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Opinion

  • Leave it to voters to prove that they have something to say about elections!

  • This week marks the halfway point of the Colorado General Assembly’s 120-day 2010 session. The state’s fiscal woes have dominated the session to this point. The legislature has adopted a package of bills that raised revenues by eliminating a variety of tax exemptions as well as approving a 32-bill package that reduced spending by state agencies for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

  • This week marks the halfway point of the Colorado General Assembly’s 120-day 2010 session. The state’s fiscal woes have dominated the session to this point. The legislature has adopted a package of bills that raised revenues by eliminating a variety of tax exemptions as well as approving a 32-bill package that reduced spending by state agencies for the current fiscal year that ends June 30.

  • Last week’s shootings at Deer Creek Middle School were an awful reminder of the events at Columbine and Platte Canyon. Yet in the midst of our concern for the two wounded students, there was also cause to celebrate the heroic actions of Dr. David Benke, a math teacher whose split-second decision to tackle the shooter undoubtedly saved lives. Popular culture provides ubiquitous references of heroism — “Guitar Hero,” sports heroes and mythical superheroes come to mind.

  • Mr. Biggs is not family friendly

    Editor’s note: The following letter was originally submitted to the Jefferson County Liquor Licensing Authority.

    I am writing to express my concern about the presence of the Mr. Biggs establishment in my neighborhood.

    A few years ago, my husband and I took our then 3-year-old there for an afternoon of fun. I believe the business was “Fat City” then. We had a nice time and felt safe and comfortable there.

  • In response to the Feb. 10 Columbine Courier article regarding issues between Foothills Park & Recreation District and the Mesa View Estates HOA, I would like to provide further detail. This is an extremely complex issue, and it is important the residents of our district are fully informed.

  • Oliver needed a friend.

    The 9-year-old chihuahua mix was sick, missing about half his teeth and hadn’t had a place to call home for more than a year. He was a hefty14 pounds — a bit much for a pooch his size, likely due to months of inactivity and a poor diet.

    Things weren’t looking good for him in general.

    He was scheduled to die on Jan. 19 at a metro-area animal shelter.

  • Few industries have gone from boom to bust as quickly as newspapers.

    In 1989, I was working for the Rocky Mountain News, and times were good. Really good. Our circulation was soaring, and ad sales were humming along.

    Fast-forward 20 years, and many things have changed. The Rocky has disappeared, and several other major dailies have followed that same path to extinction. Craigslist has drained away classified advertising. The current economic downturn is taking its toll. And of course readers are turning to the Internet for their news and away from print publications.

  • The Jeffco school board took serious actions on Jan. 14 related to managing school facility capacity. The district’s student population has steadied at about 80,000-plus kids, and students “choicing” in and out of neighborhood schools have affected the numbers of kids at different schools.

    Ken Caryl Middle School was on the block at one point so Jeffco could fill more seats at Deer Creek Middle School. A walk-through of the Deer Creek facility showed insufficient library, gym and cafeteria space for the roughly 1,200 kids that would be in that building.

  • 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 our coverage areas 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.

  • As the Colorado General Assembly returns to the Capitol for the 2010 legislative session, the state faces a $600 million budget shortfall in the current fiscal year and a $1.5 billion shortfall for the coming year. Though economists say the worst of the recession is behind us, they also say the recovery will be slow and it will take some time to recover the jobs we have lost.

  • 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.

  • The Denver Post recently 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 starts in August — the budget shortfall is expected to be $1.5 billion. 

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

  • 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.

  • As we all prepare our New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, spend less and reduce our stress level (again), remember to add these five simple resolutions. If you commit to these five things, you’ll be contributing to a safer 2010 for yourself, your loved ones and your community.

    No. 1: Torture your kids by talking to them seriously about their safety

  • 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?

  • In an effort to understand the Jefferson County Public Schools budget crisis, I believe I may have stumbled onto a solution. Most of the district-promoted suggestions for reducing the budget include relatively minor concessions by the district administration, partial to wholesale elimination of assistant principals and librarians, partial elimination of counselors, support staff, school secretaries, paraprofessionals, clinic aides, and of course, teachers.