LOCAL PERSPECTIVE
Throwing in the Towel on Lightly Moderated Reader Comments
by Seth Cagin
Sep 03, 2010 | 3231 views | 29 29 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Well, the experiment has failed. I have been successfully pressured and persuaded to require folks who wish to post a comment on our website to register. Then, before their comment is posted, we will review it.

This is a bummer and not just because it is more work for us. It also means we need to apply a lot of the same rules we would apply to a letter to the editor that we accept for print. With one important exception: people who post may remain anonymous. There is nothing to prevent someone from creating an account using a fake name. Moreover, we have no way to identify people who register anonymously, and absolutely no desire to do so.

But registration will enable us to review and approve comments before they are posted, and that is the big change.

A number of folks who decry the negativity of many anonymous comments have been asking me for over a year to make this change to our policy. I have resisted, perhaps idealistically imagining we would reap the reward of a livelier online community conversation.

In many respects, we have.

But, of course, many comments have been posted that violate the bounds of fairness and civility. My feeling has been that they are easy enough to ignore and that they really shouldn’t bother anyone. Guess I was wrong about that. Requiring registration may inspire people who wish to comment on a story to think twice before submitting one.

As for the standards we must now enforce before posting a comment: We won’t post something we know to be factually incorrect. We won’t post a comment if it contains a personal attack or is mean-spirited. And we will consider a comment’s news value. Comments that are irrelevant will probably not be posted.

There will probably be a lot fewer posts on the website. But the level of discussion will be higher. I didn’t want to assume this responsibility, but here we are.

Comments
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FaceOnMars
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September 10, 2010
RFP: I was mistaken and didn't realize there was another similar screen name in TellurideFreePress. I thought some of your writing style resembled THCPA, but apparently I was mistaken.

As to me thinking that you might be "KeepingItHappy", I kind of don't know where to begin other than to say the postings under that screen name almost seemed like satire to be used as a foil.

I certainly wouldn't begrudge an individual for maintaining such a position (re: "keeping it happy"); however, other than maintaining a certain level of civility and not engaging in defamatory rhetoric, I don't believe it's any else's business to tell others what to write. I suppose I am still suspicious of KIH.
ResponsibleFreePress
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September 09, 2010
Hello KeepingItHappy - thanks for your blurb about keeping it nice and short.

I will write what I want to, thank you.

You, too. Chearlead for anyone you want.

Spent the day on a plane with this months Powder Mag-Riley did some good work on the thing..made you want to find your boots and put your skis by the door. Lets hope it encourages others to ski here in Civil Liberties Free Telluride.

All kidding aside we cant have a better ambassador for the ski hill than Riley. He is passionate in his love for the hill.

Of course the article got into hot beds and cold beds and the knifes edge that Dave believes exists about him (love or leave him). The whole real estate bs about no more to sell seems pretty wrong on its face; plenty of open lots that I know of. I own a bunch myself and would love to see them sold. The article went on to explain how we are going to spur demand by the additional expert skiing planned to open; sure could use some LuckyChucky analysis; most expert skiiers I know are not the big spending family types-usually they are ski bums and are thrifty.

The article leaves open the BC expansion plans as far as I could tell but it sure seems in the works. Gotta admit that I questioned my position given the energy in the article.

Everyone needs to read the article-Riley did kick some real tail in selling Telluride Ski hill. There was quite a bit of history, some of which didnt jive with my dateline, but it turns out that Powder magazine recognized the colorful history of the Town. I couldnt believe it when it said that the people in TMV couldnt be found; they were lost...

No mention of happy talk, drugs for sale in Telluride, the government wanting to know who is who when they exercise their free speech rights and serving time in prison for same. No mention of one of my favorite topics, carts off Heritage plaza by rule of law and not better food at a better price somewhere else.

Waiting on some incorporation papers and we might just be on to a free open forum for free speech here in Telluride. Should have by Monday. Any webbies out there want some paid work to set up the blog?

