While I was away: Cliff Notes version

I’m still not there. There’s still half the pile of Daily Sentinels that accumulated during our time away to plow through, attempting to catch up on all that happened during our absence.

Here are the Cliffs Notes versions of some things I’d probably have written about on these pages had we not been on the road for most of August. (For you younger “digital natives,” Cliffs Notes were what we aging “digital immigrants” used for a quick overview of academic topics back in the dark ages. Today we have Google and Wikipedia.)

No post-Labor Day review would be complete without a few thoughts on Donald and Hillary’s Not So Excellent Adventures on the campaign trail.

For Hillary Clinton, silence has been golden. Letting “Trump be Trump” may be her best campaign tactic and perhaps one of the reasons she’s continued to avoid doing news conferences where some response to a reporter’s question might overshadow The Donald’s ongoing flip flops and stream of consciousness mental machinations.

Not so golden has been the ongoing drip of revelations about Clinton’s emails and linkages between her schedule and donors to the family foundation. Too many of her explanations fall into the same category as “the dog ate my homework” and contribute to the further deterioration of trust that plagues both candidates in this presidential cycle. Like Bill, Hillary seems genetically disinclined to admit mistakes to an electorate that might forgive and instead doubles down on blame and obfuscation.

Where to start with Trump?

Perhaps with the whiplash-inducing contrast between a seemingly more presidential candidate one morning and the all too familiar rabble rouser later that same day. Between sunrise and sunset Trump switched from his indoor voice, striking a more conciliatory tone on immigration while appearing with Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto back to strident race-baiting screeds at a campaign rally in Arizona which included a bald-face lie about whether or not paying for his wall was discussed.

With a narrow route to victory, wouldn’t you think someone truly interested in winning might stride down a straighter and narrower path simply as a tactical measure? And how’d you like to be Kellyanne Conway, the otherwise competent strategist and pollster who’s the latest in a series of revolving door campaign managers to attempt to put a smiley face on Trump’s combative and dour image?

We’ll get a chance to put local and statewide politics front and center this weekend when Club 20 hosts its familiar candidate debates. The face-to-face confrontation between congressional candidates Gail Schwartz and Scott Tipton will likely be the headliner as the incumbent faces his most serious challenge since defeating John Salazar.

Unlike Tipton, Sen. Michael Bennet surprisingly doesn’t face a serious challenge. In a year when he was initially seen as perhaps the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent and where control of the U.S. Senate is at stake, the GOP snatched sure defeat from the jaws of possible victory by nominating by reverting to their Dan Maes tendencies and nominating an obscure county commissioner who’s floundering both in campaigning and fundraising. (Don’t think so? Then quick, let me know his first and last names, spelled correctly, without looking them up.)

Our county commissioners and the Grand Junction Area Chamber of Commerce seem to have singled out drainage fees as their hill to die on, rejecting ideas of settlement in the face of an early adverse court ruling on their challenge to the Grand Valley Drainage District. After years dealing with TABOR, most of us understand the difference between a fee and a tax and that’s all any future court ruling will involve. Just pay the fee, as a Sentinel editorial advised.

Kudos to the Airport Authority board and new airport manager Kip Turner for finally dealing with the most visible symbol of incompetency out at the Airport Formerly Known As Walker Field and coming up with a plan for that expensive unfinished building. At least someone will get a bargain on used steel paid for once when erected and again when dismantled. Gaining FAA dollars for runway improvements and paying off penalties for that “wildlife” fence also indicate they’re moving forward rather than still arguing about the past.

There’s more fodder for future columns, I suspect, in the rest of that stack of papers.

Jim Spehar hopes you enjoyed your Labor Day weekend. Comments welcome at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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