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Peterson: Miracle on Folsom Street

Finally.

That’s how Jeff Campbell described his emotions on Saturday night when, in a blink, Colorado football went from unwatchable to must-see TV again.

Yes, Buffs fans, there is a Santa Claus, and he’s coming down the chimney bringing “Louis” with him. Deion Sander Claus, that is.

“I mean, finally, we got somebody that is legit,” said Campbell, the proud Battle Mountain High School alum who starred at CU in the late 1980s before playing five NFL seasons, the last with the Broncos.

Campbell, whose mother lives in Singletree, and who was skiing deep powder in Vail on Thursday, said like other proud Buffs, he’d watched hopelessly as the program fell deeper into the abyss of irrelevancy over the last two decades.

“Just terrible, because we had worked so hard to put that program in a national spotlight,” he said. “For about six or seven years there, we were ranked in the top 10 every year. And to see it decline to the point that it’s gotten to now has just been demoralizing.”

I was 9 years old when my family moved to Boulder in 1989 during Campbell’s senior season. The Buffs went 11-0 before losing to Notre Dame in the Orange Bowl. That team played with one heartbeat while dedicating the season to Sal Aunese, the dynamic option quarterback who was Campbell’s college roommate and who put Colorado on the national map under coach Bill McCartney. Aunese died way too early from stomach cancer, at age 21, in the fall of that unforgettable season.

A year later, the Buffs returned to the Orange Bowl to win their only national title. Four years later, when I was 14 years old, Kordell Stewart launched a 72-yard missile on the final play from scrimmage at the Big House in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that was deflected into the hands of Michael Westbrook to stun the third-ranked Wolverines and a crowd of 106,407.

It’s a play that my childhood friends and I re-enacted about a gazillion times after the game on the South Boulder street where I grew up.

Watching Westbrook haul in that prayer — I got the same kind of jolt when the email from CU Athletic Director Rick George hit my inbox at 8:27 on Saturday night with a five-word subject line: “It’s time for Coach Prime.”

Yes, there’s no cheering in the press box, and the cliché that old sportswriters hate sports has some truth to it — but there’s also no denying that those pure things you loved as a child truly never leave you. At least those feelings don’t.

Then again, I would’ve believed that Santa Claus was real before I believed that Deion Sanders was really coming to Boulder until that email landed and my phone exploded with texts.  

It’s why, 17 hours later, I had to be at Coach Prime’s introductory press conference to see it for myself. I’ve attended and forgotten more press conferences than I can remember, but this was unlike any I’d ever seen up close. In a packed room that needed some airflow, you couldn’t help but get goosebumps when Coach Prime stepped to the mic and held forth.

Do you believe? Michael Slevin sure does. Or, as the legendary Keith Jackson called him on the ABC broadcast of the Miracle at Michigan game, “Mike Slevin from Vail.”

Slevin was the Buffs’ freshman kickoff specialist for that game. He’s now the president and owner of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Colorado Properties here in the Vail Valley, but those memories of his days kicking for Coach Mac and Rick Neuheisel and playing with Stewart, Westbrook, Matt Russell, Koy Detmer and the great Rashaan Salaam, Colorado’s lone Heisman winner, are never far from his mind.

Slevin joked in an email that I was kind to reach out to “a kicker who made his name doing kickoffs and in his first-ever football game, missed his only extra-point attempt off the left upright of a 3/4 empty Folsom Field against Northeast Louisiana.”

“The echo of the ball hitting the metal upright still haunts me to this day,” he wrote.

He also said, beyond the incredible hype that Sanders brings to everything he does, and the immediate buzz around a program that many around the country considered the worst Power 5 job in college football, he sees similarities between Coach Prime and Coach Mac.

“The program needed a boost (understatement of the year) and while Coach Prime brings that with his approach, passion, and name recognition, in the era of NIL, social media followers, and hopes to make it to the NFL, Coach Prime is still dealing with 18 -22-year-olds,” he wrote. “What separated Coach Mac from other coaches was the discipline he instilled upon the players.”

Cases in point: If you were five minutes early to practice, you were late. If you didn’t go to class, he would know, since Slevin said McCartney made his assistants walk through the classroom and take attendance.

“It was a caring environment but accountability and commitment were everything,” Slevin wrote. “I only heard Coach Prime’s press conference, but if he follows through with the type of environment and structure he outlined, not only will Colorado attract the talent necessary to compete, but each member of the program will leave a better person than when they arrived. I felt that that was Coach Mac’s legacy — you were better after being in his program and system.”

You got the same vibe from Coach Prime’s viral introductory meeting with the Buffs players in which he said earrings and hats were out — and that he was bringing his Louis Vuitton luggage with him. Translation: top recruits, heralded transfers, and coaches with instant name recognition. 

