It was another one of those moments that scare the heck out of taxpayers. You know the kind, like the city can’t find $9,000 to put in a groundwater monitoring well below the Valmont dike dam to protect public health, but they can happily keep finding millions of dollars for the cost overruns occurring on the other side of the dam where all the waste is buried.
The city’s most recent detached-from-financial-reality moment was brought to us by Boulder resident Barry Barnow. The city had an agreement with Barnow that let him drive his airplane directly from his property onto the runway of the Boulder Municipal Airport. For safety reasons, the city decided to cancel the agreement.
In its usual arrogant, we-know-everything manner, the city told Barnow it would pay him just $5,000 for terminating the agreement. Barnow thought it was worth more, way more, about 50 times more, to be exact. Because the city has such a great record with its appraisals (not), it decided to go to court to prove it knows what it’s talking about when it comes to determining the value of a public taking. After a four-day trial, the jury awarded Barnow not the $5,000 the city offered, not $10,000, but a whopping $260,000, or 52 times the city’s estimate of the access agreement’s value.
Considering that the Barnow debacle was a relatively simple, uncomplicated matter and the city still managed to blow its estimate this badly, it kind of makes you wonder about all that city confidence in its hundreds of millions of dollars estimate for what it will cost taxpayers to take over Xcel’s infrastructure, to municipalize our energy grid.
Let’s see, what is $350 million times 50?
JUST SAY NO TO GITMO
We recently ran a story about Guantanamo Bay and the fact that many prisoners there were on a hunger strike, with some being tied down and force-fed against their will. Last week, after it came to light that more than 100 prisoners may be participating in the strike, one headline read, “Obama: We need to close Guantanamo Bay.”
He was quoted as saying, “The idea that we would still maintain forever a group of individuals who have not been tried, that is contrary to who we are, it is contrary to our interests and it needs to stop.”
Yeah, especially since more than 80 of the prisoners were found to have committed no crime and were cleared to be released several years ago.
But at the same time he was pledging to renew his efforts to close the military-run detention center — something he had committed to doing in 2008 — he acknowledged that Congress has legislatively blocked his effort.
So don’t hold your breath, all of you Americans who hate torture and injustice and are repulsed by the idea that your government is responsible for some of the most heinous war crimes imaginable, all in your name. It’s not likely that Congress is going to be swayed any time soon.
The chair of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon, R-Calif., turned the tables and — shocker — blamed Obama for not having a proposal for Son of Guantanamo.
“The President faces bipartisan opposition to closing Guantanamo Bay’s detention center because he has offered no alternative plan regarding the detainees there, nor a plan for future terrorist captures,” McKeon said in a prepared statement.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Meanwhile, dozens of prisoners, many of whom are innocent, continue to be force-fed in yet another unwarranted constitutional compromise left over from 9/11.
It’s nice that Obama has rededicated himself to this cause again. Too bad it took four years and a hunger strike to do it. And too bad Congress won’t let him act on something that is way, way overdue.