Letters to the editor
Michelle Hall is a wonderful candidate for the Vail Recreation District board. She has a terrific work ethic. She’s a young mother and wife. She works at the Avon Library and I know personally that she is an outstanding volunteer. We need her on that board.
Vote for Hall
This letter is written to encourage you to vote for Michelle Hall for the Vail Recreation District Board.
Michelle consistently takes the time to study issues that affect our community and has been a passionate advocate for several. She is intelligent and thoughtful and capable of making good decisions on behalf of the constituents of the VRD.
As she and her family have been participants in many VRD programs, she has insight into the issues surrounding them. She is a dedicated volunteer for Crime Stoppers and Girl Scout Troop 291, among other organizations. I am certain she would be an asset to the VRD Board!
P.S.: May elections have historically had low voter turnouts…please take the time to exercise your right to vote!
Why I’m running
I am one of seven candidates running for two board seats for the Eagle County Health Services District (also known as the “ambulance district”). The ECHSD provides paramedic and ambulance service in the eastern half of Eagle County.
If you’re a registered voter living between Vail and Wolcott, I’d like to encourage you to vote in the upcoming May 4 election. And why would you get in your car and drive to the ambulance district headquarters in Edwards (the only polling place) for such a seemingly small election? Because it’s exactly in these kind of elections where you have an opportunity to help shape the direction for our public services for years to come. It’s here, in these most local of elections, that your voice and your vote really do make a difference.
I decided to run for the ambulance district a year ago. The defining moment came for me at a meeting one of the district’s board members invited me to. The meeting’s discussion was on the idea of merging the ambulance and fire districts in the upper part of the valley. I believe we’ve got far too many governmental entities serving a very small population. So I spoke in favor of simply “exploring” the opportunities for consolidating services.
Boy did I walk into a set-up. Every other voice that spoke, which sadly included a couple of doctors, claimed absolute doom and demise should the ambulance district even open the conversational door a crack.
I came away with a clear understanding that ECHSD has grown into a monoculture. Monocultures can be very effective, especially when an organization is growing. The problem is, that as organizations mature, monoculture thinking begins to stifle the development of fresh ideas. It’s like the saying, “When you’re a hammer, every solution looks like a nail.”
In a community as small as ours, there’s no need for the virulent “turf protection” thinking that ECHSD has. I’ve seen this before in both public and private sector organizations. It’s an insecurity about job security that’s the driver. This leads many of the employees and associates of the district to expend all their energies in scaring an uninformed public that dire consequences will occur if, God forbid, there’s any kind of merger between the fire and ambulance districts.
Worse yet, if there isn’t an MD on the board, people will die because a merciless, budget cutting board has hired cut-rate, ill-trained staff.
These scare tactics are just patently false.
As a businessman with 30 years of entrepreneurial experience, I have built, acquired and merged companies. I also had 10 years of emergency service experience as a team mission leader with the Alpine Rescue Team in Evergreen (including getting an EMT certification).
I can honestly say that I’m not sure whether or not consolidation of ambulance and fire services is the right thing to do. Maybe we should think about consolidating the two ambulance districts in both halves of the county first.
What my direct observation and investigation tells me is that the Eagle County Health Services District remains stubbornly insulated and threatened about exploring, in good faith, even simple facilities sharing opportunities. That’s a shortsighted view and doesn’t respect the fact that the taxpayers are footing the bill of the inefficiency of isolation.
Lynn Morgan, the executive director of ECHSD, has done an excellent job in two decades to build a first-class, nationally accredited organization. As a resident in eastern Eagle County you should take pride and comfort in knowing, that if you need emergency medical and ambulance services, you’re going to get top care.
Maintaining that high level of quality service is a non-negotiable item with me. However, it doesn’t mean that we can’t look at thoughtful ways of improving the business infrastructure that supports the organization. For instance, if a newly elected board doesn’t include a doctor, then a medical advisory committee comprised of several doctors needs to be put into place to assure continuing quality.
Additionally, I’ve strongly encouraged and supported Edwards resident and the assistant town manager of Vail, Pam Brandmeyer, to also run for the district board. Pam’s municipal management experience would be a great asset.
For many of you who know me, I passionately believe in working hard to make Eagle County a great place to live. I’ve put ideas and energy into developing the Vail Valley Economic Council and continue to work with governments, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations throughout Eagle County.
I have but one agenda for attaining a board seat with ECHSD, and that’s to strengthen their district board by showing them the positive benefits that can come from good listening and relationship building.
Now here is some exciting news. Our benevolent county manager, Jack Ingstad, a former TV reporter, has announced that we the people of Eagle County will be receiving government television.
Boy am I excited to be able to flip that switch on my TV and watch the commissioners perform to the tune of partisan politics. Even a porno flick doesn’t come close to this.
There is only one problem. Are the majority of Eagle County’s citizens being reached? Many of us are on satellite. This is a discriminatory practice by government and a waste of money for something that only a few would participate in except for reporters and damn few of them do.
If you can’t do it right then don’t do it at all or maybe I will just invite myself to a friend’s house for dinner on those exciting nights and hang around for the show. My friend will probably charge me the small passed-on fee if he lives in an unincorporated area, per the statement of Jack Ingstad, a former TV reporter.
That’s it, dinner and a show, forget the movies.
Like I have been saying, boy do we need a change.
Owed an apology
I wish to display my disgust and express how deplorable I think it is that the recent Minturn town elections became an occurrence for outright character assassination.
