street and two more with a car at the corner. Coincidence? Probably not. Particularly since one of them marched into the store to make sure there was no alcohol present at midnight – even after having been assured that the bar had been cleared.

So I need to ask, is this normal procedure? My guess is not. But more than that, it seems pretty clear to me that if six officers had nothing better to do than hang around in front of The Grind at midnight on a Tuesday night – well, I’d just have to think maybe we have too many.

And of course, compounding the mystery is the fact that when there WAS a problem last March, at 1 a.m. on a Friday, it took a half hour for even one officer to turn up. I guess a brawl started by a Denver gang is small potatoes compared to making sure The Grind had all the beers off the bar by 12. God forbid we ever have a real problem in this town.

Do your part: call them and write them. To contact the Town Council, call 479-1860, ext. 8, or e-mail towncouncil@ci.vail.co.us. To contact Vail Resorts, call 476-5601 or e-mail vailinfo@vailresorts.com. For past columns, vaildaily.com-search:ferry

Kaye Ferry, founding president of the Vail Chamber and Business Association, is a longtime observer of Vail government. She writes a weekly column for the Daily.

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