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A beltway paved in bad intentions

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From the Editor

By Doug Bell

“Mr. Dillinger, why do you rob banks?”
“Because, that is where the money is.”

Robbing banks is one thing. But robbing senior citizens, the mentally ill and an organization that serves kids who have endured domestic violence and homelessness? Not even Jefferson County could rise to that level of Grinchliness during the holidays, right?
Wrong. Our Jeffco commissioners approved a 2013 budget that slashes $400,000 in county funding — a 41 percent cut — from the Seniors’ Resource Center, which provides a critical support system for our senior citizens and their families. Another $280,000 was cut from Family Tree and the Jefferson Center for Mental Health.
And all on short notice, right before the holidays.
Were these heartless reductions a result of some local fiscal cliff that our brave commissioners faced, forcing them to make tough decisions to balance the county budget? Not even close, sports fans.
Republican Commissioners Don Rosier and Faye Griffin made these cuts while funding a study of highway studies to the tune of $700,000. That includes another mother lode of taxpayer dollars for the Northwest Parkway, a long-sought Golden Goose that absolutely no one in Jefferson County cares about — except high-rolling developers and the government officials whose campaigns they bankroll.
Yes, this is the same missing link in the Denver beltway that motivated an earlier trio of Jeffco commissioners to bribe the city and county of Boulder with $5 million of our Open Space funds to buy their acquiescence to this concrete Yellow Brick Road.

A post-holiday wish
Careful readers will note that my columns typically slam all three Jeffco commissioners, while above I mention only two members of the current trio. That’s because Commissioner John Odom has rarely been seen since losing a close election to Casey Tighe in early November. Odom did not show for the critical budget vote, leaving Griffin and Rosier to take the heat while he collects a county paycheck from a safe distance.
Odom lost his seat by the slimmest of margins; John Dillinger died in a hail of bullets. And I’ll mix just one more metaphor as I wrap up this angry screed with a post-holiday wish: Let’s make sure, in every future election, that government officials who exhibit these kind of priorities are sent packing, by the widest of margins, in a hail of ballots.

Doug Bell is the editor of the Courier.