Cheers!
KeepingItHappy
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September 09, 2010
In re. the comments posted here, below, kindly find a blurb from the comments policy section of the Christian Science Montor regarding Internet etiquette (those guys know how to be polite)...

"Tip: Do not write a novel. Keep it short. We will not publish lengthy comments." (Christian Science Monitor)

If you guys want to "chat" you might try setting up a Google group.

Warmest regards; KI-Happy !!
TellurideFreePress
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September 09, 2010
To FOM

I have only one handle, TellurideFreePress.

I do not have the passion of the two posters you mention.

Are you johnwontrobski. LOL
ResponsibleFreePress
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September 08, 2010
Mr. Face- no I am not THCPA or TFP.

I am interested in your concern for medium to exchange free speech here in Telluride.

Many years ago I used an attorney named Herschel Fink (of Honigman Schwartz and Cohn) to prosecute in civil litigation a city manager who thought his public speech and actions were immune from criticism and threatened retaliation for such speech.

Here was a man who thought he was king and could run amok, threaten and bully and use his power to intimidate the weak on the poor side of our little lake town. Unlucky for him I was able to just barely afford to hire this expert on free speech and have a good go at the issues. Learned a lot.

I have been in contact today with corporate counsel in Denver and am on the way there now through DGO and an am flight. My interest is in forming a free press for Telluride. The model I have in mind is not moderated but with clearly laid out rules by a first amendment expert on what is permissible speech, what is the local standard on breach of privacy in an allegation of libel, etc.

My interest, of course, is to sustain what was brought to us by the blood of our fathers. Sustain the US constitution.

I will report back when I understand what acts are necessary to form a real free press in the civil liberties protected Telluride.

Cheers and Whoah!

FaceOnMars
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September 08, 2010
TFP: it's not necessarily the work or cost which presents itself as an issue for a "community forum" to succeed, but whether or not it would be sufficiently utilized as a stand alone forum if the newspapers did not elect to embed system in lieu of their existing systems to create a legal firewall of sorts (among other goals).

I believe there are several existing Telluride related forums in existence, but my guess is that all but Dave's blog on the Telski site don't receive nearly the traffic or interest which the newspapers garner; which have the advantage of providing fresh content on a regular basis, which is also tethered to a real world print copy circulating in the physical world.

If the Bear Creek expansion "idea" moves from being something which is still being "floated" to that of a formal proposal, I will personally seek to establish an online presence to oppose such a measure ... which could include an open forum of sorts too; however, it would be difficult to say what sort of activity such a forum might see until it goes online.

It's possible activity on both the Telski website & possible BC preservation sites might see spikes in traffic due to their high interest levels, but beyond hot button issue or major industry sites, I don't really see a stand alone community online forum gathering steam on it's own without a relatively decent sized promotional effort ... which could include posters around town, but the effort would need to be sustained to provide a utility to users/community_members.

I've seen the old Telluride Infozone disintegrate before our eyes (for a few reasons), but the newspapers will always be functional at some level. I believe there could be a synergy if the newspapers opted to utilize/embed a broader community net framework, but there would invariably be issues which would arise.

Other than the newspapers (and possibly other large private businesses or entities), I believe our local area government sites' may provide the only other real physical world connection to maintain sufficient activity.

Regardless, it's mostly a "grand idea" which is simply that "an idea". Making it happen in reality would be quite another story.

TFP: are you also THCPA & RFP? :-)
TellurideFreePress
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September 08, 2010
To FOM,

Your concept of a Community Forum is a pretty good idea and not nearly the work or cost one would think.

I have suggested to both clients and affiliates wanting a Forum or Comment Board for their sites to look at:

http://www.simplemachines.org/

It is free, amazingly easy to install and use for both admin and member, allows blocked words, and is totally customizable. It even comes with a premade disclaimer and rules. All the sites you mention would simply have to add a link to the appropriate forum category.

