Magnuson may be on to something
August 6, 2010
Between now and November, I want to hear focused, factual and honest debates on the little-known facts about Pitkin County crime and law enforcement.
After Hugh Zuker pulled out of the sheriff’s race, I met Rick Magnuson. I surprisingly liked what I heard and then read on his substantive website. His Libertarian views seem well reasoned.
Magnuson took some controversial positions at the candidates’ forum, (http://www.grassrootstv.org/Show.aspx?ShowID=9317), which are worthy of consideration.
Sure, Rick’s art is a little “out there,” but we’re not voting in a juried art show. Many citizens are interested in an alternative to Pitkin County law enforcement status quo. Rick quoted some shocking, little-discussed Pitkin County crime statistics, noting that by some measures our crime rate is 132 percent of the national average, while neighboring Eagle County is 79 percent. The risk of rape here is reportedly twice the national average, while Eagle is half the national average. I heard no rebuttal to these reported statistics, nor why our crime rate far exceeds our closest neighbor.
When Rick explained that he doesn’t do drugs, or even coffee (!), but personally doesn’t care what adults do if they are not risking harm to others, I was confused by his “tough on drug dealers” stance. His explanation made sense. In our democracy, citizens have directly or indirectly put the drug/alcohol laws in place. Law enforcement sets dangerous precedents in personally subjectively deciding which laws to enforce. Magnuson demonstrates that it is possible to hold two conflicting thoughts and manage a law enforcement organization – that drug laws need to change – and that law enforcement needs to sensibly honor The Peoples’ laws until The People change them.
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I believe that Rick sees the danger of government officials – whether it’s the sheriff’s department, Aspen police, BOCC or City Council – subjectively divining “community will” and operating based on personal biases rather than the democratically developed law.
In the few days before Tuesday, I will continue to evaluate what Magnuson says about his plans to disrupt the status quo in the sheriff’s department. I encourage voters to listen to all of the candidates. Our choices do matter to the safety and stability of the community. No matter who you vote for, the sheriff’s debate is vitally important for all citizens to seriously consider.
All voters, regardless of party affiliation, may vote in this primary. If you don’t vote, don’t complain about the outcome!