Vail Daily column: Voters don’t count in Avon | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Voters don’t count in Avon

Don Rogers
My View
Don Rogers
Laura Mahaffy/lmahaffy@theunion.com | The Union

Avon might be the most interesting town in the valley these days.

We say “interesting” when we don’t know quite what to say. Great, terrible, awesome, appalling, pathetic?

Yes, all of that.

Awesome to see revitalization, fresh paint and new life on the east side, Northside rocking, Centura building, concerts at Nottingham setting the stage for the valley. Trails and Walking Mountains.

Appalling to see town leaders take their voters so lightly, as if those relatively few pesky citizens just get in the way, are of no account, have no business interfering. The nerve.

Don’t like how the referendum went on the Skier Building? Just change the financing tool so voters have no say about that. The administration seems hell bent on moving Town Hall to a shell of a building no one else would touch.

Those dumb voters reject a use tax on construction materials bought out of town? Just wait a bit, call it a sales tax and tell the contractors to pay up. They don’t seem to notice. The 2002 election? Long forgotten.

Spend millions on what was supposed to be a bandstand? Absolutely! Vail once stopped itself from turning a pool into an Olympic venue. Avon doubled down on millions of dollars in overruns. Only by coincidence was all this spending with the same construction company that had two people serving on the Town Council and certainly won its fair share of business in town.

Still, it’s awesome that the bandstand-turned “performance pavilion” will likely pay off handsomely. It certainly gave concert planners a lot of confidence, and who can argue with WinterWonderGrass? Whew!

It’s all breathtaking, really.

Other than a neighborhood rising to the occasion whenever Magnus Lindholm’s relatively vast holdings are involved, citizens are hard to find around Town Hall or a voting booth. Get a big enough clique and you’re elected.

Council members have a lot of freedom and historically have been prone to taking little liberties. Really, why not?

I’m appalled. I’m awed! I wonder if I’d behave the same way. Maybe. Results are more compelling than how you got there, right? Especially if you can save time, if not exactly money, finding the fast lanes.

What checks and balances may occasionally trip Avon’s leadership don’t stop them for long. They’re like the offensive lineman who holds on every play, just daring the refs to call the penalty. Only the refs almost never look. Why hold up the game? Great works are getting done!

I can shake my head. I can sputter on and moralize all I like about abuse of democracy and lack of respect for the people these folks are supposed to serve.

Of course, I can afford to laugh in amazement. Ain’t my town. Easy enough to dismiss with some droll comment about getting what you vote for, unless you’re in Avon. There it’s not your town; it’s theirs.

But I wonder if Avon’s voters quite got what they thought they’d get in this council majority. Or that the referendum soundly rejecting a plan to overspend on an otherwise unsellable building only inspired the town’s leadership to figure out how to pick up the albatross anyway with a robust middle finger salute to the voters. Otherwise they’d put up a new plan to the constituents, like the town of Eagle did with Eagle River Station.

I’m amazed. I’m awed. The sheer gall. I expect they’ll probably get away with it.

The funny thing is Avon may well be a better place with leaders who could give two you-know-whats about how you think. How ironic is that?

Yes, it’s kind of pathetic. But it’s so … interesting.

Publisher Don Rogers can be reached at drogers@vaildaily.com and 970-748-2920.