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Opinion

  • “Trust us.”

    That’s exactly what Idaho Springs’ city government is asking with a ballot measure that would free the city from the requirement to print new ordinances in full in the Clear Creek Courant.

    Our response: No way.

    It’s not that we specifically lack trust in any of the city’s government officials. But because a democracy is founded on the idea of checks and balances on those who wield power at every level, giving any government a pass on the obligation to be fully transparent is a terrible idea.

  • Pope Francis has shaken the world and taken the United States by storm. His shifting of moral emphasis from personal, micro behavior — same-sex marriage, abortion, e.g. — to macro societal behavior is causing upheavals not only within the Universal Church but also the social-political world.

    While homosexual acts and abortion remain mortal sins in the pope’s Catholic universe, of greater magnitude is the havoc wrought by humans on each other and the natural environment, God’s creation from the Christian perspective.

  • “Pass the time?” said the Queen. “Books are not about passing the time. They’re about other lives. Other worlds. Far from wanting time to pass, Sir Kevin, one just wishes one had more of it. If one wanted to pass the time, one could go to New Zealand.”

    — “The Uncommon Reader” by Alan Bennett

    Something incredible happened at the Clear Creek County Library District board meeting on Sept. 8.

  • There’s nothing like a mountain stream of yellow to draw one’s attention. The Gold King Mine disaster in Silverton certainly did that. As the incongruent mustard color disappeared from the river, so has the disaster’s intensity from the consciousness of the average person.

    Maybe. I’d like to think that the visual imagery has left a permanent etch on the minds and consciousness of people. Time will tell.

  • The debate over health care comes down to an essential premise: Is it a right or a privilege? Then the practical: How should it be provided and paid for?

    A century-long effort to implement some sort of national health care system saw fruition with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, which has survived constitutional scrutiny and been successful in achieving its goal of insuring tens of millions of previously uninsured. Since 2013, Colorado’s uninsured rate has decreased from 14.3 percent to 6.7 percent. That’s the good news.

  • In last week’s column, I noted Mark Twain’s dismissive attitude toward school boards. Needless to say, Twain was eviscerating.

    Unlike my literary hero, I have been on both sides of the school board table, having negotiated a master contract in Summit County in my capacity as teacher association president and having served on the Clear Creek board. During those experiences, I dealt with some who brought to mind Twain’s epithet. But I primarily collaborated with stellar, thoughtful citizens who focused on creating sound educational policy.

  • Mark Twain didn’t like school boards. Their banning of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” which, according to Ernest Hemingway and countless others, is the quintessential and greatest American novel, was one reason.

    His disdain, though, wasn’t due simply to being miffed. Twain and other creative minds, from Thomas Edison to Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill to Dolly Parton, disdained their educational experiences, seeing public schooling as stultifying, repressive.

  • It is tempting to write about the nut-case rhetoric spewing forth from Republican presidential candidates. For a writer, it is low-hanging fruit. I tried resisting, however …

    Like many others, I am past the shock level. Listening to them trying to out-demagogue one another is like watching a movie in which the F-word is used incessantly. After a while, the viewer no longer hears it, having become desensitized to its impact.

  • By District Attorney Bruce Brown

    In the wake of police officer-involved shootings from Ferguson, Mo., to North Charleston, S.C., there is no hotter topic among law enforcement agencies and district attorneys than the routine employment of body cams for patrolling police officers. In next year’s Colorado legislature, which has an enormous appetite right now for regulating police, there are bound to be proposals including requiring body cams for every police department.

  • As James Brown yelps in his classic hit, “I feel good!” The reason? I and my gay and lesbian siblings finally can experience first-class citizenship. We not only can come out of the closet but also walk to some altars to exercise our natural, human and constitutional right to marry.

  • There’s something particularly heinous about violating places of sanctity that ought to be sanctuaries from violence: e.g., churches, schools, shelters.

    Over the years I’ve written about and decried gunmen who choose to carry out their murderous assaults in public schools, one of society’s most sacred secular places. This time it happened in a Charleston, S.C., church during a Bible study to which the gunman was lovingly welcomed.

  • Besides specific actions we need to take to move forward given the closing of the Henderson Mine, there are at least two broader lessons we can glean from this experience, especially in conjunction with the probable expansion of Interstate 70 to Empire Junction: We’re on our own, and it presents immense opportunity.

    It’s empowering to operate from a sense of independence. Clear Creek should no longer feel dependent upon the Colorado Department of Transportation and Vail Resorts for the opportunity to service travelers.

  • During my conversation with Clear Creek Economic Corp. executive director Peggy Stokstad and Commissioner Tim Mauck on KYGT about post-Henderson Clear Creek, I quipped that while the belief that the Japanese character for chaos is the same for opportunity is urban legend, it remains a wonderful idea.

    On the one hand, both Stokstad and Mauck aver it’s important to keep in mind the size of the Henderson property-tax footprint has not always been gargantuan. Nevertheless, it is something we need to be concerned about.

  • “The lover of nature is he whose inward and outward senses are still truly adjusted to each other.”

    — Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Some years ago, I spontaneously took a trip to Las Vegas. I’ve little interest in gambling, and my betting skills are less than my interest, but the thought of basking in the sun around a pool after a harsh Rocky Mountain winter seemed the perfect elixir.

  • I found myself engaged in a conversation with a couple locals about how I pick topics for this column. The train of thought, as is often the case when thoughtful exchanges occur, meandered from my latest — what do we do post-Henderson — to that which has been dubbed “deflategate,” the charge that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady deliberately had his equipment managers deflate footballs below the league-required minimum.

  • When preparing to write this column, I began by constructing an ideas list about intrinsic community assets young Americans expect or anticipate. The list, which surely is incomplete, follows, but upon reflecting on it, I’ve come realize it can be summarized in three words: the American Dream.

    The promise of America, whether for native-born youth or immigrants, is something that does separate us from most other nations. It helps make us exceptional.

  • The situation was presented in the CCHS auditorium by Henderson Mine/Climax Molybdenum officials, the Clear Creek Economic Development Corp. and the county commissioners: Henderson will more than likely cease production after 2026.

     “The Henderson deposit is well defined,” said Henderson Mine general manager Stuart Teuscher. “It would be a gamble to think it could go past 2026.”

  • Game on. It looks as if it’s Hillary and Bernie versus the pack for now.

    Out of the gate, announced and presumed Republican candidates are spending more time trashing “Granny” than laying out specifics about their potential presidencies. One wonders what they’ll propose now that repealing the Affordable Care Act has lost its luster, the economy has steadily recovered under President Obama’s stewardship, and the deficit is becoming manageable.

  • It’s been fascinating, horrifically so, to watch events in the Middle East unfold. Comprehending the complexities of quantum physics seems child’s play compared with grasping the region’s dynamics.

    Religious strife, the Islamic version of Europe’s 16th-century Protestants-versus- Catholics wars, ethnic and racial hatreds, and economic dislocations and disparities ranging from oil-rich sheiks to abject poverty combine to present the observer an overwhelming but interwoven scene.

  • Vox

    Workforce housing issue could be solved by operating campgrounds

    Editor:

    It sounds as though various individuals and organizations are trying to convince the county commissioners that they should be responsible for providing workforce housing, and I believe I have a possible solution.

    The problem is that rafting company employees need a place to camp during the rafting season. These employees don’t need housing in the normal sense of the word.