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Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Vail Daily staffVail CO, Colorado

Good governmentFor the long-term benefit of Eagle County, I strongly believe we should vote yes for home rule and expand the Eagle County Board of Commissioners to five commissioners. In fact, I received my ballot and have already mailed it back with a yes vote.That is not just a voter opinion, its a professional one as well. I own an international company that works with very large and quite small corporations in evaluating human dynamics in the workplace, from behavioral interviewing, conflict resolutions, competencies and values, to team building, talent management, and new leadership assimilation, to mention a few areas. I strongly believe, from experience, that a three-person dynamic sets up opportunities for conflict that can drive deep and permanent divisions between people. Even the best of leaders can have their interpersonal skills pushed to the edge by pressures within that dynamic.Invariably, in a three-way power sharing arrangement someone will take an alpha position. Depending on the situation, it can become a position of inspired leadership or, often, petty manipulation. I am not letting former and current commissioners off the hook on that opinion either. For many personalities, a three-person board sets up opportunities for interpersonal, political, and community failures.The phrase, there is safety in numbers, is valid, but there is also added wisdom in numbers as well. In a dynamic of five there is a higher tendency toward reaching consensus via compromise and collaboration. With five commissioners, a better representation of the population of Eagle County is present and pet projects get a better weighted vote from the board, and two commissioners cannot push ideas through without having a balanced discussion and approval process.There are some opponents to the home-rule charter who believe the current three-commissioner rule is satisfactory. I am sure if each of us look to the past we will find the places where we were totally shocked, surprised and disappointed by the blatant over-riding of the wishes of the residents of this county and total lack of accountability to anyone when a one-sided agenda was pushed through the county commission. Please vote yes for home rule and expand the board to five commissioners, which adds new citizens rights and leaves the rest of Eagle County government as is.I sincerely hope you will vote for home rule and a five-member Board of Commissioners and give the entire county a future of more balanced and thoughtful governance.Sandra DonnellyMoney saving tipsThis is in response to the gentleman from Vail Honeywagon who didnt want countywide bear bins because they cost money and it would slow down his workers. This isnt an adequate reason for not implementing a new policy. Leave this up to the county commissioners to decide. If you really want to save money, why dont you provide these industrial-size Dumpsters and two residential-size bins for recycling for 48 houses in each neighborhood like you do in my apartment complex of 48 apartments. Oh, and dont forget to only empty the recycling twice a month. Any recyclables outside the bin you can chunk into the rubbish bin like you do here. Want to save even more money? Just dont offer recycling like most of the complexes Waste Management services. Good luck!Frank Thomas Avon A great season The 2006-2007 season of Premier Impressions has come and gone, and the Vail Chamber & Business Association would like to thank many people and businesses for making this seasons program a success. Foremost, we would like to extend many thanks to Vail Resorts, and the Town of Vail for the financial support they have provided for the past seven years. Additionally, since November, we have relied on the Vail Daily to communicate important news about the program, including twice weekly nomination forms, and winner announcements. Without the support of the town, the resort company, and the Daily, execution of the program would not be feasible.Secondly, we would like to thank all of those Vail employees and employers who work so hard to make Vail the No. 1 resort in North America. The chamber received more than 300 nomination forms, and though we could unfortunately only reward 75 of those employees, each and every nominee deserves thanks for going above and beyond the call of duty and providing excellence in customer service. The end-of-season party was also a great success, and for that we extend our thanks to Bill Suarez, of Billys Island Grill for providing an excellent venue for the celebration. Many businesses were generous enough to donate prizes for these exceptional employees, and for these contributions, we sincerely thank you. Alpine Wine and Spirits, City Market, Safeway, the Westside Caf, Sweet Basil, and Bart & Yetis all provided gift certificates for several winners. Additional thanks to Eye Pieces, Heaven Massage and Spa, the Lifthouse Lodge, the Vail Golf Club, Talbot Travel, Timberline Tours, Fly Fishing Outfitters, Crossroads Market, and Vail Resorts for providing goods or services to winners. With such a successful season this year, we look forward to an excellent upcoming season of Premier Impressions. We look forward to working with all of you in upcoming seasons. Vail Chamber & Business AssociationDemocratic view This is in response to an opinion piece by Mike Reid titled Serious reasons to oppose home rule. While we are very pleased that Mr. Reid has read the Eagle County Democratic Platform, I want to make it clear that the Eagle County Democratic Party in no way wholly opposes or wholly endorses the current home-rule proposal.We like many aspects of it and dislike others, and we dont necessarily agree on which is which in this case. The Eagle County Democrats are made up of many different opinions on this subject and therefore, as a party, we have not taken an official position either way on home rule.However, I just signed and sealed my ballot with a yes vote. My personal decision after doing lots of research, speaking with many members of the Home Rule Charter Commission and listening to the various different