It's a dogs life 

Another year almost gone! And what have we learned? We could try to find out, but it wouldn't work -- just another 750 words of forgettable rhetoric, signifying nothing.

Far better to see ourselves caught in an endless cycle of birth, destruction and rebirth, eternity's fiery pinwheel, ending only when we have purged ourselves of worldly attachments, and, nirvana attained, we can get off the cosmic merry-go-round ...

And how do we do that?

Recall the county commissioners! Yup, remove their swinish snouts from the public trough, pull their parking permits, and cut 'em their last paycheck!

Toss out Dr. Tom, the dentist from Hell (aka "Grumpy"), not to mention old Chuck Brown (aka "Sleepy"), and harmony would return to our fair city.

Who can doubt that a reconstituted Board of County Commissioners would be wise, beneficent and eager to do the right thing?

Wish it worked that way, don't you? Alas, government bureaucrats and politicians are a lot like NFL coaches. They may pretend to be all warm and fuzzy and nice; it's an act.

They're just little bundles of testosterone-fueled rage. They want what they want, and if they have to leave you bleeding on the field to get it, that's fine. Remember Mayor-for-life Bob Isaac? Remember Jim Mullen, the city manager from the netherworld?

Remember the way former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer took out Bruce Benson a couple of campaigns ago? Come to think of it, Roy even took out any Democrat that might have had a chance to succeed him, but that's another story ...

So should we even bother to attempt a recall, given that the new commissioners may be just as bad as the old ones?

Of course we should! Because politicians, like dogs, respond well when they're punished for bad behavior and rewarded for good. Unless, of course, they're so bad that all you can do is drop 'em off at the pound, and start paper-training a couple of new puppies.

Speaking of dogs, remember "Silver Blaze," one of the classic Sherlock Holmes tales?

Contemplating the disappearance of the eponymous racehorse, Holmes remarks to Watson, "I am struck by the curious behavior of the dog in the night." To which Watson replied, "Why, Holmes, the dog did nothing in the night!"

"Precisely!" Holmes deduced that it had been an inside job -- the dog would have barked at any stranger.

So as we watch the courthouse/jail/commissioner debacle unfold, note the sleeping mutts.

You'd think that The Gazette, which editorialized ceaselessly for Doug Bruce -- author of initiatives forbidding governments to raise taxes without voter approval -- would be mad as hell.

After all, the commissioners not only borrowed $80 million big ones without voter approval, but also ignored a 2 to 1 voter mandate not to build a jail.

But that's fine with the G's editorial staff; as long as governments borrow money to build jails and courthouses, the daily doesn't care about petty legalities. Nope, it reserves its editorial wrath for us, the ignorant, sheeplike, easily manipulated voters, who had the temerity to vote for an open-space tax back in '97.

And The Gazette is shocked! shocked! that those Council weasels voted unanimously to ask the citizens to extend the TOPS tax next April.

In other words, using Gazette logic, it's OK for a government to flaunt the clearly expressed will of its citizens, and borrow millions to finance the very project its citizens have rejected. But it's not OK for a government to ask the voters to extend a tax that the voters themselves created.

More dozing puppies ... how 'bout our City Council, whose members just didn't quite have the cojones to take on Dr. Tom? A stern letter early on would have derailed the courthouse project, but Council's culture of consensus and compromise makes any actual, like, action highly improbable.

And finally, doesn't this whole furor about our precious view corridor seem a little phony? There was a building on the site in question for 70 years, until the present courthouse/jail complex was constructed 20-odd years ago.

The real issues are more complex, as in: Do we really need an expanded courthouse, or a bigger jail? Could it be that, thanks both to the county's incompetence and to foolish legislation, the entire criminal justice system is clumsy, redundant, expensive and ineffective? Wouldn't it be appropriate to have extensive investigations/public hearings on these very subjects?

Maybe, but why bother?

Let sleeping dogs lie.

-- jhazlehurst@csindy.com


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