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October 31, 2013
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Vail Daily column: Season of the absurd

Election seasons are so much fun, if exasperating.

So little time. So much baloney.

The dopers want their pot, and they want to buy it legitimately from a neighborhood shop. But dear God they’ve finally found a tax to oppose as if they were in the tea party.

The 18th hole at Vail Golf Course has suddenly emerged from the shadows of more than four decades to become the iconic hole of the valley, and the very linchpin of the Vail Town Council election.

Somehow a referendum a few years ago with over 87 percent support for renovating the clubhouse well enough to be an attractive venue for weddings now is cause to complain that the council doesn’t listen to anyone.

Only in Vail.

A council that has negotiated the shoals of recession and a so far spotty national recovery with a master’s touch to lead ski towns around the world is just a bunch of evil nincompoops to a handful of neighbors and golfers who see a Pepsi Center rising out of the 18th. Yep, it will go nicely with the Elitch Gardens taking over Beaver Creek.

And it’s not even April Fools. These folks are serious.

Amendment 66, the ambitious plan to do what critics say we need to do to help make our education system healthy again, is nothing more than some union and Democratic conspiracy to pay off PERA, the troubled public employees’ retirement account, according to the same people.

Of course, “throwing money” never works. Except when we call it “investment.”

The children are our future. Unless there’s even a reasonable call to invest in the little darlings.

Then it’s the catastrophic notion of a two-tiered income tax, as if only California or New Jersey ever did that. The end times are nigh, apparently. Never mind that Colorado did just fine in other eras with tiers and twice the income tax burden sought in this election, or the devil’s play of a tiered system like, um, federal income taxes.

But just think, only $9.99 for all these improvements! Buy now! Buy now! How to build trust? Try some snake oil in a pro-66 campaign that has made a too-good-to-be-true deal (and it is) out of just $133, based on the median annual salary of Coloradans that just happens to fall in the lower tier tax.

Sure, most folks will pay quite a bit more in reality. But shhhh. Don’t tell them that. Might lead to a serious conversation about the costs and benefits of this proposal. Can’t trust the people with that, after all.

In Gypsum, there will be folks who don’t visit the fire station and won’t agree to the modest property tax rate increase needed to keep a poor district poor. Then they’ll wonder — outraged! — at where the firefighters are when they need them now, when lives are at stake.

And so it goes. Each silly season brings with it unequal helpings of earnest emotional tugs, confusion and comedy — ah, with a few precious drops of logic sprinkled about for seasoning.

It’s a wonder we lurch along as well as we do. Call it the regularly scheduled proof that democracy is the very worst form of governance, only it’s better than any other form of rule.

Plainly, the founders had a sense of humor among all their other attributes.

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The VailDaily Updated Nov 1, 2013 06:08PM Published Oct 31, 2013 08:21PM Copyright 2013 The VailDaily. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.