Ryan Sutter, America’s favorite firefighter, certainly dug it. He walked on at Colorado during the McCartney era as an unheralded recruit and worked his way up the depth chart from a special teamer to a nickel safety to finally starting his senior year in 1997, in which he led the team in tackles with 170. As far as he knows, he still owns the CU record for most tackles in a single game.

Sutter also said, when reached Thursday driving from Denver to his home in Avon, that he’s been following Coach Prime on social media for years — for the same reasons he was so attracted to play for Coach Mac.

“It seems like Deion not only wants to bring the program back to prominence, but also he wants the students to represent the program at the highest level as people,” Sutter said. “Coach Mac was big about that too. I’ll always remember the speech where he said: ‘You have two things in life. And that’s your last name and you representing this football team. You know, don’t screw either of those up.'”

“I think that meeting was fantastic,” Campbell gushed. “I mean, he basically is laying it down. He wants to know: Do you want to be here or not? And there are going to be some of you that aren’t here and that’s just the way it goes. But you know what? Welcome to Division I sports. That’s how it should be.”

Yep, you’ve either got it, or you don’t got it. And Colorado fans now have something that every college football fan around the country might regret not having in short order as Coach Prime gets to work. You always throw up the Hail Mary because sometimes it lands.

It’s gonna be a great Christmas.

Nate Peterson is the editor of the Vail Daily. Email him at npeterson@vaildaily.com

Best: Enough power in a heat wave in 2025? State officials wonder

It got hot last summer across Colorado. Denver had 67 days of temperature that hit 90 and above, the third most in a century and a half of thermometer-watching.

What if it got much hotter, say 115 degrees for several days? And instead of being relatively isolated, like the Pacific Northwest oven in June 2021, this heat dome caused air conditioners from Sacramento to El Paso to Colorado Springs to work overtime?

Would there be electricity sufficient to meet the demand in Aspen, Boulder and Sterling? Grand Junction, Alamosa and Steamboat Springs? Amid this record heat, would Coloradans be left without electricity like the ones that occurred with the rolling blackouts in California in 2020?

Last week, on a day when the thermometer in Denver struggled to get above freezing, members of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission started hashing through this and other questions related to what utility planners call resource adequacy. They indicated they’re most focused not on the longer term. Instead, they’re thinking about 2025 and 2026.

Utilities have always tried to maintain reserve margins of generating capacity. Most use a standard expectation of not meeting demand just one day in 10 years.

Now we’re rapidly closing coal plants. They were never entirely reliable, evidenced by the many times that Colorado’s youngest coal plant, Comanche 3, had to suspend operations in recent years. But they did run when on those rare times when the prairies become still, unruffled by the usual winds.

February 2021, during Winter Storm Uri, was one of those times of quiet. Colorado’s second-largest utility, Tri-State Generation and Transmission, burned fuel oil to generate electricity.

Natural gas plants would seem to supply an answer, and Xcel Energy, Colorado’s largest utility, plans to add generating capacity in the next few years. But Nicholas Garza, a researcher in the emerging issues division of the utilities commission, told PUC commissioners that natural gas has its own vulnerabilities in such times, as was evident in Texas during Uri. Xcel also had its natural gas problems during that storm.

The warming climate has also become more volatile. This poses a challenge to existing electrical infrastructure, both renewables and fossil fuels.

In time, with new technological development and production at scale, some of the limitations of renewables may be addressed with longer-term storage. Construction of transmission to knit together diverse areas of the country may also diminish the threat of power outages. It’s extremely rare that it can be hot as Hades in both Seattle and Salida.

For now, though, state regulators are sweating about the summer heat. Wildfires could exacerbate the situation. A study by researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research found that California’s wildfires in September 2020 darkened the skies so much that solar power production during peak hours was slashed by 10% to 30%. 

Then there’s hydropower. It constitutes between 20% and 25% of the generating capacity in the West. But, of course, the giant reservoirs in the Colorado River as well as their smaller siblings in the headwaters — think Flaming Gorge and Blue Mesa — keep dropping in water levels.

“Some hydrologists are saying that Hoover and Glen Canyon could get below (minimum power pool) by 2026 or 2027, and that takes 8 to 9 gigawatt-hours out of the wholesale market,” said John Gavan, a PUC commissioner.

Utilities such as Xcel Energy mostly have their own generating assets and also contracts for firm deliveries through power-purchase agreements. But a growing number of utilities are buying growing quantities of power from the wholesale power market. This assumes available power that is usually there but not guaranteed.

This concerns Gavan. With Colorado’s two investor-owned utilities and with Tri-State, Colorado can look over its shoulders about reliability. It lacks that oversight of municipal utilities and Colorado’s four independent utilities. Another cooperative, United Power, the second’s largest, also has vowed to become independent.

