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Letters to the editor

Richard C. Puetzer

I’ve recently noticed that there is continued, and to some degree renewed, opposition to the Vail convention center from some parties based to a degree on a recently released report by the Brookings Institution. As a Vail resident and market research professional who has conducted a few market research studies related to the convention center industry, I would like to offer a few cautionary comments about the Brookings Institution’s January 2005 report which states that “While the supply of exhibit space in the United States has expanded steadily, the demand for convention and trade show space has actually plummeted.”First, the report is based on an analysis of the top 200 conventions and trades shows while ignoring what has occurred with the other 10,000-plus shows that take place in the United States. Quite bluntly, it is very poor practice, one might even say biased, to draw conclusions about an entire industry based on the performance of a small sample that is not representative of the entire industry.Second, it also is improper to base conclusions about the impact on all cities by looking at what has transpired in a small hand full of cities, especially when the cities reviewed are the likes of Chicago, New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, etc. Not exactly comparable to Vail!Third, the report points to a growing gap between convention attendance and space available during the last four years and uses it as a basis to project a dismal picture for the convention center industry going forward. It seems to me that some consideration should have at least been given to the recent economic downturn and 9/11. It is hard to understand why these events were given significant weight in the analysis.Lastly, one of the cardinal rules when reviewing research is to consider the author’s credentials and why the report was written. The conclusions of this report are so basically flawed that it makes me wonder about the agenda of the author and the Brookings Institution.In conclusion, for purposes of full disclosure, my position is somewhat neutral at this time since I have not read the business plan and financial projections for the Vail conference center. However, if asked to make a decision today, I would probably lean in support of the center because of Vail’s appeal as a beautiful end destination and the significant rebuilding that will occur in Lionshead and Vail Village. I certainly would not let the Brookings report influence my judgment. I’d go to a convention center industry association and get audited industry statistics.Richard C. PuetzerVailWrite onIn her column, “Eaton a long way from done deal”, Kaye Ferry addresses those who would detract from her column and the Vail Daily for beating a dead horse, so to speak. She argues that since the horse is very much alive, it still needs beating. I’d like to commend both of you for this attitude. Speaking from experience, choosing to carry a torch to keep an under-discussed issue in the public eye can be among a journalist’s toughest choices. It means not addressing other things that are also important. It means accusation of bias. It means getting labeled a zealot or – heaven forbid – an activist. It means having your motives questioned. If you write the truth, it can ultimately force those who disagree with you to play dirty. If they can’t attack what you write, they will attack you. Taking a stand on conscience and the social responsibility of the press costs a lot, but it’s worth the sound sleep. Citizens of Vail Valley should be proud to have a local press so willing to scrutinize its government and keep significant issues in the forefront. I say this without judging the quality or validity of either side of the argument. The important thing is that the issue is not laid to rest or ignored while its process continues. That is what the press is for. Peter John StoneDotsero Same old storyThe peace-loving, so-called Palestinians are at it again, smuggling missiles into Gaza. So what’s new?Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz condemned the Palestinian military intelligence agency of Mahmoud Abbas’ Palestinian Authority (PA) for smuggling Stella shoulder-fired missiles into Gaza. Mofaz stated they pose a threat to Israeli aircraft and that this action “crosses a red line.” Mofaz added, “There’s a big gap between Abbas’ intentions and what we see in the field. The PA continues to act as before. … Since Israel gave up Jericho and Tulkarm two weeks ago, we do not see the PA dealing with the terrorists as we agreed. … Another 10-12 more moved into Tulkarm to seek immunity. … There is no change in the PA security groups fighting against terrorism.”Zionist Organization of America President Morton A. Klein said, “Mahmoud Abbas’ PA is the same as Arafat’s PA. He doesn’t dismantle, disarm or arrest terrorists. He coddles them and protects them. He has hired 350 terrorists to become PA policemen, so that they can keep their weapons. To add to this shocking state of affairs, he is now using PA forces to smuggle even more dangerous missiles into Gaza that threaten Israeli aircraft and Israeli helicopters used for intelligence purposes.”All Americans should urge the Bush administration and the U.S. Congress to stop all aid to the PA and end all negotiations with the PA until they stop these outrageous pro-terrorist actions. “Since 1994, the U.S. has given over $1 billion in aid to the PA. Despite this largess, the PA has violated all of its Oslo and Road Map obligations and taken virtually no anti-terrorist actions. President Bush must stop funding Abbas’ terrorist regime. Eleven years of ignoring hatred and murder against Israel and America is enough.”Arthur KittayEagleTrue friendI knew Pete almost since I got to Vail in the summer of 75′. He was truly a friend, but more than that he was a true friend. He always had time to say hi and talk. He was always positive even when he was not. What set Pete apart, what made him special, was that he really cared about you personally – your success, your happiness, your excitement. Whether it was family, job or just a powder day, Pete always had time to listen and truely share in the rejoicing. In fact he would lead the parade for you any time. And somehow knowing this gave you strength and value in everything you did and shared with Pete. …James Spell Vail, Colorado


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