Denver Water due for a lesson in ‘community’ |

Denver Water due for a lesson in ‘community’

In Beverly Hills, folks’ sense of community comes from a random number, 90210, assigned to their fair city by the government.

In Palm Beach, community comes from forced, unnatural conformity in home design, quiet time, and approved foliage ” think “gated community” without the gate, or think prison.

In Alabama, the community comes together in defiance, we versus all of they.

In New Orleans and the Borough of Manhattan, defiance born of shared events is making both angry places.

On the other hand, in Aspen and Boulder, a sense of community born of exclusion, of non-whites, of low income, and of the poorly educated is the secret handshake known only to true residents.

Summit has a strong sense of community that brings together the wealthy and the sedentary with those whose net worth is a function of bikes and boards and not stocks and bonds.

Like Justice Potter Stewart, who couldn’t define obscenity but knew it when he saw it, Summit residents have a hard time defining what makes community here but an easier time identifying the moments when they understood community in the High Country.

I first understood what keeps me here and connects me years ago, on skinny skis above tree line on Little French, when I recognized that I was in a place millions of people travel millions more miles every year to be, under that curious pink purple gray twilight of a sky, and was not surprised to hear a familiar voice call it “beautiful.”

It seemed the most natural thing in the world to find Frisco’s premier glass artisan there, too, in awe of the setting in which he was digging a snow cave for himself and his wife to spend the night.

I know little else about the ebullient Mr. Hudnut, but at a time like that in a place like that, knowing his alma mater or his income or his parents’ address mattered not a whit.

Community at 10,000 feet is chemical, the interaction of people and places, and not things which produce granfalloons, Vonnegut’s random associations of people, as “communities” elsewhere.

On Monday, as I rode my bike along Dillon Dam Road, I couldn’t help but be a touch nervous.

Denver and its Water Board have closed the road because the dam is vulnerable to terrorist attack.

Now, any fool can see that closing the road protects the water as effectively as closing trailheads will keep people out of the forest.

Besides, a few lengths of pipe won’t deter anyone intent on hauling to the top of the dam the truckloads of explosive necessary to release the reservoir’s waters.

The Dillon Dam is essentially a big pile of dirt, clay and rock, vulnerable only to erosion, not yet a weapon of terror.

Well, erosion and drought ” lowering the water level and taking pressure off, then restoring the level can weaken the reservoir side of the dam at its top.

But 9/11 was seven years ago, the drought five, so why act now?

Surely Denver Water doesn’t spend money to gather and assess intelligence separately from the agencies qualified and tasked with threat assessment.

If so, I hope that the Denver city attorney will act to stop the waste of money.

If Denver Water has come into information that worries it, then I’m scared, because if the board, the county sheriff, the county commissioners and the state agencies won’t do the obvious and share, then without question the FBI, the CIA, the NSA and the rest at the national level are equally childish and irresponsible, still more engaged in ego inflation and empire building than protecting America or Americans.

As stewards of Denver’s water, the board is responsible for its safety, but no one gave the board the right to put county lives at risk for the five years after the drought by doing nothing until now.

Only an anti-social member of a community, a psychopath, would risk lives to protect things like a pile of dirt and a pool of water.

I wonder, too, if other threats, to the tunnel or Green Mountain have been handled in a similar way.

Regardless, an agency, any agency, that thinks itself superior to the people that created it is due for a lesson in community not seven or five years hence, but now, right now.

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