This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September 30, 2010 - come out, come out, whoever you are

When I was 11 or 12 years old I rode my black Schwinn bicycle everywhere.

It was a lot of work, for two reasons.

First, all my favorite places - the library (of course), the Illinois Beach State Park, the YMCA - were miles apart.

Second, the aliens were after me. See, I was doing a lot of reading about UFOs. It seemed pretty clear to me that the people most interested in the phenomena were the ones most likely to be abducted. And probed, which didn't sound pleasant.

So when I was tearing around town, I took maximum advantage of tree cover. I dodged through parks and alleys. I made sudden and unexpected turns. I doubled back to take weird short cuts.

Crazy? you ask. Maybe. But consider this: They never got me.

And speaking of pursuit and concealment, I've been trying to puzzle out who is really behind Proposition 101, and Amendments 60 and 61. I started like this: Who actually benefits from these measures?

I can only come up with two candidates.

The first is economic development people in states other than Colorado. Private and public sector people both will certainly flee a state whose civic infrastructure is collapsing. That's not idle conjecture. See California.

The second prospect might be closer to home. The provisions of these initiatives allow property owners to vote anywhere they have land, and slash away at property taxes across the board.

Who wins from that arrangement? Nobody who actually lives in a community, and has to deal with the quality of roads, schools, and libraries, or the response of fire and police departments. You just need an insurance policy, right? And a steady stream of renters.

So here's another answer to the question of "who benefits?": Absentee landlords.

I justify this speculation because somebody had to pay for all the petition printing and gathering. We should know who is pushing for sweeping constitutional changes, right? Under the law, people who spend that kind of money on political measures are required to declare themselves.

Except they didn't.

Now it is true that several of the sponsors admitted to a federal judge that they got a lot of help from Doug Bruce, an absentee landlord who has pushed similar measures in the past. So a court asked Bruce to come in and answer some questions about what looked like a crime.

They tried, anyhow. Court officers attempted to deliver a summons. Thirty times. They left cards and notices at Bruce's residence in the morning, in the afternoon, at night. No one would answer the door.

Meanwhile, lights went on and off. Someone set out the garbage. The cards and notices disappeared.

You have to admire it. Doug Bruce is as wily as a tween on a bike. They couldn't catch him.

On the other hand, a judge did finally rule the proponents "evasive and unbelievable." And fined them.

I strive mightily to resist the pull of cynicism. But I have to ask: If you're trying to change the law, it's because you think people should follow the law, right? If the proponents are convinced that Amendments 60 and 61, and Proposition 101 are truly good for us, then they should stop sneaking around, and come out and debate it. What's to hide?

Unless - and this just occurred to me - there's a third possibility. It would explain everything. What if this is a conspiracy of ... aliens?


LaRue's Views are his own.

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