Native Writes: Changing the unremarkable

The new year had a slow start for me. I managed to stay awake until midnight and was glad I did. Neil Diamond led a huge crowd singing “Sweet Caroline” and that led to sweet dreams.

I broke a big story, but its context was no surprise. The behavior of super wealthy folks really is predictable.

Here in the San Luis Valley, people are going on with life. Some of us aren’t hopeful, others are looking for the silver lining in a black cloud.

With eyes on the chaos in Washington DC, they worry about the current administration, realizing that our effect here in the boondocks won’t make much of a difference in the big picture. Think globally, act locally. I will sign your petition if I believe in your cause, even knowing our right to petition for redress of grievances is often overlooked at higher government levels.

The court dockets are filled and some very important trials are scheduled, postponed and rescheduled. Justice flows slowly, but eventually emerges to deal with what’s coming up.

We have a new, but experienced, district attorney and some dedicated assistants, again with full plates.

Law enforcement has a lot to do, with heroin, meth and opioids drawing the attention of people of all ages. People arrested don’t “rat out” the big distributors. They get out of jail and go back to using whatever means are necessary to get another “fix.” The “War on Drugs” continues to fail.

A proposed new treatment center offers hope. Incarceration without rehabilitation yields unwelcome growth in drug problems. Alamosa will soon have a modernized county justice system, perhaps lessening problems among persons incarcerated with strangers.

Still the new year is sadly predictable. I was born and raised in this high mountain valley, in a family that discussed current events, so the struggle to effect change has always been evident.

We have always had good representation in the state legislature, but their battle is often a losing one as people from the highly populated “Front Range” work for their urban constituencies. That probably won’t change, whether the GOP or democrats hold the reins, but local action can make a big difference.

I watch the local elections closely, sometimes with great frustration. Today, I am happy with the political changes in Alamosa and Monte Vista, but we’ll see.

Money won’t “trickle down” and local government will be forced to tighten the social belt a notch or two. Grant monies are available from unusual sources, such as the taxes from growing marijuana sales – in areas that have gone along with state voters. I’m not condoning immorality – cannabis isn’t immoral, but its users can be – but I am suggesting that the Valley get its hands into the funding pot. We get money back from lottery proceeds through Great Outdoors Colorado, even recognizing that gambling has ruined many a life.

Let’s take this unremarkable new year and make it amazing – so much so that it’s respected in Denver and known at the federal level. It’s all part of the political game.

Suit up, folks, it’s our time at bat.