Letters to the Editor
Slippery slopeI am writing to tell about how I feel about the alpine slide. If Beaver Creek has an alpine slide, it will destroy a lot of nature and be a lot of construction. I live at the Kiva and the construction at the Hyatt is horrible, and imagine an alpine slide. I like to walk on the bridge but with an alpine slide I can’t in the summer. There would be a lot of publicity and it won’t be as much fun. A bungee jump and rock climb cost $10, golfing $8, and I bet an alpine slide is $20. So please don’t make an alpine slide. No! Please.Christian SoaresFore!In attending the Aug. 8 afternoon meeting of the Vail Recreation District Board I witnessed what I believe to have been the most disgusting, cowardly, craven and inept performance ever by a bunch of elected officials. Item 5 on the agenda was to have been a “Review and Analysis of Vail Golf Club Business Model restructure – Mike Ortiz and Robertson & Marchetti.” Rumors of this project had been circulating about the golf club for days, and there was lively public input from the many citizen golfers in the audience. This turned out be an ill-advised and, as we were informed by a former VRD board member in the audience, recycled plan to strip the current golf professional of his lease on the pro shop because the VRD covets his income, and its consultants have informed it that this income can be captured if the golf professional is replaced by a year-round “golf club operations manager.” The current golf professional has been given 60 days to liquidate his inventory, and he has been informed that his lease will be terminated. He’s welcome to stay on as golf professional only, and his salary is to be increased somewhat, but not to offset his loss of revenue from the pro shop.Leaving aside the wisdom of this venture, and certainly the board and staff got an earful on this subject, it was the perfectly awful performance by our elected officials and staff that I found particularly galling. Even though the press release of July 31 clearly stated that the board had voted on this issue, we were assured that this was not the case. In fact, stated the chairman, the board never considered this a matter for the board’s attention, and that staff had come up with this idea, and further, to overrule staff ran the risk of “serious consequences.” It was then left to the unfortunate Mike Ortiz to explain this turkey. He responded with a barely audible, incoherent and inarticulate account of the project’s inception, I think. No one wanted to take responsibility for Item 5. It just seemed to drop on the board’s desk deus ex machina. The board assured us that its consultants had recommended this action, and when asked if it would be willing to produce the consultants’ report, we were informed that it was not in written form. No one could comment on what questions were asked of the consultants in the first place, only that they felt this action was necessary and that a lot of other courses had already taken this action. The only revelation in the process, other than the board’s revealing itself to be cowardly, craven and inept and looking disingenuous in the process, occurred when a town councilman who happened to be in the audience, in response to a question about what recourse the public had in the event of an unsatisfactory conclusion to this matter, stated that the council has no oversight responsibility in this process. Further, he had no right to even be there except as a member of the public. The VRD board controls a completely separate entity and answers only to itself. So the public’s only recourse is replacement or recall, again.The truly surreal moment of the afternoon followed a question from an audience member to the board asking how many members were golfers. Only one member present confessed to being such. He went on to inform the audience that we might not have seen him around because he plays very early, before the rest of us are up, because he “works for a living,” I guess in contradistinction to all those retired drones out there in the public seating. Parenthetically, if I had access to choice tee times as do the VRD board members, I would play early, too. He went on to say that he had great affection for the plan, enumerated the courses in the valley, and then concluded that we had to take this step to be competitive. At this point, another member confessed to being a golfer and explained her invisibility by the fact that she plays at odd times. The chairman then wished he could play more golf, but sadly his life just did not permit it.Only in some bizarre parallel universe would a group of business wannabes roll out their new retail venture by insulting and condescending to a healthy cross-section of their prospective customers. So the revolving door in the golf professional’s office will continue to spin. A visit to our new pro shop will be like a visit to the post office, and The Club, which to most seems finally to be straightened out will, well, who knows? Certainly not this board. But you the taxpayer will soon be in the golf equipment and apparel business, with your tax dollars tied up in inventory, with the risk, etc. – the full catastrophe. Just as soon, I suspect, we will be looking for a “world class golf professional” on the cheap. In the meanwhile, given the high feelings around the club, those board members who are confessed golfers might want to play not just in the early morning or at odd times, but rather under the cover of darkness. Ken GuerryVailGood year for hospitalThe Vail Chamber & Business Association would like to express its warmest appreciation to Greg Repetti, CEO of the Vail Valley Medical Center, for speaking at its August 8th Monthly Membership Meeting. The Chamber would also like to thank the Vail Valley Medical Center for sponsoring the meeting. Mr. Repetti spoke to a crowd of business owners and interested residents and guests regarding the role of the VVMC in the community. Topics ranged from future managerial and departmental improvements, to current and future financial investments. He stressed that the hospital strives to serve the community, and its staff works to be stewards to that community. He also urged residents of Vail to become more involved with the VVMC. According to Mr. Repetti, 2005 was financially the best year in the hospital’s history. He owed this to the VVMC’s policy to reinvest 100 percent of its profit margins back into the hospital. For the year 2006, Repetti said that several financial investments would be made to improve areas such as employee training, hospital safety and disaster planning, capital improvements and pro-bono services. Departmentally, Repetti said that more concentration would be given to family-focused care, oncology, gastroenterology, neurology, and especially orthopedics in the future.Of the hospital’s challenges, Mr. Repetti said that its main concerns were “people” and “parking,” issues that are also a challenge to the rest of the community. Currently, Mr. Repetti is traveling around North America and observing the operations of various medical centers’ orthopedic facilities. He and his staff will attempt to make improvements at the VVMC based on the examples he sees in these other hospitals. Vail Chamber & Business AssociationVail, colorado
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