Steve Lewis: Steamboat Institute

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— To Rick Akin and the Steamboat Institute:

I’m trying to understand the relevance of your views to issues within Routt County. During the past year or so, you folks have had a lot to say about conservative values on government, taxes and fiscal policy at the national level. Do these same principles translate to the issues of Steamboat Springs and Routt County?

Rick, you frequently have written in this newspaper, advising readers of the many flaws you find in government policies at the national level, leveling hefty criticisms along the way. Your Steamboat Institute website lists a set of brief principles including limited government, lower taxes and free market capitalism that underpin your writing. What is the meaning of Steamboat Institute principles and convictions that propel you to discover so many epic mistakes in Washington, D.C., but prompt no such leadership for Steamboat Springs and Routt County? Rick, doesn’t it make sense to include in your writing some specific examples of what Steamboat Institute principles can achieve here in the valley of your audience?

In the squeezed county and city budgets, surely a limited government advocate like you has specific advice on where to cut expenses. Would you, for example, eliminate city funding assistance for our community foundations?

In the emerging Steamboat Springs conversation about substituting our sales tax with a property tax for revenue stability, do your free-market principles prompt a helpful opinion? Where does your principle of lowering taxes fit in?

What would your conservative convictions tell us about city taxes spent on tourism marketing through the Chamber? Do you agree with the lodging taxes that are dedicated to subsidizing and marketing for airline seats into Steamboat Springs? To date, these two have truly confused me about what it means to be a conservative in Steamboat. Surely your conviction to support free-market capitalism will clear that up.

Tax increment-based bonds are underwriting a very nice promenade walkway for our ski area base. Do you support that use of taxpayer money?

Think about it. Bringing beltway debates, and beltway authors, to the Pilot commentary page offers marginal value. These authors have dozens of well-worn and often fact-bending talking points to choose from in supporting either side. How many Routt County ranchers and retailers would spot the sincere man in that distant game? Write about specific details in our valley’s issues and they’ll know pretty quickly.

By all means Rick, walk the talk and stand by your convictions. That’s great. But bring your lofty principles and hefty critiques down to earth by penning principled and specific commentary on these local issues touching the folks you’ve been preaching to.

Steve Lewis

Steamboat Springs

Comments

beentheredonethat 3 years, 11 months ago

Steve, thank you for raising these questions for Mr. Akins. He refuses to engage local and regional issues that directly impact our lives because he has no good answers. Mr. Akins and his think a likes, prefer to throw stones than to serve up constructive advise. Oh wait, he has no constructive advice to give.

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trump_suit 3 years, 11 months ago

I for one would love to read Mr. Akin's response to these questions. Listening Rick? Here is a forum reader that is not negative or attacking and is honestly asking you for your opinion on these local issues. What say you?

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Scott Berry 3 years, 11 months ago

Steve, if you are looking for a fight, get your attack points correct. The lodging tax is dedicated solely to paying for recreation amenities in Steamboat. For example, right now those funds are paying off the bond on the purchase of the ground, design, and construction of the golf course. If you cannot even get that right, and the city seems to functioning just fine after more than 20% in cuts, furloughs (which the employees love because they have an eternal three day week-end, and now layoffs), wouldn't you have to admit, even the city government was/is to big?

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hereandthere 3 years, 11 months ago

City employees love furloughs (and the resulting cut in their pay checks)? I doubt it, but maybe thoses affected can weigh in on your comment.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Commoncents, Maybe you should get your facts straight before you accuse others of being wrong.

The Steamboat local marketing district is financed by a 2% tax on lodging. 95% of their 2011 budget is to pay for airline subsidizes. The remaining 5% pays for city of SS accounting and financial services. The local marketing district pays NOTHING to the golf course.

Thus, it would appear you are 100% wrong on your facts upon which you say Steve Lewis is mistaken.

http://www.steamboatpilot.com/documents/2010/sep/26/local-marketing-district-2011-budget-plan/

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Steve Lewis 3 years, 11 months ago

Commoncents, I am not using the Steamboat Institute as a means to press my own opinion, or even change any of these issues. These issues, for the most part, stood out to me as those which the Steamboat Institutes principles show obvious conflicts with, and I find the Institute silence on them a failure to apply their convictions evenly and consistently. The others I saw as important enough to catch their ear.

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JLM 3 years, 11 months ago

It is difficult to understand why this letter is either newsworthy or worthy of being printed.

The Steamboat Institute has no obligation to focus on local issues. It may be perfectly content to focus on national issues. Its charter may simply focus on national issues and this is really not any concern of Steve Lewis'.

Why is that controversial?

Of course, conservative principles of governance can be applied at every level of government and wherever politicians spend citizens hard earned tax dollars. Including in SBS.

However, the necessity to live within one's means is hardly a measure of governing philosophy, it is simple financial necessity.

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

Had the principles that the Steamboat Institute stand for been applied in our local spending decisions over the last decade we would not be in such a deep hole during this economic depression. That is all Rick needs to say to Steve Lewis. We can't take back the extravagance of the new Library, or the purchase of the Iron Horse, or any of the other over spending decisions that have already occurred, we can only tighten the belt of what we have to work with and ride it out. Vote accordingly, it will make a difference. And I have never seen any answers from Mr. Lewis in his many posts here, just support for the big Government programs that are deepening our National dilemma.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

I think it is a reasonable letter and makes a reasonable point.

The Steamboat Institute has show the ability to bring in national figures to give talks and so on, but has not involved itself at all in local issues. So why not utilize their expertise in solving local issues?

