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Letters to the editor

Dave Gorsuch

In my 40 years of developing successful businesses in Vail, I’ve seen plans, both good and bad, developed and occasionally completed to insure the economic vitality of our town. From my perspective of looking at four decades of Vail’s evolution, I’d put building the Vail conference center in the category of very good ideas.It was with some degree of disappointment that I learned the Vail Chamber (not to be confused with the Vail Valley Chamber and Tourism Bureau) took a neutral stance on supporting the conference center. That seemed very short-sighted to me. In a world of increasing national and global competition for resort guests, the building of a conference center to expand and promote the Vail brand will broaden and strengthen the base of our tourist economy. I’d call that a sound business decision.Any businessman can tell you that success does not come without a degree of risk. In the case of the conference center, I believe the risk is minimal and the infusion of commerce and tax revenues is much closer to a certainty. While there are no guarantees in this world, investing in Vail with the addition of a conference center is a great way to improve the odds of keeping our town businesses attractive and healthy. Please lend your support and vote YES on this issue and let’s keep the positive momentum going forward.Dave GorsuchSuccess, tooAs the new principal at Battle Mountain High School, I share the community’s concern that BMHS didn’t achieve all of the targets measured as part of the No Child Left Behind legislation. We are not alone in this dilemma. Some of the finest school districts in the state – such as Cherry Creek, Adams 12 Five Star Schools and our neighbors in Summit County and Garfield County – share our predicament. But headlines seldom tell a full story and as we look at our state report, BMHS has many reasons to celebrate.No Child Left Behind requires schools and school districts to show Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in as many as 153 individual target areas. If a school misses any one of those targets it fails its overall AYP determination. BMHS sees many successes in its AYP report and I’d like to share this good news with the community.MHS white students did attain AYP in both the areas of math and reading. We can also report that 100 percent of these students participated in the test and we have a 95 percent graduation rate in this demographic group. We boast great success in meeting the needs of these students and we pledge to continue our commitment to strong academic rigor.Ninety-four percent of our white students achieved the reading benchmark for AYP, but only 50 percent of our Hispanic students with limited English skills made that mark. In math, the disparity is even larger, with 86 percent of white students making the mark and only 26 percent of the limited English students making the benchmark. But that is the proverbial tip of the iceberg as we dig into this data and what it means.BMHS Hispanic students who have participated in English as a Second Language programming, and who tested out of ESL classes as fully proficient in English, are performing on par with white students in the areas of reading and math. Plainly the challenge we face is to repeat that success rate for all our students.As principal at BMHS, I pledge that our school will work hard to meet the needs of students who arrive in our classrooms without the benefits of regular schooling or English language proficiency. We will also continue challenging our academically advanced kids with a rigorous and robust curriculum. We have high expectations for all kids and we are committed to the Eagle County Schools mission to Educate Every Student for Success.Brian HesterBattle Mountain High SchoolBlind eyeFirst under Arafat, now under Abbas, the PLO has never ceased sponsoring acts of murder and terrorism against the Jewish people. During the six years of this administration, funding to the PLO has never stopped. The president has turned a blind eye to Palestinian suicide bombers. As the maimed and murdered innocent Jewish victims of PLO terror accumulated to over 1,000, financial aid to the PLO has accumulated to over $1 billion U.S. tax dollars. Funding Islamist PLO terror is more than irresponsible. It is negligent to not protect America and Americans from their most vicious foes. On the Jewish calendar, this is the season for repentance and judgment. Too many Americans, in New Orleans and elsewhere, have lost their lives and their homes because too many elected officials neglected to deal with the dangers that faced them. We need to stop funding the Islamist PLO. We need to stop advocating more territory and political power to these terrorists. The administration needs to repent from the sin of neglect so that America can be judged favorably and escape further loss of life and property.Arthur KittayEagle Hang in thereIt seems Matt Zalaznick, that your detractors, and there may be many, can only use childish blather such as used recently by Susan Milhoan: Go to Washington and leave our peaceful valley and you won’t be missed. Apparently Ms. Milhoan thinks the war in Iraq is justified and that our country should occupy Arab countries, democratize them, spend billions of dollars and continue creating body counts. She can’t see that Bush hasn’t the guts to be a real leader and “ask Americans to conserve while he sets in motion intensified development of wind power, solar power and alternative energies.” I am still amazed how many owners of high-powered SUVs and trucks still continue to race up and down I-70, creating the terrible demand for fuel and of course prompting sky rocketing prices for gas. It seems as though we are losing sight of sensibilities. We are all paying for it at the pump, for air travel, for delivery of goods and services, to name a few.This would be a good topic for your detractors to harp on, as they are oblivious to the disastrous direction we are headed under the Bush regime, or empire, if you will. So hang in there, Matt, and continue to opine your thoughts. Thanks to the Daily for publishing a diverse and interesting paper that can get all of our panties tied in a knot with such ease.Fletcher MacNeill Worth a lookAs a former county commissioner I am intrigued by some of the possibilities offered by “home rule” for Eagle County. The most significant one is having five commissioners rather than three, chosen by the voters in five districts on a non-partisan basis. Here are some of the opportunities I see. Five commissioners: Recent history has shown that under the three-commissioner system, two of them often to turn out to be ideological opposites, voting against each other on just about everything. This leaves the third commissioner to make most of the decisions single-handedly. Concentration of power in the hands of one person is not healthy government and can even be dangerous. With five commissioners this is less likely to happen. Furthermore, a commission of five decision makers will facilitate broader perspective on the issues.Elect commissioners by district: Our present county government requires the commissioners to live in three separate districts, but they are elected at large by all the voters. The theory behind this is that the commissioners will act in the best interests of the county as a whole, since they are elected by all the people. This makes it very difficult for our brethren in Basalt-El Jebel to be represented even though this appendage of Eagle County contains about 20 percent of our population. Five districts, each electing their own commissioner offers better representation.Nonpartisan elections: Ideological partisanship at the national level has continued to be a mind-numbing and divisive condition that results in decisions which are not in the best interest of the nation as a whole. In my opinion, partisanship has no place in local government. None of the town council candidates run as Republicans or Democrats and neither should county officials. Candidates should just be good, capable people who will consider input, be fair and objective, and make decisions consistent with the vision for Eagle County’s future.Eliminate some elected positions: Perhaps it would be more appropriate to hire professionals for positions that require substantial experience, technical and/or management qualifications for a county this large. This issue should be considered carefully by the home rule committee.It is important to note that a “yes” vote on Referendum Question 1A on your mail-in ballot DOES NOT mean that home rule will be applied to Eagle County. It only allows an elected committee of 11 citizens (three from each commissioner district and two at large) to take a good hard look at the concept and write a home rule charter tailored to our needs. Once this is completed and publicized, the voters will then decide if they agree or disagree with the specifics of home rule in a subsequent election.Eagle County has become much more complex since I served as a commissioner in the early 1980s. The population has grown from 15,000 to 50,000, and budgets from $15,000,000 to nearly $100,000,000 annually. It may be time to modernize our government, to keep up with changing conditions and gain better representation.Dave MottWolcottVail, Colorado


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