NIGHTLY RENTALSThe way your poll (the week of April 16-20) (wa)s set up (wa)s misleading. The issue IS should nightly rentals be a use by right in all Steamboat neighborhoods. The problem with the way you stated the poll question is that it asks for an opinion of whether the respondent likes nightly rentals in private homes. There is no question that in some areas, particularly those at the base of the ski mountain, nightly rentals of private homes is a sensible use. However, allowing nightly rentals everywhere in our community is quite a different issue. I want to know who my neighbors are; I do not want a rotating group of people living next to me so that I am not sure whether to trust them or not.
COMMUNITY PARTNERI was upset to see the (Steamboat Pilot & Today) publish an article reporting the ill-conceived plans to host a party celebrating the resignation of ASC's Les Otten. Furthermore the article insinuated that Steamboat Ski and Resort has been less of a community partner since being purchased by ASC than it has in the past.
Steamboat Ski and Resort gives generously to the local community. With few, if any strings attached Steamboat Ski and Resort provides $75,000 annually to be disbursed by the Resort Contribution Committee. This committee is made up of volunteer citizens just like you and me. Past disbursements have been instrumental in rebuilding the Yampa River from the algae covered summer stream it was perhaps ten years ago into the excellent kayaking, tubing and fishing river it is today. The funds have supported the Animal Assistance League, new parks along Yampa Street, the Core Trail, various Steamboat youth activities such as Boy Scouts, Steamboat Youth Soccer, Little League Baseball, the Winter Sports Club, Youth Hockey and the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps. These monies have supported various art projects throughout the years. Steamboat Springs enjoys an excellent collection of art, parks, recreational areas, athletic and public facilities far beyond those typically found in a city of 9,000. A large portion of our good fortune can be attributed to Ski Corp's generous predictable funding of the Resort Contribution Committee year after year.
Additionally the Ski Corp. continues to sponsor individual events and groups. They can be counted on to donate labor, facilities, materials, organization and many times cold cash to support various events and organizations. From sponsorship of a wide selection of ski/snowboard related events to summer concerts and community activities, Steamboat Ski and Resort has established a most reliable reputation of being an exceptionally fine neighbor and a generous benefactor to many groups and Steamboat citizenry in general.
For those wondering why this year's "Bump-Off" sponsorship was discontinued they need to look within rather than at ASC. Year after year the event grew in size and overly zealous consumption of drugs and alcohol. In fact, the event appeared to me to be changing from a friendly spring local athletic competition to more of a party. It was/is only a matter of time until some Bump Off contestant and/or fan nails one of the trees lining the sides of Buddy's Run and injures themselves. Steamboat Ski and Resort/ASC is a coast-to-coast corporation and as such they bear great corporate responsibility. Given the recent history of the "Bump-Off" I'd say that the resort made a very responsible difficult decision.
Steamboat Ski and Resort is as big of a supporter of the local community as supporters get. They clearly recognize the symbiotic relationship between their product and the local community. Both are necessary for either to survive and prosper. The resignation of Les Otten is a signal that all is not well at ASC, which means all is not well here in Steamboat. I urge our citizens to support Steamboat Ski and Resort/ASC as much as they support us and for the (Steamboat Pilot & Today) to start writing articles about Steamboat Ski and Resort's extraordinarily generous community support.
CHAMBER MINDSETA recent letter to City Council by a representative of the Chamber Resort Association complained about a couple of us long-term critics of tax subsidies to CRA for summer tourism promotion and funding "signature" events, for supporting growth control, for opposing nightly and short-term rentals in residential areas, for opposing the infamous end-run on the taxpayers called the DDA and for other civic matters.
What exactly that correspondent wanted council to do about us is unclear. His goal was probably to appeal to council to continue the growing public awareness and concern about the long-time cronyism between the CRA and the City Council.
The next time the complainant feels like such letters, I would challenge him to write them to the editor. This might spark some open exchange of views, hopefully including the voters. CRA holds the low ground with its pro-growth and pro-business stance.
I believe it has a policy of keeping publicly quiet and depending on subtle cultivation of council members to promote it goals. I see only some muffled sniping here and there in the CRAs in-house organ the "Roundup" about us special interest critics. Another great strategy they use is having at least one of their own on council.
"Better Not Bigger" is a book on growth. After studying the matter nationwide, one of the author's conclusions was that the 8,000 or so Chambers of Commerce were unanimously pro-growth. It is embedded in their psyches, obviously. If business hasn't grown each year, it's a major crisis.
As General Motors' CEO Lee Iacocca once said, "if it's good for GM, it's good for the country." That's how the local CRA looks at growth and tourism promotion on the local scene.
Never mind the impacts on the community, some of which are: a $3 million jail already too small at 40 beds, an $18 dollar courthouse addition needed, traffic and parking congestion, growing drug, crime and other social problems and lowering the quality of life for everyone.
To pause in the inane promotion of growth and business is unthinkable to the CRA mind-set.
City Council elections are coming up this November. Changing the makeup of the council just a little might help a lot to slow growth and to halt the avid 20-odd-year-long commercialism of our town.
Omar M. Campbell
HISTORY LESSONSMary Mosher's death has ended one of our last living links to the history of the Elk River Valley. Mary's parents were homesteaders in 1913, claimed their land and built their cabin where Mary and her brother were born. For those of us who are latecomers, she represented all that we hoped to find in the indefinable and unboundaried place called Clark.
