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8 Westminster Window

August 1, 2013

OPINIONS / YOURS AND OURS

Upbeat signs for FasTracks, but miles to go Take the good with the bad, and, in the end, say it’s all good. This pragmatic approach to good mental health often fits the public’s journey in large public works projects as well. A recent survey prepared for RTD — conducted by BCC Research & Consulting — shows a solidly upbeat view to our Regional Transportation District FasTracks system. Passed by voters in 2004, the 0.4 percent sales tax funded project was originally priced at $4.7 billion. As it happens, the economy tanked in 2008, and the projected budget climbed to more than $6 billion and now sits at $7.4 billion according to RTD’s estimate last year. It is not surprising that this type of expansive project would take its hits — it’s a big deal to build out the Denver metro’s major corridors with commuter rail systems and additional bus rapid transit. Who can forget the Big Dig? And al-

OUR VIEW though Mount Rushmore and the Statue of Liberty were not transportation projects, those ambitious ventures ran on fumes from time to time — short on funds and support — before they were completed and the following generations of benefactors pronounced it’s all good. But now, in some ways we are getting close to feeling darn good about FasTracks. The recent BCC survey with 800 respondents indicated positive perspectives. The number for the “somewhat positive to very positive” view of FasTracks has been pulling out of a skid to hit 81 percent this year.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Would a Miller suspension affect the Broncos? Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller is facing a possible four-game suspension after he reportedly tested positive for marijuana and amphetamines during his rookie year in 2011. We asked people at Memorial Park, 8001 W. 59th Ave. in Arvada, if they think Miller’s possible suspension will affect the Broncos’ 2013 season and their Super Bowl potential.

Even without Von, the team is full of all-stars. It will affect them, but not as much as people think. Brian Alison

If he’s suspended for the first four games of the regular season, it will definitely affect their season. Taylor Alison

I think it will affect their season, but I don’t think it will hurt their Super Bowl chances. Jakob Lowe

Of course it will. It changes the team’s mentality. He’s one of the top 10 players on the team, so naturally he is a leader. They’re going into the season with a complete change. Don McAdams

Westminster Window 8703 Yates Drive Suite 210., Westminster, CO 80031 GERARD HEALEY President BARB STOLTE Publisher MIKKEL KELLY Editor PATRICK MURPHY Assistant Editor ASHLEY REIMERS Community Editor MARK HILL Sales Executive AUDREY BROOKS Business Manager SCOTT ANDREWS Creative Services Manager SANDRA ARELLANO Circulation Director WILBUR FLACHMAN Publisher Emeritus We welcome event listings and other submissions. News and Business Press Releases Please visit ourcoloradonews.com, click on the Press Releases tab and follow easy instructions to make submissions. Calendar calendar@ourcoloradonews.com School notes, such as honor roll and dean’s list schoolnotes@ourcoloradonews.com Military notes militarynotes@ourcoloradonews.com News tips newstip@ourcoloradonews.com Obituaries obituaries@ourcoloradonews.com To Subscribe call 303-566-4100

Colorado Community Media Phone 303-566-4100 • Fax 303-426-4209

Columnists and guest commentaries The Westminster Window features a limited number of regular columnists, found on these pages and elsewhere in the paper, depending on the typical subject the columnist covers. Their opinions are not necessarily those of the Westminster Window. Want your own chance to bring an issue to our readers’ attention, to highlight something great in our community, or just to make people laugh? Why not write a letter of 300 words or fewer. Include your full name, address and the best number to reach you by telephone.

Email your letter to editor@ourcoloradonews.com

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER Our team of professional reporters, photographers and editors are out in the community to bring you the news each week, but we can’t do it alone. Send your news tips, your own photographs, event information, letters, commentaries... If it happens, it’s news to us. Please share by contacting us at newstip@ourcoloradonews.com, and we will take it from there. After all, the Window is your paper.

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU If you would like to share your opinion, go to www.ourcoloradonews.com or write a letter to the editor. Include your name, full address and the best telephone number to contact you. Please send letters to editor@ourcoloradonews.com.

