Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.
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Steamboat Springs Recall the Rainbow Family gathering in Big Red Park two summers ago or, as I like to call it, The Panic of '06. I'm starting to wonder if, in the prejudices of some, Triple Crown Sports is nothing more than the Rainbow Family in better uniforms.
Given all the hysteria surrounding Triple Crown's desire to use Emerald Park, it's only a matter of time until the first report of a softball player showering in the vegetable misters at Safeway - a call placed by someone still afraid to enter Big Red Park for fear of catching cooties.
Two summers ago, I watched friends - acting as if their brains had leaked on the pillow during the night - rumormonger about the Rainbows. Our local district attorney made national news by imprisoning two men caught green-handed perpetrating that most heinous of acts - picking rotten veggies from the trash.
That caper, "The Sweet Pea Incident," is studied in law schools across the nation. While teaching young prosecutor wannabes how to avoid being overzealous, professors of the law command: "Remember Steamboat! Don't be a Sweet Pea."
So, it is unfortunate when it comes to Triple Crown's request to use Emerald Park that a vocal minority are reviving the trademark paranoia of many when it came to the Rainbow Family.
Granted, as the prospect of spring looms on the horizon, some of us - exhibiting a bit of Ski Town snobbery - begin the annual rite of bashing Triple Crown. Allegations of rude behavior, bad driving, shoppers in numbered uniforms wandering like lost souls in City Market (OK, that one's true) and low tipping multiply like Easter bunnies at Elk River Farm & Feed.
But this year's crisis involves more angst than usual as Triple Crown seeks permission to use the Emerald Park fields for - brace yourself - 12 days a year, for two years, during times of the day when the fields typically are dormant and Pamela Lane residents are at work.
Shiver me timbers!
Residents of Pamela Lane and proprietors of the Yampa River Botanic Park are in an uproar about traffic and the unbearable noise of middle-class families having fun. These are the same folks who choose to live and work so close to the railroad that train engineers can reach out to prune shrubs and change diapers as they rumble by.
Perhaps if folks on Pamela Lane want to vent, they should do so at those who didn't provide better access to Emerald in prior years. The sight of former city councilman Jim Engelken lecturing a mirror would at least provide comic relief.
Now don't get me wrong. I like Jim. We had a nice chat on the Core Trail a few weeks ago. He said he enjoyed a column of mine. I warned the day might come when he wouldn't. Apparently I'm prescient.
This past Tuesday, Engelken challenged the integrity of City Council and demanded the council uphold promises Engelken - as a member of a previous council - made to ban Triple Crown from Emerald Park. But, to demand that any legislature be bound by the actions of a previous legislature is sheer folly at best. Does Engelken believe future Congresses are bound to fund the Iraq war forever because the current Congress has? I suspect not.
I'd bet Engelken, as a council member, voted to modify actions of prior councils. After all, that's why we hold elections. Elections often reflect the desire of voters to change the actions of the old guard. The current council knows that better than most. The appropriate role of council is to weigh facts as they currently exist, not to rubber-stamp promises of a former member with a conflict of interest given his address.
Frankly, the attempt to block Triple Crown from using existing fields on an interim basis until a new complex is built smacks of hypocrisy. If that twisted logic wins the day, residents near Howelsen Hill and Mount Werner should demand City Council restrict access to those venues to locals only.
Finally, those willing to risk the loss of Triple Crown should specifically name which of their neighbors, friends, family members and co-workers should lose their jobs, and which tax-funded programs should be eliminated, when 32,000 visitors take their wallets over Rabbit Ears Pass to never return.
Rob Douglas can be reached at Douglas@privacytoday.com