I actually like the idea and think you are the perfect person to get it done. Anyone else out there want to work to bring our community together like KeepingitHappy is striving to do?

The repercussions of a destination community soapbox could be the ticket to helping heal festering wounds and solving our currently unsolvable problems. But maybe not.

Something to think about on a rainy humpday.

ResponsibleFreePress
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September 07, 2010
Yes, Real Estate Sales!

That is what our founding fathers had in mind...lets curtail free speech rights if they impact real estate sales.

Or development of Bear Creek.

Or the wholesale large scale cocaine, guns and money laundering outfit operating in front of the Marshall's office.

About 700 miles from here the US government has posted signs on 80 square miles of sacred US soil declaring it off limits; it is a human smuggling and drug ring cartel area. Imagine this, on US soil, our own government posting signs that implicitly declare defeat on border protection, drug smuggling, human slavery. The sign can be viewed at www.securetheborder.org. It implicitly states the facts of the situation.

Would carrying a like sign of "Telluride Drug Zone" in front of the marshall's office (or employing people to do so) be allowed in Civil Liberties protected Telluride? Would handing our re-prints of the news articles, reprints of the photos of the captured weapons, cash and cocaine during Christmas week right there on Colorado avenue? Or would it be verboten due to "real estate sales". Would it be a crime to criticize the king? What trumps what here in civil liberties protected Telluride?

Imagine carrying signs describing "Last Year for a Crepe" in Heritage Plaza and asking people their comment on using public zoning laws to outlaw the common sense business model of a citizen? Video taping the personal reaction of people who come to understand that real estate sales and property values trump free choice. Choice outlawed by zoning. Putting it on you-tube. Twitter, Flick and all the other social media sites. Is this permissible?

Being able to criticize the king, the use of laws to benefit one at the expense of another, the use of government in any fashion is one of the reasons this country was founded. One of the reasons I wore a uniform. I remember reading once where George Washington, just before he was to cross the Delaware river, prayed that his property values would increase if he put the 32 soldiers in his boat at risk. Yes, that was his concern! In his speech to the men it is recorded that "Men, go and risk your neck so that we can worship where we want, speak against the king or for him, and also because property values are paramount to a new republic."

Did not we just witness some nuts from Westboro Baptist Church assemble and criticize\celebrate the death of a young man because he was gay? How can one allow that to occur in civil liberties protected Telluride but criticism of the 55 million dollar boondoggle airport expansion is prohibited? Yes, the bucket theory of economic law taught at some third tier college!

I have always thought Mr. Face's comments thoughtful and reasoned. He has some real concerns that I respect about endangering my neighbor Seth Cagin and his beloved Watch. I respect those concerns and certainly know that Seth struggles with balance all the time-keeping the Watch going seems like a charge enough without having to decide if my comments on public actors in governmental roles endanger his advertising platform. It certainly seems to me that The Watch isn't journalism by any stretch of the imaginings of our founding fathers on what is necessary to keep a government restricted.

Seth, please cancel my membership in your new club. Mr. Happy and our local government actors rejoice! You can have this forum to yourself. Run amok! Go for Bear Creek! Outlaw hot beds since you cant figure out how to get any net increase in cold beds! Just outlaw them. Duh! Dont question the efficacy or integrity of the marshall as a million dollar blood borne drug operation blooms in his front yard! Worry about plastic bags! More Goodtimes and no evidence of hard work! Have sworn officers of the law be allowed by departmental rules to call people, citizens, trolls as the feds take care of the danger that wholesale drugs brings to the kids of Telluride.

Have at it. See you on the street, neighbor.



KeepingItHappy
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September 07, 2010
I am writing this in respose to Mr. "Responsible Free Press" You make some good points, but your writing style is too angry, too negative, and no-one wants to read your stream of consciousness ramblings.

Posting here is not an alternative to hiring a psychotherapist; so, please, read below...

Keep it happy when posting here please !!

