February 29, 2008
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.
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Should citizens have to pass a test to demonstrate a requisite level of political and civic knowledge before voting?
By refusing to kowtow Tuesday night to a heavy-handed attempt by the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to have water-quality monitoring requirements dropped from an oil well permit for Quicksilver Resources, the Routt County Board of Commissioners exemplified how government closest to the people governs best.
Do residents of Northwest Colorado want the first image greeting visitors as they land in Hayden to be one of a business based on the vice of separating fools from their money?
On Tuesday, national news became local and local news became national when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney landed in the fossil fuel-endowed Yampa Valley to engage President Barack Obama in the national debate about America’s energy future.
It’s an axiom of American politics that our political parties, candidates and elected officials attempt to divert the attention of the electorate away from their own record or platform by slinging mud at their opponents.
If America is to remain an economically vibrant world leader, we must not become numb to our economic reality.
While many factors contribute to the declining economic health of our country, the largest contributors are our burgeoning federal retirement and health care entitlement programs.
The Obama administration is not moving fast enough to thwart a threat, and the American people seem tragically unaware of a pending loss of freedom and security.
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 health care reform debate - pitting President Barack Obama and liberal Democrats on one side against Republicans and conservative Democrats on the other - is wildly misnamed.
According to the Steamboat Pilot & Today, at about 10 p.m. July 20, Towny Anderson heard a gunshot. Anderson looked out his window and saw a slain bear lying on the ground next to an overturned garbage can. Anderson didn't see who shot the bear.
Amendment to Home Rule Charter unnecessary
Most Tuesday evenings, the 7 p.m. public comment period during Steamboat Springs City Council meetings passes with little consequence. Often, no one steps to the podium to address the council. This week, Steve Aigner provided a notable exception.
The expression "justice delayed is justice denied" is a cliche, but it's nonetheless proving true with the glacial pace of the prosecution of Eduardo and David Capote for their suspected roles in the death of Richard Lopez.
On the timeline of our lives, we tend to mark events that signal significant turning points. For residents of the Yampa Valley, Tuesday presented one of those moments when Steamboat Springs officially ceased to exist as a quaint little ski town.
This Fourth of July, consider the freedoms we are surrendering to the federal government and what our founding fathers would think if they could see their nation now.
Revolution does that to me. The pro-democracy Iranian Revolution - fueled by outrage about the sham re-election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as dictated by Iran's "supreme leader" Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - captured my attention.
Lately, given the economic headwinds and increased sniping from those seeking to derail any construction, I find myself pulling for the development community to succeed against the odds.
Throughout the run-up to last year's presidential election, there was little attention paid outside of legal circles to whom candidate Barack Obama might select to sit on the Supreme Court if given the opportunity.
Two days ago, the Colorado Legislature called it a wrap for 2009. Unfortunately, as our lawmakers packed their bags and headed home, they left my fantasy unfulfilled for yet another year. I dream of a day when elected officials will remove laws from the books instead of adding them.
Independent expert needs to look at Sheriff's Office funding
Camouflaged by the personality conflicts between the Routt County Commissioners and Sheriff Gary Wall is a question that deserves an answer. Is the Sheriff's Office adequately funded to protect Routt County? The commissioners say it is. The sheriff disagrees.
By threatening the health care benefits of county employees in a transparent attempt to gain political leverage against Sheriff Gary Wall, the Routt County Board of Commissioners is practicing gutter politics.
In a recent column examining the Routt County Board of Commissioners' April Fools' Day decision to cut county employees' pay by 10 percent, I questioned why we need full-time commissioners.
The Atira Group - developers of Ski Time Square, Edgemont and Thunderhead - acted inappropriately by contacting Steamboat Springs City Councilman Jon Quinn at a critical moment in the council's review of Thunderhead.
On Wednesday, the Routt County Board of Commissioners demonstrated their brand of April Fools' Day humor by cutting all county employees' pay 10 percent.
