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Monkey Business

From singular to plural – it’s a choice

When I was a kid, I remember my grandpa always spewing out what we thought were grouchy-old-men statements like “things were different in my day, you know.””How, grandpa?” we’d ask. “People were nicer to each other; you could do business on a hand shake, neighbors took care of each other and each other’s kids.”Well, here I am a few decades later; grandpa’s long gone, and I am saying to myself, “Things were different when I was a kid – people were nicer people weren’t so self-centered and for certain, people had more respect for one another.”Call me a grouchy old woman if you must, but I challenge you to tell me that we are not living in an increasingly self-serving, self-centered and self-entitled world.Yep, it’s like grandpa used to say, “You kids want something for nothing.” Well, tell me that phrase hasn’t become the mantra of the 21st century.It’s that sense of entitlement, that sense of me, me, me that is not only self-destructing but destructing our democracy. It’s that self-serving attitude that ignores the bigger picture and the richness of diversity in favor of power over the masses and materialism that is destroying relationships and community bit by bit.Our bent on materialism is represented in recent foreclosure statistics. The number of homes in the U.S. entering some stage of foreclosure increased 45 percent in January from the same period one year earlier, according to RealtyTrac. Where’s the problem? We want a new home; we don’t want to remodel or “settle” for that older home. Builders jump on the bandwagon, and, as the new homes crop up, buyers are seduced by promises of creative financing and plasma TVs. But there is no such thing as free money, and when people live above their means, everyone loses.That’s one instance of the self-syndrome. Questionable decision making by our government and business leaders is another.There is no city or county in this nation right now that escapes this continuously growing movement of men and women who act solely on behalf of their own agendas and desire for power and control, whether it’s in the name of the Lord, love of country or the school board.Nothing is more blatant of this self-serving, self-centered and self-entitlement behavior than the ongoing saga of the Claremont Ranch water issue.If you don’t know what I am talking about, read Kathy Hare’s commentary or Stefani Wiest’s story on water issues in this month’s edition. And then come back to this commentary.What Stefani didn’t discuss in her article – what Kathy didn’t relay in her commentary – are the back-room discussions regarding the water issue. Discussions that have included at least one plea from a county commissioner for some sort of compromise between the UBS board and the water district and the nasty accusations and catty comments directed at Kathy, as president of the UBS board, from the likes of developers and attorneys.First, it seems to me the four county commissioners (Bruce dissented) who voted to allow further development for Claremont Ranch against the recommendation of the state’s office of water engineering reeked of self-centered behavior. Whose interests are they looking out for when they ignore the recommendations of a water engineer? Are they more concerned about their own political future?I cannot believe the commissioners favored the water district when it had been mooching off those wells without due respect for the original agreement between Cherokee and the UBS board, which called for emergency use only.And what about those self-serving Cherokee people who defied that original agreement? Additional building permits do not constitute an emergency. Did they expect their needs to be served above and beyond the rest of the county?The self-syndrome that governed the water district and the commissioners has jeopardized the pockets of the developers and builders and tempted the fate of the people whose homes and commercial business plans are now in grave danger if an alternate water supply is not found. Of course, attorneys have appealed the decision (I guess they don’t believe there is a water issue), and the next stop is the Colorado Supreme Court.Meanwhile, the developers and the commissioners, it seems, are expecting the UBS water board to resolve this issue through some kind of compromise. And a compromise could impose a hazard to all of the other folks who get their water from the UBS basin.So, these self-centered decisions have trickled down to affect thousands of people, and it’s a no-win situation. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of Cherokee, there’s going to be double-trouble for everyone who relies on the UBS basin. If the Supreme Court sides with the judge’s ruling and there is no alternative water (you would think that would have been discovered by now), people will lose money, homes and businesses. And we will become angrier and more distant from one another. All because those decision makers did not think about how their actions might affect others – the bigger picture.We have pressing issues in this country that affect all of us in one way or another: a compromised public school system, a growing dichotomy of classes (the rich and the poor), burgeoning numbers of the working poor and uninsured, pollution, water shortages, sex offenders, a lack of public transportation options, debt, to name a few.Persuasive politics based on singular issues is out; honest stewardship of the people and the land is in. We can change it. We can.We’ve got to hope that future grandpas will look back on 2006, 2007 or 2010 and say to their grandkids, “Things were different in my day, you know, and, although it took a while, we finally got it straight.”Marylou@newfalconherald.com

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