Rob Douglas columns


Rob Douglas: Steamboat: A petri dish for legal pot

Six months after the sale of recreational marijuana became legal in Colorado, newspapers across the country are filled with reports and editorials debating the merits of that voter mandated change. Meanwhile, the best petri dish for evaluating the impact of legal pot may be Steamboat Springs.

Rob Douglas: Journalists to Obama: ‘Stop the spin’

On Tuesday, as President Barack Obama winged his way to Colorado to hold a fundraiser for Sen. Mark Udall who was — wink, wink — too “busy” in Washington, D.C., to attend, the Society of Professional Journalists, the Colorado Press Women and 36 other journalism groups sent a letter to Obama castigating his administration for being a major source of the national frustration that is “breeding cynicism about democratic government.”

Rob Douglas: Not as free, but still brave

This Independence Day, Americans are feeling less free than they have in years. Meanwhile, here in the Yampa Valley, we have a shining example of why the United States is still the home of the brave.

Rob Douglas: A separate government from the city

This summer, momentum is gathering to repurpose existing local taxes while simultaneously creating new tax burdens for residents and businesses in Steamboat Springs and Routt County.

Rob Douglas: Elephant emerges from Rita Valentine Park

At the culmination of an emotional 13-minute diatribe questioning the integrity of a previous Steamboat Springs City Council for having “squandered” the 2009 Rita Valentine Park Conceptual Design plan, Steamboat Springs Parks and Recreation Commission Chairman Jack Trautman delivered an ultimatum to the current City Council at Wednesday’s commission meeting about the park’s future.

Rob Douglas: Reisman to restaurateurs: ‘Clean up’

Across Steamboat Springs this week, doctors have been treating neck injuries suffered by readers of the Steamboat Today. Having read on Tuesday that the Steamboat Springs City Council would meet that evening to start discussions on “improving” downtown parking, readers suffered whiplash when they read on Wednesday that the council will vote on June 17 whether to remove upwards of 33 parking spots from Yampa Street — as proposed by council member Kenny Reisman.

Rob Douglas: The power of hashtag activism

On Fox News Sunday, during a discussion about the kidnapping of hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls by Boko Haram — a terrorist organization that, according to Wikipedia, “seeks to establish a ‘pure’ Islamic state ruled by sharia” — George Will and Brit Hume belittled the fact that first lady Michelle Obama had used hashtag activism to express her support for the missing girls.

Rob Douglas: It’s time to set county salaries locally

As reported this week by the Steamboat Today, the Colorado Legislature is considering a resolution that could eventually remove legal authority for determining the salaries of elected county officials from the Legislature and transfer it to each county’s board of commissioners.

Rob Douglas: A drop of justice for an unjust system

While long overdue and far short of the complete overhaul needed to instill fairness in federal sentencing guidelines that are almost universally viewed as inequitable and overly punitive, Obama’s clemency initiative promises to inject a drop of actual justice into a badly broken federal criminal justice system that currently incarcerates more than 200,000 Americans.

Rob Douglas: A child in our community died

Steamboat Springs resident Meghan McKeon has been charged in Routt County Court with the most incomprehensible crime a parent can commit — child abuse resulting in the death of her 3-year-old son, Austin Davis. At the request of the District Attorney, the arrest warrant and the affidavit in support of the arrest warrant have been sealed by the court.

Rob Douglas: The true cost of generational theft

In a recent study published by the Mercatus Center, “Assessing Fiscal Sustainability,” Boston University Professor of Economics Laurence Kotlikoff finds that not only is the United States operating fiscally as a Ponzi scheme, economists have been complicit in deceiving Americans about the true cost of this growing generational theft by deliberately using the wrong accounting standard.

Rob Douglas: A Kinsley gaffe emerges from the fog

In 1988, famed political pundit Michael Kinsley wrote, "A gaffe is when a politician tells the truth — some obvious truth he isn't supposed to say." In recognition of that incisive observation, a “Kinsley gaffe” became political parlance for inadvertently honest statements by pols who intend to spin the truth.

Rob Douglas: ‘We have a choice as a society’

On Tuesday, from their respective posts 2,000 miles apart, Steamboat Springs City Manager Deb Hinsvark and Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf addressed the problem of local and national societies that want more services and financial assistance from government than government can afford with current revenue streams.

Rob Douglas: Abolish mandatory drug sentences

Personally, while investigating hundreds of nonviolent and violent drug-related crimes in Washington, D.C., between 1983 and 2002 — including the Rayful Edmond gang murders that played a role in the press labeling the District of Columbia the “murder capital” — I witnessed the injustice inflicted by sentencing guidelines that removed judicial discretion for nonviolent drug offenders swept up in the hysteria of the time.

Rob Douglas: Who’s driving city policy?

The Aug. 10, 2012, edition of this column was headlined, “Will Roberts rise to Magill’s challenge?” The column examined complaints about then-Steamboat Springs City Manager Jon Roberts primarily raised by three members of the Steamboat Springs City Council — Walter Magill, Kenny Reisman and Sonja Macys — during that week’s City Council meeting.