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PAGE 4 — Herald Democrat — FEBRUARY 18, 2016

OPINION Editorial

Serious business Although the antics of some members of the Democratic Central Committee over the past weeks bring to mind a soap opera, we must remind ourselves and our readers that serious political business is at hand. We will eventually have to elect people to represent us, and these people, the county commissioners, hold much power in Lake County. They, perhaps more than anyone, can directly affect our quality of life, our property values, our economics. In fact actions taken within the next year or two can impact this area for years to come. So we need to look at each candidate carefully. Our current poll, which appears on our website at www. leadvilleherald.com and also on this page, outlines some of the candidate attributes that we might consider important. At this writing, “integrity” is winning, but we’ll see how it goes. We want to encourage all of you who are affiliated with a political party to get involved in this election from the start. First, attend the March 1 caucus. This is important because at the caucus, attendees will choose delegates for the county assembly. Consider becoming one. You can be sure that most or all of the candidates will be out recruiting their supporters to attend the caucus and attempt to become delegates. This is how it’s done. If you are a delegate, you will vote at the county assembly to determine which of the candidate wannabees will make it on the primary election ballot. Anyone getting less than 30 percent of the votes will go no further in the process unless that individual qualifies to petition onto the ballot or run as an independent. The truth is that a candidate can lose the position of county commissioner at the caucus level if he doesn’t get his ducks in order. But even if you aren’t already sure who you want to support, we encourage you to attend the caucus and consider becoming a delegate. You will hear plenty from the candidates before you actually have to vote at the county assembly – and that should help you decide. Now about that Democratic Central Committee meeting last week, here’s what we think we saw. Brad Littlepage had previously announced his resignation as chair of the committee along with saying he would no longer run for county commissioner. Bud Elliott had been vice chairman, so that would put him in line to chair the group. Elliott put together an agenda for the meeting, which included Harry Camp’s request that the subject of “ethics” be placed on the agenda, in order to discuss of Ken Olsen’s change of address, from home to business, so he could run for county commissioner from a district where a seat was open. Camp is Elliott’s registered agent, and Elliott is running for county commissioner from the same district as Olsen was. Suddenly Littlepage rescinded his resignation as chair via email, saying he had not resigned properly and had changed his mind. In the same email he said Elliott and Camp were violating the State of Colorado Democratic Rules by aiding or supporting a political candidate opposing a nominee of the Democratic Party. (If this were actually true, would it not mean that all candidates in a primary election would be in violation of the aforementioned rules if they campaigned against their opponents?) In any case, Olsen announced he was no longer seeking to become commissioner, there was no real discussion of ethics, and Littlepage remained chair. Does any of this matter as we move forward. Yes, but only to a certain extent. You can take it or leave it. But don’t let this dissuade you from the political process, whether you are a Republican or Democrat. Your involvement matters, and perhaps it matters more now than ever before. And, incidentally, so do ethics. Marcia Martinek Herald Editor

Letters to the editor Cross-country skiers are losing trails A sincere thanks to Colorado Mountain College, Paul and his crew, Brian and Chris, Craig at the golf course and the snowmobile club. Your efforts are deeply appreciated by many crosscountry skiers. In an effort to educate all multi-users, cross-country skiers are losing quality trails. Some of the trails in the county were cut specifically for cross-country skiing, by cross-country skiers. Trail grooming came about for safer and faster skate skiing. There are many miles of trails and county roads not specific to groomed use for all to enjoy.

With a three to four month window of opportunity, crosscountry skiers aren’t asking for much, other than a quality and safe experience. For a community this size, we have some of the best venues in the world for recreation. Articles about Leadville this past summer in the Denver Post never mentioned anything about our great cross-country skiing opportunities. The signage encouraging users on the Mineral Belt Trail/CMC trails to respect skate and classic skiers is not working. In an era of mobile devices, there is very little activity until word gets out that the trails are groomed. Many dogs continue to be unleashed once out of sight from trail heads. The famed Howelsen Hill Nordic complex in Steamboat

Springs is considering ambassadors to monitor their multi-use mess. Sk a t e sk i e rs wit h t he V technique are feeling the impact more so with multiusers not staying to the outer edge of any groomed surface. This makes it extremely hard to maintain balance with the many divots. Pet owners, please remember to pick up after your dog. It is an unsightly mess that will stop any skier. Hopefully, with due respect and common courtesy to all users, folks will return and enjoy the many awesome trails and county roads Lake County has to offer. Frank Mencin Don Quinn Leadville Continued on page 5

Guest column

The potential value of vulgarity by Gene Policinski Inside the First Amendment Let’s hear it for vulgarity! Well, at least let’s hear it for occasionally “hearing it,” and other offensive terms and ideas. Let’s accept that there are times, such as presidential elections, where we have an abiding need to really “hear” the speaker, unfiltered and raw, and not just through a prettified, sanitized, preplanned utterance. We need to be surprised, shocked, awed or offended at times to get the full-on impact of what people are saying in this widely derided but no less-observed era of rehearsed talking points and “sound bites.” Language “with bite” or just plain speaking may be shocking but also can be insightful — the very point of the First Amendment’s protection for free expression. The U.S. Supreme Court

affirmed the legal protection of offensive speech in 1971, in Cohen v. California — an opinion by Justice John Marshall Harlan II that included the worthy

observation that while “the particular four-letter word being litigated here is Continued on page 5

Herald Democrat

The HERALD DEMOCRAT (USPS 241-100, ISSN 0891-

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A Colorado Press Association, Society of Professional Journalists and International Society of Weekly Newspaper Editors award winner

results of our WEBSITE POLL Feb. 10-23, 2016 What issue are you most focused on in the next county commissioner election? Party affiliation Integrity shown by candidates Transparency Availability of BOCC to public

Keeping roads open Cutting spending Investing in community initiatives Other

Have your say at

w w w. l e a d v i l l e h e r a l d . c o m

* please note survey results are not scientific and are used for entertainment purposes only


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