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Columns

  • State hiring reforms worth a look

    Gov. John Hickenlooper seems ready to take a bite out of one of the bigger issues for a chief executive in Colorado. He announced earlier this month that he’s begun to look at options to reform Colorado’s state personnel system.

  • An alma mater in disgrace

    I spent four of the best years of my life at Penn State University.

  • Let’s cut first, then tax later

    Last week, Colorado voters roundly rejected a slate of proposed tax increases. The largest of these, Proposition 103, would have raised state income taxes from the current 4.63 percent to 5 percent for five years. Had it passed, the state legislature would have decided how to spend the proceeds on education.
    Voters said “no” by nearly a two-to-one margin.

  • Following the local recycling stream

    Many of us have harbored an underlying worry that our paper, plastics and pop cans don’t actually amount to much. It’s time to dump those old ideas and embrace recyclers and the EDS transfer station on Highway 73. Nothing brought in remains on site. Your commingled recyclables are responsibly sorted and sold to various commodities brokers.
    The environment is surely the main beneficiary, but it must be profitable for a private trash company to accept this stuff for free. Many factors have to line up to make it all work.

  • A supreme educational moment

    The Colorado Supreme Court heard arguments on the law of unintended consequences last week at Evergreen High School.
    Actually, the court heard arguments in the case of Colorado Ethics Watch vs. Senate Majority Fund LLC, Colorado Leadership Fund LLC, and the Office of Administrative Courts as part of its Courts in the Community program. EHS was the most recent site for Courts in the Community cases.  

  • Kopp will be missed as statesman, leader

    Last week, Mike Kopp stepped down from the state Senate seat he had held since first being elected in 2006. With his departure, Jefferson County loses a statesman.
    Serving in the legislature while maintaining a “day job” is tough enough for any father. But for Mike, it had become impossible. Three months ago, Mike’s wife and best friend, Kimberly, lost her three-year battle with cancer. Without regret or second thoughts, Mike decided that his four school-age kids needed more of his time.

  • Tough choices demand experience, knowledge

    Anyone who listens to Denver talk radio has heard that our two Jeffco school board races represent an apocalyptic face-off between radical union-backed leftists and far-right free-market fanatics who will stop at nothing to reduce district spending.

    At the final election forum Oct. 18 in Evergreen, the candidates sounded more like a gaggle of elderly British ladies disagreeing about whether the shade of the curtains matched the colors in the divan.

  • Stakes high in school board race

    A campaign flier being distributed for Jeffco school board candidate Preston Branaugh contains the following conversation.
    “DadVanHorn: So what did our sons learn in school today?
    “Son: I learned we evolved from mud.
    “Son: I learned we’ll be safer when all our firearms are confiscated.
    “Son: I learned that you don’t pay enough taxes.”

  • At long last, bipartisan consensus?

    The Gallup organization recently released a stunning poll showing that 81 percent of Americans are unhappy with the way the country is being governed.
    Further breaking down those poll numbers, the Gallup press release went on to note that “57 percent have little or no confidence in the federal government to solve domestic problems, exceeding the previous high of 53 percent recorded in 2010 and well exceeding the 43 percent who have little or no confidence in the government to solve international problems.”

  • Poor need hope, and community support

    The Heritage Foundation has been getting attention lately for its report on the poor. Noting that poor people have air conditioners, cable TV and an Xbox, they make the case that “poor” in America isn’t what it used to be.
    Tavis Smiley, PBS pundit, and Cornell West, the eccentric author, have been traveling around the country talking about poverty. They’re not drawing much media attention. Most of us don’t want to know about the poor.