Saturday, November 17, 2018
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Quick hits on an autumn afternoon

On a warming October afternoon, it is easy to spend some time in front of the post office. No one is there selling raffle tickets. The sun is at a perfect angle and not every parking spot is filled. There is no shortage of people to chat with and it is relaxed. It is the week of the school break and that means a pretty quiet vibe in this small mountain village. It is pretty good out there. Enjoy it. It will get colder, wetter and more hectic as we head toward Halloween.

* It is almost an obsession to check out the nearby rivers in the valley. They are thin. The gravel is showing and the trout must be using bamboo reeds to find enough water to stay alive. Driving by Blue Mesa Reservoir recently was quite frankly, astonishing. Much of it is simply gone. Green fields are located where water skiing and sailing was taking place a summer ago. It will be nothing but a canyon next year if we don’t have a good wet winter. And a good wet winter is what we live for here anyway. While ‘02 was pretty dry, I’ve never seen the Mesa look like it does today.

* While it’s not the news we’d like to be reporting, there is still light at the end of the tunnel for a permanent solution to the potential of mining on Red Lady. Last spring, a collaborative effort was announced between all the major players with the broad outline of a plan to pay the mining company and put an end to plans for digging up molybdenum on Mt. Emmons. But that plan relied on the U.S. Congress to pull the pieces together. That didn’t happen in any quick fashion and while it still could occur thanks to our U.S. Senators, it must be broader than that. If you hadn’t noticed, Democrats and Republicans on the national stage are spitting at each more than singing kumbaya, so don’t look for concrete progress until next year at the earliest. The plan hit a major speed bump but the tires aren’t yet flat. Everyone, including the miners and the enviros, still want to see a real plan take shape and that’s a good thing.

* I’ve never thought of making Elk Avenue traffic one-way before. For decades, there have always been some people who want to turn Elk into a pedestrian mall but the town is simply too small to accommodate that idea. One-way traffic for a few blocks is an interesting idea and one brought up during a Town Council work session last week. It might make vehicles faster. It might loosen up those congested middle blocks in July. It might inundate the rest of the town with cars and be a total cluster. I don’t know. It’s just refreshing to hear a new idea and new ideas are worth exploring.

* The national political scene is heating up. President Obama gave a big boost to his opponent at their first political debate last week. As one person commented, it looked like Barack joined the Acme Army and went all medicinal in the Green Room before that debate. He didn’t challenge, question, respond or argue with Mitt Romney’s moderate etch-a-sketch changes of heart. Despite the protests of the Dems who cried foul about substance and facts, demeanor and ability to strike back quickly (or not) is as important as what’s said…especially with the one shot in front of 70 million people.
In hindsight, it wasn’t so much that Romney won…it was that the guy we had some faith in as our leader got rolled like a drunk at 2 a.m. in an east L.A. gutter. Americans expect that their leaders will be lied to over the course of a four-year term. The fibs will come from hostile foreign leaders, friendly Wall Street contributors and even their own staff. The leader of the free world is supposed to be equipped to deal with such situations. Romney came in with a charming smile and acted like the new guy leading a banana republic. And Obama rolled. It was that realization that cost the president faith from more than a few citizens. And as was pointed out by some national pundits, for Obama to come out swinging the next day made him look like George Costanza on a Seinfeld episode. The strategy worked so well for Romney that his foreign policy speech this week contained similar prevarication. Obama better not stop at the dispensary before the next face-to-face debate.
It looks like a real race all of a sudden…

* Don’t forget the local political debate, a.k.a. the Crested Butte News Candidate’s Forum, coming up Thursday, October 18 at the Center for the Arts. Bring your questions and listen to those who want to represent you at the county and state level. Denis B. Hall will be our Jim Lehrer. These forums are part of the democratic process and can be pretty cheap entertainment. It is free.

Enjoy these days of fall. The warm ones are becoming rare. And let’s all hope for a cold, wet winter.

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