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Opinion

  • When witnesses testified about being in untenable situations before legislative committees on which Cliff Bryan served in the mid-’80s, the folksy appliance salesman-turned-state representative from Loveland often said, “It seems like we’ve put these people between the fire hydrant and the dog.”

  • Hannah Hayes

  • Immediately following the Democratic National Convention, a USA Today/Gallup poll showed Barack Obama leading John McCain by a comfortable 50-43 margin. USA Today/Gallup’s prior poll, released before the convention, showed Obama leading 48-45. The net difference of four points was the “bounce” provided by the convention.

  • When Jeffco school board President Scott Benefield told parents at the Aug. 21 meeting that “We all want a later start,” he set the stage for a real conversation about when school should start.

  • Even now, as the memories of the Democratic National Convention are starting to fade, the crowds and cameras have left, and the speeches turned into expired sound bites — I’ve come to understand that history is served best when it is not regurgitated back as a spectator sport.

  • Hannah Hayes

  • Be careful what you wish for! For as long as I can remember, Coloradans of all political persuasions have lamented the fact that we weren’t players in presidential politics. We weren’t players in the nominating process because of our timing and relatively few delegates. We weren’t players in general elections because we were such a lock for the Republican nominee. A Democrat hasn’t had the majority of presidential votes in Colorado since I started voting.

  • With primary season ending and the general election ramping up, we’re once again being inundated with political advertisements on television and radio. These ads have a predictable style and rhythm, depending on their source and whether they are for or against a candidate.

    The most common type is the positive ad from the candidate — well-lit, focused and upbeat. Mountains are often visible in the background. There may be some general discussion about issues, but it’s usually vague.

  • Six summers ago, in the blistering drought of 2002, virtually all adult trout in Bear Creek were killed from the Evergreen Dam downstream at least as far as Idledale. The problem was a lethal combination of low flows, high temperatures and oxygen-robbing algae blooms. Although the community responded splendidly when watering restrictions were called, it was not enough to save the trout, and the EPA subsequently placed the creek on Colorado’s statewide list of “impaired streams.”

  • Hannah Hayes

    Does it seem to our regular readers that Kelly and I are going in circles? This week we literally are as we debate Evergreen’s first roundabout. Change is a mantra for those of us on the left. Putting in a traffic improvement such as a circle suits us just fine. Traffic engineer Tim Murray says there are only 16 potential conflict points in a traffic circle, while a four-way intersection has 64.

  • The New York Times recently ran an interesting front-page article about Diane McLeod, a Philadelphia woman who is struggling to dig herself out from under a mountain of consumer debt. Her plight is hardly unique. According to the Times, the average household carries credit card debt of $8,565, which is 15 percent higher than in 2000.

    Other statistics are equally sobering. The Times reports that “household debt, including mortgages and credit cards, represents 19 percent of household assets, according to the Fed, compared with 13 percent in 1980.”

  • Cougars and Chargers and Rebs, oh my! The Colorado High School Activities Association announced 2007-08 academic team champions last week, and Evergreen, Columbine and Chatfield high schools are among our state’s elite.

  • When you gaze up at the familiar view west of Denver, it’s humbling to think that those mountains have looked almost exactly the same for hundreds of generations. Long before the first French Canadian and American trappers crossed the plains and chronicled the stunning and surprising “Shining Mountains,” this scenery was familiar to the Cheyennes, Utes, Arapahos and Kiowas, who occupied what is now the Denver metro area.

  • County Commissioner Kevin McCasky (Canyon Courier June 18) does an outstanding job summarizing commissioners’ responsibilities regarding land use decisions. But he doesn’t practice what he preaches. He writes of preserving “charm and beauty,” sustainability and improving property values. Many of his decisions do the opposite. He notes that, legally, his decisions cannot be subjective, yet his votes often ignore the bulk of citizen and expert testimony, community plans and county staff recommendations.

  • I’m pretty sure I was the very last runner to cross the finish line at the Fourth of July Freedom Run four years back. How do I know? Well, it was a 5K race, and the clock showed one hour as I rolled in. Not a good sign.

    Oh, sure, I had excuses — one was a 3-year-old named Johnny and the other was an 18-month-old known as “Crash.” Let’s face it, though: Even under the best of circumstances, I’m not exactly setting any speed records.

  • I needed caffeine. I woke up feeling like my brain was in an unclean fish tank and a hundred miles away. A shower didn’t help rejuvenate my senses, and I stumbled around trying to find a shirt not wrinkled like a dead elephant’s carcass. There were none. This wasn’t all that unusual. Iron in hand, I cleared a space on my countertop and melted a hole in a $40 shirt. I looked at the bottom of the iron and then to the clock above the stove — I was running late for a meeting.

  • I remember Michael McConnell, my constitutional law professor at the University of Chicago, opening a textbook with a picture of the members of the Supreme Court on the inside cover. “What’s wrong with this?” he asked.

    At first blush, it makes sense that a book on the Constitution would have a picture of the highest judges in the land. But to McConnell, the photo represented a fundamental misunderstanding about the constitution: namely, only courts have the ability to read and interpret our greatest law.

  • Hannah Hayes

    As spin doctors continue to weigh in on Michelle Obama’s comment, it must be obvious that even she would wish to restructure her proud-to-be-an-American sentence for more clear communication. In context, it seems that Michelle Obama was referring to the level of participation this year’s candidates have been able to bring to the primary process. It didn’t quite match the turnout in 1972, but came close. Can Michelle Obama be right that “hope is finally making a comeback”?

  • Last Tuesday I dutifully reported to the Jefferson County Taj Mahal to serve as a juror. As it turned out, after a video and some introductory remarks, I was among the group of people who wouldn’t be needed that day. So I, juror No. 1259, left the building having fulfilled my duty for the time being.

    As Milton said, they also serve who only stand and wait.

  • Officially, the first pet my family owned was a giant ill-tempered iguana named Igor. I have little memory of this except the stories of Igor finally escaping our home and harassing the neighborhood’s dogs and cats like a miniature Godzilla. They found it dead one morning after a nasty frost, his rein of terror finally ended.