Thursday, September 20, 2018
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Winning

“We’re going to win. We’re going to win so much. We’re going to win at trade, we’re going to win at the border. We’re going to win so much, you’re going to be so sick and tired of winning, you’re going to come to me and go ‘Please, please, we can’t win anymore.’ You’ve heard this one. You’ll say, ‘Please, Mr. President, we beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore. It’s too much. It’s not fair to everybody else.’ And I’m going to say ‘I’m sorry, but we’re going to keep winning, winning, winning, We’re going to make America great again.’” —Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Montana

Hey—I don’t feel like the winning is exactly overflowing in this country right now. The trade “win” has so far pissed off our closest friends and allies that we will need for other partnership issues in the future, slapped our relationship with the growing and influential Chinese government and I see this morning that a motorcycle manufacturing facility in Kansas City is closing with the jobs heading overseas. Winning at the “border” so far is a giant cluster where kids were snatched from their parents and sent to abandoned Walmarts or New York while the parents were jailed in Texas. No one seems to be sure how many of them will be reunited. Winning with the Earth has so far isolated us as the only country fighting the intent of the Paris Agreement on climate change. Because the climate is certainly not changing anyway—highs in Crested Butte were about 80 degrees this week. The Trump administration is continually pulling back any environmental protections possible and monetizing the ocean and every piece of public land it can sell or lease as quickly as possible. I see the ocean and public lands as more than a giant strip mine available to extract every bit of potential profit at any cost.

If the president thinks we’re winning, then by all means, “I beg you sir, we don’t want to win anymore. I’m sick and tired of winning. It’s too much.”

Donald and I certainly have different definitions of winning and that is not unexpected. Unlike some, I am not surprised by all this “winning” because Trump was pretty clear while running for office that his intention was to wreak some winning havoc—and he is. Kudos to him. Now, I’ll admit that the Republican tax cut is helping make the economy hum—and it is. The cut was more than even big business was asking for but is one less arrow in the quiver to use if the economy trips up a tad, so some economists are wary of the long-term ramifications. And remember that little bump you see in your individual paycheck right now is set to go away in a few years. Buy stocks since the corporations get the long-term money. North Korea could be a win if real action is taken now that the photo op is over. No one seems to even know what denuclearization means yet. But we’ll figure it out. Winning.

I’ve never liked Donald’s bombastic style, penchant for lying and his ease at being a bully. I never will. I know I won’t convince those who love him that he isn’t exactly role-model worthy—unless you want your kid to grow up as a lying, cheating, braggart. But we got what we got—until we don’t—so as part of this Fourth of July week, take out your phone and put an alert on the calendar app to vote this November 6 against the lap poodles (no offense to poodles) that drool over Donald’s dark and frightened vision of a still great and once optimistic country. Even if you are going to vote for one of Donald’s drooling lap poodles, voting is the least you can do to honor the founders who bravely gave birth to this republic.

Anyway, before I go too far off the edge, let’s recognize a real win that involves a branch of the federal government and local collaborators.

It was announced this week that the Crested Butte Land Trust, the U.S. Forest Service and the Gunnison Valley Housing Foundation have struck a deal that has been described by all parties as a “win-win-win.” And it is. The deal basically protects Long Lake—a summer icon at the north end of the valley. It consolidates some land under the Forest Service in the Fossil Ridge area and it helps fill the coffers for an affordable housing group for future projects. Win-win-win.

Life isn’t always simple and sometimes there are individual good things that come into conflict. As long-time open space and local workforce housing advocate Jim Starr mentioned, protecting land can ultimately eliminate some places where people can live. It’s a conundrum. This deal addresses that conundrum in a really positive way. Long Lake is preserved for the future and the housing foundation has literally millions of dollars to spend on one of the biggest social issues facing our valley at the moment.

These things don’t happen often and they don’t happen by chance. Butch and Judy Clark provided the mechanism for this holistic deal through a visionary land donation eight years ago. They have been invaluable community philanthropists and solid active members of a community that appreciates their leadership and foresight. The Crested Butte Land Trust is facilitating the project and that takes knowledge, political skill, time and expertise. Under the leadership of Noel Durant and his team, this convoluted deal has been struck through broad collaboration and hard work. Matt McCombs at the Gunnison Ranger District is a different sort of district ranger. He seems to actually like it here and wants to get things done for this particular district and not try to stay hidden from the Washington bureaucratic machine.

He appears to not only understand the desires of this local community but wants to take action to make it better. Jim Starr has been involved in public service for decades and while we don’t always agree, his work has helped guide a project like this to fruition. He is sincerely passionate about workforce housing as well as open space conservation. I’m sure there are many others who all worked hard to get this project buttoned up. They all deserve praise and I for one, am appreciative of that effort. So thank you.

There it is: The difference between local and national politics. Instead of name-calling and finger pointing, getting the members of a vibrant community working in collaboration to make good things happen is not only possible, it can actually happen. It happened here. It happened with this great land exchange that addresses major local issues on a significant scope. It won’t happen often but it happened this time. For that we can be grateful.

The last part of the deal is the money. That’s where everyone in the community can contribute to the win—literally. Contributing some funds to this effort touches on two good causes so this is one of those deals where your help makes a real difference. The Crested Butte Land Trust is looking to raise $3.3 million and every dollar will help. So help with whatever you can.

Overall, this deal is a real collaborative victory for the community and frankly, something Donald might want to look at as a good example of truly “winning, winning, winning.”

—Mark Reaman

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