Guzman Energy and Crossover Capital have emerged as private — and unregulated — suppliers.

Gavan suggested that legislation being readied may attempt to impose oversight of this growing component of the electrical market.

Another element of this story is the coming demand for electricity for transportation and to replace fossil fuel combustion in buildings. Eric Blank, the PUC chair, estimated that beneficial electrification could grow demand for electricity by 30%.

The takeaway here is that you can expect more wariness as we move forward about avoiding missteps. Nobody I know argues that shutting down coal plants is a mistake. They’re horribly polluting and the power has become expensive. But neither is the precise path forward altogether clear.

Allen Best tracks the energy and water transitions in Colorado and beyond at BigPivots.com.

Financial Focus: Advice can help when making charitable gifts

Now that it’s the holiday season, gifts are probably on your mind — and you might intend for some of those gifts to go to charities. Although your intentions are good, you could be shortchanging both your recipients and yourself with your method of giving. But with some guidance, you can make choices that work well for you and those charitable groups you support.

Of course, you could simply give money to these groups. However, by donating other types of assets, can you increase the value of your gift and gain greater tax benefits, too?

It’s certainly possible, but your ability to gain any tax advantages depends somewhat on whether or not you can itemize deductions on your tax return. Due to legislation passed a few years ago that significantly increased the standard deduction, many people may no longer be itemizing. But if you still itemize, you can generally deduct up to 60% of your adjusted gross income for cash donations to IRS-qualified charities.

 Another contribution strategy involves donating other assets, such as stocks. You could donate stocks directly to a charitable group, but you might gain more benefits by making an irrevocable contribution to a donor-advised fund. Again, assuming you can itemize, you can deduct the full fair-market value of the asset, up to 30 percent of your adjusted gross income, and your contributions can be invested in mutual funds or similar vehicles.

The contributions have the opportunity for growth, and distributions to the charity are tax-free. You can then decide, on your own timetable, which IRS-qualified charitable groups you would like to receive the money. Furthermore, if you donate stocks that have risen in value, you won’t incur potential capital gains taxes that you would have when you eventually sold the stocks. These taxes can be considerable, especially if you’ve held the stocks for a long time. (You’ll want to consult with your tax advisor on how charitable gifts can affect your taxes, especially if you’re thinking of using a donor-advised fund.)

These charitable donation methods are not secrets, and they are available to many people — you don’t have to be wealthy to employ them. Yet, here’s an interesting statistic:

Those who work with a financial advisor on charitable strategies are more than three
times as likely to donate non-cash assets such as stocks than those who contribute to charities but don’t work with an advisor, according to an August 2022 survey from financial services firm Edward Jones and Morning Consult, a global data intelligence company. These findings suggest that many more people could be taking advantage of tax-smart charitable giving moves — if only they had some help or guidance.

Also, by getting some professional financial assistance, you may find it easier to implement your charitable giving decisions within your overall financial strategy, which is designed to help you meet all your important long-term goals, such as achieving a comfortable retirement.

Your instinct to help support charitable groups is a worthy one – and by getting some help, you can turn this impulse into actions that may work to everyone’s benefit.

This article was written for use by Edward Jones financial advisers. Edward Jones and its associates and financial advisers do not provide tax or legal advice. Chuck Smallwood, Bret Hooper, Tina DeWitt, Kevin Brubeck, Charlie Wick, Jeremy Lepore, Jessie Steinmetz and Mark Eaton are financial advisers with Edward Jones Investments and can be reached in Edwards at 970-926-1728, in Eagle at 970-328-0361, 970-328-0639 or 970-328-4959, and in Avon at 970-688-5420.

Romer: Celebrating political compromise to solve national challenges

Those who know me well — or even a little — know that I celebrate moderation and political compromise. I think it is important for both sides to give a bit to get important work done around items such as infrastructure and immigration reform. As a self-described “radical centrist,” I try to view issues from a perspective of thoughtful moderation, as opposed to selfish extremism.

It is why I am excited about a recent proposal by Sens. Kyrsten Sinema (D) and Thom Tillis (R), which seeks rare bipartisan agreement on immigration legislation. Roughly 2 million “Dreamers” would get a path to citizenship in exchange for stronger border security measures under a loose blueprint for an immigration deal circulating among Senate offices. The agreement would legalize undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children who face uncertain futures in the U.S. amid legal challenges to the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It would also shore up asylum processing at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Since its inception in 2012, DACA has been a tremendous success, enabling hundreds of thousands of young people who have called the U.S. home since childhood to grow their careers, families and lives here. Ten years in, DACA recipients are no longer children. Even as they have grown and changed, the long-term security of DACA has not, and hundreds of thousands of these young people still live day to day facing the overwhelming uncertainty around their future in a country they have called home for decades.