Telluride is resort community whose economy depends on tourists and their dollars - people from all over the world read this newspaper (yes, it's true). Too much negativity, in your comments, simply scares away the tourists, lowers tax revenues, hurts the economy and jobs, and lowers real estate prices. When making comments here, kindly exercise appropriate Internet etiquette. Telluride is the best place, and has the best people - this is the message that should be sent out to the world. So, please be polite and avoid messages that are angry, and do not say anything that you would not want your mother to read; please do not post if you have been drinking, and please do not post a comment if you are a troll, crank, or drive-by commenter; and take care to avoid anything that is not in the true spirit of the Telluride lifestyle, and community togetherness. After all, Telluride is the "best place" with the "best people" so let's all get together and keep it that way !! And remember, people (potential customers) from all over the world are reading your posts. So kindly keep it happy !!

***** Seth, if Mr. Resposible Free Press cannot get his act together, I recommend that you permanently block him.
FaceOnMars
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September 07, 2010
So, are telemarker's standing or kneeling?

I believe Seth could legally insulate himself and The Watch a little better, but it's still a precarious position to be. If I believed someone had committed a substantial act of defamation via a comment on The Watch which had caused sufficient harm to me or my business, I would consider going after the offender in a court of law. However, to do so would require dragging The Watch through it in some way, shape, or form. It's not necessarily holding The Watch responsible as a "publishing agent", but rather causing Seth a fairly decent sized nuisance in so far as seeking records and such (and possibly to serve as a witness) to move forward with any such case.

Under the current system (or one which requires registration with user level admin controls), I would probably never go after The Watch unless it was clearly an act of neglect by ignoring a pattern of defamation which originates from known sources after repeated warnings from me that such activity is happening.

While I vigorously disagree with Dave Riley on many issues, I do agree that one ought not be subject to a repeated barrage of defamatory statements ... especially from sources which are unknown. Without registration to post, it's almost entirely a whack-a-mole proposition on this front in so far as not being able to pair a comment to a "user" (unless you delve down to the IP level & press a legal course). It may not be a positive ID, but it's definitely a step closer in that direction vs. simply having an IP address on file ... especially if the registered user had to explicitly agree to a EULA in the registration process.

When registered users become habitual offenders, it's much easier to ban them immediately. There are also measures to prevent such users from re-registering or at least throttle their ability to re-register under another alias to a more manageable level. It might be a cat and mouse game for a little while, but it would give Seth a greater advantage vs. old system.

At this point, The Watch has taken pro-active steps to establish a commenting system which flushes out individuals (at some level of abstraction) who engage in defamatory acts, then it's at least taken reasonable due diligence which is basically on par with the industry.

Seth has made it clear that he's going after comments which are unquestionably defamatory, but is unsure exactly what to do about those in the gray area. This IS his neck and not a Town of Telluride website bulletin board, so I have zero issues with such a position provided he (or The Watch) maintains a level of consistency across the board. However, it is still my hope that moderation is removed from the equation in place of an automated registration system which allows for greater "user level" control mechanisms ... allowing for greater leeway for expression, but also with greater consequences for straying outside the lines.
ResponsibleFreePress
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September 06, 2010
Son of gun! You mean you don't go to jail for criticizing government actors?

Sheesh, that was close.

Is this all about putting on a bright happy face for tourism?

Yes, of course. Squash dissent. Register online users, moderate dissent, the most powerful actors using the Telluride Watch to get everyone to fall in line. Folgen sie der Regierung! Fall in der Linie! Keine Meinungsverschiedenheit! (Obey the Government! Fall in Line. No dissent from the Corporate Party!)

First threaten the dissenters with acts of law.

Second, throw them in the brink! (Even in the absence of mens rea?)

Actually, and honestly, the standards of law for online blogging are pretty well laid out at www.firstamendmentcenter.org.

There you will learn about many things including the free criticism of government and their appointed and elected decision makers. Is this still the USA or are the British coming? The Redcoats?

