Monday, November 12, 2018
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I get it—sort of.

ColoradoCare 

I get that our current health care system is broken unless you happen to be a big shot at one of the big insurance companies. Obamacare does not work for my friends or me. Costs are too high; premium increases are out of control; and deductibles are too great to matter unless you have a major, major accident or illness.

Now, if Obama and Congress had worked better together when formulating the Affordable Care Act, perhaps it could have actually worked. But they didn’t. And now some in Colorado are floating what is essentially a universal coverage skeleton of an idea to include in our state constitution. I get it. But putting in a skeleton of an idea with details yet to come into the constitution of the state doesn’t seem prudent. If approved, pretty much every local small business owner I have talked to said it would kill him or her. Many such businesspeople are walking the tightrope of survival and don’t provide health care to their employees so this hit to their books would be significant. And many said they’d probably actually have to close their doors. As for the skeleton part—Amendment 69 requires lots of negotiations that have to take place and no one knows for sure what the real costs will end up being. At the low end it will be the size of the entire current state budget.

But I get it. And if it was enacted in 50 states and not just here, it probably would work. The current system sucks in many ways and it needs to be fixed. Even those in favor of 69 admit there are many unanswered questions and the people of this state will be rolling the dice and taking a chance to make it work. I have little doubt it will pass in our neighborhood. Given that it would be embedded in the state constitution, I don’t think Amendment 69 is the right fix.

Donald and Hillary 

Like the health care situation, the current U.S. political system is broken in many ways and needs to be fixed. Hillary probably isn’t going to fix it. Donald may try to break it up without any idea of how to put it back together better. I get it. But that just becomes dangerous. Plus, the guy is a creep.

There is a somewhat understandable attraction for some to bring in a bombastic, bellowing blowhard to shake up the system. And while he fits the description, he is not the guy to lead a still-great country. And this country is still great in many ways. His dark view of America is off the mark and his “fixes” are pretty scary.

Hillary is no angel and she is probably too moderate for the times and for the desire of the middle class to find a way to make the country fairer for them and their neighbors. I don’t like how hawkish she has been when it comes to throwing around the military might of the United States. But she is a lot more rational than Donald and won’t push the nuclear button when Putin throws an insult her way. She won’t make fun of disabled people. She won’t claim a judge born in Indiana can’t be fair because he is a “Mexican.” She won’t fill her mouth with Tic Tacs and try to grab the balls of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. And yes, that stuff still matters. I get it but…

Third-party votes

So I understand the urge to not vote for Hillary or Trump. But understand that a vote for Jill Stein or Gary Johnson in this election is a vote for Trump in a “swing state” like Colorado. And votes are counted statewide, so if you think it’s “safe” to vote for a third-party candidate because you think Gunnison County is likely to go for Hillary, that’s not true. Your vote for Hillary counters a Trump vote in Montrose or Craig or Grand Junction. That’s just the unfortunate reality of the situation this time around. Colorado could go either way right now and with it, all of its electoral votes to either Hillary or Donald.

Every single Trump supporter—every single one (and there are millions)—will crawl through hurricanes and avalanches and tornadoes to cast a vote for the guy. If you decide to not vote at all or to vote for a third-party person in protest, you strengthen every Trump vote that is cast. That’s what Trump and his people want. They want you to feel so discouraged with the system that you throw up your hands and take action that allows him to win.

In the long term, Trump might so destroy the Republican Party that a legitimate third party might actually emerge from the Trump locker room. To vote for a guy trying to change a broken political and bureaucratic system is something I understand. To vote for a vain bully filled with Tic Tacs that brags about how to pounce on 20-something-aged women but has no detailed plan on how to change what is broken with the government he abhors is something I don’t get.

Short-term rentals in CB

The short-term rental situation in Crested Butte is another one I get—sort of. I understand the goal of the citizens’ committee to find a balance that limits the number of house rentals in town while protecting the integrity of the community into the future. But for this council to put restrictions on STRs, especially caps and not allowing license transfers, seems somewhat absurd.

The conflict of interest of this council on this issue is blatant and became more screwy when two of the councilmen (Merck and Mason) ran in to get their STR licenses when talk of a moratorium began behind the scenes. That’s pretty disappointing. For five of the seven to decide how to put restrictions on a license that could directly improve the financial value of their own licenses down the road is just wrong.

It is the definition of “conflict of interest” I have heard in council discussions for years.

Like it or not, this is not the same community of 1983. A good portion of the year-round residents today use their houses to help them live here. Crested Butte has always had second homeowners. And for years, many of those houses would sit empty and dark except for basically Christmas, spring break and July. But the second homeowners I know love the town and try to fit in. Today, some choose to rent their houses to visitors instead of keeping them dark. That’s good for downtown business but not so good for the neighbor next door when the hot-tub party is peaking after midnight. This is not an easy issue. But trying to “legislate community” probably isn’t workable, even in Crested Butte. Community evolves and it is not like it was in the 1980s or 1990s. You can’t pass laws to try to make it that way again. If you want it like the old days—have the council pass a resolution supporting a mine.

And let’s be honest, regulating this STR issue will not solve any long-term rental dilemma. Plus, this “community” is really the whole upper end of the valley and not simply those with an address on Sopris or Maroon. I get the concept of trying to keep people living in the town boundaries. But a council made up of a majority of members who think having an STR license is good enough for them really has no business saying it is not good enough for anyone else. Unless those five want to give up their short-term rental business licenses, it just seems obvious they lack the moral authority as legislators to impose restrictions on others. That’s too bad but it is the truth.

I get the concern of having 100 percent of the homes in Crested Butte be available for short-terming. It does make sense to regulate the health, safety and neighborhood nuisance issues that come with the growth in STRs. I don’t have the ultimate solution but I do know the town in general is justifiably raising an eyebrow at this type of regulation.

I get it—sort of.

—Mark Reaman

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