The V-shape amounts to 84 percent in 2007; 80 percent, 2009; 71 percent, 2010; 78 percent, 2011, before rising to better than four out of five respondents. Those who say FasTracks was a good decision tallied higher than 80 percent as well. In passing, those who say it was a bad decision have pegged at a solid 10 percent to 23 percent in the five survey years, and we recognize this group will be around and can drum up some concerning cost per ride and bus vs. rail numbers. But for another reason, we have a ways to go to reach the true tipping point. Many areas of the metro with completed corridor lines have fared well — most recently the W Rail Line from Golden through Lakewood to Denver was completed ahead of schedule in April. But there is another story up north where the entire North Metro Rail Line, originally projected for completion in late

2015, has been pushed back to sometime after 2035 according to the latest RTD projection although request for proposals could change the date. Interestingly the survey says Adams County respondents — where the North Metro Rail Line rail will run — tallied 78 percent as “somewhat favorable-very favorable.” The number is better than Boulder County at 68 percent, but not far behind the other five counties included (Weld, Arapahoe, Douglas, Denver and Jefferson), which ranged 79 to 86 percent. As for Adams County — pretty amazing for an area that will tread in the have-nots category for a few more decades. While other cities and countries admire FasTracks, we need to be mindful that all promises should be kept south to north before we can confidently say all good. We’re a ways away.

All about Adams County At the present time, Adams County has three commissioners to attend to the needs of more than 450,000 residents. They are Eva J. Henry (Chairperson, District 1), “Chaz” Tedesco (District 2) and Erik Hansen (District 3). For several years a number of us in the county felt there was a need to enlarge the commissioner body to five, thus increasing the efficiency and a need for more oversight. It became very apparent of the need for more oversight and transparency several years ago when significant misdeeds and downright illegal doings marred the county. Soon the desire for more transparency became an overwhelming absolute necessity for more oversight. The “ship” needed a course change and a total overhaul. Many of us had already been touting the need to enlarge the board and have greater oversight, leadership and downright hands-on daily official business being conducted. We continued to work toward enlarging the board based on a very simple belief that it’s harder to corrupt five than it three. Now I say that not because I’m in any way casting aspersions on former commissioners but by what again I’ll state, “one of being easier to convince just two than it would be to convince four or five”. For that reason and for allowing for an expansion of duties necessitated by a continuing surge in population we finally prevailed and got the measure on the ballot last November. Those in opposition complained that it would cost about $500,000 a year for two more officials. But that pales in comparison for the several millions it cost the county in misdeeds. So today I’m going to just copy the outline that will be on the ballot for two new commissioners that was published in the Adams County annual 2012-2013 report.

We will definitely hear and read more as the months go by but it behooves we residents to have a “heads up” knowledge of how the change will affect us.

Here it is

In 2012, Adams County voters approved a ballot question that expands the size of the Board of County Commissioners from three to five commissioners. Just last month, we approved the map that creates the additional two commissioner districts. In 2014, voters will elect the two new commissioners and in January 2015, the county will be represented by five commissioners residing in specific geographic districts, but will be voted on countywide. All five commissioners will serve Adams County at large.

Quote of the Week

“The future lies with those political leaders who realize that the great public is interested more in government than in politics.” Franklin D. Roosevelt Stay well, stay involved and stay tuned.

Vi June is past Democratic state representative for House District 35. She is a former mayor of Westminster and a former newspaper publisher. A Westminster resident for more than four decades, she and her husband, Bob, have five grown children and eight grandchildren.


6 Westminster Window

January 17, 2013

opinions / yours and ours

Turn traction to more action in state’s economy Gov. John Hickenlooper praised Colorado for its economic rebound in his State of the State address last week. We, too, like many of the signs we see, and like to think we are coming out of the woods. The early weeks of a new year make for a good time to share some good numbers, stand up and put ourselves in the optimistic category. The Colorado Municipal League, a nonprofit agency that represents interests of 267 cities and towns in the state, reported last week that our state’s cities and towns fare better than most others across the nation. The organization’s State of our Cities and Towns report noted 47 percent of Colorado municipalities closed out the year with increased revenues and further noted an inverse relationship to three years ago when 46 percent reported lower rev-

our view enue. To our readers, take heart that Front Range cities fared particularly well with 83 percent reporting increased revenue. Going onto the new year, we’ll be looking for the results of increased revenues in our cities — cities that have made staff cuts and implemented furlough days in recent years. This month in Northglenn, the council found it could muster a 2 percent increase for most employees after three years of frozen salaries. These are the types of impacts we hope to see, as well as careful consideration of how to put increased revenues to work for residents in services,

What is your take on the legislative session? issues for many people and legislators. We spoke to people enjoying hot beverages Sunday afternoon at Starbucks near 104th Avenue and Federal Boulevard in Westminster.

