Zalaznick: Send Obama to Eagle |

Zalaznick: Send Obama to Eagle

Matt Zalaznick
Vail CO, Colorado

Would Rudy Giuliani widen the bike lanes between Edwards and Eagle? Would Barack Obama build more affordable homes in Wolcott?

Would Dennis Kucinich stand up to the development crowd and take a hard line on preserving open space?

The 2008 presidential race is already getting tons of attention. There’s a new poll every day showing Hillary Clinton has the Democratic nomination sewn up or that Barack Obama is gaining ground or that Fred Thompson is either going to win the Super Bowl or be recalled from toy-store shelves because his hair is dyed with lead paint from China.

CNN already has a countdown clock to the Iowa caucus running in the bottom left corner of its broadcasts. FOX News is trying to figure out which Republican candidate’s butt it’s going to kiss for the next four to eight years.

MSNBC’s hard-hitting journalists have discovered who Paris Hilton thinks would be “the hottest king” and what it feels like to get shot with a Taser while being blown off the deck of a cruise by a hurricane.

But not even we here at the Vail Daily have yet to prognosticate about another big ’08 race. We said hardly anything about the 2008 races for two seats on the Eagle County Board of Commissioners.

No one has announced their candidacy to replace term-limited Arn Menconi (if he survives the recall) or challenge incumbent Peter Runyon. And because we have no personalities or platforms to weigh, let’s use the presidential candidates as guinea pigs and put them through the local maze of deed-restrictions, conservation easements, building moratoriums and environmental impact reports.

Let’s start with recycling. Our recycling “centers” in Avon and Edwards are a mess. They’re more like junkyards. It’s no wonder a lot of locals think the recyclables they take the time to haul to the special Dumpsters winds up in the landfill.

I think Bill Richardson ” who’s stared down the supercreeps in Iran, Iraq and North Korea and overseen the most destructive nuclear arsenal on Earth ” might be the only candidate with the spine of steel required to take on the trash at the recycling swamps.

The Axis of Evil is nothing compared to the sometimes un-navigable garbage. The seething mess would make a less experienced man ” Chris Dodd or Ron Paul, for instance ” weep his anonymous socks off.

And which candidate could hit the brakes on growth? Seems a majority of residents are interested in seeing development slow down. I think any of the candidates who voted for the war in Iraq ” Hillary Clinton, John McCain, John Edwards ” would do a great job.

They were behind the Bush Administration’s plan to reduce the population and eradicate the infrastructure in Iraq.

Look at it this way: not one Wal-Mart, Target or Costco has open in Iraq since those candidates let the president go to war.

Perhaps it’s just this type of thinking than can help Eagle County regress to the Stone Age ” or at least back to when Vail was still a meadow full of munching sheep.

The environment? Open space conservation? Healthy streams? Only a city-slicker like Rudy Giuliani understands both the importance of Mother Nature and the need to keep her in good shape so we can trample all over her.

When it comes to the alleged “biggest problem facing Eagle County,” I think Mitt Romney is the man who would build the most affordable housing. He’s filthy rich, which means he knows the importance of service workers.

And he planned the Olympics, which means he also knows how to cram thousands of foreigners who are only in town temporarily into tiny, substandard living spaces that can be bulldozed at a moment’s notice to make way for an outlet mall, freeway or parking lot. As for illegal immigration, Mitt also knows about sending the foreigners home when the games are over.

But I think Barack Obama would make the best Eagle County commissioner. He’s fit (at least he looks it), he’s multi-cultural, he’s idealistic ” he’s probably the high-speed quad of the field to John McCain’s plodding old rope tow; he’s the snowboarder with all the latest gadgets to Fred Thompson’s one-piece-clad tourist with straight Olin skis snowplowing down Bridge Street.

And if Obama’s willing to push the envelope and, say, bomb Pakistan or Italy, he may have the guts to realize that, despite all the hand-wringing and recalling and angry letters to the editor, life is pretty good here ” unless you happen to be a young family looking for a single-family home.

That might require the compassion of a Tom Tancredo, who has all sorts of ideas about who doesn’t belong where and how we can get rid of them.

Assistant Managing Editor Matt Zalaznick can be reached at 748-2926, or

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