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Home / Articles / Views / In Case You Missed It /  In case you missed it | City should fine itself
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Thursday, January 6,2011

In case you missed it | City should fine itself

City should fine itself

When the Boulder City Council revamped the city’s snow removal ordinance last year, they spent a fair amount of time discussing how much time city residents should have following a snowfall to shovel their sidewalks before the city can bust them. They revisited the topic on Tuesday, Jan. 4, and that same issue came up again, with council members voting to give residents 24 hours after snow quits falling to shovel their walks.

It might have behooved City Council to spend just a little time working on a definition of what “snow removal” really means.

Carter Johnson, a Boulder resident, sent Boulder Weekly a link to a video he made of a significant stretch of sidewalk that showed what can only be described as shoddy snow removal. Though clearly someone had cleared most of the snow away, a layer that at times was more than an inch deep remained, the sidewalk not even visible. Worse, the snow had been shoveled into the crosswalk, leaving pedestrians to scramble over a drift almost a foot high. Not good.

Whose sidewalk was it? Why, it was the city’s! Yes, that expanse of poorly cleared sidewalk was the responsibility of the same folks who’ve put so much effort into our new snow removal ordinance.

So what does it mean, exactly, to “clear a sidewalk”? Based on the city’s example, you’re good to go if you only take a few inches off the top.

To see Johnson’s video, go to http://tinyurl.com/27mar3o.

Enterprise incident

Captain Owen Honors is in the hot seat these days for a series of videos he made and distributed to his crew aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise when the aircraft carrier was deployed in the Middle East a few years back.

The videos, which originally didn’t raise hackles, include foul language, simulated masturbation, faceless images of female sailors pretending to shower together and what seem to be anti-gay slurs.

While some among Honors’ loyal crew defend their captain, saying that the videos were taken out of context — apparently there’s some context in which anti-gay slurs and pretending to jerk off in front of your staff is okay — Honors was removed from his command on Tuesday.

It’s good to see U.S. military brass taking these issues seriously, because Honors did not, not even when some among his crew complained.

“Over the years, I’ve gotten several complaints about inappropriate materials in these videos, never to me personally but, gutlessly, through other channels,” Captain Honors said in one video.

Honors and those who defend him argue he was keeping moral up during wartime. But aren’t there ways of keeping the crew’s spirits up without denigrating gays?

While sailors are traditionally associated with foul language and raunchiness — remember the expression “swear like a sailor”? — we’re past the age where a military leader can openly bash gays and get away with it.


Scalia: Women, gays not equal under the law

During an interview with California Lawyer, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said that the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment should not be used to protect against discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation.

“In 1868, when the 39th Congress was debating and ultimately proposing the 14th Amendment, I don’t think anybody would have thought that equal protection applied to sex discrimination, or certainly not to sexual orientation,” he told reporters. “So does that mean that we’ve gone off in error by applying the 14th Amendment to both? Yes, yes. Sorry, to tell you that.”

For Scalia, this isn’t just a philosophical conversation about the intentions of the 39th Congress. He was, after all, the only justice to vote against requiring the Virginia Military Institute to admit female students back in 1996 when that controversial case came before the Supremes. He truly believes what he’s saying.

Fortunately, Scalia is a relic and in the minority in his opinion. Equality is far too important an issue to leave up to the states. That’s why we have the 14th Amendment in the first place.

Go back to your cave, Tony. We can’t even take you seriously anymore. Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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