I believe there is way too much symbolism over substance. Our Legislature needs to encourage service in the community rather than be quick to legislate government solutions. What we really need are people to help people on their blocks. – Al Apuzzo, Westminster

I want to see Colorado set up laws for progressive gun control legislation as an example for the rest of the county. – Missy McMurray, Westminster

I would really like to see our government work to get to real solutions instead of stalling, and see some real progress. I’d like gun control to limit magazines, guns not to be sold at Walmart … and job creation needs to be at the forefront. – Emily Milton, Westminster

Two things. Make sure there’s sufficient funding for higher education, including graduate programs. And we need sensible gun control — not stuff than doesn’t do anything. We need to focus on solving violence in our communities. – Hans Anderson, Westminster

Life is full of trade-offs especially in changing times. Issues that come before elected officials, such as city council members, are no different. You have to weigh the pros and cons before making a wise decision. One of those situations was scheduled to be discussed and decided at the Jan. 14 Westminster council meeting before press time. Based on an earlier discussion at a December study session (where no formal votes can be taken), the council was divided on whether to change an existing law which requires a minimum of 40 percent of the vote for any mayoral candidate to be the winner. Given the distinct possibility of at least three candidates running for mayor in the November 2013 municipal election, there is the possibility that no candidate would achieve the 40 percent minimum vote. If so, what would happen?

An extra $100,000 cost

Westminster Window 7380 Lowell Blvd., Westminster, CO 80030 gerard healey President and Publisher mikkel kelly Editor Tammy Kranz Assistant Editor John Rosa Sports Editor Ashley Reimers Community Editor Barb Stolte Sales Manager audrey brooks Business Manager scott andrews Creative Services Manager Dean Link Circulation Director Mark Hill Sales Executive BOB BURDICK Newsroom Adviser WILBUR FLACHMAN Publisher Emeritus

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added 40,000 jobs in 2012, and the work of municipalities is part of that effort as the state continues to wrestle out of a recession period. Big picture, last year it was big news when Colorado was ranked third best state in the Beacon Hill Institute competitiveness survey — an index that compiles economic indicators in an expansive 44 categories compiled at the institute at Boston’s Suffolk University. We noticed how the report prompted local comments that the state will never again return to the boom and bust cycles it was known for, especially in the 1980s. We, too, are optimistic. So we’ll be watching and hoping to see even more traction moving forward. Colorado has a lot of good stats which should encourage cities, communities and businesses to dig in with their best efforts this year.

Prudent financial policy at hand

question of the week

Gov. John Hickenlooper delivered his State of the State address last week at the state Capitol. Addressing recreational marijuana, civil unions, funding for education and gun control are among top of mind

fees, backlogged street projects and other numerous other impacts to pocketbooks and quality of life. Further the report states local economies investing in economic development activities is paying off as well — noting 88 percent of municipalities participate in one or more economic development activities. The list includes classic car shows, art festivals, beer festivals and bike races. The USA Pro Cycling Challenge that whizzed through various parts of the state in August, including Golden and Denver, quickly comes to mind. The partnerships to work quickly and effectively were pronounced as strong community spirit bubbled up in day-today business, volunteer efforts, in-kind contributions and the like. We witnessed these partnerships working effectively and ethically. The report added that the state

Colorado Community Media Phone 303-426-6000 • Fax 303-426-4209

Columnists and guest commentaries The Westminster Window features a limited number of regular columnists, found on these pages and elsewhere in the paper, depending on the typical subject the columnist covers. Their opinions are not necessarily those of the Westminster Window. Want your own chance to bring an issue to our readers’ attention, to highlight something great in our community, or just to make people laugh? Why not write a letter of 300 words or fewer. After all, the Window is your paper.

we’re in this together Our team of professional reporters, photographers and editors are out in the community to bring you the news each week, but we can’t do it alone. Send your news tips, your own photographs, event information, letters, commentaries... If it happens, it’s news to us. Please share by contacting us at newstips@ourcoloradonews.com, and we will take it from there.