Dreamers are economic multipliers who benefit our economy and add to our communities. Consider:

  • They live in every state across the country, work in virtually every sector of the economy, and contribute tens of billions of dollars to the national GDP every year. They are nurses, teachers and engineers, and are contributing to their families, communities and our economy. 
  • Most DACA recipients are working; more than three-quarters of DACA recipients participate in the labor force, contributing an estimated $11.7 billion to the U.S. economy each year. Dreamers also directly contribute to the success of numerous U.S. companies. 
  • According to the Coalition for the American Dream, At least 72 percent of the top 25 Fortune 500 companies employ Dreamers — including IBM, Walmart, Apple, General Motors, Amazon, JPMorgan Chase, Home Depot, and Wells Fargo, among others. Those companies alone generate almost $3 trillion in annual revenue.

When you turn on the TV or log onto the internet, you see an America that is bitterly divided between liberal and conservative. The ideologies have drifted so far apart that it is increasingly hard to find a middle ground on which to reach a compromise and those who do tend to face primary races. Despite that, a pathway to citizenship combined with increased border security is good politics and good policy and is overwhelmingly popular across party lines. 

Right now, the Senate is sitting on a bipartisan citizenship and border security bill. While a solution is long overdue, it’s not too late for Republicans and Democrats to come together to make bipartisan decisions in Congress. The challenge with finding a middle ground is there is no perfect solution and neither side will be 100% happy, but that’s what compromise is all about. You shouldn’t throw out the good just because it’s not perfect.

My expectations are tempered since I’ve seen several bipartisan immigration deals fall apart in the past 15-plus years, but regardless it is good to see pragmatic, solution-oriented proposals coming out of Washington D.C., and we encourage our elected officials to support this proposal.

Chris Romer is president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership, the regional chamber of commerce. Learn more at VailValleyPartnership.com.

McClarrinon: Here’s how you can help loved ones grieve during the holidays

The holidays can be an isolating experience for people grieving the death of a loved one under normal circumstances. This year has been especially challenging for families who live apart, who haven’t been able to grieve together, and they need their friends more than ever.

The holiday season starts somewhere in November and goes all the way until New Year’s Eve. This can be a long and stressful time for a griever. In this column, I hope to give you a few suggestions on how to support a friend during the holidays. 

Starting a conversation about grief during the holidays may not feel like a natural thing to do. We are not used to talking openly about sad emotions and this can feel even more awkward in the “season to be jolly.”

Here are some tips that will help you support a friend:

The first one is to listen, listen, listen! When your desire might be always to help someone feel better, this simply isn’t possible. The real key is learning how to be a “heart with ears.” Listening without interruption or comparing it to your experiences can be quite difficult, but think of it as a one-way conversation where your job is to be in the moment and really hear what is being said.

Do not drift off thinking of what you are going to say or do next. Avoid reassuring them that things will be OK, or they will be fine in time — they won’t be. Those who are grieving are adapting to their new normal and need to be heard. They might cry, or say things that make you feel sad too. Let that be OK.

It’s hard seeing someone you care about hurting, but allowing them to talk while you listen will help them enormously. Resist offering advice or making comparisons. When I am with a griever, I figuratively and sometimes literally sit on my hands to remind myself to just listen. When they are finished, offer them a hug (if this is possible) and thank them for sharing their feelings with you. 

Another way to help a grieving friend is to say their loved one’s name. Most people who have been bereaved are terrified that the person who died will be forgotten. Yet people around them are reluctant to mention the loved one’s name for fear of causing hurt or upset. This feeds the fear that other people don’t care or have forgotten in a horrible negative cycle.

Use the name of the person who died whenever you can. I promise you won’t make them feel worse. Yes, they may have an emotional reaction. That is normal, and let that be OK with you. My mother passed away 14 years ago and even to this day, I love when someone says her name out loud, “Celine!” I need to catch my breath and it never upsets me. 

Lastly, it is hard to know when the best time to talk will be. When you speak to your friend or meet with them, you are not going to know initially where their feelings are at that moment. Grief is like an ocean — it is constantly moving, arrives in ways that range from a current tugging at your ankles, to giant waves that knock you off your feet and pull you under.

Sometimes it is a relief to talk about it, and sometimes it is anything but, and the topic should be avoided. So how can you know which it is right now? Ask. For example, “Would you like to talk about John right now or something else?”

Remember those waves and the fact that sometimes no matter what you say you can’t win. Let it go — it is not about you. It is their grief talking. Reassure them that you will be there when they do want to talk if it isn’t now. When your friend is ready, it is sometimes handy to have some questions that can lead the conversation in a thoughtful way.

Asking, “How do you feel?” is often not helpful, as it seems an impossible question to answer. Instead, I suggest these questions: What was your favorite activity together? What do you miss most about (name)? If you could have one last conversation, what would you talk about? 