I have personally known Patty and Earl Bidez since 1983. To question the honesty, and impugn the integrity of a long established resident, a family man, and a successful businessman since the mid-’80s, is displaying a great amount of rude ignorance of the social ethic of serving as an elected official in your own home town.
In my opinion, some, but not all opponents of the RV park, owe Earl a great big public apology.
I found it interesting that “Vail Fire Department paramedics” were going to provide for some of the medical coverage at the Teva Mountain Games. This is perplexing because the Vail Fire and Emergency Services (their actual name) does not have any paramedics on staff.
They do, however, have some of the best firefighter-EMTs I have ever worked with.
If anyone is interested in learning the difference between a firefighter-EMT and a paramedic, I extend an open invitation to come visit us at either our Edwards or Vail stations. We’d be happy to discuss any of the prehospital and critical care transport services we offer, and give you a tour of our facilities.
Health Service District
I would like to suggest to the candidates running for Eagle County commissioner that they attend the Eagle County commissioners meeting on the afternoon of May 4. The Heritage Park development proposal is on the agenda.
This proposed development is of great concern to most of the residents of Homestead. Much of the Homestead annual meeting was devoted to discussion of this proposal.
Homestead residents have been fighting against the increased zoning and density that this development proposes for over three years.
There is also strong opposition by the Homestead Board of Directors.
The Eagle County Planning Commission voted 7-0 against Heritage Park at the sketch plan phase. The county commissioners voted 2-1 to override the Planning Commission and approve the sketch plan with the condition that the dual access requirement be addressed.
Then the county commissioners voted 2-1 to grant a variance allowing only a single access.
At the preliminary plan and zone change hearing, the Planning Commission again voted 7-0 against this proposal.
On May 4, the county commissioners will hear this proposal,and will likely vote on whether or not to override the second unanimous denial by the Planning Commission.
The potential 1,600-plus voting residents of Homestead will be very interested in knowing which candidates are in favor and which are opposed to this proposed development, and more importantly, which candidates are willing to listen to their constituents when they speak up so strongly.
This is a very large block of votes in an unincorporated portion of Eagle County.
Scott Wirth, Mike Claymon
9/11 report flawed
The commission formed by the Congress and the administration to investigate the possible failures of government in preventing the terrorist attack of Sept 11, 2001, last week delivered a report that demonstrates the failures in government to act in a responsible and accountable manner even in the cases where our safety is the subject.
It wasn’t the final, formal report that still lies months ahead, but it spoke more eloquently than that one will about the real failures of the people we trust to act in our interest.
The presence of Jamie Gorelick on the commission demonstrates much more vividly than any mere verbal report what is wrong with our government.
Under the Clinton administration Ms. Gorelick served, among other things. as deputy attorney general to Janet Reno.
In that role, she wrote a classified memo that required the members of the FBI to withhold information gathered from intelligence sources from the criminal investigative branches of that agency and other agencies of that department to a degree greater than required by the statute that erected the wall between the intelligence and law enforcement agencies.
Her objective was to avoid any appearance of a violation of the law that then prevented the intelligence and law enforcement communities from giving each other information.
That law and the subsequent interpretive and enhancing memo of Ms. Gorelick was cited as the reason that Moussaoui’s computer was not searched upon his arrest; the reason that two of the 9/11 hijackers entered the country without their status as potential terrorists being communicated to the Immigration and Naturalization Service; and it probably contributed to the confusion and reluctance of the agency to act on its own agents’ information regarding Middle Eastern men taking inappropriate flight training.
A more aggressive and coordinated investigation of any of these clues might have led us to the hijacking plot in time to prevent it.
This is the charter of the commission, its purpose for being. Yet one of its members should be a witness, should be the subject of inquiry as to why she found it necessary to make the sharing of intelligence within the government even more difficult than the law allowed.
The fact that she accepted an appointment to the commission when she knew that one of the primary foci of the commission had to be the failures of her own agency, and the degree to which the policies she authored contributed to those failures, displays a breathtaking lack of honor and integrity.
This failure is not partisan. When Republican members of Congress called for the resignation and testimony of Ms. Gorelick, her first defender was the commission’s chairman, the former governor of New Jersey, Republican Tom Keane. Wishing that “others would keep … out of our business,” Chairman Keane cited her hard work and bipartisanship as reasons to keep her on the commission.
Excuse me, Mr. Keane, but it is the business of the people that you are about, not the business of the 10 who comprise the commission.
Time and again we have seen the head of agencies defend the dedication and hard work of members while those agencies individually and collectively failed to avoid the deadliest attack ever against America.
So Chairman Keane is only demonstrating that the committee itself is another agency that will not hold its members accountable because they are part of “our team.”
Chairman Keane exhibits that age-old bureaucratic proclivity to cover one’s own posterior by hiding the shortcomings of others within their scope of authority.
After all, if you fire a subordinate they might write a book that is unflattering about you.
The barriers that prevent our agencies from working together in the best interest of the American people when they are created by ill-conceived statutes or the paranoid policies of those who think the statutes don’t even go far enough can be corrected by more realistic statutes and policies, but the defensive self-interest that causes individuals to deflect and deny responsibility is not so easily changed.
The boss must be willing to hold them accountable first and foremost to the interest of the American people and willing to apply Donald Trump’s “you’re fired” solution to those who subordinate those interests to their personal interest or those of their own bureaucracy.
The commission would best serve America if it demonstrated by its actions how government should act, not just issue a report.
Actions have always spoken louder than words and they will again in this case.
The commission has now so undermined its own integrity that it will be difficult to take seriously any recommendations its formal report when issued may contain.