OBAMA MIA … Hope has triumphed over hate. I haven’t been so encouraged by what America can become since JFK was elected back when I was in high school. Kennedy inspired me to join VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) when I left the seminary. Now, for the first time since Kennedy’s still not sufficiently explained assassination, I am filled with that idealistic dream that I had as a youth … Yes, the challenges are many. America is at a low point in its history. But the opportunity for change is here. We have elected a leader who’s proven he can inspire this nation. But we can’t leave change to him alone to realize. It’s up to us, as citizens, to develop grassroots solutions that we can take all the way to the top for implementation … Yes we can!
OBRIGADO … Mahalo. Gracias … I have a poet friend (Judyth Hill) who wrote an internationally acclaimed poem, Wage Peace. One of her lines in the poem calls on folks to learn “thank you” in three languages … I want to thank my two opponents and friends Bill Wenger and Oak Smith for participating in the electoral process and offering voters choices – that most important element in a representative democracy. I have to thank county citizens who believed I have done a good job and thus returned me to office for a fourth term so as to continue my public service on your behalf here and outside the county boundaries … In no small part due to the board’s attention to issues outside the county, we have great relations with our surrounding counties, both blue and red. We are very well connected to federal agencies, who control over two-thirds of the land in our county. We are important players on the state level, through Colorado Counties, Inc. (CCI) and our friendships with state legislators (like Sen. Jim Isgar of Durango and Reps. Kathleen Curry of Gunnison and John Kefalas of Ft. Collins), the Governor and many in his cabinet, and important social change groups like the Colorado Environmental Coalition and the Colorado Progressive Coalition. And we have important friends in D.C., including the aides and staffs of both Senators now (Ken Salazar and Mark Udall) and our U.S. Rep. John Salazar … Plus, I have just been appointed as Chair of the Gateway Communities Subcommittee of the National Association of Counties (a lobbying group for the 3,000-plus counties in the nation), and I’ve been re-elected as one of eight Colorado commissioners on NACo’s Public Lands Steering Committee (CCI paying all expenses for my trips to D.C. and other regional meetings) … This is a heady time for American democracy, with the first black man at the country’s helm. I’m ready to work on your behalf locally, regionally, statewide, and nationally. Please, feel free to contact me and talk about your ideas, issues, whatever. Democracy only works, and representatives can only represent you, when we hear from you, get your input, take your ideas into the political process … Visit my campaign website which I will be keeping alive to help citizens stay informed on things I’m doing over the next four years, www.moregoodtimes.net.
GOOD NEWS … San Miguel was once again the bluest county in the state, beating out both the People’s Republic of Boulder and our Pitkin County neighbors with 77 percent of our voters choosing Obama … And we weren’t alone in the southwestern corner of the Western Slope. Ouray County voted blue this election, and elected a Democrat and friend Lynn Padgett as county commissioner … San Juan County voted blue, and my “ponytail caucus” friend Pete McKay cruised to re-election unopposed. This was the same county where former Commissioner Rich Perino once told Jack Pera and me (representing Sheep Mountain Alliance) when we went over to Silverton to talk about trying to get some support for a wilderness proposal in both our counties that we’d only see wilderness in San Juan County “over my dead body!” … And La Plata went blue, and in spite of a fierce Republican smear campaign our third ponytail caucus colleague Wally White got re-elected as well … Gunnison County went blue, and both Dem commissioners were re-elected, Hap Channel and Paula Swenson.
BAD NEWS … The blue sweep led, I think, to a red backlash in areas that were heavily Republican and had incumbent moderate Dems in office. In Montrose we lost the excellent Commissioner Bill Patterson and in Grand Junction State Rep. Bernie Buescher was unseated – particularly unfortunate as Bernie was slated to become Speaker of the House and in a terrific position to aid the Western Slope on a host of issues … And in a number of states around the nation citizens voted to make gay marriage illegal. I think the state ought to get out of the business of marrying people. Marriage is a religious institution, and it’s our churches that ought to marry people. Governments ought to offer civil unions to consenting adults, in order to get legal benefits. But marriage should be the province of churches only. And each church can decide what constitutes marriage for their believers.
DOG GONE IT … My buddy Jim Rosenthal writes: “There has been media speculation about what kind of dog Barack should give to his daughters. I think it should be a pit bull bitch. The name is obvious.”
THE TALKING GOURD
Goddess, met one at a friend's
the other night, red hair
Rubbing up against me,
all tease, with those