The question being asked throughout the Yampa Valley this week is: Why wasn't Eduardo Capote Jr. charged with manslaughter, instead of assault, for his role in the death of Sgt. 1st Class Richard Lopez?
As a young boy in the 1960s, I learned to ride horses on the Hancock farm in rural New Jersey. Our family's friendship with the Hancocks resulted in my first meaningful exposure to the Vietnam War when their youngest son, John, was drafted.
While playing Fred C. Dobbs in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," Humphrey Bogart and his companions are confronted by a group of outlaws impersonating Mexican federal police. Dobbs is immediately suspicious and demands proof from Gold Hat - the outlaws' leader - that they are "Federales."
This week marks the start of my eighth year in the Yampa Valley and my second year writing a column for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. Unbeknownst to City Council members, they gave me an anniversary present.
Because of the theft of a laptop containing the Social Security numbers of 1,300 past and present Steamboat Springs School District employees this week, I'm changing hats to identity theft consultant.
On Tuesday, while signing the stimulus, President Barack Obama failed miserably at his campaign promise to govern with transparency.
If you wander down to Citizens Hall in the near future to attend a Steamboat Springs City Council meeting, you'll witness what happens when a city and nation drunk on out-of-control spending awaken to the migraine headache of a monumental fiscal hangover.
The Steamboat Springs City Council meets next week to debate and decide the future of the city's affordable housing ordinance. The council should compromise between the ideologies entrenched on opposite sides of the issue.
Given the resounding electoral victory of President Barack Obama, how should good citizens behave in light of that mandate for change?
By ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay terrorist detention camp and ordering a review of methods used to hold and interrogate terrorist suspects, President Barack Obama has reignited a critical national security debate.
This week, the Steamboat Springs City Council finally began to rethink the city's ill-conceived affordable housing ordinance.
On Wednesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council voted to offer Victorville, Calif., City Manager Jon Roberts the city manager's job in Steamboat.
I suspect most readers saw the above headline and thought, "Jon who?" So, let's begin 2009 with a trip down memory lane.
As we prepare to turn the calendar from 2008 to 2009, the Steamboat Springs City Council is poised to hire our newest new city manager. Before doing so, the council should - as Ricky famously said to Lucy - do some 'splainin.'
Like many folks in the valley, I wear more than one hat when it comes to scratching out a living. In fact, penning this column is a tiny fraction of my work. Given the Alpine Bank heist, I'll change hats and draw on my full-time career to offer some thoughts to local businesses and consumers.
We all should make it a priority to ensure none of our neighbors goes hungry or cold
On Tuesday evening, the Steamboat Springs City Council members born with Y chromosomes outvoted the council's sisters of fiscal sanity and passed a 2009 budget with numbers even Miss Whittier would decry as excessively Pollyannaish.
Last Friday, in an effort to assure the country he'll solve the nation's fiscal woes, President-elect Barack Obama stated during his first press conference, "Immediately after I become president, I'm going to confront this economic crisis head-on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity."
In the spring of 1968, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Sen. Robert F. Kennedy were slain by assassins' bullets, igniting a summer of discontent marked by riots and the burning of American cities.
Just as proposed federal solutions to the tightening national economy differ based on competing economic and political philosophies, so do official local reactions to projected fiscal downturns in Steamboat Springs and Vail.
It's long past time somebody says out loud to Monument Oil - and the Brown clan of Grand Junction that runs Monument - what we've all been whispering for months.
A year after his arrest, Routt County Sheriff Gary Wall was sentenced this week to probation for driving while his ability was impaired by alcohol and for prohibited use of a weapon. Case closed? Maybe not.
No matter where we live in Routt County, we'll all have to do without things we like from government as our communities confront a difficult economy for the foreseeable future..
Given that our nation's current fiscal morass, is it any wonder most citizens feel helpless as their financial health is threatened?
The Wall Street Journal recently published an article examining a policy question facing the presidential candidates titled "Homeownership Push Is Rethought." The question posed in the article is, "How aggressively should a new administration promote homeownership?"
