Letters to the editor
“Guided by strong principles” is a most common phrase (almost a cliche) used to describe people. But it is without parallel as a descriptor for very popular business, government or local figures as our leaders.In Eagle County, I perceive a dilemma of leadership in some critical areas, which may be attributable to and qualified by leaders who are “locals” or of distant origins. Transplanted residents bring impressive credentials and ideas and ideals, which in reality should merit no more approbation than that the 40-year “Pioneers of Vail” or the third-, fourth- and fifth-generation descendants of homesteaders.”We might not appreciate our friends so casually if we fully appreciated to what extent they are also our teachers,” George Washington Corner, the first black president of the prestigious John Hopkins Medical Hospital said of doctors, nurses, interns and staff of the hospital who helped a 17-year-old hospital janitor obtain a high school diploma and graduate as a doctor of medicine from college, and later intern and complete residency, and become chief surgeon at that hospital.Our awareness of our towns and county’s dilemmas could benefit by applying Corner’s method of asking questions only of those smarter than he and listening intently close to the answers. In my opinion, no quality of a leader should be more important than the ability to ask a very straightforward question and then intently listen to the answer.I feel that in Eagle County no person’s thoughts and opinions should trump another’s. They may have the appearance of that ability, but in a society stratified by economic wealth, and a with a wealth of intelligent residents and general workers with a lot of good common sense, should their thoughts not be equally considered with the entrepreneurs and bank presidents as well as the CEOs and board of directors members? Remember that the definition of an outside expert consultant is someone more than 30 miles from home, and an expert is a drip under pressure.I find that all of the above notions can be identified in the current Eagle Town vs. Red Mountain Ranch decision struggle.As Earle Bidez so wisely stated several weeks ago about Minturn’s dilemma: “Take a breath.” I consider Earle a man guided by strong principles, and I would strongly suggest that it would be a healthy suggestion to those in heated debate about open space issues and convention centers. Amen.Steve ZorichakVailI want that dealI certainly wish I could quit my job and get paid close to $100,000. Wouldn’t we all love that. Our county commissioners need a wake up call! I appreciate the fact Jack Ingstad has worked for the county for a number of years. Hasn’t he been compensated for that each month? Lee WilliamsEdwards Center neededVail has a vast infrastructure of hotels, restaurants and shops. While those facilities are generally busy during the ski season, they are grossly underused during the rest of the year. For 35 years we have been trying to figure out ways to better utilize that infrastructure. Enormous effort and investment have helped matters during July and part of August. But despite the good intentions of many bright people, nothing has proven very effective for the rest of the spring, summer and fall. This conference center is exactly the thing that will help us diversify our business and accomplish that goal. For any business anywhere, it’s not good to have too many eggs in one basket. We believe that market diversity is inherently positive. That’s exactly one of the results we will see from this facility. We have enormous faith in our town and we know that the conference center in Vail will be a huge success. We encourage the Vail Town Council to move this vital project forward with all due haste. Tye Stockton, Andrew A. Karow, Chris Manning, Loren Gifford, Tom Mullen, Dimitri Souvorin, Tom Ludwig, Steven E. KaufmanRespectHave you ever waited tables before? Until you’ve been on the other side of the table, you may never understand or have a sense of appreciation for what a server experiences. J. Watson from London claimed that employers are taking advantage of us for not paying minimum wage, but $2.13 an hour. Anyone who travels, whether it be to a different city, state or country should educate themselves on the standard of where they are. A lot of places in Europe and UK include gratuity, and here the norm is $2.13-$2.34 and most of the time 20 percent gratuity. That is the norm HERE, not London. There are people out there that would never consider waiting tables because of the way they could be treated. Being a server means that you need to be thick-skinned, able to shake things off quickly and tolerate rude, degrading, demanding people. To be a great server is to be a conscientious compliment to your experience. Take for instance, flight attendants. You need something, you push a button, they are there at your service. Waiting tables is not so black and white. There are gray areas. Some people are shy, don’t want to make a scene or wave at you from across the restaurant. It is our job to check how things are, whether through eye contact, a simple walk by, silently filling water. After you receive your meal, we SHOULD check back. What if your steak is too rare? We want everyone to eat at the same time, not one person 20 minutes after everyone else. In higher-caliber restaurants, you should expect a higher caliber of service. Most classy restaurants hand pick their servers. You say: “We’ve picked out what we want. Don’t try to sell to us!” Part of dining