A NOTE OF THANKSA letter of thanks to Doug Terry and Michael Martin Murphey. I (we) had only planned to attend WestFest on Saturday and had so much fun, we had to go back on Sunday. It is a great feeling to have these to guys promote the reason most of us are here the American West and its culture. Again, thanks Pards. See you next year!
MAKING AMENDSThis past week saw America walk out of another international conference. This one started with high ideals. The conference in Durban, South Africa, was how to address the past injustice of racism and slavery. The U.S. was welcomed by bully states. Let no one can say that America was built without injustice, cheating and lots of slavery. The blacks, shipped over as slaves; the Native Americans whose land we took by force; the Chinamen whose backs were broken in the pursuit of a transcontinental railway; the Irishman who dug the sewer trenches; the Slavs who worked the iron mills. All these folks, and many others, have had their injustices heaped upon them from time to time. The question to the world was, at what point do we look back at our common history and make amends with our forefathers' slavery? When do you use your tax money to soothe a wound?
An emotional question if ever there was one. I answer, we do not need to make amends and send money to fellow Americans or Africans. The wrongs were many and the deaths inexcusable, but if we are to learn from history we need to understand that period. During the slave trade (1600s-1800s) the fact was that European ships went to Africa to trade with the African kings. At that time slavery was a common victors prize. If your tribe lost the battle, then you become a slave. Most slaves would then be sold to the highest bidder. Often this would mean joining the Arab camel traders on their journeys around northern Africa. The Sahara Desert now became the slaves' home. Once European ships arrived, the demand for slaves rose and more natives were captured. Supply and demand at its most insidious!
I would argue that in many cases the fate of these African-American slaves was no worse than being held by a tribe hostile to yours. Either fate was not pleasant, nor was there a choice for the captive. You now have a wrong on both sides of the ocean.
The British were one of the first European countries to outlaw slavery. Did the British crown stop slavery? Not underneath the fae! Instead of shipping the laborers to the home island, Britain would establish factories in distant parts of the world. Now Britain could import only that part of which she desired, the finished product. The conditions in these early "factories" were less than optimal. Even opium drug use encouraged "maximum profitability." Slavery existed and exits in many forms today.
Yes, it was very wrong for our country. How do we make up for it today? How do we compensate the generations of Viking boats that ransacked their isle? Does Greece owe Turkey compensations for destroying Troy? Which map best represents the lands of Poland in Europe today? Nothing is permanent except for change. Let us honor our forefathers by acknowledging the past and changing for the better today.
Put our tax money into good, free schools and the past will remain that way, ANCIENT HISTORY.
HOUSING CONCERNSAnd people wonder whether it's worth trying to live in Steamboat!
Re: your article about (City Council President Kevin) Bennett's creation of a new November ballot issue for affordable housing.
You have to wonder whether the developers and well-pocketed people do have him and his cronies in their pocket.
When my wife and I went to the RALF mixer in May, we thought there would finally be a chance that we could get a house in Steamboat and not have to worry about commuting from Craig, Hayden or Oak Creek. We thought: "Finally, City Council is going to do something for the working class." Rob Dick said that they hoped to have the infrastructure for west end development completed by this summer, and here it is already fall and they haven't turned a single shovel full of dirt yet.
What are the problems? Impact fees? Well, those are ridiculous anyway. Charging the same for a family dwelling of 1,500 square feet as a 10,000-square-foot trophy home that's used as a second home is just not logical. Either write an addendum to the fee to lower it for affordable housing or just say, "Whoops," we made a mistake. Let's rewrite it.
Second. People are worried that homeowners will turn around and resell their houses for current market value. Answer: restricted deeds. They can only resell with marginal equity to the house.
I think Steamboat Today needs to keep tabs on this. It's an issue that's important to the future of Steamboat, and it needs to be dealt with now and not put off.
EXAGGERATION?I have been to some City Council meetings and seen their weekly packages (available at City Hall). I don't believe that job takes any 30 hours per week. You can skim the package in an hour and there are then three meetings per month. It has taken longer because of rewriting the development code, but that is done. It would take less time if the council members would behave themselves. It seems to me that they have chosen to get involved in various things so they could increase their personal influence and opportunity for favors. The council spent some time on me, I'm sure. This was caused by their actions. When I first complained about the end of Princeton Avenue being barricaded, they should have opened up the street. When I first complained about being criminally cited for trimming a tree by my drive, they should have insisted to code enforcement that all codes either be equitably enforced or dropped from the books. When I first complained that my neighbor was building more than what was allowed, they should have stopped the construction at a legal amount. I think they are exaggerating how much time it takes to discourage other people from running. I don't believe the council members are there for altruistic reasons. We moved from Steamboat due to local government corruption. Local government is important and good people need to run.