As the possibility becomes a probability that Routt County will not escape the national economic downturn, the deadlines for local government budgets loom.
As the crowd chanted "Hockey moms!" during her Republican vice presidential nomination acceptance speech Wednesday evening, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin ad-libbed, "You know what they say the difference between a hockey mom and a pit bull is? Lipstick."
In a move that soils representative democracy, Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio issued a gag order to the Oak Creek Town Board Trustees and threatened criminal charges for violations of his command.
Last week, this column questioned whether Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio has the appropriate temperament for his job. This week, while examining Oak Creek's Taser policy, I got a full dose of that temperament.
Oak Creek officer agrees with himself on appropriate actions
On Monday, Oak Creek Police Chief Russ Caterinicchio announced he had concluded his internal investigation of the arrest and tasing of former town Mayor Kathy "Cargo" Rodeman by Sgt. Erik Foster. And - no surprise here - the chief agrees with himself.
There are two paths we follow when we seek the official judgment of our fellow citizens. The first path ends at the ballot box. The second concludes at the jury box.
This week, the rejuvenated Steamboat Springs City Council heard the most refreshing words spoken in Centennial Hall since voters expressed their displeasure with the profligate spending habits of the last council by electing five new faces in November 2007.
The other day while caffeinating downtown with Mike and Roger, I expressed my astonishment that apparently two people named Towny Anderson live in Steamboat.
A year ago today, mountain biking and cross-country skiing champion Katherine Ingalls sped to a second-place finish in the Women's Expert Division of the Steamboat Springs Town Challenge Mountain Bike Series.
The untimely death of Steamboat Springs resident David Engle last Sunday was a preventable tragedy that raises questions concerning personal and public responsibility on the part of landlords, the city and tenants.
Steamboat Springs High School students have crossed a formal classroom threshold for the last time this school year, but life's lessons continue. Unfortunately, the education they're receiving from some of us is nothing to be proud of.
How did you feel when you learned that five American flags were recently stolen, desecrated or tampered with in Oak Creek?
On Tuesday evening, local gadfly Bill Jameson challenged the Steamboat Springs City Council to be visionary in redesigning Lincoln Avenue through downtown Steamboat Springs. But the council was blinded.
She was 8. I was 26. She was calm, and her answers were matter-of-fact. I was nervous, and my questions showed it.
Wanted: 32,000 summer tourists to replace Triple Crown. Must spend $25 million at local businesses and generate $1.19 million in local taxes during a 10-week period. Applicants must demonstrate the ability to be invisible to locals at all times.
As everyone is busy this weekend decamping for their annual pilgrimage to warmer climes, I thought I'd sneak a private letter to City Council freshman Jon Quinn while no one's looking. This is eyes-only to Jon Quinn. Everyone else, turn the page to last night's Avs recap.
Last week's column concerning Triple Crown's request to use Emerald Park on an interim basis - coupled with my belief that City Council should grant that use - elicited much reaction.
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.
In August 2002, Baltimore Sun reporter Del Wilber broke the news that Baltimore's Police Commissioner, Ed Norris, had used an "off-the-books departmental fund to finance more than $178,000 in expenses." Expectedly, Maryland's political establishment rallied to Norris' side against the hated Sun.
God damn America. Three words. Three words shouted by Barack Obama's pastor with enough venom to end Obama's political life.
Recently, when Hillary's campaign mouthpiece hit Barack with the foulest Democrat slur - comparing him to Ken Starr, Obama's surrogate fired back, calling Clinton a "monster."
A week ago, this community lost one of its best. We lost a good man. We lost a brave soldier. We lost Eric O'Hara. How do we say "thank you" to a young man gone too early? How do we say 'thank you' to a young man who stepped up when so many didn't? How do we say "thank you" to a young man who answered the call of his country?
"Rob, we've just crossed into N-ville." I sat in stunned silence.