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Letters to the editor

Peter Runyon

It is unfortunate that whenever a candidate dares to bring up the topic of growth in our county, a segment of our community cries in outrage that the offending person is another hated “no growth” candidate. This fear mongering attitude stifles meaningful dialogue on one of our most critical questions. How do we grow while insuring we’re not destroying the very reasons that brought us here in the first place?In the 34 years that I have lived here, every single candidate for county office has claimed to be for “smart growth.” Hmmm. It sounds so good, so right. Why then do we seem so often to wander off that admirable path? I believe it is because we don’t have a set of statutes addressing our inevitable growth. All we have is the (county) master plan, which is an advisory document only. For example, the master plan clearly states that there should be no building on ridge lines. As we all know, this admonition has been overlooked.Most people I’ve talked to while walking our neighborhoods are shocked to learn that we currently have on the books zoning for 24,000 additional dwelling units, which will more than double the number we now have. This translates into 48,000 new neighbors and their automobiles. Surely when you factor in the ongoing rebuilding and tear-downs, this zoned growth will keep our building industry busy for many years to come.Currently, how we absorb our new neighbors and make room for this inevitable growth rests in the hands of our county commissioners. Personally, I feel this issue is too important to be left completely to three individuals. So, I propose creating a blue ribbon, bipartisan commission to formulate a set of statutes which would be put before, you, the community, for a vote. The statues would more strictly define how we make room for these new neighbors, while maintaining some semblance of our current mountain character. Does this make me a wild eyed “no growth” candidate? Or, do ideas like these make me a candidate who wants to balance the very legitimate concerns of our vital building industry with an eye to what our county will look like in the future? In my opinion, we can no longer afford to tiptoe around this issue. The state demographer’s projection of Eagle County’s population growing to around 90,000 in 20 years will probably come to pass. Population pressure and our current zoning pretty much guarantees that. What truly concerns me, however, is what our population will be in 30 years, or 40 years. Will it be 150,000 or more? If so, are we taking the necessary steps to ensure that Eagle County remains one of the world’s special places? Or are we allowing fear and convenient labeling to stifle our right as a community to have meaningful dialogue about how we want to grow and perhaps, just perhaps coming up with creative solutions that others communities will study, imitate and envy. We mustn’t sell ourselves short. We mustn’t fear these conversations, because when we build it, they will come! Wouldn’t it be nice to have an enforceable plan?Peter RunyonCandidate for Eagle County commissionerAll wrong”Sympathy among occupiers,” by Matt Zalaznick, deserves an A+ if you are looking for an outstanding example of “if you can’t dazzle them with brilliance, then baffle them with bull … .”What rock were you hiding under when Arafat turned down Barak’s offer to the Palestinians of 90 percent of the West Bank? It is obvious that Arafat was not interested in peace; he was interested in permanently removing Israel and leaving Palestine in its place.Palestinians in Israel is not the problem. The problem is Jews and Christians in the Middle East. There is no reasoning with the desires of Islam when it comes to that part of the world. Their belief is that it belongs to them alone. You are in a dream world if you believe that giving land will provide peace. If you feel the security of Israel is not affected by the West Bank and Gaza, I suggest that you do a little geography studying by looking at a map. Your naivete is only surpassed by your lack of knowledge.Now, having voiced my opinion of your article, I think I really may have missed the whole point. In fact, I don’t think you were particularly interested in the situation in the Middle East at all, but rather this was a diatribe against Bush and the Republicans. I would have respected your right to be anti-Republican, but can’t imagine how you could have used any of this to sell your point of view.Arthur KittayEagle Thanks for memoriesAfter 20-plus years, the fabulous Sundance Saloon – once tagged by SKI magazine as the “Last of the Real Ski Bars” – is slamming its doors shut for good.The closure upsets a lot of people, and I mean a lot. But it’s tough to explain to an outsider why it’s upsetting. I mean, it’s just a bar, right? Well, not really. If you took more than 15 minutes to visit, you would learn there’s more to it. The Sundance Saloon is a place where you relax upon walking through its doors. Where you have a beer and get lost in conversation. Where you forget what was troubling you before. And where the clock moves way too fast and you leave wanting more. It’s a love affair with walls that never speak or carry judgment. It’s the perfect setting for an escape or, in technical terms, a psychiatrist’s office with therapy sans Prozac or the $250 hourly fee. And that will be missed, sadly missed.A lot have asked, “What are we supposed to do now?” Don’t even think of suggesting a nice hike, or a quiet bike ride – we need to relax, not acquire aching joints or sore … . So the question is a therapeutic-based dilemma. Where’s one supposed to go now to unwind?For those of us who understand why the Sundance is what it is, we owe the owner Tom a thank you. Thanks, Tom, for having a place where change, judgment and time doesn’t exist, a place where bartenders have become friends, a place where seamless conversations exist, and a place where friends greet us with smiles no matter how long we’ve been away.Thank you to everyone, for making the fabulous Sundance Saloon what it is, whether you’ve been entering its doors for 20 years or just discovered the place. Thank you for making it a memorable experience that I won’t soon forgot.Colby ScudderVailWhy kill bear?I read in your paper of Aug. 28 that a “nuisance bear” was put to her death because she entered a house on Fairway Drive through a window three times.I wonder why we couldn’t have simply closed the window and spared her life?Seems like an unnecessary killing to me.Robert GaryAvon


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