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Columns

  • From crises come opportunities

    All indications continue to suggest that Colorado is emerging from the recession ahead of the rest of the country. In just one day last week, the state’s economists reported that revenue estimates were almost a quarter of a billion dollars ahead of earlier projections; it was revealed that our share of national tourism spending had gone up for the first time in 20 years; and the value of oil produced in Colorado charged past natural gas revenues.

  • Don’t forget to say thank you

    The every-other-week nature of this column sometimes makes it difficult to be timely, so let me apologize in advance for the lateness of these Memorial Day sentiments.  But I hope late is better than never to offer gratitude to those who have given everything for our country, and those who continue to make sacrifices day in and day out.

  • Grads will leave an empty place behind

    “As soon as you walk out of our door … everything’s going to change, and it won’t change back. Not to the way it is now. I am so happy for you … and I am so proud. … Sometimes I want my sweet little (child) back. I’m going to miss you a lot.”
    — from the TV show “Glee”

  • The politics of the power play

    In the waning hours of the legislative session earlier this month, leadership in the Colorado House of Representatives used procedural delaying tactics to kill a civil-unions bill that otherwise had the votes to pass. In a special session less than a week later, the same bill was assigned to a different committee, resulting in it being killed a second time — again, when it had the votes to pass the whole House.

  • Civil discourse: a horse is a horse

    As work in the state House of Representatives ground to a halt on the second to last night of the legislative session last week to ensure that no vote would be taken on legislation to create civil unions, I found myself reflecting on the role my hometown of Steamboat Springs played in the debate on same-sex unions way back in 1975.

  • Let’s try to keep politics in its place

    As we enter the most intense period of the American political cycle — Ppresidential election season — it’s worth reminding ourselves that not everything is political. This may sound obvious enough, but lately the line between politics and everything else has become blurred.
    It all starts with our insatiable appetite for all things political. Car bumpers blare opinions in ever-more-shrill tones. News outlets have drifted away from factual reporting and now rely heavily on the expression of opinion, most of it raw and partisan.

  • Teaching students the wrong lesson

  • A tax hike by any other name …

    I always make it a practice to ask my Metro State journalism students to explain what a mill levy is, because few things are more central to covering governments than understanding how taxing entities get money from the public.
    Usually, the students look at me as if I’m speaking in an obscure Klingon dialect: A mill? A levy? What are those, and what do they have to do with government funding? These are typically intelligent, well-informed students, and they have not the slightest idea what I’m going on about.

  • Reporter saw the best and worst of Jefferson County

    After a 12-hour day spent making bone grafts in October 2009, I was in a small locker room changing out of a pair of sweat-soaked long-sleeve scrubs. The day, exhausting, had been routine until I sat down on a stainless-steel bench to check the single message on my phone left by the man who is now my editor, Doug Bell.
    Since no one was around to enforce my self-congratulatory inhibitions, I jumped up and did a little dance, a moment to which I happily confess but remain glad no one else had to witness.

  • Make your voice heard on wildfires

    Several years ago, when I was still a state legislator, I carried a bill to provide tax breaks for volunteer firefighters to offset the costs of their safety equipment. These volunteers, who are on the front lines of wildfire response in most mountain areas, must often buy their own boots, helmet, jackets and other personal protective equipment. A tax credit would allow more volunteers to serve their communities, helping all citizens in the process.