Letter: ‘Lovers of money’ caused Vail’s irreversible damage
Editor’s note: Find a cited version of this letter at http://www.vaildaily.com.
Dear Editor: In response to Stephen Connolly’s letter (“Vail is dead, or long live Vail?” Saturday, Sept. 23), one is invited to “D” Magazine’s February 1979 article titled “Owning a piece of the Rockies.”
Those of us who lived here during the early ’70s and correctly considered ourselves second-generation locals in deference to the “originals” of the ’60s remember this valley’s once-unspoiled beauty, and its joy of life, in spite of difficult economic striving.
Then in 1974, Gerald Ford, an evidently decent man who owned Vail property, replaced Richard M. Nixon as U.S. president. At which time, wealthy wannabes began moving here hoping to play golf with Jerry.
Soon thereafter (1976), Texas Yahoo Oil and Gas (Harry Bass) sent Pete Seibert, Bob Parker and Sarge Brown down the road. Vail Associates then purchased Beaver Creek, and private golf courses began to proliferate, along with gated communities.
In essence, two kinds of persons moved to Vail in those days: (a) those who had a love of nature and who, through trial and error, developed a proper knowledge of mountain living; (b) those who had a “love of money.”
Then in 1985, George Gillette, along with his “wunderkind” Mike Shannon, placed Vail Associates in financial jeopardy, threatening bankruptcy. As Stephen’s letter reveals, the “lovers of money” prevailed, and in the view of outsiders, present-day Vail/Eagle Valley became but another unsightly, upper class Levittown on an interstate.
In the early years, there were a select few in authority who actually cared:
• Dr. Tom Steinberg and Joe Staufer (council members)
• Gary Wall (chief of police)
However, anyone who passed spelling and arithmetic in grammar school was considered qualified to sell real estate, and that culture soon began to grow like the proverbial, biblical mustard seed. Today’s Eagle County Commissioners and Vail and Avon town councils are now composed of urban/suburban creatures without knowledge of the past and without qualification for the present.
Those in black uniforms, haircuts “high and tight” and who drive black and whites staffed local police forces. Sadly, some have returned as vets from war zones not entirely well (post-trauma) and who consider the ordinary, peaceful citizen a potential threat to their authority and to the general population, thereby revealing the presence of a subtle paranoia which was entirely nonexistent in the early years.
And so, there is always a theological dimension involved in these scenarios; for “in the beginning,” God created a pristine valley … then man arrived and overlaid his own template, claiming to be capable of a better design. However, Scripture states, “One cannot serve both God and money; for he will love the one and hate the other” (Matthew 6:24).
Recent events have shown that man’s ignorance and arrogance will always come back to him by means of nature’s response. Still, there are many now living in Colorado’s mountain valleys who continue to mistakenly believe that they are insulated from such natural disasters.
Unfortunately, Stephen’s hope for “divine intervention” will go unheard because the “lovers of money” have had, and continue to have, their way. And it is to them that one must look in regard to Vail’s irreversible damage.
Cheers and blessings,