2016

26 October 2016: GOP candidates fail to grasp the sense of community

Note: This column was not published by the Courant.

After reading last week’s column endorsing Randy Wheelock and Nancy Judge for commissioner, a number have asked what might be inferred about their opponents. In other words, what could be read “between the lines”?

First, I told them it’s important for me to maintain integrity with regard to those with whom I disagree. I am turned off, as I am sure most others are, by ad hominem attacks that unjustifiably go after a person rather than his/her positions.

Having said that, I told them they were right: There is much said without directly saying it. By directly describing Nancy’s and Randy’s attributes, I was suggesting where their opponents are lacking.

When I praised Randy’s and Nancy’s depths of knowledge, I inferred their opponents’ knowledge depths are shallow both comparatively and actually.

When I wrote neither Nancy nor Randy would need on-the-job training, I was implying their opponents would need far more than a key to the executive washroom on Day One.

When I expressed appreciation for their pragmatic, problem-solving approaches, I was making clear superficial ideological approaches are non-answers.

Last week, Republican District 2 commissioner candidate Sean Wood ran a tiny-print, full-page ad summarizing his positions on the Health Service District and 4A, the Evergreen Fire District initiative. Reading it, I was struck by the inconsistency if not hypocrisy of his position. It brought to mind Tea Party elders who rail against big government and entitlements but insist no one touch their Social Security and Medicare benefits.

Wood makes clear he opposes the Health Service District, which would begin the process of bringing medical services to the part of Clear Creek that does not have any, save for the ultra-expensive ambulance/EMS. He goes to great length to justify his position, which he could have summed up in three words: No new taxes.

All well and good if one consistently approaches government from the Ayn Rand, libertarian perspective. But that isn’t the case here. Wood is against taxes except for when he’s for them.

After nine wordy paragraphs detailing why he’s against the new tax, he summarizes in one why, in this case, he’s for them. Under the headline, “YES on EVERGREEN BALLOT 4A,” he writes, “in my humble opinion, the ballot questions are completely different and I support the Evergreen Fire Protection District ballot initiative 4A.”

No they’re not.

Wood’s position, like that of Republican chair and District 3 candidate Cindy Condon who likewise opposes the HSD, simplistically comes down to taxes. Both adhere to the Randian concept that holds any tax that does not deliver immediate benefits to ME is bad.

That’s fine if one lives within the John Galt—the “hero” of Atlas Shrugged—lala land.  But that doesn’t work in the real world, for those who hold to a sense of community, who hold that one has ethical obligations along with practical reasons for looking past one’s personal portfolio.

Wood is blessed and fortunate to live where he does. In east Clear Creek, St. Anthony’s clinic in Bergen Park is easily accessible and if one needs hospital care, it’s downhill to Denver. Not so easy for Idaho Springs and points west. It’s a trek that includes a climb up Floyd Hill. For the preponderance of seniors and economically disadvantaged families with children in West Clear Creek, that’s no option.

The argument for implementing the well-thought-out Health Service District plan comes down to not only empathy for one’s neighbors and community, but also to the fact it will save money along with lives. Relying on EMS ambulances to haul people in dire situations over great distances is insanely costly and inefficient, and oftentimes forces individuals into bankruptcy.

Community infers together. Simplistic, knee-jerk aversions to anything public are inimical and detrimental to the health of any community.

Wood and Condon fail to grasp the sense of community and, therefore, the benefits of community-based programs including a health service district and public transportation system.

Nancy Judge and Randy Wheelock do. Their life experiences give evidence to it.

Clear Creek needs strong and thoughtful leaders, not ones wedded to a mythical ideology who will roll over in the face of powerful outside forces. The choice is clear.

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