Lately, I get the sense that we’re living too much of our lives through loopholes, and it’s getting a bit frustrating. Looking over stories in …
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Lately, I get the sense that we’re living too much of our lives
through loopholes, and it’s getting a bit frustrating.
Looking over stories in our papers this week, I’m seeing some
Castle Pines North, one of the most upscale residential
communities in Douglas County, is now classified as a blight area
in many parts. Does anyone really think Castle Pines North is
anything akin to blight? Of course not.
But it can meet the criteria of blight as it pertains to funding
mechanisms that will help offset the costs of building
infrastructure for the Canyons development on the east side of
I-25. Had council waited five days to take this action, newly
passed legislation would have prevented using an urban renewal
authority this way.
On the other end of the spectrum, Chris Bartkowicz of Highlands
Ranch has been indicted for his marijuana growing operation in
Highlands Ranch. At the beginning of this story, Bartkowicz aligned
himself with the medical marijuana movement and looked for time to
be one of the emerging poster children for legitimate
business-owners caught in the middle of a political battle fueled
by the ambiguity of the law. It doesn’t appear to look that way
All of this takes me back to my gripe last week with the Douglas
County School District and its effort to charge for bussing based
in part on the premise that it’s not legally bound to provide
These are all very different situations, but the common thread
is the citation of weak links to laws or policies that justify
What happened to passing the smell test? Put another way, why
not take into account whether a certain course of action feels
right even if it’s possible.
One of the truisms I’ve taken away from sports talk radio, of
all places, is that murky judgment calls gain clarity if you just
say them out loud (i.e. “I’m going to trade away three draft picks
to make sure I can get Tim Tebow in the first round before anyone
Try it here.
“Castle Pines North will use funding mechanisms meant for poor,
dilapidated parts of communities to pay for roads in a brand new
development because its small commercial tax base can’t foot the
“I’ve decided not to plead guilty to drug charges and argue that
the 220 marijuana plants I grew in my suburban home are part of a
legitimate medical marijuana business.”
“The state’s cutting our budget, we lost an election to override
our mill levy and now we’re going to charge kids to ride our busses
Not one of these statements feels right to me, but I think they
are fair one-line assessments of these stories.
The legality of all of this will be determined in due time if it
hasn’t already. That’s not my point.
What gets to me is that it’s hard to not be a little cynical
when you see stuff like this going on. That would be OK if being a
little cynical wasn’t so much work. Unfortunately, it is a lot of
work, mostly because it leads to a host of trust issues down the
line that make everyone feel just a little more isolated, a little
more inclined to look out for themselves with little regard for the
That’s not what we need at a time when we need to work together
more than ever before.
Jeremy Bangs is the managing editor of Colorado Community
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