Perspective is what makes us takes sides in an argument
I received a lot of mail this week in response to last week’s column accusing me of taking my talking points against the Bears Ears designation straight from the opposition handbook. I was perplexed by this accusation — mostly because the accusation is accurate. I am opposed to the designation for the same reason other people are opposed to it — federal overreach and a lack of local input. But I found it interesting that the accusation was made as if I was lying or basing my opposition on false information, when in reality, it was simply a difference of opinion.
Whether it’s guns, public lands, health care — you name it — we end up on different sides of the issue based on our perspective. And it just goes to show how much our ability to respectfully disagree has devolved since so many readers felt betrayed by the fact that I ended up on the “wrong” side of an issue when previously, we’d been aligned.
When it comes to politics, we often devolve into a “I’m right, you’re wrong” mentality, instead of acknowledging that we simply have a difference of opinion formed by our perspective. And that perspective is what makes us believe the path to a prosperous future is either a small, limited government or a large, regulatory government. I believe most of us fall somewhere in between.
We’ve seen what one extreme has done to this community— failing infrastructure, underfunded schools, and a lack of quality-of-life projects. Name another city built on a river that hasn’t capitalized on that riverfront property. I can’t think of any. I’ve lived in communities at the other extreme — with overregulation and countless fees to go towards more dog parks than a city could ever need.
But I’m optimistic that here in western Colorado, we are finally carving out a happy middle ground that balances both responsible spending and quality of life projects. The City Council’s approval to move forward this week with a business park at the east end of Las Colonias Park is a step in the right direction. A public/private partnership with Bonsai Design will anchor that park and draw other businesses to the area. It’s a win-win for everyone. We keep a growing, innovative company from leaving for greener pastures and develop our riverfront park into one of those greener pastures that will maybe draw similar companies from other areas.
The voters will decide a lot on Tuesday with ballot measures 2A and 2B — the event center sales tax increase and the extension of the Riverside Parkway debt to pay for more road improvements. I’m hopeful that both will pass. But maybe my perspective is skewed.
The council race between Marty Chazen and Duke Wortmann is the most interesting one on the ballot. Chazen — the “numbers” guy— fancies himself a government watchdog and has worked for four years to limit local spending to just the basics — public safety and transportation. Wortmann — also a conservative — is running against Chazen’s “no” mentality. I believe that this race alone will say a lot about where we’re heading as a community. We either continue to cut spending or begin to invest in things beyond the basics.
No matter what the outcome, there will be a crowd that feels betrayed by the community. Fingers will be pointed and threats to the future of our city will be made. I’d like to think voter turnout would be large enough that the results are truly the will of a community and that the system worked the way its supposed to. As of the writing of this column, 10,189 ballots in a city with 36,939 registered voters isn’t enough to represent the community voice.
So speak up if you haven’t already. Fill out that ballot today and turn it in so we can move forward. Or not.