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Letters to the editor

William Morton

Dear Beth Slifer: I read your Nov. 22 letter to the editor of the Vail Daily. My first inclination was not to say anything, and as it sat on my desk and moved to my briefcase on several occasions, I decided to drop you this note. I do care a great deal about you, Rod, and the future of Vail. As you know, my career is the meetings and event business. I know hotels and conference centers as well as anyone in the industry, and while I am not well versed in the details of the economics of each, I have a 30,000-foot view that is tested. I know the audience, the meeting planners and the attendees from almost 43 years of street knowledge. The reality today is that there are more empty, money-losing conference centers throughout this country than one can count. The cities and towns attempt to balance the deficits of these centers by talking about tax revenue at the cash register, but at best this is difficult to quantify. The reality of Vail having a conference center that will attract the volume of attendees just does not compute. Conference planners will not make airplane connections to any resort destination if they don’t have to. They also avoid putting their members in a variety of local hotels. It’s far too much work for the meeting planner. This is not to say that there would not be business groups and associations that would come to Vail by driving, or within a reasonable proximity to Vail. It just would not be enough to justify the cost or debt. Also, keep in mind that the shoulder seasons or the soft five months will not be filled by those groups. Those that would come would want the summer program or winter skiing as the attraction. The town had every opportunity to offer (and perhaps did) to Vail Resorts a tax-free basis on the land, and even giving them, or another developer, the land. The reality of it is that a conference center would not be economically feasible without a hotel attached to it. As such, I could enthusiastically support a conference center if it were around a hotel and private investment with the town giving a developer the land and tax breaks. Perhaps, if you like, we can discuss this further, and thoughts on the marketing initiatives for Vail. William MortonTerror in IsraelAs 2005 comes to an end, Americans continue to be concerned about protecting its borders from terrorism. Perhaps we should follow the examples set and lessons learned by Israel.Monday, Dec. 5, a PLO suicide bomber killed five Israelis outside a shopping mall in Netanya. The Los Angeles Times reported on Dec. 7, in an article by Ken Ellingwood, that “the day before the bombing, Israel had eased travel restrictions to allow more Palestinian workers and merchants into Israel. About 9,000 Palestinians from Gaza entered through the Erez crossing to work or conduct business Sunday under the relaxed rules.”The consistent consequence of such lax security has been more PLO suicide bombers killing more Israelis. The five Israelis killed in Netanya just one day after Israel eased Palestinian Arab travel restrictions are only the most recent examples of this murderous pattern that has been tragically repeated for years.President Bush, speaking on Nov. 30 at Annapolis, made mention of seven countries that have been hit by Islamist terrorist groups. Israel was conspicuously absent. He probably excluded Israel from that list of terrorist targets out of a feeling of guilt. Too many of the Israelis have become victims of terror because of the security concessions that have been forced upon them. The president can save innocent Israeli lives by allowing Israel to vigorously protect its borders against Palestinian terrorists.The security walls and fences are a work in progress to secure the people of Israel until, if ever, Palestinians come to their senses and promote peace. Arthur KittayEagleVail, Colorado


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