opinions on this issue is that this will be a good thing for Eagle County. Read the charter for yourself. Dont be swayed by fear tactics and yard signs proclaiming a loss of your rights. Nothing could be further from the truth, except perhaps that Peter Runyon is Arn Menconis poodle. Hogwash! The home rule charter was drafted by 11 individuals from different backgrounds and political affiliations. They are to be commended for their hard work and consensus on this issue. Call them. Read the proposal. In my opinion, it gives the citizens of Eagle County better representation, allows commissioners to meet and discuss issues outside of a public forum and does not leave the important decisions to as few as two individuals when one commissioner is not present.In a nutshell, its far too much power for three elected officials to wield, regardless of their political party affiliation. I voted yes on home rule. I believe its a very good thing.New New WallaceA few questionsI wrote a commentary on home rule in yesterdays paper, a comment that elicited responses from Don Cohen and Mayor Ron Wolfe. First off, Don Cohen and Mayor Wolfe are very active in the community and dedicated leaders. I appreciate their energy because the greatness of our county comes from leaders like them.With that said, I am deeply disappointed with Don Cohens response. Rather than argue against the intellectual points that were brought up in my article, Don Cohen instead resorted to insulting language. Last I checked, Don Cohen does not live in our familys Eagle County home; so what authority does he have to critique my solid stay of residency within our good county? In addition, condescending language like spoon fed is inappropriate and unbecoming of Don Cohens good leadership.Don Cohen youre a better person than that.In addition, Im not soothed by Mayor Ron Wolfes words against eminent domain, either. As our good Vail Daily reported, the old Wendys site of Vail is on the verge of being condemned for the purpose of stealing this private property under eminent domain structure. So how am I, as a concerned citizen of this county, supposed to be soothed by home-rule laws that bar me from calling referendums against county commissioner land use and spending, when private properties are already on the verge of being stolen by our local government?No argument that Mayor Wolfe or Don Cohen make will satisfy me. Section 1.3.2 of the charter says that our dictatorship group of county commissioners will be able to liberally construe any parts of the charter that they wish. Thus, the passage alone gives blanket authority for our home rule county commissioners to pursue any plan, under the basis of interpretation.Don Cohen, please answer the following questions for us regarding the proposed home-rule charter:Referendums: Why is the electorate not allowed to declare referendums against county budget and land-use decisions, including eminent domain and tax increases? Why does the charter specifically have a section that outlaws public referendum for such issues?Interpretation: Why are the county commissioners allowed to liberally construe the charter, rather than adhere to its rules? Why is the Colorado Supreme Court not allowed to arbitrate?Elections: Why does the charter not have a section that specifically calls for all election contributions to be disclosed, publicly? And why does the charter not specifically outlaw contributions from corporations and labor unions?And please do not hide behind the idea that state statutes will be enforced in our county elections. Colorado state statutes, as I proved within my last commentary, have no laws for home-rule entities; as a matter of fact, the Colorado state constitution protects the right for home-rule entities to allow for elections that will have no public disclosure of contributions, no spending limits.Nor am I pleased with Don Cohens explanation of the abolishment of the county surveyors office. I really do not care what Dan Corcoran says; the abolishment of the county surveyor is the abolishment of an elected official who is responsible for holding our county commissioners accountable. Without that seat, we are only giving greater power to our county commissioners.My good friend Don Cohen, I would deeply appreciate if you or anyone else could directly address my three questions above. And please do so this time without using sarcasm. As my mommy always taught me if you cant argue your viewpoint without having to insult your opponent, then youre probably on the losing side.Muhammad Ali HasanVoting yesI think Eagle County should expand the Board of Commissioners to five as proposed in the home rule charter. Its my honor to serve my community by being one of five members of a metro district board. Our homeowners board consists of nine members. The Board of Trustees of Colorado Mountain College, which I chair, has seven elected board members. Putting this in perspective, it seems completely out of step that, Eagle County, our largest government, only has three elected board members.With just three commissioners, any time two commissioners speak to each other, it potentially constitutes a majority of the board making a decision in a private setting, and appears unethical. Dont we all find it useful to exchange views with one other person in a private setting? We learn so much about both the issue and how the other person develops his or her thinking. This is of great use in creating a positive working relationship. With five commissioners, two could interact without the specter of collusion.Ive heard the claims that expanding the Board of Commissioners will add more cost and increase government spending. My metro board experience has proven to be the opposite. With a five-member board, weve been very conservative in our spending choices based on better, informed debates and a diversity of experience among our five board members. Our board members are also dispersed throughout the community. This adds great value in addressing issues that are very neighborhood specific. I believe that these same principles will be beneficial to Eagle County and thats why Ill be voting yes for home rule.Doris DewtonEdwards


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