WAY OF THE MTN … We all know the vagaries of springtime in the Rockies. Some years it’s snow clear up until June, and even a few times after. Other years it’s bone-dry and brown, before its time … But this year’s rains and snow of early May finally pushed us into classic San Juan mud season. And on Wright’s Mesa that means snow-capped peaks, in all directions. Alfalfa green fields with black and white scatters of sheep and cattle. Some bushes flowering, and even trees … Still, the Gurley hasn’t run. No spill this year, because of the on-going drought. Only puddles in the ditches. Once again we’re entirely dependent on rainfall, reminding us that we live in a semi-arid climate, in spite of our sometimes lush greenery.
CASH CROP … County assessments got mailed out. Most homeowners, who weren’t hoping to sell any property soon, were happy to see the big decreases in valuation. Which translates into lower property taxes. I know I’ve lost over $50,000 in valuation on my little acre in the last few years, since 2008 (26008 ANAC). Lower taxes are good news. So are current sales tax receipts for the end of our winter season. And maybe we’re even seeing a little more real estate movement. Not that we’re out of the Bush-induced economic frying pan, but we are seeing healthy indicators … Meanwhile, pot growers in our newly-legal state are waiting for the state government to set the formal conditions treating cannabis like alcohol and removing most of the legal sanctions. I continue to have problems with blood level limits for cannabis in one’s bodily fluids, just as a I do for DUI and DWAI laws that base penalties and even incarceration for a state or condition that one is possibly in, as opposed to bad actions (weaving, driving erratically, almost accidents). Laws ought to be based on public behaviors, not private conditions.
WATER … Off-season is supposed to be a time when things slow down. After 16 years in office, I can say that never seems to be the case for government. Some of the busiest times seem to come when a lot of my friends are in Cancun (or my kids are on trips to New Orleans and Thailand) … The Colorado Water Conservation Board won in court recently on its designation of in-stream flows for the San Miguel River, down near its mouth with the Dolores. While river protectors will applaud, it’s a sad day for West End folks to see so much local money tossed to the lawyers, instead of being used to bring water to local communities.
FEUDIN’ & FIGHTIN’ … Well, it’s official. Roger Culver’s San Miguel Basin Forum has declared war. The headline in its May 2nd issue was “War Unfolds On Mining In WE” with the subhead: “Science Cast Aside In Favor Of Law Suits.” The unsigned story begins with this lead, “Environmentalists are in full tactical warfare with the West End as they manipulate the court system, throwing aside science and revealing the true motive of tourism concerns rather than environmental” … Actually, quite a masterful imputation by non-sequitur, with enviros manipulating the courts by throwing aside science and revealing themselves as tourism-booster wolves in enviro sheepskin. Jealousy and anger at Telluride’s economic success and its protectionist nuclear concerns are understandable. But sadly self-defeating … San Miguel and Montrose counties are at the far end of the state government feeding trough. Federal, as well. We have lots of issues, and limited funding. The Telluride Foundation has been trying to spread wealth around both counties, using philanthropic funds to stimulate responsible growth and community infrastructure. But we need collaboration, not confrontational headlines … Tri-State’s experimental coal plant at Nucla is running out of coal and only operating at 25% efficiency, according to a retired engineer I met for coffee recently. If it doesn’t convert to natural gas soon and increase its efficiency, there’s a good chance it may get closed down by the EPA. The West End needs to work with the Telluride Region and figure out a sustainable future based on wise water use, energy alternatives, agriculture, mining, forestry, etc. … Collaboration is a big fancy Latinate, but when you break it down, it’s just working together with others – something many of us do all the time. In fact, in politics, it’s exactly the process of collaboration with many if not all the citizens that makes government work, when it does (which can be variable, with the higher up the government chain you go, the less anything seems to function).
DRONES … I guess people have become so accustomed to bots in our lives, that when our government, under the current Obama administration, lets its intelligence apparatchiks assassinate targets in foreign lands using drone-delivered missiles, we as Americans just shrug. Like Homeland Security, just another annoyance in our perpetual War on Terror … As though any person, let alone a nation, could declare hostilities against a state or condition … Canadian-based Global Research estimates less than 40 Al Qaeda targets have been eliminated by the U.S.’s “pre-crime justice” system in Pakistan, but at a cost of over 800 incidental casualties – almost 200 of those slain civilians being children. Maybe we should ban the CIA instead of assault rifles … Combined with our President’s failure to close Guantanamo, I am saddened by what appears, even to many Obama’s political supporters, as a lack of moral courage.
THE TALKING GOURD
re: longing for
more than one
panacea is not the sum of
the multiplication of complexity
just as simplicity
can count as poverty
take a hard look
& make a soft landing