Some reflections on surviving another 
hunting season and another election

First things first.  I’m calling the third rifle season, which ended Sunday evening, my 9-1-1 season.

Nine days. One bullet. One elk.

“Meat” was the one-word message home while delivering the young bull for processing in Gunnison last Tuesday morning. “Yay” was the response, since we were down to two packages of beef liver and a single package of hamburger in our freezer.

So, the 302 pounds of meat we packed away when I returned eased the sting of the sneer from the guy who helped unload the donor for packaging. The barely-legal young male who gave his all to refill our larder was exactly what I was after, despite the dismissive “this is nothing to be proud of” remark.

I’m well past the point of needing to prove anything and already have a very nice set of horns from a previous season on my office wall. So, I’m damned glad “hunting” and “getting” coincided quite nicely shortly after daylight a week ago and that there’ll be some tender young game meat on our plates for awhile.

■ ■ ■

“The good guys won.”

That was the answer to my question when I braved the early chill to go outside and call home last Wednesday morning, violating my rule of ignoring the outside world (and things like satellite phones) while hunting.

I’d spent about 45 minutes blessing the heater and cursing the scan button in a fellow hunter’s truck Tuesday night, then I remembered that local radio stations long ago decided to throw away the advantages of immediacy and stop reporting breaking news. It’s enough, I guess, and certainly cheaper, to have a “sidekick” read our morning paper (again) the next day to those who still listen to commercial radio.

On both sides of that extra-terrestrial signal bounce, there was agreement on the one thing that might have turned the election.

No, it wasn’t the overt injection of partisan politics into a legally nonpartisan election. Nor was it the influx of $21,000 in outside money from well-heeled and agenda-driven Front Range contributors whom local beneficiaries had never met and who likely couldn’t locate a single District 51 school with both hands and a flashlight. 

Certainly those have been topics of much discussion, including by yours truly in a previous column. 

Give Jeff Leany at least partial credit for the victories of John Williams, Tom Parrish and Greg Mikolai.  His clear statement of expected outcomes if the other guys won in The Daily Sentinel article that ran the Sunday before the election spelled out the stakes in a normally quiet electoral process and likely provided motivation for many of the nearly 5,000 District 51 voters who waited until the last day to cast their ballots.

Leany’s comments also provided an insight into what likely hurt rather than helped the campaigns of Mike Lowenstein, Pat Kanda and John Sluder.

While Lowenstein looked at our educational future through his rear view mirror, he reserved judgment on the voucher agendas of outsiders Ed McVaney and Ralph Nagel. Kanda and Sluder, as school board members, might have disappointed their most partisan backers.

Here’s the takeaway for the local GOP and Freedom Colorado folks.

It’s one thing for the far-right folks to posture about bond issues, constitutional amendments, taxes, imagined gun grabs, supposedly socialistic medicine and other real or imagined wrongs. But quite another to use our kids as tools in a partisan war to “overturn the last bastion of liberalism” here in Happy Valley.

“Mama (and Papa) Bears” come in all political stripes but share one value. Don’t mess with their offspring.

■ ■ ■

Finally, kudos to Sentinel Publisher Jay Seaton for recognizing a good offense is the best defense. 

Most of us, certainly those who’ve spent any time in the news business, are aware of the financial struggles of most traditional newspapers, faced with declining readership and burgeoning competition. Just over the hill, the Rocky Mountain News is history and the news staff at The Denver Post is a shadow of its former self.

Unlike those papers, the Sentinel is expanding its efforts. I’ll be as anxious as anyone to see what that looks like day after tomorrow.

Jim Spehar’s still doing laundry and cleaning up hunting gear. Your comments are welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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