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Only 42 days left to choose

Have you ever had one of those mornings when you’re doing the laundry and being the good house-husband that you are, you whip out the pants of your 5-year-old straight from the drier because you don’t want them to winkle, but little did you know that he had what felt like a 5-pound metallic car toy in his right front pocket which snapped like a 20-pound wet towel directly into your family jewels thus causing an immediate crumble to the floor followed by a severe desire to return to bed for the remainder of the day?No? Consider yourself lucky.Anyway, after last week’s stunningly positive response to the simple fact that the 2004 presidential election is a done deal for Bush (it still looks that way this week), I decided to go out on the proverbial political limb and provide my current views concerning local races and issues 42 days in advance.Remembering that I am in possession of very few skills other than angering the right people at the right time, let’s cut straight to the chase of Amendment 34, which proposes amending the Colorado Constitution to allow property owners to recover damages through the use of lawsuits against construction companies that do shoddy work. A big NO. We need more frivolous lawsuits like we need more NBA players with hotel chair fetishes.Amendment 35 will increase the taxes on tobacco products sold in the state to help fund children’s medical care, cancer prevention, anti-smoking programs and other health problems.This will pass. Although I personally loathe any new tax, this warm and fuzzy tariff aimed directly at those who still smoke and chew is at least levied only upon those stupid enough to still smoke and chew. Amendment 36 proposes eliminating the state’s winner-take-all system of casting presidential electoral votes. Not a chance. A stupid attempt by stupid people (though not all smokers and chewers, I bet) who refuse to accept the stupid fact that the stupid 2000 election is over.Amendment 37 seeks to increase the amount of renewable energy – wind, solar and water – that large energy providers will be required to make available to consumers over the next 10 years. It’s an anti-Big Oil amendment being proposed concurrently with gas prices approaching $3 a gallon and the Middle East being the same hellhole of manure it has always been. This will pass easier than Arafat’s head though Chirac’s bowels. Vail Referendums 5A and B: Increasing property taxes so out-of-town golfers will have a nicer 19th hole.Sorry, but I don’t think so. Then again, property taxes in Vail have always been comparably low and passing the hat around town has never been fiscally efficient. At least one has a chance.Minturn’s Referendum 2 B: A tax-free way to increase town coffers and cover up a concrete batch plant and gravel pit while darn near guaranteeing an increase in Minturn restaurant and retail visits.By all means, it should pass easier than Ritz-Carlton bran muffins through a Bachelor Gulch bear (the ones wearing bullet-proof fur, of course), but will probably fail due to apathetic folks who’ll wait until Nov. 3to say, “What about the RV park?”Down to the nitty gritty:Prosecutor in 5th Judicial District: Mark (woulda-coulda-still shoulda) Hulbert vs. some guy named Brown who practices law way over in the Front Range and probably can’t even say the word “Kobe” without a smirk.Hulbert has already taken a fall for a lot of other folks who deserved it one heckuva lot more. I think he still has, and well deserves, a good chance.Eagle County commissioner, District 2: A former local mayor (well, he will be by election time), a formerly long-haired tree-hugger, and a former local sheriff.Tough call. One I spent a great deal of time with on a weekly basis during the ”90s, one I’ve spent a little time with once every few months for years, and one I luckily never had to spend any time with at all, yet all three are loaded with qualifications for the position.Buz Reynolds could easily be the most experienced and best informed candidate of the bunch, providing him the greatest chance for an independent since Ross Perot.Arn Menconi has learned the political ropes by leaps and bounds, as verified by some of the heavy-hitting names used in his latest campaign ads. The fact that his beautiful wife, Anne, has a due date the first week of November might be an omen, but whether positive or negative is difficult to tell at this point.A.J. Johnson has a lot of friends. Friends are good.Eagle County commissioner, District 1: Richard DeClark and Peter Runyon are both relative political newcomers, and as long as neither takes campaign rhetoric seriously (read: personal), it could be very tight on Nov. 2.Avon Town Council: Anyone named Nottingham has a good shot at winning, and similar for the incumbent if he can remember to think through his words before allowing them to depart from his lips. Amy Phillips has the tenacity to serve – I’ll certainly give her that – and Ron Moreno has spent years impressing parents valleywide with his dedication and patience. Along with the lawyer and the one with the cool last name, all four seem to be pretty even for the moment. Don’t forget the last day to register to vote in this election is Oct. 4th, and that everything I said above could change at any time, except for maybe the way I pull clothes out of the drier.Richard Carnes of Edwards writes a weekly column for the Daily. He can be reached at poor@vail.net


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