is experiencing new things. The power of suggestion is incredible. If you take the time to think outside the box and listen, you may find a new favorite entree or new after dinner drink you never knew about. Your server might suggest a different dish than the one you’ve selected with your happiness in mind. I know everyone can agree with me on those “verbal tippers.” “Oh, we had such a wonderful time, the service was GREAT!” Then you see the 10 percent they left. Well, thanks. Ultimately, respect should go both ways. We understand you may have traveled a long way, or have children that need to eat NOW. We accommodate your needs, make you feel welcome and expect to be treated with the same respect shown. Keri DeniseEdwardsWe’re readyQuite a number of us in Vail (the silent majority) can’t wait for the construction of our new conference center. We anxiously look forward to having more people enjoy our town during the off-season, when we need them most. The prospect of having a large indoor venue for occasional special events is exciting, as well. It’s unfortunate that a small group of people who oppose the conference center has managed to make their voice heard. It is equally unfortunate that those of us who have a vested interest in the economic well-being of Vail, have not responded in kind until now. The debt service on Vail’s conference center will be fixed and limited to $2.7 million per year. The taxes to pay for it (already in place) raise $3.4 million per year. This $700,000 surplus will be used to offset any operating deficit the center may incur. Those of us who work with conference business on a daily basis find it hard to believe the center will run a shortfall half that much. The forecast is actually even better than that, because the additional sales tax raised from the $30 million of incremental revenue (thanks to the conference center) isn’t taken into consideration here. Believe it or not, neither is any regular annual growth in sales tax revenues. We have enormous faith in our town and we know that the conference center in Vail will be a huge success. We encourage the Vail Town Council to move this vital project forward with all due haste. Roger A. Behler, David Gorsuch, Charlie Alexander, Joel Heath, Susan Rapson, Walt Bujaryn, Chadd Ziegler, Rick Messmer, Thomas R. DuBois, Heather R. Liptak, Red MountainI don’t know if any of you caught the live talk show (recently) on the radio 97.7, The Zephyr. It was supposed to be an interview between Jan Rosenthal and Merv Lapin regarding the controversial Red Mountain Ranch project. Jan is part of an organization opposing the project, and Merv Lapin is the developer proposing 450,000 square feet of big box retail just east of Eagle. Well, Merv didn’t show up, and he sent his new consultant, Bill Clinkenberg, who couldn’t answer several questions because, as he put it, “I don’t know, because I’ve only been with Merv for two months.” I find this very interesting.What was also quite interesting was the common denominator of what Ms. Rosenthal was saying and what was said at the special Eagle Town Board meeting Thursday night regarding the supposed “economic windfall” to the town of Eagle from this project. It was said by Jan in the interview and by many of the Town Board members: How can you speak to the numbers if we don’t know who the anchor is? And, besides that, it is all speculative until the project is done. (There are no guarantees it will even fly or that it won’t “go dark” once it does get built.)I say we have a Super Wal-Mart in Avon, a Target in Glenwood Springs, and the price of gas expected to continue to climb. Where are all these people going to come from to shop in Eagle? Is regional retail realistic anymore? And the contention that people coming to the big box will go shop in downtown Eagle afterwards is unrealistic, if not comical. Once they’ve shopped at Red Mountain Ranch and grabbed a bit to eat there, it’s time to hit the highway the easy way – onto the interchange. If people are buying perishables, amongst other things at a big box store, why the heck would they drive to downtown afterwards? Result: The demise of downtown Eagle.One more thing: Hat’s off to the Eagle Town Board for unanimously telling Merv that they did not agree with any revenue sharing. The Eagle Town Board has not given money to any other development projects around Eagle. Why should they start a bad precedent now?Annie EganHow can we help?I just finished reading your article “Hard to top this.” I commend this man for undertaking the responsibility to save a dear friend. The article brought tears to my eyes just knowing there are still great people in our mixed-up society today. In your article it stated that Clay Carlton will be out of work for a month and that he and his family would have to bite the bullet financially. Well, I propose that we start a fund for his family. This man of our community is saving another’s life with a very generous donation that money could never buy. However, I feel that the people of our community can help. If 200 families donated just $10 apiece that would be $2,000 for Mr. Carlton’s family. Imagine if 500 people would do this? I am new to the valley, we moved here in September, so I don’t know exactly where to go for help. I just know that I would like to be part of this. Please think about this and advise me as to how I can help and if other community members would be willing as well. That’s what a community is all about, right?! Lisa Granger
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