In the end, it comes down to being available for grieving friends when they are ready. You will be supportive when you listen with your whole being. Grievers are not broken — they do not need to be fixed. They do need to be listened to with dignity and respect.

Seeing your friend in ongoing pain can be hard. If you feel like they need additional support, I would love you to tell them about the Grief Recovery Method. Feeling better is not about forgetting or pretending the death didn’t happen. Feeling better is about easing the emotional pain they are carrying with them daily so that they can start sleeping better, concentrating, eating and even enjoying life again.

Once they have learned the action steps for handling their grief, they can cherish the memories of their loved one without it turning painful. If you are interested in attending a group, the next Grief Recovery Support Group starts Jan. 17 in Edwards from 6-8 pm. If you want to talk or ask questions about the Grief Recovery program, please email me at celynninvail@gmail.com. I am listening. 

Celynn McClarrinon is a certified grief recovery specialist. Connect with her at CelynnMcclarrinoncgrs.com.

School Views: A look back at the first semester

With just under two weeks remaining in the fall semester, it’s time to look back and reflect on how the year has started. Like most, I’m amazed at how quickly we get to this point.

It wasn’t long ago that I was enjoying summer activities. And yet, here we are, fall sports in the books, winter athletics just getting started, ski resorts opening more terrain daily and another academic semester wrapping up. The 2022-23 school year has been a welcomed change for most. We’re no longer arguing about facemasks or concerned about school shutdowns, and I, for one, am thankful.

While COVID-19 will never go away, we have accepted the fact that it is part of our new normal. It allows for our students and staff to focus on the task at hand: education.

Focusing our efforts back into the classroom, we have taken the next step in our standards-based grading efforts. Working with our teachers, students and parents we continue to have discussions about what it is, why we are doing it, and what it means for our students. If you’re interested, visit our website to view a series of videos we’ve released to provide an explanation of the process and answer frequently asked questions.

As always, if you have additional questions, please reach out, my door is always open. This is the work we should be doing, and I am proud that as time goes on I continue to see greater buy-in from everyone around me. Change can be hard, but when we work together, we come out the other side better for it, and that is exactly what we are striving for.

Outside of the classroom, it has been an exciting year as well across the valley. The Battle Mountain High School girls softball team played its inaugural season this fall, after student-athletes pitched the idea to the Board of Education last year. The boys’ soccer teams at Battle Mountain and Eagle Valley High School qualified for the state tournament. Eagle Valley advanced to the second round while Battle Mountain improved on last year’s semifinal finish by making it to the state championship game. In cross country, both Battle Mountain girls and boys teams had strong seasons, while we also witnessed one of the most awe-inspiring comebacks I’ve ever beared witness to. Lily Whelan, “you can do hard things,” and you remind us all that we can too.

The Eagle Valley High School girls’ volleyball team had a terrific season that culminated with hosting two playoff games, winning the first before falling in the second round. The Devils also had their very first girls’ rugby season this fall and ended up finishing sixth in the state tournament. And there weren’t just student achievements. Eagle Valley’s very own Sarah Brubeck was named the 2022 Colorado High School PE Teacher of the Year by SHAPE Colorado. Congratulations to these, and many others, whose accomplishments make bragging about Eagle County School District so easy.

We also saw an exciting state ballot measure pass that will have a terrific impact on our schools. Our state voted to approve Proposition FF, “Free Lunch for All,” so that all of our students will have a well-balanced lunch every day they are in school. This is a win for our students and the state of Colorado, so for those of you that voted in favor, I thank you.

I will continue to speak with state legislators regarding the overall funding model of K-12 education in our state. As I recently wrote in School Views, that is a pervasive issue that holds schools back in Colorado, given its broken financing model. While that feels like a large task, I am motivated by the amazing accomplishments of our district. I appreciate the ability to look back at all we’ve done, and am inspired by the staff members, students and families who make up our district.

Philip Qualman is the superintendent of Eagle County School District. Email him at philip.qualman@eagleschools.net.

Goldberg: Sorry, Iowa and New Hampshire. Having voters choose candidates is bad for democracy

At President Biden’s behest, the Democratic National Committee is poised to throw Iowa and New Hampshire under the bus. Assuming he gets his way, the new order will be South Carolina, followed by Nevada, New Hampshire, Georgia and Michigan.

It’s fine with me.

I like both Iowa and New Hampshire, but the idea that these two states have some divinely ordained role in our elections is silly — and even costly. For instance, were it not for the Iowa caucuses, America probably wouldn’t be stuck with ethanol mandates. This government moonshine is bad for cars, the environment and the economy (outside of corn-producing states).

But Biden’s move is little more than deckchair shuffling. The real cost of primaries — all of them — is that they are bad for democracy.

