For 20 years, Steamboat resident Rob Douglas was a Washington, D.C. private detective specializing in homicide, political corruption and terrorism. Since 1998, Douglas has been a commentator on local, state and national politics in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Colorado. To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

For 20 years, Steamboat resident Rob Douglas was a Washington, D.C. private detective specializing in homicide, political corruption and terrorism. Since 1998, Douglas has been a commentator on local, state and national politics in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Colorado. To reach Rob Douglas, email rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Rob Douglas: The right thing to do

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Rob Douglas

Rob Douglas' column appears Fridays in the Steamboat Today. He can be reached at rdouglas@SteamboatToday.com.

Find more columns by Douglas here.

— Sometimes easy decisions are difficult.

Today's column is my last.

Starting Sept. 12, I will launch a radio show discussing national politics. My co-host will be Cari Hermacinski. The show will initially air Saturday mornings on KBCR 1230 AM from 8 to 10 a.m. The show also will be available on the Internet and by podcast. With luck, we'll expand the number of outlets and hours of broadcasting.

Our goal is to provide independent talk radio for politically independent Americans. We'll provide a voice for those tired of the federal government dictating to states, counties, municipalities and individuals what they can and cannot do. We believe it's time Washington politicians listen to hard-working Americans - especially those from the heartland of this country that the media elites dismissively refer to as "flyover country" - who are tired of increasing government encroachment in their lives.

As a successful entrepreneur and small-business woman with independent views about the challenges facing our country, Cari was the natural choice for co-host and will bring balance to a male-dominated medium.

But, because Cari also is a Steamboat Springs City Councilwoman seeking re-election, I am obligated to step aside from writing about local issues as a columnist for the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

It's an easy decision intellectually as it is the ethical course of action. Given that Cari and I now are in business together, it is a conflict of interest for me to write about her actions as a councilwoman or the actions of her opponents. Any local matter I might write about that affects Steamboat Springs - which is almost everything that unfolds in the valley - would be suspect because of that conflict of interest. Even if Cari fails in her bid for re-election, anything I write about her replacement would be a potential conflict, as well.

Although stepping aside on local issues is an easy decision intellectually, it still is difficult, as I've loved writing this column.

When I first accepted the Pilot's offer to pen a column, Editor Brent Boyer told me the hardest thing would be finding topics.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The list of local topics I wanted to address grew weekly. My greatest regret is that I now will disappoint those who entrusted me with information to investigate and, if warranted, write about.

For that, I apologize.

But before relinquishing my perch, there is an issue I'd like to address.

On Sunday, Steamboat Pilot & Today reporter Tom Ross wrote an important article about the impact the construction of New Victory Highway and an extension of Abbey Road through the greenbelts that bracket the West Acres mobile-home park will have on homeowners in the park. The article, "West Acres residents fight road route," is available at www.steamboatpilot.com.

The homeowners think that by replacing the greenbelts with roads to reduce traffic on U.S. Highway 40 - traffic that will be exacerbated by any development west of Steamboat - the tranquility of their 30-year-old neighborhood will be destroyed and the value of their homes will be diminished.

An appraisal found the greenbelts add $400,000 to the value of the homes, but the city offered only $44,000 to be divided by 82 homeowners. The city also negotiated with the owner of the mobile-home park for the city to provide trees, a fence and other improvements the homeowners find inadequate. The homeowners are appealing an adverse decision concerning their ability to seek damages from the city by District Court Judge Shelley Hill.

But even if the West Acres homeowners lose legally, the bigger social justice question is whether the homeowners have been treated with less deference by the city than other homeowners have been in high-end neighborhoods that don't consist of mobile homes. Without a doubt, some of the homeowners at West Acres think that is the case.

I think they're right.

In the final equation, the reality of whether the homeowners received disparate treatment or whether the city prevails legally does not matter. It's a question of what is the right thing to do. Undoubtedly, the right thing is for the city to sit down again with the homeowners and seek a compromise.

But, if not, the homeowners at West Acres certainly know how to vote and can sign a petition for referendum on any development seeking annexation west of Steamboat. And, I suspect, they have many voting friends, as well. Wouldn't it be something if those angered voters were just enough to tip the balance in any election involving annexation?

That might bring a whole new meaning to the New Victory Highway.

To reach Rob Douglas, e-mail Rob.Douglas@Comcast.net

Comments

seeuski 5 years, 3 months ago

I see your friends have come to wish you well Rob. Good luck with the radio show.

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Paul Hughes 5 years, 3 months ago

Gosh, I'm going to miss Rob's insightful I'm-new-here-but-let-me-give-you-people-a-few-tips-on-how-you-should-be-living-your-lives commentary. Not.

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MrTaiChi 5 years, 3 months ago

@Rob

Illegitimi non carborundum.

Your insightful commentaries will be missed. They provoked responses from the left that frighteningly expose their world view, one in which facts must give way to feelings as a guide to action, the same nonsense that gave rise to fascists in another time.

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Steve Lewis 5 years, 3 months ago

I have had strong public disagreements with Rob. But this choice by Rob deserves my respect.

Good luck to you and Cari.

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aichempty 5 years, 3 months ago

So, I assume that KBCR will be granting equal time to all of your co-host's opponents and those who differ with her on matters of policy and her record on the Council.

Your argument for leaving the Pilot falls into the same category as, "I missed my calculus final exam and flunked the course because my brother's turtle died."

