I just got back from supper with Representative Markey. She was doing her meet and greet sweep of the area while Congress was out of session and invited local officials to join her for supper. So the county commissioners, representatives of the city council, the city manager and myself sat down to talk and eat with Ms. Markey and some of her staff. She is a real change from her predecessor and seems to be on the right track. Time will tell.
The most amusing part of the evening was at the end when it came time to pay the tab. The poor waitress had to give separate tabs to each of us. It is one of those written and unwritten rules that elected officials cannot pay for another elected officials meal at such events. The rule is another one of those odd rules that have a point in preventing some old time abuses and accusations of influence buying and selling, but which make less sense in practice than might be expected. It took longer than one might have expected to handle paying all the tabs once the dinner was over just for that reason. What is amusing is that every stake holder at the table would have been willing to foot the bill just for the crucial conversations and contacts at the meal. The city and the county since it gave us a chance to lobby for our needs versus the metropolitan areas of the front range, the Markey organization since she sits on the Agriculture committee and needs the input from the area farms, and the the city to lobby for help with the EPA and water treatment issues that Congress could be of immense help on.
On the senatorial side, our new Senator Bennett has already made one stop out here a few weeks ago. He started off on a good foot by retaining former Sen. Salazar's staff in the area. The area out here really misses Ken Salazaar. He understood agriculture and farming and was involved in the issues of the plains at a grass roots level. When he moved on to Secretary of the Interior for Obama, it left a real gap. Mr Bennett was a highly capable administrator in the Denver Public Schools, but the jury is still out on his effectiveness at representing rural issues with the efficiacy that Ken Salazaar exhibited. So once again we will have to see what the fullness of time unfolds.
(An aside on the effectiveness of Salazar and his staff. After spending months getting the run around from the EPA about the granite decay products in the water here, I briefly spoke to Ken at a meeting on a different subject. The next day I had calls and emails from his staff. Within three days I had the missing answers from the EPA. That is why having effective representatives and senators for an area is critical. It is one of the aspects of the office that many people overlook or just plain don't understand.)
Enough politcal hot air!
The weekend blizzard is now mostly a thing of the past. It warmed up today and the snows began to melt fast. The weather people are forecasting highs near 70 tomorrow, so most of the rest should melt in short order. The interstate and other highways finally re-opened on Sunday, so L could return to the mountains for work. The Denver Sunday paper got delivered this afternoon since they couldn't get the paper out here over the closed roads on Saturday/Sunday.. The parts of town without electrical power on Saturday were all back up and running by late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. Sunday was also the day that the county started sending crews out to clear the rural roads. Reports were that there were 9-12 foot high drifts in places that made road clearing a bit of challenge. Overall we only got about 8" of snow, but with the winds scouring the open fields, it wasn't deposited uniformly. Some fields were left bare of snow to contribute to the drifts where the wind eddied.
Well, I'm off to read the Sunday paper. Gotta get that funnies fix! (BTW, I have been reading your blogs, I just haven't had time to comment. Hopefully that will get better soon.)