If none of the candidates received this arbitrary minimum voter support, the existing ordinance mandates a run-off city election between the two top vote getters. According to City Clerk Linda Yeager, the cost to Westminster taxpayers would be an extra $100,000. And it should be noted that the adopted 2013 budget does not include this extra expense. The budget contemplates the single regular municipal election cost to conduct an election to elect three city councillors and the mayor. If council decides to stay with the existing 40 percent minimum mandate, the election cost would have to either come from the general fund contingency account or other approved budget expenses would have to be cut to fund the second election. Plus, the two top candidates would have to fund a second campaign.

It’s not magical or sacred

Is a run-off election really necessary? Just because the ordinance has been on the

city’s books for the past 18 years since the voters approved a charter change whereby the people elect the mayor instead of the seven-member council, it does not mean you have to maintain the status quo. It needs to be noted that Westminster had three mayoral candidates running in 2003 with one candidate receiving 56 percent of the vote. In 2013, I will bet you at least three candidates will run. So, what is magic or sacred about a minimum of 40 percent? It is not magical or sacred. If applied, it could produce a winner without a clear majority of the vote while a run-off election would produce a majoritywinner among the two candidates. But I say, so what?

Changing times warrant change

Given the continuing soft economy and tight budgets which have left a lot of city employees unemployed with layoffs and city service cut-backs including popular programs, adding an extra $100,000 in cost at this time is not a prudent way of doing the city’s business. Eliminating the 40 percent minimum mandate expense in Westminster mayoral races is good business for the taxpayers. Council needs to deal with current times and situations and not rely on an arbitrary policy that was made 18 years ago when city finances were a lot different.

Bill Christopher is former city manager of Westminster and used to represent District J on the RTD board of directors.


8 The Transcript

OPINIONS / YOURS AND OURS

March 21, 2013

A land with problems, a nation with laws The comments of Weld County Sheriff John Cooke, reported in the Greeley Tribune, are making waves and being picked up in national news. His words put him squarely in an informal group of so-called rogue sheriffs. According to news reports, Cooke said he is not interested in enforcing two particular bills – one expands background checks on firearms purchases and the other limits ammunition magazines to 15 rounds. In other reports, El Paso Sheriff Terry Maketa, who takes umbrage with the legislative process and bills being developed for gun control, seems to be part of the club. Yeehaw. Many of us like to think there is a little bit of frontier left in the culture of Colorado life. Some like to think being on the frontier means having the right to

OUR VIEW be left the heck alone and not bother with too many laws. But even out West — now and in decades gone by — we expect the guy behind the star to stand with the law, whether right, wrong or otherwise — it’s the law. That’s why we appreciated the comments of Arapahoe County Sheriff Grayson Robinson, who broke his silence on the thorny gun debate and voiced some choice words worth repeating in full. “For a public safety professional to suggest they can determine the constitutional-

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

Why is it important to have art opportunities outside of downtown Denver? By Clarke Reader

creader@ourcoloradonews.com We asked people attending the open-

ing of The Edge Theatre at 1560 Teller St. in Lakewood, why is it important to have art opportunities outside of downtown Denver?

“Art serves the community as a whole, and is an economic driver.” - Amira Watters, Lakewood

“Art has no limits, and is as far reaching as possible. The suburbs crave entertainment and art.” - Ryan Gould, Wheat Ridge

“It’s important that communities have their own place. That way people can say it’s not a theater, it’s my theater.” - Patty Yaconis, Lakewood

“People are more willing to come to a place in their own neighborhood – they have a kind of buy in. Local businesses are also more likely to support a local art location.” - Tisha Doppler, Lakewood.

HAVE A QUESTION?

?

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EXTRA! EXTRA!

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Colorado Community Media Phone 303-566-4100 • Fax 303-279-7157

Columnists and guest commentaries The Transcript features a limited number of regular columnists, found on these pages and elsewhere in the paper, depending on the typical subject the columnist covers. Their opinions are not necessarily those of the Transcript. Want your own chance to bring an issue to our readers’ attention, to highlight something great in our community, or just to make people laugh? Why not write a letter of 300 words or fewer? Include your full name, address and the best number to reach you by telephone.