I cannot see any way that a politically focused radio talk show on KBCR will escape any of the restrictions that you would have writing for the Pilot.

I think the show is a good idea, but not sure it will fly very far. It will be interesting to find out.

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freerider 5 years, 3 months ago

I gotta agree with Paul Hughes , we don't need an outsider telling us how we should think , It always amazes me how the right wingers want Government out of our lives but they sure as the sun rises want to dictate their agenda and shove it down your throat with Sarah Palin style fear mongering. I'm tired of the left and right , we need a new party in this country, how about the American Party. United we stand divided we fall , seems like we have beed divided for way too long

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addlip2U 5 years, 3 months ago

I will miss your weekly sometimes uplifting and entertaining commentary.

But I, as one of many confirmed, will not be tuning in to listen to you or your unqualified co-host to "discuss national politics". Your co-host can hardly express herself intelligently on the City Council!

How generous of the Pilot to advertise your new business!

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

Exactly how does commentary somehow become a conflict of interest? Where is the financial link between one person's commentary and a radio cohost's vote on the city council?

And if there is such a link then does it not exist for national issues that have local impacts? Is Cari (and Rob) going to be unable to discuss any government program that could benefit or harm SB?

Rob is free to quit writing his column. There is just no conflict of one person writing a column and cohosting a radio show with an elected official.

If anyone thinks there is a real conflict of interest then no elected official could ever own a business or have friends that own businesses.

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Fred Duckels 5 years, 3 months ago

Rob, You certainly have made the day for CA, It seemed that you were muzzled lately and we need a challenge now and then. Maybe you could run for council, as well as holding down the new job. In any event, let the sparks fly!

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exduffer 5 years, 3 months ago

Good luck Rob and thanks for your final let me get this off my chest. For those of you who think Rob is right wing just got off the boat let me tell you how things should be, pay close attention to the last part of his column. I made a comment on the West Acres story with only a few others. Rob seems to get the idea that the people most affected by 700 will be those in West Acres. Five minutes added to your commute along 40, big deal, listening to traffic in your backyard that you have not had to deal with in 30 years really big deal. Keep fighting for the little guy Rob!

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diplodocus 5 years, 3 months ago

20 and 25 mph speed limits through Sanctuary and golf course homes and a proposed Autobahn through the low rent district. I guess those of us without trust funds should just accept that we live on the first floor of a two story outhouse.

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aichempty 5 years, 3 months ago

I have found through the years that showing up in Steamboat Springs with a good work ethic, staying clean and sober and putting in the time to earn a place in this community is often rewarded with financial predation and disappointment. If you want to live well here, bring money. Otherwise, don't bother complaining about it. There are other towns all over this country where you can make a living and have a decent home, so puleeze stop acting like it's a big surprise that the little guys are always getting screwed. We live in a place that believes that's what the little guy is for.

Nobody in this town is going to go out of their way to give anyone a fair chance to succeed if there's a profit to be made.

This is a special place with a bunch of ski trails cut into the National Forest, and outside of the old-timers who made a living by ranching, mining and serving the original community, everyone else moved in to live on money charged to people who feel the need to slide down a snow-covered hill.

People have not come here to work in factories and industry. We are not curing cancer. We simply provide food and shelter to people who come here to look at the trees and mountains in the summer, and to slide down a hill in the winter. Along the way, the real estate "industry" grew up to provide homes for those who think they can afford them and for those who don't have to ask what the price is before buying.

Arrogance and entitlement are only one generation away from struggling to pay the bills. I've seen it in my own family. Kids who grew up thinking they were poor because they had to use the community swimming pool instead of having their own in the back yard just don't care or understand why someone is living in "manufactured housing." They want the backyard pool.

There are tens of millions of people in the United States who would love to live here, but they cannot afford it. They either don't have the money to move here, or can't give up the money they're making elsewhere. That's life. If you're living here at all, you're one lucky SOB.

When I was a kid, we lived in a nice family subdivision in the Piedmont area of the Carolinas. The community was bordered by a large dairy farm and an oil pipeline right-of-way that provided an excellent sledding hill in the woods when it snowed. Then one day, bulldozers showed up and the dairy farm turned into an oil tank farm and we could see the storage tanks over the trees in our back yard.

About a year later, there was a "spill" of gasoline into the stream that ran through the community one winter night, and we were awoken by sounds of explosions. One person died in the resulting fires.

So, when my Dad was transferred, it took a long time to sell the house, and when it was sold, a guy from the pipeline company bought it.

The West Acres road is nothing new. It's just new to you. Get over it or move away like other people do.

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exduffer 5 years, 3 months ago

emptyheaded Big difference between private landowners doing what they want and the government deciding to impose it on you. At least with the government we have a little more say.

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Scott Wedel 5 years, 3 months ago

SB places such importance on mobile homes that it was acceptable to have the ones in downtown SB demolished and replaced with a vacant lot.

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aichempty 5 years, 3 months ago

duff,

Are you talkin' to ME?

The fault, if any, is in the homeowners not being aware of the easement and weighing the risks.

Property records are free to examine online, and the Routt County GIS system allows anyone with access to a computer to see what they're buying. The government is exercising its right to build a road on the greenbelt. Would you prefer them to take over West Acres by imminent domain, kick out the residents, preserve the green belt and build the road where the homes used to be?

The gub'ment ain't here to help you, friend. That's where your argument fails.

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