How They Voted: Okinawa Pork aka HR-1591

This is the first of many “How They Voted” editions. It’s an expansion of the limited space the local paper gives to how your local representatives voted in issues of interest. I plan on limiting it just to the Longmont and East Boulder County area representatives at the local, county, state, and federal levels.

First up, HR-1591 “Making emergency supplemental appropriations for fiscal year ending September 30, 2007, and for other purposes”. Others have come up with catchy names for it, I came up with “Okinawa Pork” without putting much time or thought into it. This is the House bill to fund (or defund or underfund) the war in Iraq, but added in are all kinds of things that have nothing to do with it, like spinach, shrimp, peanuts, and shellfish. It’d make me angrier if it didn’t make me so hungry.

My take, and others you’ve probably read as well, is it’s an insult to our troops laden with earmarks (pork) to garner enough votes to pass. A little something for constituents back home, you know, the kind of thing that many congressmen were (rightly) lambasted for prior to the last election. Once again, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

So how did our reps vote? Mark Udall (Dem-Dist2) voted YES. Marilyn Musgrave (Rep-Dist4) voted NO. It passed 218-212 mostly along party lines, far from being veto-proof. I visited both of their websites to see if they had any comments on this bill. Rep Musgrave did not (site could be more current), Rep Udall did, here are some excerpts and some random comments: ” Many Americans are frustrated and angry because we are four years into a war the president assured us would be short and decisive”…I have swampland to sell you if you buy into assurances of ease and timeliness when it comes to wars or police actions.” So long as our troops are in the field, we must provide them what they need”

Apparently, what they need is “… scaling back our military mission in Iraq”. This has been called the “slow bleed” and “redeployment” bill, depending on which side you sit. Now here’s the pork: ” I am pleased that the Colorado delegation was successful in persuading the House leadership to include financial assistance for farmers and ranchers” I’m not sure who was part of the delegation, it doesn’t state, but we at least know Mr. Udall was part of adding unrelated earmarks.

I’m all for helping out those in need, whether it be from blizzards to natural or manmade disasters, but why as part of this bill? These are the kinds of games that tick off the general public. Politicians wonder why there is such disdain and apathy out there, here it is.

Welcome to Wrongmont

Two years ago, Travis Henry wrote me about and invited me to join, saying he “looked forward to me stirring up some debates”, and to “go crazy”. I don’t know about the latter, but I’ll give the former a try. Also, seeing only 2 regular bloggers here, I figured I better add to the 1 per year average. I run and contribute to many websites/blogs, but local issues has always been at the top of my list.

I can be harsh and direct at times, but it’s all mostly tongue-in-cheek, using sarcasm and humor to get across the importance of local issues.

My main goal is to stir up public interest and awareness on topics close to home, things that Joe Sixpack can actually have some say and effect on. I don’t pretend to be a wordsmith or journalist, nor do I play one on TV. I’m also not interested in making friends of those in power, it would dilute me calling BS on them when they need it, which I’ve done with candidates of both parties, including some I’ve voted for.

I hope you find some of my entries interesting, but I’m also not running for a popularity contest. We won’t always agree, nor should we.
Have the day of your choice.

LITHxxx: 1/11/07

A WHOLE NEW HOLE – It’s almost hard now to call “the hole” “the hole” anymore. The transition to the new area is done, and I went into this new all low altitude area. They can take me out of the hole, but they can’t take the hole away from me, or something like that. Here’s the deal: What was referred to as “The Hole” was a low altitude position between, roughly, Grand Canyon and Alamosa. It was basically a bastard child alone in it’s own little area, nice, dark, and quiet – and most importantly free of management intrusion, to some extent. Now it has been absorbed into this all low altitude area (the ground up to FL260). This area includes the following airports: Grand Junction, Telluride, Montrose, Gunnison, Rifle, Eagle, Aspen,
Kremmling, Hayden, Steamboat Springs, and Craig. It feeds arrivals from the northwest and southwest into Denver, and departures to the west out of Denver. The airspace that was added to “the hole” has been referred to the “central area”, the “mountain area”, and Area 1. It’s now the only all low altitude area at Denver Center. My old area is now the only all high altitude (FL260 and above) area at Denver Center, boring. So, in closing, can this new area really be called “The Hole” anymore? Well, nobody will probably call it that anymore, but the legend lives on (as long as I say it does) as will the stories – and believe me, just from what I’ve seen in the last couple of months getting my feet wet, the fun never stops. So on we go…
HONORABLE MENTIONS – Supposedly, some of my new coworkers have had pilots ask about this website on frequency. One word of advice to you pilots who enjoy this site: try to avoid the “Hall of Shame”, nuff said.
HALL OF SHAME #12 – Had a new one happen (on a checkride no less) on frequency. Fairly busy at probably the most complex sector in the area, maybe the Center. This is Sector 6, freq 128.65, and it handles Denver west departures, Aspen arrivals from the east, and most importantly Eagle airport. It’s getting backed up at Eagle, which isn’t uncommon, speeds and vectors for all. One guy, and I won’t say the company, but it starts with an O and ends with ptions, gets the same speed and vector as everyone else and responds with “are you sure”? Bad move, Ace.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS – As you’ve no doubt read in these blogs, I prefer low altitude and the pilots it brings along with it. The new addition to The Hole has less VFR flight following than what I’d gotten used to, mainly due to much higher terrain and so-so radar and radio coverage due to that very terrain. So the majority of the traffic I’ve seen so far has been fractional/private jets and airliners, ranging from turboprops to 757’s. Been a little disappointed in the attention factor – theirs, not mine. Much of that can be chalked up to start of the season, them not used to it (mountains, weather, snow, ice, turbulence, etc), and it’s bound to improve. Tough to have to repeat things, like very long drawn out approach clearances, when you barely have time to do it the first time. To combat this, I’ve tried as much as possible to ask exactly what the pilot wants, so as not to surprise him/her with an unexpected clearance, but even that only works half the time! A work in progress.
WHAT’S IN A NAME #7 – Jefferson County Airport, aka Jeffco (BJC) is now known as Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport (still BJC) or some nonsense. There’s no short way to say that, RockMet? I know, I’ll use – Jeffco. Way back before I lived in Colorado I saw an old chart for this airport and the “B” in BJC stood for Broomfield. Well, Broomfield made their own county from parts of Jefferson, Boulder, and I believe part of Weld counties. Apparently, according to BJC’s website, this airport is entirely within Jefferson County still – SO WHY THE NAME CHANGE???!!! Seriously lame.



St. Vrain County

It’s an idea that’s surely been kicked around for a long time by people disgusted with being associated with Boulder. Lately, after the election fiasco in Boulder, people have been writing in to the paper about the possibility of breaking off from Boulder County. Now the Times-Call has weighed in with an editorial about this new county, possibly called St. Vrain County. Continue reading

FIRES IN THE HOLE The impact of the wildfires in and around The Hole are gradually lessening. The temporary tower at Durango has closed down. The Temporary Flight Restriction north of DRO has gotten smaller. The smoke that wreaked havoc has thinned out. The TFR west of Farmington will probably go away soon as a pilot overflying it yesterday saw nothing resembling smoke or fire.