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Politics corrupt this election

Don Rogers
Vail CO, Colorado

One more day. Then one of the dumbest election campaigns in Eagle County history will vanish into the mists. Couldn’t come too soon.

The hard core of the local Republican Party already had a sure victory to defeat the home rule charter on the actual merits of the move toward partial emancipation from strict state control.

Why embarrass themselves by piling on with wild exaggerations, and yes, some outright whoppers about what a pretty straightforward charter might bring?



It’s not as if the public were paying a lick of attention to such an arcane election subject. By mail, a few of us are voting on whether to adopt a document that would be used in part to govern the county. Pretty exciting, right?

Sadly enough, such is the state of citizenship today that not many residents know or care what the county does in the first place, never mind the nuances between state control and “home rule” independence.

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So lawn signs that state the objective opposite of the truth ” “protect” your rights, vote no ” play to folks who dimly believe that home rule has something to do with eminent domain.

And radio ads that flat out fib with a scary gossipy voice claiming that under home rule the elected commissioners would give up all control of the county to the non-elected county administrator. It doesn’t even make sense. It doesn’t have to.

Of course, pointing out the whoppers only leads to more of them. Now, the evil editor is “maligning” all the past commissioners who served the county with distinction. No, just a couple of recent ones whose petty public feuding from the turn of this century has amply demonstrated the weakness in running a government with a $100 million budget by triumvirate. The number alone sets this potential problem up.



There’s also the usual accusation that the Vail Daily news staff has been corrupted into a bunch of Cacioppos because the paper’s editorial stance recommends passage of this second and last draft of a home rule charter as prescribed by state law. There cannot be any more elections on a charter written by the home rule commission elected in 2005.

That’s pretty much the story with every contested election, though. Some among the other side nearly always cook up a conspiracy in the news coverage to match the editorial opinion. Whatever.

In truth, the staff covering this one couldn’t care any less whether this charter passes or not. The prevailing sentiment I pick up from the editors and reporters frankly is amusement over so few caring so much about something that to them means so little.

Among the newsies, I care by far the most about this issue and read the most importance into it. But even I’m not going to lose sleep over whether the charter passes or fails. The county will trundle along just fine either way ” a little better with home rule, to be sure, but it’s just not that big of a deal to get all wacky over.

I’m more confounded by the wild stories cooked up by a few opponents from the core of the local Republican Party. I do believe they’ve twisted what should have been an intellectual debate into a mad drive to just win an election, baby. That did irk me. I feel cheated, and I believe the community has been cheated.

But hey, that’s politics. That’s why the political parties should not have a foothold in county governance. Only mischief there, and a handful of these folks made a lot of it this past month.

What you gonna do? We ” the whole community ” allow this by paying too little attention to civic happenings that really do matter to our everyday lives. We’ll get away with it this time because the county will do its thing regardless of home rule or continuing with strict state control.

It’s not that we’re all so unbelievably busy, either. Frankly, we’re lazy. On balance life is so good that we don’t bother thinking about the decisions local governments make.

I think that’s the dumbest part of all. Too bad this intentional ignorance can’t go away tomorrow, too.

Managing Editor Don Rogers can be reached at 748-2920, or editor@vaildaily.com. Read his blog at http://www.vaildaily.com/section/BLOG.


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