You ought to check it out for the straight facts - did you know that James Madison, John Jay and Alexander Hamilton wrote 85 entries in the Federalist papers under the blog name Publius?

Yes, this country was founded on anonymous speech.

Nevertheless this is Seth's paper and his neck. If I write something and they try to send me to the gulag is Seth at risk?

Ok, off to research the Rule 11 arguments, sanctions for abuse of process, etc.

In the meantime, lock your doors, our town was recently the center of attention as we were invaded by federal forces (ATF, DEA) who discovered an amazing cocaine, gun and money laundering operation in a taco cart. Of course, this isn't the primary focus of our town government-some of them are fixated on plastic bag use, others on dog poop in the city and still others on calling people trolls while shedding no tears. No mention or resolution of how this cocaine, gun and money operation operated with in some 150 feet of the front door of the Marshall's office. No resolution of who sold the heroin that killed Brian and the tourist. None. Niemand! Fall in Line!

Seriously, check out www.firstamendmentcenter.org

or march in goose step at the direction of the bunch who run this city and village.

Stand or kneel. Seriously.

KeepingItHappy
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September 06, 2010
Excellent job Seth. Judging by the number of thumbs up votes, and the quality of the posts, I think this is a winner and should do wonders for your business model.

In order to protect yourself legally, I strongly recommend that you do not allow actual names to be used; so, for example, if someone posts the name John Smtih; you would change it to John S. The logic being that it is techinically not an act of defamation if the person is not specifically identified.

Thank you again Seth; you are the "real deal."

PS, please do not sell my address or contact info to an outside party, as, I wish to remain anonymous. Thanks!

FaceOnMars
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September 06, 2010
I would find a "neutral" public party resurrection of the Infozone -- which could be utilized by a wide range of other entities -- to be an interesting proposition.

It could theoretically be a stand alone bulletin board application supported by an intergovernmental effort; which could be embedded by other websites such as the Watch, the TDP, all the municipal and county websites, ski company, possible future "save bear creek" website, etc.

It appears that Facebook might be moving in this direction; however, there is nothing stopping a more independent effort.

The idea being that it could function as a publication mechanism which is entirely independent from a newspaper ... which could have legal EULA established as such.

Then again, maybe I should be careful for what I wish ... as it might simply be a taxpayer funded project such as a widened sidewalk via which private business gain a subsidy to expand their quasi boundaries under the guise of some other perceived public or community benefit.
TellurideFreePress
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September 06, 2010
After staying away from these open comment boards due to the personal attacks and just plain venomous dialogue, I applaud Seth for doing the right thing.

After reading all the comments on this article, I found the dialogue and questions raised more intellectual and pointed than ever before with the exception of Johns statement below.

A few notes though: Criminal Libel is not enforced in the State of Colorado. From personal experience, the local Marshals will not investigate Criminal Libel nor will the D.A. prosecute Criminal Libel due to the personal belief it is unconstitutional. I believe there have been two prosecutions for this in the last 12 years.

Whether or not "responsbile free press" crossed the line depends on who you are. Drugs being sold near the Marshals SHOULD concern us all. Does that in itself make them corrupt? Of course not.

Does Art go to too many meetings? He does a pretty good job as Commissioner and seems to utilize what he learns at these meetings to do a better job as a public servant. I can live with that.

As far as Dave goes, he has always been respectful and intelligent in his responses. Do I agree with everything he does? Nope, but at least he has character and ethics which are a rarity these days.

I do have some trouble with Johns last posting which appears to be a lashing out at everyone who is concerned about the drug epidemic in Telluride. Is name calling really the standard when answering serious questions about the percieved lack of responsible law enforcement in Telluride?

Residents are concerned and therefore our local law enforcement and politicins should also be concerned.

The dialogue in this forum has improved as far as I can see and yes, some public officials will get a bit squirmy and uncomfortable when criticized. How they respond speaks volumes about how wisely our tax dollars are spent.