Through Mary we learned that it was the past that made the present what it is.
We grasped what eight years in the Clark school were like, how it felt to live as a boarder while attending high school in Steamboat Springs, what newlyweds experienced in a home up by the sawmill, without electricity, phone, or plumbing, how folks went to the mine to get coal for their stoves.
She could tell us about that winter in 1929 when three feet of snow fell in just one day, about the drought that summer in 1934 after her graduation from high school, about the new Clark store that was built in 1943, and about the fire that destroyed it in 1960, about how development came and went, and came again, about traffic, encroachment and preservation.
And we learned that it will be up to us to make out of today what will be tomorrow.
Mary Mosher was a gentle lady who appreciated everything that was good and, with a unique grace, accepted all that was not good. Our memories of her provide a lingering reminder that we, too, are creating a past. I hope that we can do as well as she did.
TEACHERS' SALARIESWe are very distressed to read about the inadequate 1.85 percent salary increase given to our district teachers. This is a sad reflection on the value the community places in education and our youth.
We raised enough money to replace an old school building with an up to date plant. How ironic it is that money cannot be found to give teachers a decent wage and to reward their hard work with adequate step-increments.
It must be very depressing for them to see such a demeaning and paltry sum offered to them at this time of obvious prosperity and growth in our affluent community. We must find money in our budget to offer them a living wage adequate to live in our expensive town. Let us see how we can work together to get this important task completed.
Jeroll and Elizabeth Cutler
THROWING IT AWAYThe alleged "crime" took place on the third floor of Bristol Hall on the CMC campus with the perpetrator no where in sight. Two bright red aluminum cans lay in the trash can amid a heap of fast food and snack wrappers. They were automatically sentenced to "life" in the landfill. Their more fortunate "relatives" lay nestled together in the "aluminum only" recycling container, mere inches from the trash can. They were looking forward to continuing a useful life as new soft drink cans and saving 95 percent of the energy required to produce new aluminum cans from raw bauxite ore.
Melodramatic? Yes, but maybe that's what it takes to get the "perpetrators" attention.
The sign in my classroom reads "LOVE YOUR PLANET. PLEASE USE RECYCLE BINS UPSTAIRS." Since I was taking a non-credit evening course, and was not very familiar with the school facilities, I asked a student where I could find the recycling bins. She helpfully directed me to the third floor, at the top of the stairs, near the library. That's where I witnessed the "crime" scene.
This year 30 percent of fifth graders in Steamboat and Hayden elementary schools set up a recycling area in their homes after participating in a two-hour program on recycling. If fifth graders can recycle, surely college students can. The recycling bin in Bristol Hall is only inches from the trash can. It only takes a second to select between the two.
If you throw recyclables in the trash, you are undermining the efforts of the folks who work in the library and the other students who are doing the right thing for the environment.
And, remember, recycling is not just for students. It's a lifetime activity for everyone in the community.
If you have any questions about recycling or need help with getting started, please call the Recycling Hotline at 870-7575 or visit Yampa Valley Recycles Web site at www.yampa.com/recycling.
Together we can make a difference and keep our valley beautiful for generations to come.
Please don't throw it all away!
Yampa Valley Recycles
CHINA STANDOFFI was born in Europe and spent 25 years in the Asia - Pacific region and China, working there in business and commerce and dealing with the People's Republic of China as well as Taiwan and Hong Kong up to higher ministerial levels. I speak 5 languages including Chinese.
The latest developments in the US-China standoff has been of particular interest to me of course... I have been to Hainan Island a few times.
Basically when dealing with China, one must understand that things ALWAYS get worse, much worse before they get somewhat better. Murphy's law stating that "things can always get worse" is particularly applicable there.
When the US press announced a few days ago that there was a "level of optimism" within the US government circles and that a letter of agreement was being drafted, and that a solution was near... I was amused to say the least.
Whoever thought this in the US government and the press had obviously NO idea and NO experience as to what dealing with the People's Republic of China is.
At this point, the general feeling in China is that they are right (they "know" that they are right) and their people have been "brainwashed" into knowing this. Other parts of Asia are also starting to see the US as arrogant in its approach of the local politics there.
China sees itself in a win-win situation:
n truthfully, they know that their size, their market and their population will always be a tremendous magnet for other countries, in business and trade. It is only a question of time before China becomes a first class world power... and they have time;
n if they do not get the WTO (World Trade Organization) membership this year they'll get it sometimes later. The government there does not really care about getting in right away;
n they can do very well with less imports and they know that it would take the US a LONG time to reduce or cut drastically their own China imports of manufactured goods;
n the higher government levels are smiling at today's standoff with the US, as they see themselves in a good, strong position;
n they know that a military solution is not possible for the US as the potential losses would be too high. The new US administration can not afford to start a war;
n time is on their side and they know is perfectly well.
Their high politicians and diplomats are world class. All of them have lived abroad, speak several languages, have a good understanding of world affairs and they are consummate negotiators.
The Chinese Ambassador in Washington is a perfect example. The young and somewhat "green" Bush team is no match for the Chinese team at this level.
At this point, the US government and the US President should show that they are strong... and the best way to show strength and to show that one is above is to apologize.
An apology will show strength, not weakness and will show wisdom, higher human character and greatness.
If the US fails to show such strength and gain the admiration of the world in the process, its military personnel are in for a long stay in Hainan.