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Opinion

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • All good things come to an end, and for me, the time has come to leave the Columbine Courier.

    I came to South Jeffco in September 2007 knowing virtually nothing about the area, outside of having visited Chatfield Reservoir as a child and watching the Columbine High School tragedy unfold while I was a junior at Eaglecrest High School in Aurora. I came here from Sterling for the chance to work in the Denver area, and had no idea how much I’d grow to appreciate this place.

  • I have a confession: I am an unapologetic coffee snob.

    Flipping the little red switch on my coffee maker to brew organic, shade-grown, fair-trade, dark roast is the first thing I do every morning, without fail.

    I like it strong, uncorrupted by the likes of cream and sugar, which cover up the gentle bitterness and delicious, earthy undertones that follow every sip.

    For me, nothing goes with my morning joe, with one exception. For that ingredient I stumble out my front door and begin the search for the reliable oblong bag hiding somewhere on my deck.

  • 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.

  • The bloom of term limits in Colorado seems to be off the rose.

  • Hannah Hayes

    When Robert Oppenheimer, the physicist who directed the Manhattan Project, witnessed the first atomic explosion, he quoted a line from the Bhagavad-Gita, “I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds.” The military smiled, and the rest of us started worrying.

  • Emily’s List, an organization that was formed to support the election of pro-choice Democratic women, is named based upon what has become an increasingly true idiom of political campaigns. Emily stands for “Early money is like yeast.” Candidates’ ability to raise funds in the early stages of campaigns has something to do with how they will use that money in their campaigns, but has much more do to with how their campaigns are viewed by others.

  • By Hannah Hayes

  • The year 2010 is shaping up to be one of the most active primary seasons in recent Colorado history. In the U.S. Senate race, Democratic incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (who was appointed by Gov. Bill Ritter when Ken Salazar became secretary of the interior) faces a spirited challenge from within his own party from Andrew Romanoff, former speaker of the state House.

  • Do you have any information that might help investigators crack one of Jeffco’s unsolved cases? The crimes outlined here have dogged detectives — some for many years.

    If you have a tip on any of these cases, please call our tip line at 303-271-5612 or send us an e-mail. Sometimes all it takes is one tip to help bring a criminal to justice.

    Brandi Jo Malonson:

    Disappeared in December 2006

  • One of my dad’s favorite stories about me is when he took me to the Big Top to buy a kite when I was 5. We found everything we needed for 97 cents. I handed my dollar to the store clerk and waited for change. When I asked for it, he told me it was for the governor. I said I didn’t want to buy a governor. After my dad and the clerk explained that the governor was going to use my 3 cents for the road to get to the store and the school I would soon attend, I acquiesced and let him keep the change I had anticipated.