Traci Smith: How about kindness?


There has been a lot of discussion and rhetoric in the media lately about the proposed casino development in Hayden. I have my opinion about the project, but that is not what this letter is about.

I am writing this letter to address the mean-spirited tone that some of the letters to the editor have taken, particularly toward Johnny Spillane. Johnny is a very good friend of mine. He is one of the most humble, kind-hearted people I have ever known. He is a wonderful father and husband, a great friend, and he has been an inspiration to so many of Steamboat’s youth. As an accomplished Olympian, he has given extremely generously of his time for many charitable organizations and events in Steamboat and throughout Colorado. He loves Steamboat as much, if not more, than anyone who has voiced their opinions regarding the casino project. If you have ever met Johnny, you cannot argue the fact that he is a really good guy.

If you vehemently disagree with the casino proposal near Yampa Valley Regional Airport, that is your right. If you want to voice your opinion, please do so. Public discussion is appropriate and necessary. However, making personal attacks against someone who holds a different belief and opinion than you simply is unnecessary. Some of the comments that I have read have bordered on bullying, and that simply is unacceptable.

Even if you hate the idea of the casino proposal, just because Johnny is involved with it does not make him a bad person. I would love to see open discussions in the media and at town hall meetings remain focused on the pros and cons of the issue at hand. State your case and opinions, then back them up with educated information and facts. Leave out the personal attacks toward the individuals involved, which are not productive to either side of the issue and serve only as divisive diatribe.

Traci Smith

Steamboat Springs


Steve Lewis 4 years, 7 months ago

Traci, Your letter makes a point I agree with: Any issue is best discussed solely on it's merits. Arguments weighing the character of it's supporters and opponents should have little bearing on those merits.

This ideal was gone 3 words into the casino discussion: "Steamboat Springs Olympian Johnny Spillane and four local business partners are exploring the viability of building a casino…."

Johnny cannot apply his Olympic status to advance and profit from a controversial casino, and then complain when his character is part of the question. He made himself part of the controversy. I haven't seen the negative remarks, but I have no doubt Johnny is a great guy. I'm equally sure he understands controversial endorsements have consequences.


Robert Dippold 4 years, 7 months ago

Traci, I couldn't agree more. I am completely against the casino project and I am completely against the personal attacks that occur in Steamboat Today and all across our society.

Help me understand your point. "The paper and/or a 3rd party wrote "Steamboat Springs Olympian..." I don't see that it is his fault that he is recognized by the community as this and the connection that he is then open to have his character questioned. I can certainly see where Mr. Spillane may be an outstanding citizen, emphatic about bringing jobs to his friends in Steamboat for example and that I can just be completely opposed to the tactic of a casino. On the other hand he or his partners may not have the best intentions or be the best people and still want to bring the casino. What is up for discussion is the merit of the proposal and I don't see why it has to be turned into a discussion about the character of a man. Traci thank you for being brave about bringing up this necessary discussion. Hopefully, if people like you keep challenging the status quo of tearing people apart that a change can at least be made to be more civil in the Steamboat community.


Steve Lewis 4 years, 7 months ago

Robert, The text above, Olympian Johnny Spillane and 4 partners exploring casino project, begins the Pilot article that announced the project:

My point: "5 partners exploring a casino" is a different proposition than "local Olympian and 4 partners exploring casino project." Johnny's character and celebrity adds reason for many to support the project. I'm sure that's what he and the partners had in mind. By the same token, some will resent that he has merged his character and celebrity with this project. In my opinion, neither are unfair.

Tearing people apart? I don't see it or expect it. And surely no one deserves such treatment. Mean-spirited tone that some of the letters to the editor have taken, particularly toward Johnny Spillane? Frankly, I don't see that either after taking the time to read 12 LTE's about the casino and skim their accompanying blogs. Perhaps I missed something, but none of the letters were mean and none mentioned Johnny. One accompanying blog comment tread into the complaint I mention above. That's over 5 months.

I think we otherwise agree, the discussion should be civil and on the merits. And from where I sit, I think it has been.


Scott Wedel 4 years, 7 months ago

I have also seen virtually no comments that bother to mention Johny Spillane. Since others in the Sleeping Giant group have taken more of a leadership role publicly promoting and defending the project then it appears Mr Spillane is little more than a celebrity endorsement and irrelevant.

Other than one person that somehow thinks there is something nefarious about using Go Daddy's spam stopping privacy option when registering a domain, the discussion of the casino has not been about the people promoting the casino but focused upon the merits and difficulties of having a local casino.

Not that all comments against or for the casino are based upon facts and there is certainly many based upon fear. Kris Hammond's letter greatly overstated the negatives since the negative impacts won't be enough to make him and his friends noticeably richer. If only because low life gambling addicts can't afford expensive lawyers.

Seems to me that day trading has become the game of choice for those with money. A day trader can focus both on the game of day trading and upon the hardware and software of building an ultimate trading station. A day trader can play with slightly better odds than casino gambling and from his castle or from his phone.

Casinos where your phones are not allowed at gaming table or relentless grinding on slot machines is much like the ski industry with an aging customer base.


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