Email your letter to editor@ourcoloradonews.com

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER Our team of professional reporters, photographers and editors are out in the community to bring you the news each week, but we can’t do it alone. Send your news tips, your own photographs, event information, letters, commentaries... If it happens, it’s news to us. Please share by contacting us at newstip@ourcoloradonews.com, and we will take it from there. After all, the Transcript is your paper.

ity of an issue and establish public policy based on that ill-conceived notion, would be tantamount to a police officer arresting an individual, determining guilt and sentencing the individual to incarceration in the county jail,” Robinson said. “This is not how our principle-based, constitutional system, functions. We are a nation of laws.” Robinson has it right, but in trying to understand the others, we don’t have to look far. The more than 1,700-word position paper by the County Sheriffs of Colorado opposes limiting magazines — calling for the need to have enough rounds to end a threat — and opposes extending background checks and registration, stating the government “does not have the right to know who owns a firearm or for what reason when used for lawful and peaceful

purposes.” Further the paper strongly states it is not the appropriate time to introduce gun control legislation because decisions likely will be made on “emotion rather than reason” following the recent shootings in Aurora and Sandy Hook. It suggests that gun control bills be tabled for “at least a year to encourage rational deliberations before any decisions are made.” Given these perspectives, it is easy to see why some sheriffs are riled with the actions at the Statehouse. So we commend all cool-headed sheriffs who know their roles through thick and thin, and perhaps understand that the debate involves tough questions the citizenry and its lawmakers must face involving the constitutional right to bear arms and pressing concerns about gun violence.

Make time to be a family Let’s see if any of this sounds familiar to anyone out there: Today I will get done with my day job, go immediately to one school to pick up my two littlest kids, then swing up to the high school to pick up the older and go home. We’ll be home for seven minutes before I have to go again to run the oldest to her job, which includes a side trip to pick up a friend who works at the same place. Forty minutes later, I will return home to pick up the other kids, who have to be run to the store to pick up supplies for a school project. Bring these guys home, try to sling together a meal, and, just about then, it’s time to go pick up the oldest one from her job. By the time I get home and settle in, it’s bedtime for the littlest one. And this is just what a day looks like that I don’t have any personal training to do, or days in which it’s not the daughter’s job but the dance studio carpool. And I know it sounds like I’m complaining — but I’m not. I love being able to be this involved in my kids’ lives. And, yes, it would be easier if the older one would drive, but certain events which shall not be mentioned have made that untenable, even if we had another car for her. The reality is that my level of activity is not that unusual. In fact, I probably have it easy — just ask the soccer mom who has two kids in competitive soccer who practice four days a week and have games all day Saturday, with out-of-town tournaments one weekend a month. My sister had a daughter doing that with softball — all year long! For goodness’ sake, my nephew just went to Albuquerque to compete in an archery competition (he took second) and he’s

only 8! And I know there’s another scenario, a harder one — the one in which a single parent is trying to do it all. But for now, I’m only addressing the self-inflicted complications. Keeping kids engaged and busy is a good thing; keeping families running around like chickens with their heads cut off is not. Like most aspects of American culture circa 2013, we have completely lost our sense of balance. I call it the Tyranny of Youth, but the reality is that we adults have done this to ourselves. No sport is just for fun, kids don’t play “pick-up” games anymore, and the rare parent who tells their kid “no” is constantly confronted with the myth that they’re not providing enough for their children. Y’know what? It’s OK to say “no” every once in a while, whether that’s to the kids or to a job, just because it’s nice to have the whole family together. It’s good to recenter in the home. The kids will survive missing one activity; I wonder if they’ll survive missing their family. Michael Alcorn is a music teacher and fitness instructor who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. He graduated from Alameda High School and the University of Colorado-Boulder.