We should declare the American experiment with primaries — presidential and congressional — a failure and find a better way. In the early 1970s, the United States became the first and only country where parties outsourced candidate selection entirely to voters (though France did start experimenting with primaries in recent years).

Parties are essential to democracy, but that doesn’t mean they need to be internally democratic. The military, the Department of Justice, newspapers, even the traditional family — all vital democratic institutions — don’t outsource decisions to voters.

That’s what our parties have done, and it’s made them weak. Weak parties encourage strong partisanship.

Primaries worked OK for a while because party insiders, donors and ideological stakeholders had the ability to weed out bad candidates in what political scientists call “the invisible primary.” But over time, thanks to campaign finance laws that sidelined the parties and elevated small donors in combination with rising polarization, primaries now tend to promote candidates on the left and right that are more ideologically extreme than the typical voters in either party.

The parties have become captured by their bases and the activist cadres — in and out of the media — who keep them whipped up in a constant state of anger, particularly at the other party.

The best illustration of this is the GOP’s inability to squarely deal with the problem of Donald Trump’s election denial and his more recent demand that the Constitution be terminated in order to reinstall him as president.

Parties are in the election business, in the same way Major League Baseball is in the baseball business. They have a vested interest in popular respect for, and faith in, the democratic process, grounded in the Constitution. If a baseball team owner declared that the umpires were rigging the scoreboards and that his team really won the World Series, despite the actual score, the MLB would recognize that as a direct threat to the integrity of the game itself, and act accordingly.

The GOP won’t act accordingly because of the stranglehold the primaries have on the party and Trump’s ability to fatally wound electable but non-subservient Republicans in primaries. Whether he threatened violence in his speech preceding the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol is hotly debated. But what isn’t debatable is that he threatened Republicans with primary challenges if they refused to go along with his lawless scheme: “…you have to get your people to fight. And if they don’t fight, we have to primary the hell out of the ones that don’t fight. We primary them. We’re going to. We’re going to let you know who they are.”

Elected Republicans are still afraid of primary voters more loyal to Trump than to the party or, now, the Constitution, which is why they’re so reluctant to condemn his lies.

Ideally, we’d go back to something closer to the system that produced Republican nominees like Lincoln, Coolidge and Eisenhower. Nominating conventions where party leaders picked candidates would be a vast improvement.

But that’s not in the cards anytime soon.

Switching to “jungle primaries” is one popular idea. Or, the GOP could simply revise its rules — implemented in 2012 — that favor front-runners. In many GOP primaries, whoever wins gets extra delegates even if they only received a modest plurality of the votes. Recall that Trump never won a majority of the votes in a state primary until he all but sewed up the 2016 nomination.

Trump’s standing has taken a beating of late — costing the party the Senate, dining with bigots and calling for rescinding the Constitution will do that — but there’s still probably a sizable group that will vote for him no matter what. That means we could see a replay of 2016.

A strong party that jealously guarded its own interests wouldn’t let that happen. Unfortunately, the GOP is not merely weak; it’s cowardly.

Jonah Goldberg is editor-in-chief of The Dispatch and the host of The Remnant podcast. His Twitter handle is @JonahDispatch.

Roberts: Finding common ground to solve problems

To the voters of Colorado’s 8th State Senate District: Thank you.

Last month, tens of thousands of voters across Central and Northwest Colorado filled out their ballots with our state’s future in mind, and I am honored to have earned your trust to serve as your next state senator.

Whether or not you voted for me, thank you for your participation in our electoral process and for helping shape our government. I also thank my opponent, Matt Solomon, who ran a vigorous campaign in which we both traveled thousands of miles and attended countless events to share our views and answer your questions. 

One of the best parts about the campaign was the opportunity to meet and hear from people across the 10 counties of this district. At every town hall, candidate forum, and door on which I knocked, I heard from you about the challenges you face, the ideas you have, and what makes Eagle County a place where you are proud to live.

Further, I am convinced more now than ever that we all have so much more in common than what divides us. Unfortunately, elections can bring out sharp differences, distractions from the real issues, and unending hyperbole on television, in our mailboxes, and online — and it seems to get worse each election.

Yet, in person, I know we can work together to find common ground and focus on solving problems. I know that because I’ve seen it happen firsthand here in our communities. That is why I see this job as being a voice for everyone, not just those who voted for me.

I renew my pledge here to always put the needs of our region above politics. I know that not everyone will agree with me 100 percent of the time, but you can count on me to cast votes and introduce legislation with the needs of our communities at the forefront. Furthermore, I will always be available to you to explain my position and listen to your feedback. 

