Letters: Taxes and transportation
July 19, 2017
Of gondolas and taxes
I'm heartened to see that the gondola concept is viable in a study since I have often espoused that very idea. But I'm disappointed that it seems to be 'dead upon arrival.' Those of us who stayed in town through the Park Street closure this spring have seen the future — whether it takes three, five or 10 years to get there: traffic gridlock. This will not change much with fiddling around the edges with parking, transit and roundabouts. It certainly won't change with a huge parking structure in the middle of town. The only real chance it will change is by diverting non-through traffic before it gets to town. Remember the improvement to overall traffic when Vail Resorts put in the parking lot gondola? And before that, the improvement when Highway 9 was rerouted onto Park Street? It's already time to take the next step.
Yes, it will not be cheap. But this gives me a chance to vent a different frustration. Believe it or not, taxes are not really the issue with government; it's how the taxes are spent. At the local level, that translates into exasperation with defined benefit retirement plans, health insurance or job security which those in the private sector can only dream about. It's frustration with county government expecting Vail Resorts to apologize for driving a hard bargain and leaving taxpayers to pay for their naivete. It's frustration with the expense of the Great Wall of Breckenridge and on top of that, planting seasonals instead of perennials so that we have to put up with sprouting red cones every spring. It's frustration with the fire districts and the county not being able to think outside the box enough to solve a problem that's been going on for 30 years. It's frustration with the Art District's seed money seemingly being turned into a permanent budget and the Rec Center spending millions on boutique sports and seemingly nothing on more space for free outdoor pickup games. At the state level, it's frustration with not having the guts to put a referendum on the ballot to raise the fuel tax — the simplest and fairest way to pay for needed road repairs.
Donald Trump understood this frustration and rode it into the White House. And these emotions are so strong that his supporters really don't care that he is a lying, incompetent egomaniac. That underlines the need for all government to adjust their attitude and spending priorities, preferably before we have more Donald Trumps.
I understand that the town is currently spending money like a drunken sailor as the mayor has quipped. But again, the real issue is how the money is spent. I would fully support a SUNSET mill levy to help fund a town gondola if necessary. I would even support its immediate implementation to save up the money and avoid bonding costs (what a concept). Or maybe every town department needs to find 5 percent savings in their budget to contribute to the dam repair (an even better concept).
Yes, Vail Resorts will benefit. But for once, they're paying their share even if it's not going exactly as they planned. Yes, we may eventually need parking structure(s) at either terminus. That's a good problem because it means the plan is working. Yes, we need a big carrot (free and prime location parking) to get the local workforce to use it. And yes, there are a gondola-load of details to be worked out.
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I've probably said enough to be tarred and feathered by every special interest group and Trump voter in the county. But if I've also started a conversation about the mess we're leaving our children, it's worth it, well, maybe not literally. These issues are local where we can actually do something about them. It's a start. Don't use cost as an excuse to avoid the gondola; prioritize our tax dollars' spending. The solutions are not going to get less expensive.
Fire Station on Peak 7
After a terrifying week of fires popping up all over the Breckenridge area I think we can all agree that cooperation between Red White and Blue Fire Department and the county commissioners is extremely important to the safety of our community. They did a great job working together in a very difficult situation. I think we can also now agree that a fire station on Peak 7 is a good idea. I'm glad the first responders were still in town to handle the Peak 2 and the Baldy fires rather than transporting people to Denver.
Predictable and preventable
Before I left Canada I was involved in a community network that helped prevent overdoses. We had 90 people brought together to learn about the signs and symptoms of overdose. We managed to get a grant to put Naloxone overdose kits into the hands of firefireghters, first responders and drug user; all were trained to use the life-saving Naloxone to interrupt an overdose.
Now living in the USA I hear that there are 22 opioid overdoses a day in Colorado. It is the leading cause of death here. Today the youngest person to die of an overdose is a 10-year-old boy from Florida who got into some fentanyl. Naloxone the overdose disrupter is sold for $4,500 for a two dose kit in the USA. In Canada the cost is $17 for the same kit including needle cleaning equipment and a carrying case.
This blows my mind — how did one of the richest countries in the world have such little access to education and prevention?
When the news covers the issue the discussion is about hiring more police officers and focus on the crime of the drug user rather than funding prevention and education. It is shocking and ridiculous that a first world country does not implement the four pillars approach.
Give these newly hired police officers education and training in first response to overdose. Task them with delivering prevention in the community and we would have a winning combination of prevention, education, harm reduction and enforcement the four pillars approach to solving this crisis. This is not rocket science, this approach works and has been implemented in Europe and Canada. Let's shift to including prevention education and save some American lives.
M.Ed Public Health Educator
Untruth in advertising
Copper Mountain advertised their 2017 Copper Golf Pass. $549. Plus tax. Five day in advance tee-time booking. Lo and behold, after players purchased their passes the Copper management changed the policy to one day in advance for the weekends. They say two, but they include the day you want to play. This is deceptive advertising and Summit Say needs to take a look see into this significant change in booking tee times. Buyers of their ski passes beware. Copper may remove the snow on certain days!!! Shame on the new owners. Guest relations are secondary to their change in policies. Katye, at Copper, did say they changed the policy after deadline for purchases of passes. Sad, but true.