Potpourri of Topics

Sep 30, 2014 | Regional Focus

A lot of things are happening in our area. Rather than restricting myself to one topic this week, here are some of the things on my mind.

  • How about those Rams?! What a fun game on Saturday with the Colorado State University football team traveling to Boston and beating favored Boston College 24-21. Unlike some of my “Xs” and “Os” friends that love to dissect all of the plays, what I find fascinating is the mental toughness that Coach Jim McElwain is teaching his players. CSU’s victory over Washington State in December’s New Mexico Bowl, the first game of the season against University of Colorado and now the Boston College win are all attributable to resilience. They prepare right, they don’t make excuses and they don’t hang their heads. Those are pretty good life lessons, wouldn’t you agree?
  • Speaking of CSU athletics, CSU President Tony Frank’s announcement last week that the university had not met the $110M fund raising goal for the proposed on-campus football / multipurpose stadium was interesting on several levels. Securing $50M in private sector pledges is astonishing. That is a remarkable statement of support. But, of course, $50M isn’t $110M, so opponents of the stadium want to call it a failure, end of discussion. While some leaders might have agreed with that just to make the issue go away, Dr. Frank’s approach of considering a range of options was the appropriate response. What an interesting dilemma he needs to sort through: lots of financial support but not enough to proceed as envisioned; an aging existing stadium with high maintenance and repair costs but no outside funding; diminishing state financial support of the university but a chance to use a reinvigorated athletics program to help brand the university to attract students and alumni support. As the leader of the institution, he has a duty to put the university in a position to be successful over the long-term. It will be an interested couple of months.
  • Speaking of dilemmas, the City Council is in a tough spot relative to the bag fee. As you’ll recall, this summer, the Council passed an ordinance mandating grocery stores and most area retailers collect a fee on all disposable bags. A group of citizens collected signatures to force the Council to overturn the ordinance or to place the measure on the ballot in a special election or at the next regularly scheduled election, which would be next April. Having this on the ballot next April while the Council is electing new Council members and asking voters to approve a tax for capital investments (streets, public buildings, etc.) would be a disaster.
  • Elections are upon us and the Chamber is making recommendations on various ballot issues. You will find that highlighted elsewhere in this publication and on the Chamber website.