Who can blame the cynics?

Posted 5/12/10

Lately, I get the sense that we’re living too much of our lives through loopholes, and it’s getting a bit frustrating. Looking over stories in …

This item is available in full to subscribers.

Please log in to continue

Log in

Don't have an ID?

Print subscribers

If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.


Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.

If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.

Our print publications are advertiser supported. For those wishing to access our content online, we have implemented a small charge so we may continue to provide our valued readers and community with unique, high quality local content. Thank you for supporting your local newspaper.

Who can blame the cynics?


Lately, I get the sense that we’re living too much of our lives through loopholes, and it’s getting a bit frustrating.

Looking over stories in our papers this week, I’m seeing some common themes.

Castle Pines North, one of the most upscale residential communities in Douglas County, is now classified as a blight area in many parts. Does anyone really think Castle Pines North is anything akin to blight? Of course not.

But it can meet the criteria of blight as it pertains to funding mechanisms that will help offset the costs of building infrastructure for the Canyons development on the east side of I-25. Had council waited five days to take this action, newly passed legislation would have prevented using an urban renewal authority this way.

On the other end of the spectrum, Chris Bartkowicz of Highlands Ranch has been indicted for his marijuana growing operation in Highlands Ranch. At the beginning of this story, Bartkowicz aligned himself with the medical marijuana movement and looked for time to be one of the emerging poster children for legitimate business-owners caught in the middle of a political battle fueled by the ambiguity of the law. It doesn’t appear to look that way now.

All of this takes me back to my gripe last week with the Douglas County School District and its effort to charge for bussing based in part on the premise that it’s not legally bound to provide transportation.

These are all very different situations, but the common thread is the citation of weak links to laws or policies that justify what’s happening.

What happened to passing the smell test? Put another way, why not take into account whether a certain course of action feels right even if it’s possible.

One of the truisms I’ve taken away from sports talk radio, of all places, is that murky judgment calls gain clarity if you just say them out loud (i.e. “I’m going to trade away three draft picks to make sure I can get Tim Tebow in the first round before anyone else does.”)

Try it here.

“Castle Pines North will use funding mechanisms meant for poor, dilapidated parts of communities to pay for roads in a brand new development because its small commercial tax base can’t foot the bill.”

“I’ve decided not to plead guilty to drug charges and argue that the 220 marijuana plants I grew in my suburban home are part of a legitimate medical marijuana business.”

“The state’s cutting our budget, we lost an election to override our mill levy and now we’re going to charge kids to ride our busses to school.”

Not one of these statements feels right to me, but I think they are fair one-line assessments of these stories.

The legality of all of this will be determined in due time if it hasn’t already. That’s not my point.

What gets to me is that it’s hard to not be a little cynical when you see stuff like this going on. That would be OK if being a little cynical wasn’t so much work. Unfortunately, it is a lot of work, mostly because it leads to a host of trust issues down the line that make everyone feel just a little more isolated, a little more inclined to look out for themselves with little regard for the other guy.

That’s not what we need at a time when we need to work together more than ever before.

Jeremy Bangs is the managing editor of Colorado Community Newspapers.


Our Papers

Ad blocker detected

We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.

The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.