And Sees, maybe they cannot fix the mistakes of the past, but that limitation applies both nationally and locally. But the Steamboat Institute appears confident that they have solutions for national issues so why wouldn't they be able to come up with solutions and advice for local issues? Or does their philosophy not work locally, but only on national issues?

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

Did you read Rick's post recently where he let us know that Jennifer will be on the Tax board? Chatting with a couple of Tea Party detractors on this forum is not an action plan but I have a feeling Rick will answer Mr. Lewis's letter in time. As for me, I did say above that we need to tighten our belt and vote accordingly.

Dang this new ad warfare is annoying as hell.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Sees, I do agree with you that these new pilot ads are as extremely annoying. I don't care what sized ads they think are necessary, but the way these ads switch size is a paid. Open an article, then ad expands and pushes down what you were reading, scroll down to see the text and then ad contracts and you have to scroll up to find text to continue reading.

Steamboat Pilot, pick the size of the ad and leave it that size. Instead you have chosen to expand and shrink ads which is a complete disaster from an user interface point of view.

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Jeff_Kibler 3 years, 11 months ago

If you don't like the ads, disable flash. By default, I have flash disabled. I enable it if there is a particular video I want to view. It's unfortunate that we all need to wear a full-body condom while we surf the web. That's the trade-off. I accept that.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

Well, that's a brilliant ad policy by the Pilot - have ads so annoying that it convinces people that they need to disable flash so that the ads aren't seen by anyone.

There is the better alternative which is for the Pilot to recognize that these ads switching size is annoying and that it would be far better for the Pilot to simply pick a size for these ads and show it that size and stop using this sort of flash crap.

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JLM 3 years, 11 months ago

For goodness sake, why does the Steamboat Institute have to do something that its founding leadership apparently is not interested in doing?

Further, what would a national figure know about SBS in the first place?

Hell, I've visited NYC but I wouldn't feel compelled to tell them how to govern.

Give it a rest already.

SBS has been able to get itself into enough trouble all by itself. Having said that, SBS has done EXACTLY what the nation has done --- spent money it damn sure wishes it had today.

And, now, the knee jerk solution is to tax the overtaxed yet more.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 11 months ago

JlM, Well, often a person achieves national notice by having shown skill earlier in their career at a local level which they built upon.

And really, you have ideas on how SBS and US government should be run better, but you have no ideas on how NYC could be better run?

BTW, it is not hard to come up with ideas that would presumably appeal to conservatives on how to improve SBS city government.

1) Require that all new debt/bonds be approved by the voters. Intent is to stop any one city council from committing future city councils to debt obligations without the voters approvals. Whether or not a particular decision (Iron Horse, base area redevelopment) is a mistake may not be so obvious at the time of making the decision, but the consequences of the decision - the longer term debt obligations that commits future city councils in their budgets should require voter approval.

2) Take the city water/sewer out of city government and make it like Mt Werner or YVEA in which it's governing board has the sole obligation of serving their customers while operating the system. That sort of governance seems to avoid mistakes of city council governance that forgets to save tap fees to pay for system improvements and then pays consultants to give political cover for a rate hike.

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trump_suit 3 years, 11 months ago

And the deafening silence from Mr. Akin continues.

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jimmmmmm 3 years, 11 months ago

Excellent questions Steve, and obviously mirrors questions to the conservative party on a national scale. But, these questions will go unanswered, just as they will on a national scale, because no one wants to give those answers. They can't. But that doesn't seem to matter to voters-damn shame.

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

It's nice to see you guys massaging each other here. Sharing the latte and crumpets, how nice.

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Fred Duckels 3 years, 11 months ago

Steve, Steve, You seem to be following the old liberal standby, to lure Rick into your guilt trip trap. It is the left that garners votes by supplenenting the net consumers. Since the left is incapable of righting the ship it appears that the voters have seen enough. The left has done everything possible to increase the cost of living here in order to control growth. Affordable Housing and our heavily subsidized bus system might be a place for you to start. Grant writers are our heroes as we strive to take advantage of goodies from those intermediaries to the needy. By adressing the national picture we can affect much of the foolishness, of those of us wishing to live beyond our means. I don't see a need for Rick to respond here, if an explanation is needed , none is possible.

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boater1 3 years, 11 months ago

"And the deafening silence from Mr. Akin continues"

of course. can't be bothered with these lowly local issues. he's got his snow plowing, lawn care & house cleaning all lined up plus there is someone to make & serve him his meal at the local restaraunt, so all is good for him in steamboat.

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boater1 3 years, 11 months ago

"It is difficult to understand why this letter is either newsworthy or worthy of being printed.

The Steamboat Institute has no obligation to focus on local issues. It may be perfectly content to focus on national issues. Its charter may simply focus on national issues and this is really not any concern of Steve Lewis'.

Why is that controversial?

Of course, conservative principles of governance can be applied at every level of government and wherever politicians spend citizens hard earned tax dollars. Including in SBS.

However, the necessity to live within one's means is hardly a measure of governing philosophy, it is simple financial necessity."

i call BS. to just suck from your local community w/o giving back is not the definition of a leader.

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boater1 3 years, 11 months ago

"It's nice to see you guys massaging each other here. Sharing the latte and crumpets, how nice."

you strike me as a bigot

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seeuski 3 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the laughs boater1, each of your comments above bring joy to my heart and a laugh to my soul.

That rich guy Rick Akin, he doesn't deserve the money he earns, he should give it to YOU for the great humor you provide whenever you post your thoughts. Bigots drink no latte nor do they eat crumpets BUT a good massage is always welcomed. Thanks again.

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