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Opinion

  • In 1999, the New Orleans Saints traded all of their draft picks — and their first- and third-round draft picks the next year — to the Washington Redskins for the first pick in the NFL draft. With it, they selected University of Texas running back Ricky Williams. The Saints went 3-13 that year, and within three years Williams would be playing for the Miami Dolphins.

  • When members of Congress and Pentagon leaders realized we needed to close military bases around the country and find ways to use others better, they knew they would face impossible political dilemmas. Communities around the country would fight to keep their bases and missions. What politician with an ounce of self-preservation instinct would vote to close a base in his or her own district?

  • “And he carries the reminders

    “Of every glove that laid him down

    “Or cut him till he cried out

    “In his anger and his shame

    “I am leaving, I am leaving

    “But the fighter still remains.”

    — Paul Simon

    For me, hanging in Evergreen is all about the happy little surprises that crop up and punctuate your day — and the unexpected connections that result from other, less-lighthearted encounters.

  • When Gov. Bill Ritter announced he was leaving office to spend more time with his family, some greeted the news with skepticism and doubt. After so many scandals involving public figures, it’s easy to assume ulterior motives.

    But I’m giving the governor the benefit of the doubt. I do believe that sometimes elected officials leave office for the sake of their families, because I did it myself.

  • Shortly after I started as the founding director of Denver’s Mayor’s Office of Regulatory Reform in 1991, Elbra Wedgeworth, the office’s deputy director, told me she wanted us to have breakfast with one of her Leadership Denver classmates from the district attorney’s office. Shortly thereafter, she and I met with Bill Ritter. From that day, the three of us went on to bigger and better things. Elbra became president of the City Council and brought the Democratic National Convention to Denver.

  • As I write this column, I’m looking at an online Denver Post story announcing that my friend and former colleague in the state House, Kathleen Curry, has renounced her affiliation with the Democratic Party and is now officially “independent.” It comes as a surprise only insofar as sitting elected officials rarely leave their parties. That said, Curry, who hails from Gunnison, has always had an independent streak.

  • There is nothing quite like starting the new year standing chest deep in 33-degree water. Regardless of what happens in 2010, everything else should seem like a walk on the beach.

    After years of covering the annual Evergreen Lake plunge, I finally had the guts to participate. I made the decision to jump several weeks ago, but it wasn’t until I was standing on the edge of a hole cut through 20 inches of ice that I was fully committed. With a giant step forward, I leapt into the icy water.

  • It’s disappointing on every level that health care reform, like the stimulus plan before it, will be enacted without bipartisan cooperation. While Democrats have charged Republicans with being obstructionists and Republicans have called Democrats arrogant, the simple fact is that President Obama’s major initiatives will be enacted without Republican support.

  • Last week, the Denver Post reported that “Colorado’s budget shortfall has grown another $40 million, reaching a projected $600.6 million for the fiscal year that ends in June.” This is due in large part to declining tax revenues as a result of bad economic conditions.

    To make matters worse, in the upcoming fiscal year — which ends in July — the budget shortfall is expected to be $1.5 billion. 

    To put those numbers into perspective, the stateís operating budget for fiscal 2009-10 is just about $19 billion.

  • You have to wonder if the two new members of the Jefferson County Board of Education go to bed each night thinking, “Be careful what you wish for …”

  • Another season, another scandal. This time, a minor car accident in Florida gave rise to a story that culminated in Tiger Woods issuing a public statement confessing to “transgressions.”

    In what appears to be a semi-annual ritual, the press is having a field day with the foibles of another celebrity. Talk shows talk. Experts offer opinions. Eyebrows are raised. Heads move gravely from side to side.

    Are we the better for it?

  • With recent news of libraries closing, hours being cut and services being reduced around the Denver area and the nation, it’s important not to lose sight of the growing need for library services in the community.

  • When Colorado voters passed Amendment 20 in 2000 to legalize the use of medical marijuana, it would have been hard to predict that the program would explode to such an extent in 2009 that Atlantic Monthly would use the term “ganjaprenuership” to explain what is going on here in its Aug. 26 issue.

  • Dear Jeffco commissioners:

    I hadn’t heard from you recently, so I wanted to write and see how things were going. Our attorney was on the phone the other day, and he also asked after the three of you.

    Specifically, we’re wondering about the letter we sent you on Monday, July 27 — the one pointing out that your discussion of public business via e-mail was a clear violation of Colorado law.

  • Last week brought news that state Sen. Dan Gibbs, who represents much of western Jefferson County, is retiring. I’d like to thank him for his service.

  • We represent our community’s citizens who strongly oppose the impending transfer of management control of Exempla Lutheran and Good Samaritan medical centers to the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System.

    This means that control over our two Colorado-built and -funded hospitals — whose assets total $300 million to $500 million — will be transferred to the Kansas-based organization. We believe that ownership of these assets could later be transferred to SCLHS.

  • Commissioner Kevin McCasky’s “controlled” discussion of the proposed Northwest Parkway (to connect C-470 with E-470) at the Lake House town hall meeting on Nov. 2 raises the question of whether building the Northwest Parkway with private funds depends on the government’s use of eminent domain.

  • “My friends have come to me unsought. The great God gave them to me.”

    — Emerson, from his essay “Friendship”

  • I’ve had my share of senior moments the last week, more of them unforgettable than forgetful.

    No single piece of mail can more brutally deliver mortality’s sharp stick in the eye than the dreaded AARP membership packet, and my own little reminder of the five-decade milestone came when seniors and their concerns were uppermost on my mind.

  • It’s ironic, isn’t it? Here we have access to more information than at any time in history, yet more than ever it seems we prefer to get our information from just the handful of sources reflecting only our own world views.

    My friends on the left visit websites like Daily Kos, Huffington Post and Talking Points Memo. They listen to 760 AM on the radio and watch MSNBC.

    On the conservative side, we read posts on Town Hall, Drudge Report and National Review Online. We listen to 710 AM and tune into Fox News in the evening.