10 The Transcript

April 11, 2013

OPINIONS / YOURS AND OURS

Amid tragedy is forgiveness, accountability Forgiveness itself is not often a topic in an editorial, but the recent words of Lisa Clements, wife of slain Colorado prisons chief Tom Clements, inspire food for thought. She stood with her two daughters by her side at her husband’s service March 25 in Colorado Springs and said, “We pray for forgiveness and peace for the family of the man suspected of taking Tom’s life, and we pray every day for forgiveness and peace in our own hearts.” She noted she shares her husband’s belief in redemption and the ability for the human heart to be changed. Her comments echo many other expressions of forgiveness in news reports

OUR VIEW through the years. One surely was the reaction of the Amish community in Lancaster, Pa., after a 32-year-old gunman killed several girls in a one-room schoolhouse before killing himself in 2006. While the Amish community was not inclined to interact with the media, its stance was clear to not think evil of the gunman and instead pray for the shooter’s family,

Do you prepare your own taxes? As this year’s tax filing deadline on April 15 quickly approaches, we took a few moments to ask local residents about their filing preferences on a warm Sunday afternoon at the Margaret Carpenter Park and Open Space in Thornton.

“I’ve had someone prepare it for me for the past five years because when I tried to prepare my own taxes, I messed up and forgot that I sold some stocks and the IRS said I owed them additional money.” — Darrin McKinnon, Brighton

“It’s too hard for me to do it, so it’s easier to me to have someone else work on it instead of having to explain the tax laws and translate it into English because it’s my second language.” — Ana Cobos, Brighton

“I did the tax returns for my wife and I have for many years, but because my wife still has a deal with a tax service for a small business that we just closed up, we decided to have someone else prepare it for us this year.” — Tom Rice, Commerce City

“I usually have someone prepare my taxes for me, because it takes a lot of time and can be very difficult to understand at times — you don’t want to make a mistake.” — Jorge Beckmann, Brighton

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU If you would like to share your opinion, go to www.ourcoloradonews.com or write a letter to the editor. Include your name, full address and the best telephone number to contact you. Please send letters to editor@ourcoloradonews.com.

110 N. Rubey Drive, Suite 120, Golden CO 80403 GERARD HEALEY President MIKKEL KELLY Publisher and Editor TAMMY KRANZ Assistant Editor GLENN WALLACE Community Editor ERIN ADDENBROOKE Sales Director AUDREY BROOKS Business Manager SCOTT ANDREWS Creative Services Manager SANDRA ARELLANO Circulation Director

Colorado Community Media Phone 303-566-4100 • Fax 303-279-7157

Columnists and guest commentaries The Transcript features a limited number of regular columnists, found on these pages and elsewhere in the paper, depending on the typical subject the columnist covers. Their opinions are not necessarily those of the Transcript. Want your own chance to bring an issue to our readers’ attention, to highlight something great in our community, or just to make people laugh? Why not write a letter of 300 words or fewer? Include your full name, address and the best number to reach you by telephone.

Email your letter to editor@ourcoloradonews.com We welcome event listings and other submissions. News and Business Press Releases Please visit ourcoloradonews.com, click on the Press Releases tab and follow easy instructions to make submissions. Calendar calendar@ourcoloradonews.com School notes, such as honor roll and dean’s list schoolnotes@ourcoloradonews.com Military briefs militarynotes@ourcoloradonews.com News tips newstip@ourcoloradonews.com Obituaries obituaries@ourcoloradonews.com

Fax your information to 303-339-7499 To Subscribe call 720-409-4775

And while each person’s offer of forgiveness is based on various factors — such as whether remorse is expressed — a commitment to forgiveness reflects the best in all of us, a step toward mending and somehow improving the future to come. In a recent CNN interview, Lisa Clements said she could be enraged but chooses not to be angry with news that an errant court proceeding allowed the gunman to be released from prison four years early. She said she will not let it consume her. While she supports this need for accountability, we admire her strength as she champions a commitment to forgiveness and the steadfast view she shares with her husband that people can change.

A little more brain power

QUESTION OF THE WEEK

The Transcript

which was further conveyed by neighbors who interacted with the tight-knit community. Some Amish even reached out to comfort the family of the gunman. Although the level of forgiveness to some surely seemed too generous, it seemed to quiet the surrounding community as it respectfully honored the perspective of its neighbors, the direct victims of the shooting. We noticed a similar effect following Lisa Clements’ thoughtful statements. The complex mix of grieving, accountability and forgiveness is too much for any one editorial, but we venture to say the heart does not so quickly follow the mind once someone has decided to forgive.

