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Letters to the editor

Rich Brown

A school teacher was complaining in Tipsline recently that their raise of $37.87 per month because of our experimental TAP program was not significant.Stop complaining. I’ve heard there are greater priorities for how to spend our school budget. The newly installed and expensive fingerprinting time clock system, which makes sure our hard working school secretaries are not cheating the public in reporting the hours they spend in school, is a far higher priority for our taxpayer dollars. I’m wondering if it would completely destroy secretary morale if the school administrators used house arrest ankle bracelets that would tell them if the secretaries have left the building while still on the clock. Rich BrownLife on the beachIt has been awhile since we last wrote to let you how life is treating us south of the border. Well here is the latest in our struggle to integrate into another culture and adapt to doing things the Mexican way. Beach, jungle, jungle, beach? For those of you who don’t already know, this past year while waiting for permits to build on our beach property in Tulum, we were presented with the unexpected opportunity to discover life in the jungle. We fell in love with the spacious house, with rental guest suite, and lush gardens we created. We delighted in the cool breeze, the cascading waterfall, the jogging paths, and most of all the quiet that a tiny village 12 miles from a growing town affords.We are now experiencing life on the beach, house sitting for the next three months in our friend’s beautiful but rustic beach casita. The house and surrounding semi-open spaces are powered by a wind generator that charges marine batteries. This provides power for lights, pumps, fan and a TV with cable. The shower has hot, and yes, a bit salty water. The sand that lightly sifts through the air becomes a part of your natural sun screen.We have discovered that both havens are visited by the same brilliant-colored birds and butterflies, and the sometimes pesky bugs. Both provide immersion in nature of different kinds. Our firsthand experience, living on the rustic side at the mercy of Mother Nature, will once again create opportunities to make changes to our beach house design.In the meantime, we have finally begun the process of construction on our titled property on a gorgeous stretch of the Caribbean one mile south of the Tulum ruins. We began by building a 9-foot-high wooden fence to enclose three sides of the property. The 13 9-by-9-foot panels were built in our village of Macario Gomez. When the holes were dug and the time was right, a very big truck and 10 strong fellows delivered them to the beach during a full moon and set the pre-made fence in place. Twelve-foot-high palms were later added and it now fits in with the natural surroundings as if it was always here. In Mexico, if they did not see you build it then it must have been there! We are building like our Mayan neighbors, little by little, saving the big jobs for holiday weekends and full moon nights when the construction police are at home asleep. This has been a long and very exasperating process that has only just begun! Both pieces of property, beach and jungle, are for sale. We will wait for fate to tell us whether we will live on the beach or in the jungle, and in the meantime our journey along the Mariposa Trail continues. Come on down!Moe Mulrooney and Lou PintkowskiCenter will succeedI was amused recently at the headline over Kaye Ferry’s weekly rant about the conference center. It reflected her conclusion that the facility would cost every person in Vail $24,000. Of course that’s taking the initial cost, plus all the interest over 30 years, and dividing it by the 4,660 residents of Vail. It’s always funny to see how anyone opposed to a sound investment like the conference center includes the interest when they quote the cost. It just sounds better for their cause. I wonder how many people say they paid $700,000 for a unit at Chamonix Chalets or $62,000 for a Subaru Outback? Well, that’s what they cost with the same kind of interest. Of course, nobody does that. You don’t include the time value of money for 30 years when you discuss the cost of something in today’s dollars. Anybody who understands anything about business and finance knows that, but the nobody ever accused Kaye of understanding business or finance.Since the conference center will generate $34 million of revenue PER YEAR for 30 years, using the same logic we should say that the revenue equals over a BILLION dollars during the same time frame – or $219,000 for every person. What a deal! $24,000 invested and $219,000 in return. Next problem please.Another issue that those opposed to the conference center love to hang their hat on is the word of Heywood Saunders, some ivory tower nut who has a jones for convention centers (which are very different than conference centers, but that’s another issue