Carlisle: Legislators need to focus on Colorado |

Carlisle: Legislators need to focus on Colorado

Marc Carlisle
Summit County, CO Colorado

Last Monday was extraordinarily ordinary in Colorado. Snow fell across the mountains from Silverton to Silverthorne, while along the Front Range the day began as it ended: without a cloud in the sky or water on the ground. Two Coloradans died of unnatural causes, one shot to death at home while the other died behind the wheel of a car, killed by a drunk driver. Officially, 94 out of 100 adults between 18 and 55 worked at least six hours during the day while six did not, compared to three in January, 2007. On the record, doctors performed 27 abortions, while more went unrecorded or unreported. Police opened six investigations into charges of rape, where the principal suspect was like as not someone who’d done this sort of thing before, and assigned 46 other case numbers to violent crimes committed against Coloradans. In the towns and cities, 47 residents had their cars stolen in the past 24 hours ” a small loss if you happen to have been among the 52 families who lost their homes to foreclosure during the day. In the mountains, 20 acres of pine forest were cut down to make room for new construction, while another 100 acres of forest died from beetle infestation.

In Denver, meanwhile, a handful of women and men got together for the 27th day this year to do something about crime and unemployment, and to make sure the state was wisely managing its natural resources. Two months ago, they were elected senators and representatives to shoulder those responsibilities on our behalf. We voted for them on the expectation that they would apportion taxes fairly, and spend our tax money prudently. We gave them a deadline of early April to get the job done and come home, assuming they would use each day to the fullest. Yet last Monday, lawmakers busied themselves fighting over the promotion of peace in the land, and going on record in support of the state of Israel. While one Coloradan died in Iraq and at least one more passed away from wounded sustained in that war, the state Senate established a Season of Nonviolence across the state. That done, the senators then adjudicated the fighting in Gaza in favor of the state of Israel, and moved to support the Israelis against Palestinian terrorism.

It’s safe to say that no one ” not in Israel nor in Colorado ” gives a swivel eyed tinker’s damn about what the Legislature thinks about the conflict in the Middle East. While voters almost to a man would endorse the cause of peace, it’s also safe to say that not one of them asked their legislative representatives to spend a single minute, much less an entire day out of a limited legislative session on a meaningless resolution which serves only to increase carbon dioxide levels in the air and to increase the self-satisfaction of the assembled senators.

While our legislators are welcome, even encouraged and expected to take an interest in world affairs, they demonstrate an appalling lack of judgment and common sense in presuming to speak for Coloradans on the conflict in the Middle East. We sent our Dan Gibbs and Christine Scanlan to Denver as our proxies to see to the education of children and the safety of our streets and to plan ahead for natural disaster. Last Monday, hundreds of thousands of Coloradans began to pay new, higher premiums for health insurance. The cost of health insurance has doubled in the past six years, and is likely to double over the next six years while the Legislature has the power to cut those premiums by 10 to 30 percent at a stroke. Instead, the major hope among lawmakers reportedly is a measure to change the way hospitals get reimbursed by Washington for Medicaid costs. Under the measure, $600 million will come back to, wait for it ” the hospitals ” leaving patients all the poorer. Certainly Gibbs and Scanlan are entitled to their views on the conflict in the Middle East, and they’re welcome to express them ” at Abbey’s and at Clint’s. In Denver, they’ve got a job to do, and we expect them to do it ” or voters will find legislators who can.

Marc Carlisle writes a Thursday column. He can be reached at

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