On a mission…

By Mark Reaman

Being on a mission can accomplish good things. Looking at something as a “mission” brings focus and tangible goals. That’s the point of a mission. Being on a mission can also take so much focus at times that it blinds the person on the mission to the bigger picture. I see a lot of people on a lot of missions these days, both locally and in the world at the moment. Some are good, others not so much…

The valley of elected officials all seem on a mission to provide workforce housing at both ends of the valley. That’s good. There are probably a half a dozen major affordable housing projects on drawing boards somewhere. The overall goal seems to be to provide as many beds as possible at any given site. Density is the rallying cry. I’d argue that comfortable and affordable neighborhoods should be the ultimate call to arms. That might mean fewer units in any given project to make space for things like yards or common areas to accommodate dogs, garages or storage spaces to accommodate vehicles and recreational toys, and trails and transit stops to accommodate integration with the whole valley. It should be about quality of life not just filling a busser position. The overall mission is a needed one as we see free market prices push out blue-collar workers that add depth to the community. But to do it differently from other resort communities, to do it better than other resort communities and do it with the true overall community in mind, should be a big part of the mission.

Fox News was on a mission after January 6…to deceive their fickle viewers even if it meant weakening the country for a few (million) bucks. That became obvious in court papers involving Dominion Voting Systems released this week where it was shown top Fox News staff admitted that Donald’s accusations of a rigged election were bullsh*t. But seeing Fox viewers flee to even more right-wing wingnut media outlet Newsmax that promoted the BS made the top Fox executives and on-air egos peddle the BS to retain the viewership of Trump sycophants who fell for the con. It never seemed to me Fox was a beacon of principle over money, but the January 6 situation is taking it to a new, frankly, despicable level. 

Politics is primarily about communication and getting things done. I normally appreciate county commissioner Liz Smith’s voice on various boards but at the recent RTA meeting she seemed on a mission to replace the current air consultant for the RTA who was awarded a contract from the board at the end of last year. She said she just wanted to see what else was available despite saying the current consultant, Bill Tomcich of Airplanners LLC had provided “excellent service.” I have spoken to her since the meeting, and she clarified her goal is not to push out Tomcich but to simply make the board and public aware that there could be some conflicts with Airplanners as the air consulting landscape has changed over the years. Airplanners is potentially taking on a partner that consults for the Montrose Airport that Smith sees as GUC’s major regional airport competition. I’m not sure there’s really that much competition between GUC and MTJ (we are what we are) and Tomcich made clear his sensitivity to the potential conflict of interest perception and stated how that would be avoided. Still, Liz said at the meeting she didn’t want to arm wrestle anyone over the issue or belabor the point, but she spent close to an hour belaboring the point and twisting arms to have a new RFP issued. No one else on the board at the meeting expressed any interest in pursuing an immediate RFP for the air consultant position but most seemed open to doing so when the current contract expires in less than two years. While this is sort of inside baseball with the political landscape, the public discussion was frustrating and seemed a waste of time especially since the discussion would have been more appropriate a few months ago when the contract was up for renewal. Maybe it’s just a matter of better communication…

Like so many mean old men fading into the sunset, Vladmir Putin seems on a mission to restore his legacy and apparently restore the old Russian empire — or destroy the world trying. His evil attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure in Ukraine while looking east toward Poland and who knows where from there, seems as if it could easily trigger the next war of the worlds. The cry of American Republicans to stop spending American dollars in Ukraine might turn to weeping if Putin is allowed to proceed with his twisted dream that could turn all of Europe into a battlefield nightmare that the US would have no choice but to engage, especially if he continues his march to a NATO ally like Poland. I am not an advocate for any war but my more pacificist values don’t always align with the realities of a psychopath with power like Putin who has clearly demonstrated his intent and his mission that seems to be to sow the seeds for war in order to die with an empire. Republicans who support Putin’s vision seem on a mission to reshape this country in his mold. 

Not unexpectantly, genius Republican Marjorie Taylor Greene is on a mission to literally split the country through a “divorce” of red states and blue states. Secession is always a cool position for members of Congress to take. What she might not understand in her mission is that a study by the Rockefeller Institute of Government found that traditional Democratic blue states contributed significantly more federal taxes per citizen than Republican red states. And yet, these same Republican states receive far more in federal dollar expenditures than they contribute in taxes. For example, Mississippi receives $2.07 for every tax dollar it sends to Washington, Kentucky $2.89, Virginia $2.24. In other words, red states, on average, rank significantly higher than blue states when it comes to freeloading off other states. If Marjorie accomplishes her mission, I anticipate the reds will be green with envy.

And finally, there’s Crested Butte Town League hockey that might need a mission. As younger and better players have joined the winter version of CB softball, it has caused tension. The skill and temperature have risen. The really good players have a tendency to up their game against one another. The experienced players seem to too often revert to the typical college or junior hockey style that includes “chirping” at opponents and the refs. 

The refs are getting fed up with that (see story on page 27) so there may not be any refs willing to show up, which ultimately means there may not be any games, which means there may not be any Town League if players aren’t careful and shape up their hockey culture. Maybe there needs to be the super competitive A league and the more relaxed B league? Maybe the top 24 players form four teams of six that play NHL overtime rules with 3X3 on the ice for three eight-minute periods. Lots of ice space, lots of scoring, lots of opportunity to show off the skill set. But it sounds like a mission needs to be taken to right the Town League ship. It would be a shame to lose a good winter community staple in Crested Butte.

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