WE’RE IN THIS TOGETHER Our team of professional reporters, photographers and editors are out in the community to bring you the news each week, but we can’t do it alone. Send your news tips, your own photographs, event information, letters, commentaries... If it happens, it’s news to us. Please share by contacting us at newstip@ourcoloradonews.com, and we will take it from there. After all, the Transcript is your paper.

Doing taxes this week so I have very little brain-RAM to spare — certainly not enough to keep a coherent train of thought together. But, nevertheless, a handful of thoughts have penetrated the IRS-induced stupor, and here’s the result: • In case you were keeping score, this Legislature, which, according to Rep. Tracy Kraft-Tharp, et al., has “the economy as their No. 1 focus,” has so far managed to pass bills that drove away 2,000 jobs, while not yet getting around to passing anything to help the economy. • I rarely have control of the TV remote, so I don’t often get to just flip around the prime time lineup to see what’s on. But the other night, I was flipping around, and I caught a glimpse of the show “Smash.” And there, on the screen, is Bernadette Peters, one of the grand dames of musical theater, singing a beautiful duet. Y’know, there are people in this world whose talent is so prodigious that it lights up a room, even through the television screen. I wonder if she was ever told not to pursue her dreams because her test scores were too low ... • Regarding Coach Mike Rice and the Rutgers basketball team: In this day and age, barely six months removed from an election which a man lost in part because of a cell phone video, for a person in a position of power to lose control in a public place like that is inexcusable. All the rest aside, he might just be too dumb to have that job. • I am slightly encouraged that Sen. Mike Johnston’s education funding bill includes $100 million for innovation. Maybe we can use that to stop talking about testing and start driving for real innovation. • Speaking of luminous talents, over the last week, I have caught on cable parts of the movies “Outbreak,””Congo,””The 13th

Warrior” and “Twister,” all brought to us from the prolific mind of Michael Crichton. • And I’m so glad to see that the Associated Press has officially decided to drop the use of the term “Illegal Immigrant” to describe people who have, um, immigrated to this country illegally. George Orwell, phone home. • Come to think of it, there is one class of people whose employment I would love to see reduced: tax attorneys. And not that I have anything against tax attorneys, but the Byzantine nature of the U.S. tax code is really only good for two things: attorney employment, and I hear it makes a great reinforcement to sand walls in case of a flood. • And in case you missed it, through the first series of the major league baseball season (three games), every team but one has a loss. That’s the nature of baseball — it’s such a long season that even the best teams lose a lot of games, and I’ve always felt there’s a lot more to be learned in a loss than in a win. It’s called character, and it’s why baseball used to be such an important part of the American fabric. Michael Alcorn is a music teacher and fitness instructor who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. He graduated from Alameda High School and the University of Colorado-Boulder.


12 The Transcript

April 25, 2013

opinions / yours and ours

Keep jobs at home, businesses at ease The Keep Jobs in Colorado Act appears to have considerable support as it passed the House Monday at the Statehouse. We appreciate suggested improvements touted by the act, House Bill 1292, co-sponsored by state Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, but give pause to some of its measures long-term. We agree with Kerr that changes are needed in penalties for companies that do not meet a threshold of requiring 80 percent of all taxpayer-backed state project labor be conducted by Colorado workers. Kerr noted the 80 percent requirement has been on the books since 1933 but a jail penalty for non-complying company owners has not been enforced. We agree virtually every law should have teeth, so it makes sense to amend the law by replacing jail time with civil fees for violations and retooling the compliance process.

our view The Keep Jobs in Colorado Act also aims to: • Clamp down on outsourcing of jobs overseas in state contracts with beefed up disclosures on state contractors who use second-party vendors; • Provide stricter enforcement of out-of-state bid preferences to make sure Colorado companies have all legal advantages available; • Expand the so-called “best value” metrics related to in-state employment and domestically produced materials for contracts that are not co-mingled with federal funds; • Create a central tracking system for

question of the week

Does government provide enough info on terrorism? The United States and its allies have been fighting the War on Terror since 2001 following the attacks on Sept. 11. The ongoing battle has been fought both on foreign and domestic soil. We asked local residents at Steamers Coffeehouse, 13771 W. 85th Drive in Arvada, if they think the information released by the government is beneficial.

