Helping Our East End Neighbors but Paying Attention to Our Fiscal Risks
by Art Goodtimes
Jun 20, 2008 | 403 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Around the Cone

VALLEY FLOOR … I know a number of West End folks slammed the County for helping the East End secure their storybook gateway to Telluride’s box canyon (as Lito Tejada-Flores once said, “It should have been a national park”) with a modest (in the overall scheme of things) but important donation to their $50 million condemnation price tag. I think with hindsight the County’s taxpayer donation was well worth it. That iconic open space entrance to the economic engine for the entire region will pay dividends for many years, as Telluride’s ski and festival valuation overflow trickles down to the rest of the county … But I think citizens are wise to question any new large expenditures by the County from now on. The mortgage crisis is devaluing whole cities out here on the West Coast, where I’m still taking care of my dad. The City of Vallejo just declared bankruptcy. The price of transportation – in a nation where transportation is crucial for just about everything – continues to skyrocket. This is definitely a time for tightening the belt. Especially at the County, where we’ve lost the fiscally conservative advocacy of Gordon Glockson, who always insisted we maintain six months operating reserve … Now, more than ever, that fiscal caution will be well advised.


WATER FOR THE HIGH SCHOOL … The county agreed years ago to let the School District make use of its inactive well on the Fairgrounds property in order to water the high school football field. For free. The only catch was that the District had to prove up on the water right – a paperwork process with the state … Last I checked that offer was still good. And I hope the School Board takes advantage of the offer … And if there are money concerns (which in these days of windfall oil profits, when aren’t there money concerns?) I bet EnCana might be right pleased to help the school out with that process, if the School only asked.


SAVING PARADOX … Ridgway’s John Metcalf is very concerned about the new uranium processing mill George Glasnior’s Energy Fuels Resources wants to build in the Paradox Valley (not at the Coke Ovens, as I mistakenly understood, but further down the valley, near the giant open pit uranium workings). He calls it “one of the last unspoiled valleys that retains the character of Old Colorado” … So, he’s holding a wide open photo contest, with $750 in prizes – $300 first place, $200 second place, $100 third and fourth, and a $50 fifth place. Any shutterbug with a machine can enter, young, old, amateur or professional. Entries have to be current year shots of the Paradox Valley, in, around or anywhere on top of. Winners and select other photos will be part of a traveling exhibition for Saving Paradox’s campaign to bring awareness of the threats to this place and to try and save the valley from real estate devaluation, nuclear industrialization and permanent contamination … For more info, check out the website


WEEKLY QUOTA … “Marshall McLuhan said that the media will ultimately democratize the world because the truth will be known.” – Brian Hill, Institute for Cultural Ecology


OY-YOI-YOI … That’s a favorite phrase of my dad. Vincent Bontempi was an actor. He used a lot of Yiddish stage slang, like this reduplicative diminutive of oy (as in oy veh!) … And every so often he slips into a formal clipped British accent he heard at cast parties, although with his uppers out, the precision of the dentals and fricatives misses a beat … As with all tragedies, there’s comedy mixed in. And so while growing progressively more addled with a brain tumor, my dad and I still laugh. Make jokes. And carry on, as men have done for thousands of years. In that twilight zone between aging and dying.


PLATE TECTONICS … Guess the color of the car I saw on a Mountain View street with this California specialty license plate … YTMAN


WORD HORDE … Okay, I’ve heard lots of measurement terms, especially for numbers that go far far beyond billions, gadzillions, and so forth. But, for the life of me, I never heard of a petaflop. Maybe that’s because it sounds more a mad cow with a serious case of the runs than a serious calculation in higher mathematics. But that’s just what it is. According to a recent AP story on the world’s fastest computer, H. Josef Hebert explains that “one petaflop is 1,000 trillion operations per second. Turns out just two years ago no computer had actually performed 100 teraflops – a tenth of the speed of the new IBM/Los Alamos National Lab 6,000-square-foot supercomputer, called the Roadrunner. But in a test last month Roadrunner ran at petaflop speed for two hours.


© 2008 Art Goodtimes


THE TALKING GOURD


Dissection


In the end we find

we can't divorce

the voice

from choice,

or style. The heart

from mind, or guile.

Faced

with those we hope

to know,

the disassembled

parts create

a hole.


-Wendy Videlock

Grand Junction

[first appeared in Smartish Pace]

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