Thoughts from the road…

A good ‘ol American road trip is probably not the most environmentally friendly of activities but it sure can be beautiful and for me anyways, always provides time to think. And that is not a bad thing. I love road trips.

Some thoughts on the road…

Going through the Little Blue Canyon roadwork project was relatively easy but it did make me question spending tens of millions of dollars over two years to straighten out the road. We left CB a bit after 11 a.m. and got to the stopping point for the mid-day passage about 12:20 p.m. At 12:30 a pilot car let the first 100 cars or so ahead of us through leaving us for the next round. The same happened 15 minutes later from the other side. We were through the work zone pretty quickly after that and just seeing the initial stages of deconstruction is pretty amazing. It will be wild at the end of summer. Is a two-year cluster worth saving 30 seconds through the canyon and eliminating a few car wrecks worth all that money? Doubtful but it doesn’t matter. It is here. Maybe we’ll get lucky and the dancing flagman will get assigned over there.

Life issues are not always clear cut. Sometimes the decisions are more nuanced than anyone wants. One example might be the Crested Butte Black Lives Matter Community Coalition request about filing complaints against the local marshals. There should be absolutely no roadblocks in being able to file a complaint against any member of local law enforcement. That goes for any inappropriate action but especially if dealing with a charge of bias, racial or otherwise.

At the same time, the local cops in CB have always embraced ‘community policing’ and have sincerely tried to be even more sensitive to the BIPOC community since the George Floyd travesty of last summer. I asked specifically what they have done in that realm. I was told the marshals have gone through extensive training and each of the CB officers are required under State law to take Anti-Bias, Community Policing/Community Partnership and De-Escalation trainings at least once every five years (in addition to numerous other training requirements). Further, since 2016 the Crested Butte marshals have participated in the following bias-related trainings on an annual basis: anti-bias, community policing, Constitutional law and rights, ethics, legislative updates, mental illness response and victim’s rights. They did also complete a JEDI (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) training.

And then I think of the Boulder shootings in the grocery store and the officer that ran in the store to defend citizens when everyone else was running out. That too is training in action. So I understand the uncomfortableness of the town staff when being asked by the BLMCC committee and town council to single out the local cops for scrutiny.

Realizing I am a privileged white guy who truly can’t understand the experience of the BIPOC community, I think adjusting some of the procedures as requested by the BLMCC is a good move but let’s also not manifest a situation where we become just another us-versus-them community with the cops because of horrible racist actions by law enforcement in other places. Yes, it is worth putting in steps now to monitor and prevent any form of racial bias in this community – everyone who lives or visits here should feel 100 percent safe – but let’s make sure our neighbors who wear a badge feel safe as well. Let’s tear down the fence of bias in this community, not just move it someplace or to someone else.

And to be clear, if there are accusations of bias coming through now or in the future, they must be evaluated and if found to be true in even the slightest, dealt with strictly and permanently.

I of course can’t take a road trip into rural America and not notice the support for the former president. There are campaign signs that won’t be taken down and the flags that continue to fly. That’s cool and I can respect the other side…but the leadership of the Republican Party continuing to perpetuate the so-called “Big Lie” (that Donald won the 2020 election) that was discredited by Republican campaign officials and judges in several states will bring long-term harm to this democracy.

The roll over, show your belly and pee when you hear the name of the former president by the so-called Republican Party “leaders” is astounding. Liz Cheney is no left wing beacon of light — she is someone who has been on the wrong side of policy in my opinion many more times than the right side. But like most of life, things are complicated and her having to call out the Big Lie and members of an entire political party for not being willing to stand by the principles of the United States of America whose foundation is based in the trust of our common institutions, including the idea of fair elections, because they must claim fealty to a lost soul, is horrible. I would not vote for Liz but I appreciate her pointing out the emperor with no clothes.

And what is so hard about this Washington D.C. state issue? Every American deserves federal representation and more importantly, the ability to vote for their representation. The tipping point for me was when I read how President Obama in 2011 bargained off some D.C. city decisions related to abortion to appease John Boehner over a federal spending issue. Because the people living in D.C. are under the thumb of Congress for the littlest of things, they have little direct control over their policies. That’s not fair. D.C. residents deserve the same basic rights as those of us in Colorado to elect representatives of their choosing to Congress. That’s a basic American right isn’t it? And it certainly seems fair given how members of Congress and the White House of both political parties use the people of D.C. as pawns in their political games.

The Crested Butte (regional) RV Dump problem appears less an RV Dump problem and more a traffic problem. The neighbor concerns are valid so the town was on the right path to mitigate the traffic issues. If council votes to overturn its previous decision, the council members should add to the mitigation measures. RVs hate speed bumps so put a couple over there for the summer months. They are obnoxious but they work. Have the designated lanes, designated hours, a designated fee and I’d go so far to ask when the busy times are and have a designated person over there keeping the peace and making it work. Heck, TAPP might want to pay for a person given the info that could be obtained by real people and not a phone app.

And then focus on finding another spot that works better away from people. I saw RV dump sites in the middle of nowhere that were pumped. So consider putting a holding tank on one of the Whetstone Industrial lots or by the county shop just south of CB and have the turd herder pump it once a summer, or once a month or once a day if that’s what it takes. All the local governments have boatloads of cash so spend some of it to protect our backcountry and our residents.

When talking crowded sidewalks, Elk Avenue in early May is an entirely different beast than Elk Avenue in early July. Just sayin’. I realized that driving somewhere in Colorado…like Elk Avenue.
Ahhh…road trips. I love ‘em.

—Mark Reaman

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