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Addison Gardner: Always Right

Addison Gardner
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado

A couple of weekends ago, my wife and I visited our kids in Boulder and shadowed them while they house-hunted with a local realtor, well outside city limits.

One can’t actually afford a home inside Boulder city limits, unless one has lived there for many years, relocated recently from Aspen or San Francisco, or marketed a new “organic” food in Boulder supermarkets.

My daughter is a gifted schoolteacher, and she’s married to an equally gifted scientist. Both are busily saving Earth from the ravages of Rush Limbaugh and determined to deflect the planet from its terminal trajectory toward immolation.



That’s me ” cheering in the bleachers ” with my gallon-bucket of low trans-fat popcorn.

I sometimes hear the campy observation that Boulder is “25 square miles surrounded by reality,” when rubbing elbows with the red-state riffraff who either dig in the dirt, get grease on their hands, or cut lumber for a living. Clearly these folks ingest too much inorganic food ” to say nothing of Bud Light, instead of Bavarian lagers.




While wearing my “dad hat,” I have sampled local opinions at the Boulder Home Depot (incredibly, there is one), at the Longmont Red Lobster, and at the local Apple Store on 29th Street.

Boulder is the ninth largest city in Colorado, with a population of about 93,000 comprising 40,000 households, and supporting a city government with a budget of $244 million. The Boulder City Council budgets about $6,000 per household.

Aspen’s City Council budgets $102 million and extracts from its captive geese (2,800 households) over $36,000 per fowl. Or ” regarded another way ” enough “golden eggs” to finance lumberyard lollapaloozas, p-card plunders and secretarial “safety awards” with minimal city manager embarrassment.

Aspen is 3 square miles of plucked taxpayers surrounded by property rights and common sense.

The massive cross-subsidization of Aspen’s cultural attractions and “free stuff” couldn’t exist without this fabulously rich flock, yet berating them remains the only surefire antidote to City Council or mayoral unemployment.

A similar irony exists in Washington, where there’s scant money for the military-industrial complex (e.g., Alaskan missile defense systems), but mounds of money to plump the presidential ego with Air Force One flybys of Lady Liberty.

Nobody can forget the well-orchestrated stink that arose in the aftermath of Dubya’s flight-suited landing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln (“Mission Accomplished!”). Try to imagine the rhubarb that would’ve erupted had “The Shrub” ” instead of “The One” ” buzzed lower Manhattan.

Marshal the media! Rouse the rabble! Summon Loren Michaels of Saturday Night Live ” Leno and Letterman of Late Night ” Fetch Maher, the irreligious Inquisitor!

But, it was Obama ” not Bush ” so the seas will remain quiescent. The appropriate Pentagon goat will be sacrificed. End of story.

The only home video that will disappear faster from television than the 9/11 airliners crashing into the Trade Center is the home video of stampeding Manhattanites fleeing The Great Seal of The President.

But I’m getting ahead of myself (mopping brow and checking teleprompter) … I just noticed I jumped the gun here. Go ahead … move it up… I had already introduced all you guys to this.

I just received my county tax assessment, which instructs me that my home’s value has somehow soared 30 percent during the past two years ” during the precise 24-month period my president describes as “the worst economy since the Great Depression” ” and at the very same moment my mortgage appraiser (we’re trying to refinance) informs me that my home is worth less than I paid for it in June 2006.

There is a 40 percent disparity between what my bank appraiser tells me my property is worth and what my county tax assessor tells me it’s worth. This creates a cognitive dissonance even more stutter-inducing than a teleprompter malfunction.

(It can now be revealed: My county tax assessor moonlights, weekends, doing “hypothetical” lumberyard appraisals for Aspen City Council.)

So, either I can spend the next two weeks crafting a tax appraisal appeal (deadline for appeals is June 1), or I can pray that Treasury Secretary Geithner replaces my bank president with somebody who will pad my property values, pronto.

Secretly, I’m unconcerned, because I know that I dwell under the sheltering wings of Obama over-flights. Like all Americans, I’m now cradled in his gently-cupped hands: the hands of benign government and its carefully monitored bankers.

The “good hands people.”

I’m just grateful ” both for America’s sake and the sake of my Boulder progeny ” that government plays an expanding role in all of our lives. We may have lost 611,000 jobs in the private sector during April, but look on the bright side: Government payrolls expanded by 72,000.

So, we got that goin’ for us.


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