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COUNCIL BACKS TRAIN TO NOWHERE

It appears that Boulder City Council members will once again be playing the role of Charlie Brown to RTD’s Lucy. After having landed flat on their backs when the transportation authority pulled the football, make that the train, from the kicking tee at the last second, council is apparently ready to give it another try, as long as RTD promises not to pull the ball at the last second this time around.

I remember my son at 5 years old yelling at the TV, “Don’t do it Charlie Brown, she’ll move it!” If only we had such wisdom on council these days.

A little background. RTD accidently spent all the money we gave them to connect Longmont, Boulder and Lafayette to Denver’s light rail system by train on something else. They promised us a train when we passed a special tax to pay for said train in 2004. Now they want us to pass another tax in exchange for a hybrid train system. And by hybrid train system they don’t mean a train that gets really good mileage. No, their definition of a hybrid train is actually a bus.

You can’t make this stuff up. We wonder if they showed council pictures of a bus with a cow-catcher mounted on the front, or maybe a Thomas the Train face painted on it.

Whatever they did, it worked. Having heard about the new “hybrid train” system, Boulder City Council thinks that we should trust RTD and vote to give them more tax money yet again. The difference this time? Council wants RTD to guarantee, in writing, to deliver what we pay for.

Unless we’re mistaken, they did that last time. We think promising to deliver a train system in writing on a legal voting ballot should have been considered a guarantee.

Fortunately, most voters are able to grasp the simple lessons of Peanuts, and aren’t as likely as City Council to be fooled again on election day.

AT LEAST WE DIDN’T FAIL

A new study has found that the state of Colorado earned a grade of D+ for its accountability.

The study, conducted by the Center for Public Integrity, Global Integrity and Public Radio International, ranked Colorado 33rd in the nation for its transparency and openness.

The study dings Colorado for a variety of reasons, including the fact that the secretary of state is not required to audit campaign finance reports or asset disclosure forms. (Exacerbating that situation is that our current SOS, Scott Gessler, is little more than a political operative for the Republican party and has had his hands in some questionable campaign practices himself.)

Our fair state also scored low because we don’t have regulations barring nepotism in the hiring of state employees or strong restrictions on legislators getting plum private-sector jobs after their service, perhaps based on how they voted.

The study finds that Colorado’s “527” committees — named for the tax code that governs them — are a major campaign finance loophole that allows groups to raise unlimited amounts of money without being subjected to the same disclosure requirements as candidates or political parties.

Finally, open records requests are handled by the custodians of the document instead of a central state office, and there is no formal administrative appeal process when requests are denied. Those custodians are often bumbling idiots, er, we mean, not well informed when it comes to what files can be withheld. Trust us. We know from experience.

At least we didn’t get an F in the study, like Wyoming did. To check out the study for yourself, see http://bit.ly/COaccountability.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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