that escapes Ms. Ferry’s comprehension). Never mind that he’s the sole voice of gloom and doom when there are hundreds of reputable, successful business people like Richard Scharf, Frank Johnson and David Pease who have actually WORKED in the conference business and who will testify to the real world success of conference facilities as economic development engines. Quoting Heywood Saunders as an expert on conference business is like quoting Ward Churchill as a mainstream ethicist.I also love Kaye’s frequent conclusion that since some businesses are currently closed during September and October, conference attendees won’t have anything to do while they’re here. You gotta love that! I suppose it was that line of thinking that enabled her to drive a coffee shop (with a prime location) right into the ground (pun intended). Someone might enlighten Ms. Ferry that when people are here, it’s wise to keep your doors open. Most of us do, and the rest will.One of Kaye’s other tactics, which is really ironic, is the threat that the conference center might somehow cost the local taxpayers money. The fact is that our sales tax growth is anemic, and has been for some time. Compared to inflation, it’s worse than stagnant. Our collective economic hat is hung almost entirely on skiers, which is a pretty flat number at best. If we don’t do something to diversify our business soon (what a concept), you can BET our property taxes will go up. How else are we going to continue to pay the increasing costs of town amenities and services that we all use? No, the conference center is absolutely our best bet to AVOID tax increases in the future.If you’re worried about the “what ifs,” there’s also a very real possibility that global warming will impact the quantity and quality of ski seasons in the future. Might it not be wise to diversify our marketplace a bit? After thoughtful consideration, a number of true experts in the field have gone on record identifying Vail as a logical place to build a conference center, for just that purpose. Google on SMGWORLD, or Global Spectrum, or HVS Consulting to see the REAL expertise behind those that think a conference center in Vail will be enormously successful.While I am amused at Kaye’s total lack of understanding, it’s unfortunate that her smokescreen antics have taken attention away from the FACTS that the conference center will bring us a lot of business during the off-season, when our infrastructure is underutilized and we need it most. That it will increase the wages and tips for our front line workers by $10 million a year, enabling them to not only stay employed, but even make a decent living. And lastly, that the lodging tax on the ballot in November which will help pay for the facility is born ENTIRELY by those visiting Vail, and virtually NONE of it by those who live here.I encourage everyone to vote YES in November for the conference center.Marie RobertsVailNeed centerThe Vail conference center will bring opportunities to make more money in our community. Those of us who live and work here will see an increase in such things as jobs, money, and entertainment. We need this, especially in the off-season. It is very stressful trying to make rent when there is no work! I support the conference center and will vote for it on Nov. 8. I ask you to vote for it as well. Ryan Taylor Vail Bad dealThe Vail Convention Center proposal has been mismanaged from the beginning. I originally stood in support of a convention center. In theory, it is a nice amenity to the town of Vail. In reality, the proponents of this convention center promised us, the voters, that the convention center would be self sustaining. It has now been shown that the convention center will lose money. A lot of money. A temporary lodging tax of 1.5 percent was voted on that had a promised sunset provision to fund the construction. Now the proponents agree that the convention center will lose money and they need to permanently extend the 1.5 percent tax and increase that amount by up to another 1.5 percent. PERMANENTLY. We are voting on taxing our ski destination guests, our lifeblood, our reason for being, for a building that most visitors will never use. Please don’t tax all of our primary visitors, just to subsidize the attendance of conventioneers at a few select hotels.Dale BugbyPresident Vail Resort Rentals Inc.Roundabout guideAlthough the article and accompanying diagrams in Saturday’s paper regarding pedestrians in roundabouts were great, I think you should consider publishing something that states the correct way to drive in a roundabout. I’ve seen so many near misses in the roundabouts throughout the valley that I think it would be beneficial for residents and visitors alike to know the official rules. It may even be advantageous to have a small diagram-description in the paper each day or several times per week for our many visitors. Just a thought. Danielle StageVail, Colorado


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