After hearing from so many of you on the campaign trail, I am energized to get to work to protect our way of life and offer solutions to the challenges Eagle County faces. In anticipation of the upcoming legislative session, I have already been working with leaders across the district and my Republican and Democratic colleagues to draft bills that address our region’s unique needs. Among my top priorities for this upcoming legislative session are developing more workforce housing, revitalizing our rural economies and agriculture industry, lowering the cost of living for working families, championing our public education system, and protecting our water. 

I heard loud and clear that the cost of living in Eagle County is unsustainable for many of our working families. With a dearth of affordable housing and the cost of basic goods increasing due to global inflation, too many families have had to make significant financial sacrifices to remain in our mountain towns. In my time as a state representative, I’ve had a relentless focus on lowering the cost of living and will not let up now.

We secured over $500 million to build and maintain affordable housing, cut taxes for child care centers, and created more affordable health insurance options for individuals and small businesses — among many other efforts to help you keep more of the money you earn, which are starting to take effect now. I will keep building off this work to ensure that working families across our region can afford to live and thrive here.

As we experience more droughts, wildfires and other effects of climate change, I will continue to prioritize protecting our precious water. We have already passed legislation to invest in our state’s water plan, mitigate drought by incentivizing turf lawn replacement and expand the in-stream flow program to protect our rivers and agriculture. Looking ahead, I plan to advocate that we invest even more in protecting our water and our water delivery systems to ensure the Western Slope maintains an essential water supply in light of drought and out-of-state demands. 

On Jan. 9, 35 State Senators and 65 state house representatives from across the state will convene at the Capitol for our 120-day session to introduce, debate and vote on bills. I am deeply humbled by the honor to serve you and the 10 counties of Senate District 8. Thank you for this privilege. 

Your ideas and feedback greatly inform my work as a legislator. Please reach out to me anytime at SenatorDylanRoberts@gmail.com, on my cell at 970-846-3054, or join me at an upcoming town hall meeting online or in person.

Senator-elect Dylan Roberts currently serves Eagle County and Routt County in the Colorado State House. Starting Jan. 9, he will serve as state senator for Senate District 8, comprised of Clear Creek, Eagle, Garfield, Gilpin, Grand, Jackson, Moffat, Rio Blanco, Routt, and Summit counties.

Robbins: Representatives of the people

While it is so familiar to us, we scarcely give it a second thought, it wasn’t always so.

One commits a crime, gets snagged by law enforcement, and, on behalf of We The People, is prosecuted by the district attorney. It is as logical and predictable as seed, rain, sunshine, sprout. But hold on a sec; from whence did this seemingly inherent legal sequence arise? Although it is so familiar to us to almost seem like a law of nature, well … not so fast. It is in fact, at least in a relative sense, something new under the legal sun.

We owe it to the Dutch — a Dutch treat, you might say.

One of the first “district attorneys” in America was Adriaen van der Donck, whose first posting was as “schout” in the colony of Rensselaerswyck. 

OK, a little explainin’ here. 

Back in the day, in Dutch-speaking areas, a schout was a local official appointed to carry out administrative, law enforcement, and prosecutorial tasks. The colony of Rensselaerswyck, roughly in the area of present-day Albany, New York, was then part of New Netherland, controlled if not exactly owned by the Dutch. The beating heart of New Netherland was New Amsterdam which we now know — after the British succeeded the Dutch to the area — as the Big Apple of Manhattan. 

In case you didn’t know it before, the Dutch, following Henry Hudson waggling up the river in 1609 that now bears his name, and claiming the surrounding area for the Dutch (for whom he was sailing though he, himself, was thoroughly an Englishman) were the original European settlers of Manhattan and environs. The Dutch began to settle what we now know as the Hudson Valley in 1629.

van der Donck, who was a lawyer and a bit of a rebellious fellow, lived from 1618-1655. Life was short and brutish at the time. Mr. van der Donck died at the age of 35 and, it is believed, he was the victim of an Indian attack.

In a 1975 article on the history of the office, Yale law professor A.J. Reiss observed that, “The first appearance of public prosecutors in the United States occurred when the Dutch founded the colony of New Netherland.” By the time the area was taken by the Duke of York in 1664, the Dutch system of public prosecution was firmly in place and, when the Brits took over, it was simply maintained. 

The “schout” was soon established in five of the original 13 colonies that became the United States. Thereafter, like a lot of other good notions, it spread, ultimately becoming known as the district attorney which has become a familiar British colonial establishment. When the colonies turned on Mother England, not everything being jettisoned by revolution, the office of the DA was subsumed within what became common U.S. practice.

When New York became British, the colony, adopting Dutch custom, appointed a law officer whose job was to prosecute cases on behalf of the government. Historically, the English system had no such office. Who or what before then, you may reasonably be asking, prosecuted crimes? Well… um… no one?

