Don't call us crazy: Why RealVail.com feels you should vote for Christine Scanlan
October 6, 2008 —
At first I thought Thursday’s endorsement of Republican Ali Hasan for the House District 56 seat had to be an errant reprint of the Vail Daily’s hilarious annual April Fool’s edition. (See article here)
After first admitting their editorial board was deeply conflicted (as well they should be), the Daily then demonstrated it’s deeply confused about the qualities that constitute an effective lawmaker.
Despite incumbent Democrat Christine Scanlan of Dillon successfully passing 11 bills in her very short stint in the state House since replacing Rep. Dan Gibbs – most of them focused on educational and environmental issues, including beetle kill and water quality laws – the Daily said Scanlan fits into the “Denver woodwork.”
Huh? Those sound like pretty critical issues to mountain dwellers. Hasan’s big gimmick? Mountain monorail. I’m as supportive of mass transit along the I-70 corridor as the next guy, but his claim that he can pull it off with mostly private funding and fees assessed to lift tickets (oh, and maybe a little bit of a tax increase) is na´ve at best.
Scanlan has been part of the coalition that has been working tirelessly for years to build consensus all along the corridor, and the plan that emerged from that group (some widening in bottlenecks critical to the trucking industry, more chain-up areas, a promise not to six-lane through Clear Creek County) actually put mass transit back on the table after the Owens’ administration steadfastly refused to even consider mountain rail.
Now a rail study is in the works by the Rocky Mountain Rail Authority that will lay out all the available technologies, potential ridership, optimal station and line layout and all the funding options.
To think Hasan, at age 28, will be able to waltz into the Capitol and get lawmakers to sign off on a massive funding package or ballot question asking voters statewide to build a multi-billion-dollar mass transit line that primarily benefits ski country (and, of course, Front Range skiers) is ludicrous.
Scanlan fought hard to defeat tolling measures that could have crippled tourism in the mountains, instead focusing on getting back to the state House and doing the hard work of putting a comprehensive transportation-funding package together that will provide money for I-70 fixes, statewide infrastructure needs and, down the road, a realistic mass transit plan.
The Daily also argued that Democrats have been ineffective since taking control of the Legislature in 2004 (remember, two of those years the obstructionist Owens was in the governor’s mansion), but I’m pleased with the direction the state is taking, developing a new-energy economy that will put us as the forefront of the renewable industry for decades to come and bringing environmental issues and climate change to the forefront of the state debate.
Meanwhile, conservatives’ main complaint is about the Legislature’s mill-levy freeze, which would have pumped increased property taxes (stemming, of course, from increased values) into our badly underfunded public-education system. A judge ruled that move constitutional but the case is being appealed, and Coloradans continue to enjoy some of the lowest property tax rates in the nation while our schools suffer.
Scanlan heads the Keystone Center in Summit County, a nonprofit environmental education and conflict-resolution organization. She and her husband have raised three daughters in the high-priced high country. She knows how hard it is to make ends meet up here; she knows the challenges of keeping our local schools not just afloat but competitive; and she has demonstrated good fiscal judgment and nonpartisan consensus-building skills in tough economic times.
Hasan has consistently demonstrated very poor judgment throughout his campaign, from his tumultuous relationship with his ex-girlfriend and publicist, a former Vail Daily reporter, to his selection of loose-cannon gadfly Kaye Ferry as his campaign manager to comments that he would remain celibate through the election.
The record amount of money Hasan has spent on the race, more than twice what the most expensive state House races typically cost, is another strike against his judgment and serves as a warning that working within tight state budgets might not be his strength.
Finally, the Vail Daily admits Hasan come across as “loony” and that their own endorsement could be construed as “crazy,” but what’s really crazy is the $71,000 the paper has collected from Hasan in advertising. The most expensive state House races of all time have come in around $100,000, and Hasan has spent more than two-thirds of that in one newspaper.
In the interest of full disclosure, Scanlan’s campaign is paying this site $1,200 for advertising (including building the ad you see on this site and on the Vail Daily site). We offered Hasan the opportunity to advertise, but he told us Ferry advised him not to.
That’s fine, but even if Hasan had outspent Scanlan 70 to 1 in advertising on our site, we wouldn’t have endorsed him. Consider this the official RealVail.com endorsement for Scanlan. No need to call us crazy.
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