Vail Daily column: Will Avon politicians listen to the voters?
With Tuesday’s vote looming, the “facts” in the Skier Building drama are now changing faster than we can keep up with them. Residents of Avon have been hearing about this issue since November, and no one seems to be any more enlightened than they were two months ago — myself included.
After reading two excellent pieces in Thursday’s paper (by Laurie Adler and Jack Hunn), I remembered a conversation I had with a council member just after the new year and felt compelled to share my own greatest concern: Does our vote even matter to begin with?
To add some context to that admittedly ominous question: My family has known one of the council members for decades, and my dad and I spoke with him about the Skier Building when he stopped by our house in early January. He explained the situation — at least, from his point of view — and urged both my dad and I to cast “yes” ballots.
The worrisome part of the conversation came when the councilman in question told us that no matter how the ballots came back, the town was going to purchase the Skier Building. The caveat: A vote of “yes” would allow the town to buy the building at a bargain, while a vote of “no” would necessitate the town’s paying cash for the building. Obviously, this isn’t stated on the ballot. But the wording of the ballot also never contradicts it. The unclear language of the ballot and the complete lack of information we’ve been given means that if this really is the council’s plan, they’re sneaking it right by us either way we cast our votes.
My internal dilemma then became, “Do I vote ‘yes’ on something I don’t agree with, and save the town some money? Or do I vote ‘no,’ and wait for all of us to pay the price when it turns out the town’s eyes were bigger than its pocket?”
There was no good answer two weeks ago, and there is no good answer now. I still don’t know how I will fill out my ballot — it’s a difficult decision to make when apparently our local government plans to go ahead with an ill-advised purchase even if we vote it down. If I fill out a “no” ballot, I want to be certain that “no” means that the town can’t purchase the building; not that they’ll buy it anyway, but at greater cost to you and I.
As I told my dad a couple days ago, the council can sit in Elk Lot and run their meetings a la Lawn Chair Drill Team for all I care, as long as the residents of Avon aren’t paying the price for what is, quite frankly, a luxury. The list of things Avon needs more than a cushier office space for its politicians is lengthy, but I’ll throw this one out there: How about putting that $3.2 million toward reintegrating Wildridge into the town’s bus route?
In school, they told us that the government exists to serve the people. I heard that phrase at least once a year in different social studies classes in my four years at Battle Mountain High School, and it was only in D.E. U.S. History that I was routinely encouraged to question politicians’ motives (thanks, Cope). Now I’ve graduated and voted in my first election within less than a year, and I am already sorely unimpressed with the Avon Town Council’s self-serving agenda.
I’ll leave it to the likes of Adler and Hunn to keep pushing for a “no” — they’ve got it more than covered. So my final question is not directed at you, the voters; but at you, the politicians running the show. When we vote, will you listen?
Jordan Farr is a resident of Avon.
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