Halloween can be a spooky time of year, especially in election years.
For those who don’t know me, I’ve lived here for seven years during which I’ve worked day in and day out with Telluride’s fabulous children. I am the co-founder of Kick the Can Telluride and the idea of the local sugary drink tax.
The idea was home grown - in fact it grew out of one particularly exquisite afternoon with Kindergarteners in our very own Grow Dome. It also stands in alignment with detailed policy recommendations from the US Center for Disease Control, the American Medical Association, and the United Nations among dozens of others.
Kick the Can Telluride has found itself wading through an eerie Halloween fog. Myths and misnomers keep creeping throughout town and despite exhaustive efforts by our many advocates to debunk them, they keep shrouding these otherwise fabulously Socratic discussions.
For months now I’ve scratched my head, wondering: Where is this perpetual fog emanating from?
Only yesterday did I solve this spooky puzzle after I approached a local business owner to explain how 2A would work if it were to pass this November.
They were genuinely speechless as I clarified that our campaign is not part of a conspiracy imported from California, powdered drinks will of course not be taxed and no one’s point-of-sale system will need to be altered or even touched.
We were both spooked to learn that they had been lied to by a nice guy named Charlie.
Who is Charlie? Charlie drove into town just a little over a week after I first proposed to our Town Council a sugary drink tax (June 25th). He’s been living here among us ever since.
Charlie is a professional state lobbyist. His Telluride contract is being paid by either the Colorado Beverage Association or the American Beverage Association, although we can’t know for sure because it hasn’t appeared on any of the campaign reports. When asked, he will tell you he is here to help our local businesses stop 2A.
Charlie won’t comment to local journalists, appear at public functions or political events. Charlie is as elusive as the fog he leaves in his wake. When I met Charlie in the flesh just a few weeks ago I mistook him in his flannel shirt, rolled up jeans, boat shoes and heart-melting dimples, for a friendly ghost.
But as the fog thickened and I directly traced it down to Charlie, I started realizing Charlie isn’t friendly after all. Instead, Charlie is a clever ghost whose trickery has made some of us afraid of paper tigers (2A is impossible, punishing, and will doom our town). It has neighbors distrustful of each other (we can’t trust our own elected town council to implement the measure the way it was intended).
Meanwhile the only stranger in town is … Charlie. But it’s not just Charlie - remember Charlie reports to a bigger Charlie, who reports to an even bigger, much more powerful one. They have Telluride in their sights and aim to knock it out, as they have in every other town that has dared to stand up to them.
Come November 6th Charlie will vanish, never to be seen again.
What will our community look like on that day? Will we be the town that carried water for the corporate giants or will we have stood up for our beautiful kids’ programs through a reasonable and thoroughly researched measure?
Thank you for being an enchanted town that I am proud to call home, tax or no tax.