Scoping the Fourth Estate

More postmortems . . .

“Recipe for real reform,” a column by Jonathan Turley, a professor of law at George Washington University who always has a lot to say about politics, appeared in the Feb. 13 edition of the Times-Call. Let’s take a look at some of his “reforms,” most of which incidentally are not new.

Turley advocates removing barriers to third parties and wants a federally funded electronic forum to post their positions and materials (what’s wrong with using the Internet?), and thinks they all should be entitled to federally funded debates (a dozen candidates on stage?). Well, whenever the government injects money into the electoral system the partisans in Congress will prevail. The government should stay out of elections; it’s already in too deep through McCain-Feingold.

Turley says one of the reasons incumbents are returned to power is that the voters have little choice in the general election. He suggests a constitutional amendment to put the two top vote-getters in a primary on the general election ballot instead of just one. Which I think would only make it easier for the officeholder because the opposing votes would be split.

He wants to abolish the Electoral College. This argument is so old I’m surprised that anyone who is dedicated to the rights of the minority, as I’m sure Turley is, would keep bringing it up. Without the EC, scarcely populated states such as Colorado, Wyoming and Montana would be afterthoughts.

He also says that if no presidential candidate receives more than 50 percent of the vote, there should be a runoff of the two top vote-getters like, get this, “in most other nations.” What that will prove, I do not know. We need more voters. People who don’t vote get the kind of government they deserve.

To enact all this reform, Turley wants the people to call for their own Constitutional convention. A very difficult process at best and a dangerous one because God only knows what the political opportunists will do with our Constitution once they get their busy little fingers on it.

In the name of reform, I think Turley should stick with teaching law.

THE LONGMONT LEDGER, a freebie published by the Boulder Daily Camera, is currently flooding the Longmont market. Talk about greed. Founded by the Paddock family of Boulder in 1884, the Camera was sold in 1969 to the Ridder Company. In 1977, Ridder merged into Knight-Ridder; then, in 1997, K-R traded it to E. W. Scripps for two west-coast dailies. Scripps, making a nice stream of revenue from its Home&Garden channel grew weary of subsidizing its newspaper operations, so the Rocky Mountain News died and Dean Singleton’s MediaNews group absorbed the Camera. The Camera’s massive press was dismantled, and the Camera Building, long a landmark in downtown Boulder, was placed on the market but remains unsold. In the freebie’s “In Brief” column of Feb. 14 titled “City settles open meetings suit with newspaper,” it is implied that the citizens of Longmont overturned the LifeBridge Church decision at the ballot box when in fact that proposition has never been brought to a direct public vote.

For Longmont information, I prefer the local Times-Call. Incidentally, Clay Evans who edits the Ledger lives in Longmont and is a former employee at the Lehman family’s T-C.

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