Good Job Watch!

johnwontrobski
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September 05, 2010
The bluster and bs you are hearing is the sound of a troll losing its last public refuge to defame, lie and namecall (the Daily Planet went to a moderated comment board last year). No tears being shed in this corner.
telluride
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September 05, 2010
Seth Cagin posting.

A minor point of clarification.... I have no clue whatsoever who ResponsibleFreePress is. So, I can't confirm his statement that I "know [him/her] well enough to know that...."
ResponsibleFreePress
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September 05, 2010
Another fine point Seth.

Trying to be positive here, get on the Praise The Lord train.

This is about community standards and journalism and it intersects with the changing paradigm of just what is a community forum. I think even in the current Roberts' court the first amendment is being expanded to protect the dissemination of information. It was and is continuing the original intent of our federalist founders-that the people be free to voice concerns on drug selling near the Marshall's hq, arm sales near the Marshall's hq, failed business models like full year leases being protected by zoning changes to outlaw the man with the common sense to operate when the lifts are open.

For me, community standards should be based on the protection of the least amongst us and not laws used to protect and enrich our most powerful. It is telling that many find refuge not in making better pizza but but in changing zoning laws to sell more pizza. And not crepes. Crepes from a cart - Verboten!

I have lawyers to look into all this. They will.

I have a crack marketing staff to take any criminal complaint to youtube. I have energy in abundance and creativity to bring it to the mat.

This discussion is really about how information, power, is consolidated, used or prevented from use. As we witnessed with the fall of the Berlin Wall once the people got a hold of the information the wall could not stand.

Journalism itself is changing - witness the Tribune failing and the rise of Matt Drudge. Witness how much I have learned from public commentators as described below.

I may have tweaked a few noses here and good. But criminal? It will make good copy and better viral you tube fodder.

If we want to work together then we need to hear all voices and not just the most powerful. Intimidation (threat of criminal prosecution ?) to scare off marginal players; not so good. We need a leader who doesn't care who is speaking so that punishment can be meted out; we need community leaders who understand that differences in the opinion of the public collection and distribution of tax monies, the public administration of law enforcement, the efficacy of law enforcement, the use of covenants to protect and discriminate can not be just ignored until heroes come to the fore just in the nick of time,etc.. Not who said it but can the common good be found in what was said?

This is a gray area and if I need to spend my family fortune in legal battles, media battles, so that those that follow me when I am gone can have free speech, so be it. Seth you know me well enough to know that it will be fought on every field and not just in the court. Complete victory the goal.

End of story. Simple as that.

FaceOnMars
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September 05, 2010
Seth, I believe it's up to you to make the policy decision. You've undertaken the risks with this venture and it's not a free speech on a public sidewalk sort of thing (as far as I know).

Having said that, if you consider the state statue which Dave R. posted, then allowing an automated system to actually publish the information -- coupled with precise legal language of an end user agreement (in order to register), might shift the legal responibility to that of the individual creating the post.

Even so, I believe this sort of thing is rapidly evolving in the legal arena ... so I don't think it's very cut and dry regardless.

Ultimately, I agree with Dave that a civil discourse is beneficial to all concerned.

telluride
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September 05, 2010
Seth Cagin posting:

I don't believe questions of libel and slander and defamation are nearly as clear as Dave suggests. If they were, we wouldn't be having this discussion. The resolution to our issues are more about community standards and journalism than they are about the law.

In most cases, it will be simple to know whether or not to approve a comment. Most are either in-bounds or out-of-bounds.

The question is with the close calls. Is it better to err in favor of civility or in favor of an open forum?

ResponsibleFreePress
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September 05, 2010
Well, thanks for your response.

Seth, I don't want to put you in a bad place for having to censor, approve or disapprove my comments. I can see from Riley's response that he has some points that I may not have considered.

I will moderate my posts in the future to acknowledge this burden.

When I return to Telluride in three weeks I will write Dave a letter and continue my conversation directly with him.

