Towny Anderson: Truth and injustice


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All of us have been touched, one way or another, by the events of the past week. Emotions were fueled by the instantaneousness of telecommunications which laid our community bare for the world to see.

I have confidence that the police department conducted itself professionally in both the investigation and the follow-up reports. I respect both the victims' visceral first response to the violation of their very personal space as well as the sincerity of their change of heart and plea to the District Attorney's Office to forego further prosecution of the two young men. Even the stories of the two young men seem to withstand public scrutiny and square with the assessment of the victims.

The Pilot & Today became an easy target to blame, but it might be good to remind ourselves that any small-town newspaper, under any leadership, would have reported one or another version of this story and it still would have taken on a life of its own. Why? Because despite all the finger pointing and charges of inaccuracies and misperceptions, the story reached people at a gut level: the punishment was excessive for the crime.

This story spread like the plague because of the perception of injustice - independent of the competing versions of what actually happened, independent of the debate about whether these two men were, in fact, felons. While the various players in this drama argued the truths and details, our community was reacting to the perceived injustice. Nothing that was brought to light changed people's perception of the punishment.

The 2005 Steamboat Springs Community Survey identified "preservation of small town character" as the most important issue facing Steamboat Springs in the next five years. Certainly all of us have personal connections to the meaning of "small town character." It is these connections that transcended most everything we read in print, for or against. There may have been misperceptions about the facts, but not about the injustice of the outcome. Viscerally, we understood that this injustice, this absence of compassion, is not who we are, nor how we want to be judged by the outside world.

Steamboat Springs and Routt County will soon be embarking on an update of Vision 20/20, which will include an effort to draw from citizens the elements they feel define the heart and soul of our community. If heart and soul was a fuzzy, out-of-focus concept before, certainly the saga of these two young men has now given us a deep understanding of its meaning. Heart and soul defines who we are. Now our quest is how to preserve it and make it an integral part of our policy - and decision-making practices - across all branches of government.

Towny Anderson

Steamboat Springs


grins 10 years, 7 months ago

Is this a true 'side-N-jerk', comment-tears? (seems so fuzzed) DON"T BiTT,...ZZZ,...cha..T

Hell's pandora's box'es awaits your MIKE's request(s).

Are decalls' really that loud? That you would place them on your fore-heads?


Gladys 10 years, 7 months ago

what language are you speaking? I have not understood even one of your posts over the past week or so. Just curious.


remysmith 10 years, 7 months ago

Anderson's appeal to fairness and small town values is, at best, disingenuous and, at worst, sanctimonious. An essay with no real position. He even avoids any meaningful conclusion with the phrase "perceived injustice."

Is this the same Anderson who led the City Council effort to fire Paul Hughes, without the legal notice required AND right before Christmas?

Is this the same Anderson who has sold out his reported low-income constituency when he voted with the majority in eliminating Westland Trailer Park, some of the only affordable housing in town?

Is this the same Anderson that appears to vote for development yet readily accepts the developer "buys off" (payment-in-lieu) for low-income housing that somehow is never built?

Is this the same Anderson that wants a "safe harbor" out for businesses that break the law so the City Council has a political loophole so they don't have to enforce the liquor code at a public hearing?

Is this the same Anderson whose position on the future of the Community Center seems to change with the last person he spoke to?

Sounds like values to me! Just wonder what kind.


Momabear 10 years, 7 months ago

If you don't want the world to judge your town as a place where this sort of injustice has and could again take place, you need to review the staff your District Attorney's office and make some changes. It is apparent from the sorts of comments made by local citizens during this incident that St. James handling of other cases has been questionable in the past and that the DA has been backing him 100%. As someone who books conventions, your 'small town with small town values' is off my radar until you fix the actual problem(s). Freeing the two gentlemen simply alleviated a symptom of the problem(s).


JazzSlave 10 years, 7 months ago


You're using a single incident and anonymous commentary to make your decision, and judging an entire community as a result.

Hopefully, we will continue to stay off your radar in perpetuity. With your nose so high in the air, we'd have no choice but to look into your nostrils. We'd just as soon you stay away and whine from a distance.


slipinsky 10 years, 7 months ago


Sounds like what your town did to the rainbow is what you are accusing momabear of doing..

Ironic isn't it


JazzSlave 10 years, 7 months ago


Way to completely miss the point. What momabear - an individual - proposes is identical to what Kerry St. James - an individual - did.

St. James' actions earned him local and national scorn and humilation, and he caved like the coward he is.

momabear's sanctimonious zeal to penalize an entire population (a population that, if this forum is any indication, sides with her on this issue) suggests that she is every bit as narrow-minded and vindictive as Kerry St. James.

So yes - perhaps that is ironic.


cheesehead 10 years, 7 months ago

yeah I'd have to say we get enough snooty convention people that I'd be pretty ok with mama bear not comming around. by the way, the two veggy theives acknowleged how the community set them free. Interesting how you still want to punish the community.


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