Vail Daily editorial: Vail council: Mix new, familiar faces
The town of Vail’s founders did a good thing when drafting the town charter, which allows voters to potentially select a new Town Council majority every two years.
The Vail Town Council that convenes at the Nov. 17 meeting will have at least three new members, since current members Margaret Rogers and Andy Daly are ineligible to run for a third consecutive term, and member Dale Bugby decided not to seek re-election. Ludwig Kurz did decide to seek re-election.
This year’s field of seven council hopefuls is fairly small — council races often draw 10 or more candidates. Unlike most other election years, though, there’s not a “no way” candidate to be found. Any of these candidates would do good work, but some would contribute more, and sooner, than others.
In this field four candidates stand out, creating a mixture of new and familiar faces.
Starting with the newcomers, Kim Langmaid grew up in Vail, worked in her dad’s ski shop and came back from college to create what became the Walking Mountains Science Center.
People in towns where everyone is from somewhere else often start conversations by noting how long they’ve lived here. Those pronouncements are almost always irrelevant.
Langmaid is different. When someone grew up riding her bike to get between Vail Village and Lionshead, that person really does have a unique perspective about that place.
Beyond Langmaid’s Vail lifer status, she has good ideas about ways to restore Gore Creek, and would advocate for better stewardship of the public land surrounding the town and the valley. She’ll be a solid addition to the board.
Doe Browning, like most of us, lacks life-long status. But she did raise two daughters in town. Browning has well-considered ideas about the housing and transportation problems facing the town. Reasonable people can disagree with her contention that the town actually should have less parking at the proposed Chamonix neighborhood, but she makes her case well. She also believes the town’s restaurant and bar employees need a late-night bus for those who work until bars’ 2 a.m. closing time.
As someone who actually lives year ’round in Lionshead, Browning also has an every-day perspective about life in one of Vail’s resort villages.
No matter their previous experience, nothing prepares someone for elective office, even at the most local level. That’s why Dick Cleveland and Ludwig Kurz are good choices to round out this four-person election.
While Kurz may be soft-spoken, he’s spent virtually all of his professional career in Vail. The longtime council member and former mayor provides a steadying influence on the board. Like the other candidates, Kurz understands that Vail’s housing situation is now back at a critical levels. He’s a supporter of the Chamonix for-sale project, and, like other candidates, believes the town will have to look beyond its borders for property on which to build more housing.
Dick Cleveland has served two four-year terms on the council during the past 14 years, including one four-year stint as mayor, and would also be a good mentor for newcomers to the board.
Like the others, Cleveland is a fan of the Chamonix project. He also understands the finer points of Vail’s often-complex land use codes, as a longtime member of the Vail Planning and Environmental Commission.
Cleveland has also served for 18 years on Eagle County’s ECO Trails committee. That means he’s well-known outside the valley, something that will be important as all communities in the eastern half of the Vail Valley talk about housing and transportation during the next few years.
Vail’s economic engine is something to behold, powering both the town and much of the economy of the rest of the valley. This group of candidates are the best choices to keep that engine humming and, perhaps, maintain Vail’s status as a community as well as a luxury resort.