That being said my real concern is for the defense of the weakest amongst us. Like kids buying an after school taco at the Taco Cart where drugs, guns and money were found in large quantities. After publication of the arrest there were hundreds of anonymous comments about how much and many drugs were available in Telluride. I learned much from these comments. One of the comments pointed out how close the Marshall's office was to the taco cart; I couldn't believe it and had to find out for myself. It is literally in the realm of 150 feet or so. So,how does this occur, the large scale drug and arms operation, in the shadow of the Marshall's office? Who did sell the heroin that killed Brian?

Lifties deserve pay cuts in a market where a piece of pizza and a coke cost ten bucks?

I learned about all of these issues from the comments section and not the paper.

This capitalism for the lowest worker and TMRAO tax money for marketing for the area's largest employer sure seems disparate to me. It is this disparity that concerns me.

Another issue that brought much distance between Riley and me is the use of 55 or more million of federal tax money to improve Telluride airport. This airport, trying to serve ten thousand people a year, was paid for by a bankrupt government who may default on its debt in two years (Prediction of Trend Journal 2010). Riley came undone at public comments, especially mine, calling this use of money unwise, foolish, selfish, and a form of corporate subsidy at the expense of the common good. I still think that and challenge anyone to justify this grand use of money to serve ten thousand people per year. The interest expense alone is of great concern as our public debt escalates to the point of no return. Responsible people are talking about the collapse of the AAA rating of the US government for expenditures as willy nilly as this one. Can we not dissent anymore in the use of public funds? Dave went after me directly accusing me of ignorance for failing to subscribe to the bucket theory.

On Lift 7 I now accept Dave's version of the events that he was unaware of the Backman covenants even though they were public record. On file at the county court. My apologies to Dave for not knowing that he simply wanted to vote on this. Perhaps my issue should be at Telluride Town Council and its attorney? How did we spend 250k on development and not have these facts out in the wide open? Once again, these facts were made public in the comment section. Soon after the resignations occurred.

Finally, regarding Chapman and the Peaks; this is how it appeared to me-by reading the published articles in the paper. Dave clarifies this by a comment here in the comment section. Dave, I understand now that you weren't flat footed at all. It just appeared so. Please accept my apology and retraction. You were interested in this parcel way before the "avalanche study closures" and the permit to lead guided ski trips on public land. So, is it permissible to ask, here in 1984, have you made up your mind on developing Bear Creek public lands as an adjunct to your private ski company?

Telluride and TMV have much to do to stay afloat. I see one way is to use the free market, a market that does not favor one entity over another. An example, would be to spur economic development as has recently happened in the real estate field. This economic spurt was caused by a return to market, the properties that were short sold by the bank and the properties that sold at a fraction of their high. Cheap prices or value as we investors like to call it always attracts capital. So, this is why I have always questioned that the way to more hot beds is through relaxed zoning and development rules; to me the way to more hot beds is to show that demand is here in Telluride-the only way to do that is to lower prices (including the resort fee tax) so that skiing at Telluride is a tremendous value and not a once in a lifetime investment. Seems simple enough to me, proven in every city I develop in, lower prices attract more people and this attracts more development including hotel chains. Value drives development.

The comments section brings out much information that otherwise would go hidden. We need this information in the public realm especially when it involves public regulation of private opportunity, public employment by public entities, the use of public land for private benefit, the use of public money for marketing a public area, the use of public money for development of public amenities, and finally, the comments by public employees like Art and John are always challengeable by the record of the public entities they represent.

We may well get to a strategic lawsuit to prevent public participation or at least a version of this federal issue. Like it or not Seth your blog is the public square for citizens as they learn about issues debated here in this blog; it is a high burden and one worthy of a journalist. Regardless, this blog could also affect the marketing of Telluride and I regret and retract my public statements that could have been made privately to Dave. As stated, I will bring matters directly to his attention so that I can understand his personal and professional viewpoint in the future.

Thanks for the blog Seth.