”I do think the government has things they have to keep secret for the safety of our military and CIA and things like that. You have to still trust the government to be wise with the citizens’ interest at heart with what they keep secret and what they release.” — Robin Alexander, Arvada ​

”As a society, we demand more information, and because we demand more, people are put in harm’s way. I think we’ve lost sight of the No. 1 purpose of government and that’s to protect people, even in secrecy.” — Karen Levine, Arvada ​ ”I think they give too much. They’re not just giving us information, but they’re giving terrorists information. Everything you see goes up online and can be seen by anyone.”

”There is too much because there are things that need to be kept secret and not let out for safety.” — Patty Petrozelli, Arvada ​

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state projects — in practice tracking the most costly materials in public works projects, such as items made from iron, steel and related manufactured goods. In light of these values, we recognize the arguments of some Republicans and others that it can be a difficult process ensuring that projects involve Coloradobased materials. In one of our stories earlier this month, Rep. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, stated flatly there is “no way in this free market system that everyone is going to be truthful.” Sad but true. Further we acknowledge it is highly problematic for contractors to know and document the sources of all materials. As for tracking payroll, that is not as much of a challenge, but more paperwork means increasing staff time and cost for contractors. Overall, the act’s key measures can in

some ways strengthen the state in the current challenging economic climate. The measures match the times, although it’s surely dicey work because making laws to regulate business — whether it’s incentives or tariffs or common taxes, and so on — will always be complicated and questionable to free market purists. For now, we support the general ideas, but long-term, we harbor reservations because the effort to stay local and secure jobs works against the pressing global marketplace and its competitive realities of comparative advantage — when one country can produce products or provide labor more efficiently than another. Given that the state employment rate decreased from about 8.2 percent a year ago to 7.1 percent last month, we’d like to see Colorado in a trend to entertain fewer laws that mean increased government protocols and processes for business.

Look for best ideas over right, wrong One of the things that drives me crazy about our current political environment is the idea that if one guy is right, then the other guy has to be wrong, and vice versa. Political battles are no longer opportunities to take the good out of both ideas and enact them, but, rather, a “baby-orthe-bathwater” approach in which one side wins 100 percent, and the other side loses 100 percent. This was oddly evident last weekend on the editorial pages of the Denver Post. Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson co-authored an editorial in favor of Sen. Mike Johnston’s, D-Denver, school funding bill (SB 213), while right next to it the founder of “End the Education Plantation,” John Conlin of Littleton, penned an editorial against it. One side yes, one side no, very little gray area. The problem is both arguments have merit, which the other side is loath to acknowledge. “No” points out that the state spends more than $10,000 per student currently — about the price of a good private education — and that SB 213 would increase that funding to nearly $12,000 without changing the design of the system. “Yes,” on the other hand, points out that Colorado schools have had funding cut by $1.1 billion in the last four years, that the recent Lobato ruling held that Colorado school funding is “irrational, arbitrary, and severely underfunded,” and that, in spite of those cuts, the state has undertaken some pretty ambitious reforms. Or why not come from the view that public schools should be just as effective as private schools, but that it’s going to cost some money to make it happen. What if we did this: Start with Sen. Michael Johnston’s, D-Denver, $100 million “Innovation Fund,” and take two years with that money to start to figure out what new ideas make the most difference — then use them and fund them?

I’d even start with a few thousand spent studying Twin Peaks Charter School and D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School — both identified as top schools in the country by national publications — and identify what those schools do best, and how those ideas can be spread to every school in the state. Study the best schools in the country that serve at-risk populations, and steal their ideas. Study the best early-education programs in the world, and steal their ideas. Don’t just fund the system — fund the smartest system. Making every school in this state a “high performing” school may cost $1 billion, and we should commit to that price tag up front, should it be necessary. But we should also be open to the idea that it might not cost $1 billion, or that what it really requires is more commitment from families and communities, not wallets. I’m happy to commit to a billion-dollar tax hike if I have confidence that every school and every child will be educated at a higher level. But that confidence is only going to come at the other end of a win-win process, not at the other end of what’s shaping up to be a typical, partisan political fight. Michael Alcorn is a music teacher and fitness instructor who lives in Arvada with his wife and three children. He graduated from Alameda High School and the University of Colorado-Boulder.

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