Monday, January 2, 2006

January 2, 2006 Hopes for the New Year

Consider This for January 2, 2006--Hopes for the New Year

How time flies when you are having fun. In July I will be starting my third year in the State Legislature. Seems like just yesterday I was still a Summit County Commissioner.

I am still telling people on a daily basis that I have not moved to Denver. I would have to resign if I lived in Denver. A state representative has to live in his or her district by law. Still everyone wants to know how I enjoy living in Denver. I have reached a point where I no longer explain the state law. I just smile and nod and tell everyone that living in Summit County is living in the very best place in the world. I hope to live here for a very long time.

It is 81 miles from Breckenridge to the State Capitol at 200 East Colfax Avenue. It might as well be 1,000 miles.

I lived and worked in New York City for much of the 1960s. When I walk the streets of Denver I can still smell the diesel fumes from the buses. I can still smell the urine along the gutters of the streets. I can still see the vacant eyes of the homeless as they beg for money along the 16th Street Mall.

Some things never change. The Bowery of Lower Manhattan of 1960 still exists along East Colfax in Denver. Nearly 46 years later everything looks and smells the same. I wonder if we are truly moving forward. I hope the homeless find a place to live and food to eat.

Even though I do not live in Denver I still get to experience the 162 miles round-trip several times a week. I have it nailed at this point.

In 1975 and 1976 my wife and I drove daily from Dillon to Lakewood. We lived at the Lodge at Lake Dillon and worked for Jefferson County Schools in Lakewood. We did that for many months and never got stopped by weather or traffic problems.

I can only wish it was the same today. The road is the same and follows the same route. In fact, the highway has been widened in some places, most notably from Silverthorne to the tunnel. In 1975 it was only four lanes. After the debacle of I-70 being closed 47 times in 1995, it was widened to six lanes westbound from the tunnel to Frisco and six lanes from Dillon-Silverthorne to the tunnel. I can’t imagine how bad it would be today if that project had not been completed. I hope that our roads improve.

I still study Spanish a couple of hours a day. I do four miles on the treadmill at the house and listen to Spanish instruction during that hour and then listen for the one hour and fifteen minutes it takes me to get to the Capitol.

It takes my mind off of the crazy drivers.

I have a habit of putting my car in cruise control whenever I can. I will set it at 65 when I get on at Frisco and then drop it to 60 in Dillon Valley to the tunnel. I go back to 65 from the tunnel to Idaho Springs and then back to 60 at Hidden Valley where it drops to 55 to the bottom of Floyd Hill. From there to Genesee it is 65 again and then back to 55 going down that long hill to Morrison.

By doing this I can get 35 miles per gallon with my gas six-cylinder engine. I have friends with hybrids who do not get that kind of mileage. It is all in the wrist. Using the wrist to set the cruise control. And keeping the foot off of the accelerator or the brake.

Just relax and let the world pass you by. Let the world pass you by at a high rate of speed. Everyone in a rush to get somewhere. Probably to the gas station because they have burned up all of their fuel by speeding. Cause and effect. I hope that we find a solution to our energy problems.

I have a lot of hope for this country, this state, and this district. I hope we all slow down and save some lives. I hope we all take some time to stop along the road and get back into the forest and enjoy this beautiful country. I hope we can bring all of our men and women home from Iraq safe and sound this year. I hope that every elected official learns that the world does not revolve around 200 East Colfax and that the true power remains with the people.

And I hope that each and every one of you has the very best year you have ever had and that each year will just get better.

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