Until the British adoption of the “schout” and its transmogrification into the district attorney, “frontier justice” (although it wasn’t called that; what it was called was something more like retribution) was the rule. The victim of the crime, or his or her relative(s), was responsible for seeking justice. While perhaps personally satisfying, such a practice created neither uniformity nor, perhaps, proportionality; did the punishment fit the crime? Was the proper person punished? Did the punishment lead to a war between the Hatfields and McCoys with brutal tit-for-tat?

Underlying any equitable system of law lies the cores of predictability, uniformity, proportionality, and peaceability. If this misdeed happens, then that consequence shall be paid. Absent such a scheme, there only can be chaos.

The Dutch, the great traders of the world at the time, were enlightened in so many ways. Theirs was a tolerant and egalitarian society. If not exactly “equal” in the terms we think of today, the Dutch at least suffered one another — and suffered “others” and outsiders — without gripe or complaint. For the age, theirs was an integrated society that tolerated free thought, free religious practice, free speech, and an enlightened form of governance that, in part, informed our Founding Fathers. Part and parcel of that system was the schout, which we recognize today as our local DAs, the guys and gals who represent us — We The People — in machinery and prosecution within our criminal courts.

You can thank the forward-thinking Dutch for that — a true and lasting Dutch treat.      

Rohn K. Robbins is an attorney licensed before the Bars of Colorado and California who practices Of Counsel in the Vail Valley with the Law Firm of Caplan & Earnest, LLC. His practice areas include business and commercial transactions; real estate and development; family law, custody, and divorce; and civil litigation. Robbins may be reached at 970-926-4461 or at Rrobbins@CELaw.com. His novels, “How to Raise a Shark (an apocryphal tale),” “The Stone Minder’s Daughter,” and “Why I Walk so Slow” are currently available at fine booksellers everywhere; coming soon, “He Said They Came From Mars.” 

Carnes: Loved DPD drinking VBC at BOP

It was one of those flawless mornings, the bluebird of happiness kind we dream of year-round but rarely have the actual pleasure of experiencing.

Over half a foot of white gold blanketing the valley overnight, 10 inches on the mountain, and my first view across the valley was a picture-perfect postcard of a winter wonderland.

After a few hours the clouds parted, leaving a glorious southern sun to take control, which means it was time to plow, or in my case, blow, but plow sounds a tad less twisted.

An hour later the driveway was clear but the clouds and snow returned, heavier this time, and before mid-afternoon plowing was again needed, thus qualifying as a Double Plow Day (DPD).

The smile never left my face, even though the Birds of Prey (BOP) races were canceled.

Flip to Saturday morning, and this time the view was even more magnificent with sunshine as I drove my wife to work in Beaver Creek (BC) at 7 a.m., the entire drive a visual tribute to what lured so many of us here in the first place.

After watching the United States men’s national team’s run at the World Cup come to a disappointing finish, I returned to BC for the men’s skiing World Cup where Ryan Cochran-Siegle led the Americans, which led me straight to the Beers of Prey (also known as BOP, but one with a potential hangover) to collect my annual BOP 3-ounce sampler collectible beer glass (usually plastic, but let’s not split hairs) to use for the afternoon.

Imagine my surprise to be handed an 8-ounce monster sampler, thinking, “Wow, we’re gonna have to be extra careful with sample pours into this truly World Cup cup.”

Imagine my next surprise for the first pour and being told, “No, we can’t pour into those. Here, use one of these disposable plastic cups instead for each pour.”

What the fudge, I was not allowed to use my BOP World Cup cup and instead had to use a separate toss-in-the-trash-after-each-use cup for each sample?

For a resort constantly patting itself on the back for environmental accomplishments, a few hours later each trashcan was overflowing with thousands of single-use plastic cups, most patrons shaking their heads in disbelief at the absurdity of it all.

Anyway, after an afternoon of sampling and especially enjoying my all-around favorite Vail Brewing Company (VBC) offerings, we headed home to watch the official NBC coverage of the downhill, just to see how the network portrays our personal nirvana.

American results aside, it was entertaining to watch the opening scene for a Beaver Creek TV ad be a “live” shot from Patrol HeadQuarters (PHQ) … in Vail.

Luckily the remaining shots were actually in BC, but hey, at least the announcers wouldn’t stop raving about all the snow and the wonderful conditions on the mountain.

Talk about positive (and sort of free) advertising, if one ignores the costs of the TV ad.

Suffice to say the 2022 BOP ended with a perfect bit of TLC (Talented Local Celebrity) as our own River Radamus skyrocketed from a 57th start all the way to a 16th-place finish, and congrats to our other own Queen Mikaela as Aleksander Aamodt Kilde, her king, continued to rule the kingdom of men’s World Cup racing by winning both races both days.

Leaving me looking forward to the next DPD, ASAP.

Richard Carnes, of Avon, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.