Dude, Where's My Blue Book?
by Ralph Shnelvar, September 20, 2003
Thursday in the late afternoon I received a call from Doug Bruce.
"Ralph, if you want to do yourself a favor, write up the TABOR comments for Boulder city and county. It needs to be in by tomorrow (Friday) at 4 p.m."
A while back I had told Doug that I would try to get someone to at least catalog all the county-level TABOR-related initiatives in Colorado. I found someone who volunteered and thought that the problem had been taken care of.
I had heard nothing for several months so I thought everything was under control.
I then showed up at an LPCO Board meeting and I find out that the volunteer couldn't do it and that I was not informed about it.
I dropped the ball. It was my fault. If you make a promise you should follow up.
It was really a bad screw up on my part. One of the first lessons of politics: people will promise more than they can and will deliver.
Just ask Joe and Elizabeth about the number of people who did not show up for gun shows after swearing the lives of their great-grandchildren that they will.
So I felt enormously guilty about dropping the ball. That, plus the fact that it is important to do anyway, made me drop what I was doing.
I called the County Clerk's office for a copy of the ballot issues. "Hey, can I get it online?" Nope. Gotta come in.
Late Thursday afternoon I drive to the County Clerk's office. They're doing the paste-up of the ballot issues and are quite reluctant to give me a copy. "But I need a copy so I can make comments."
"We'll post 'em on the net."
"But I need it now because the deadline for comment is tomorrow."
"WHAT?!?!?!?" Then a pause. "Oh, you mean the TABOR comments. Yup, you're right." Someone made me copies of the city and county issues. I also picked up the issues for a few surrounding communities.
"So where do I deliver the city and county comments?"
"You deliver them both here by 4:30 tomorrow." Well, I knew that was wrong. The deadline is 4 p.m. on Friday. It must be an oversight. [Correction: I have been informed that the "4 p.m. deadline" (mentioned previously) was not a real deadline and the deadline was at close of business.] [Editor's note: I believe the earlier time was a suggested drop-off time, to account for possible problems. -- Ari Armstrong]
I called Jeep Campbell because he has all the city and county statistics in his head. He agrees to give me a couple of hours of his time on Friday. Whew.
In the morning I call a few Libertarians to see if they can take on the local issues. Admittedly, it was last minute. Admittedly my phone was ringing off the hook because I'm in the middle of merger negotiations.
I managed to squeeze in a call to Paul Tiger to find out if he knew if anyone had already submitted TABOR comments. Paul told me that he was unaware of anyone doing any such thing. I called Bo to double check.
OK, it's in my lap. Ring. Ring. Instant messenger messages are coming in. Partners are calling with questions. Put them all off. Need to think about what to write for the TABOR comments. Multitask by also writing some software.
I try to reach Jeep to see if he is coming over. His cell phone isn't answering. OK, I'll take him at his word that he'll be over at noon and I'll schedule around it.
He calls. "Sorry my phone was off. I'll be over at noon." Guessed right.
No one else volunteers to help write. Too short notice. I didn't have time to contact more than 3 people. Anyway, I wouldn't have had time to get them the text.
Jeep comes over at noon. Ring. Ring. Instant messages. It doesn't end. He's patient, bless him.
He helps me write three of the five TABOR comments. He refuses on the other two because he disagrees with me and, also, because he is out of time.
Disclaimer: He doesn't agree with everything that I write and refuses to endorse it. I'm hoping that once he sees the finished product that he'll change his mind.
He leaves at 2 p.m. I have two hours to write two more comments, polish all five.
3:29. Made it! It's not great but it will have to do.
3:30. Need to leave. Phone rings. I answer. Damn, I can't get the person off the line!
3:38. Get to car. Break several local safety regulations regarding speed of moving vehicle. Make it to County Clerk's office.
3:46 "I'd like to submit these TABOR comments," I say to the receptionist. "Uh, sorry, I'm just a temp doing data entry. Let me find someone."
Some guy shuffles over. Honest. The best way I can describe his walk is shuffling.
"Can I help you?"
"I'd like to submit these TABOR comments. Geez, I made it with twelve minutes to spare."
"Actually, you made it with 42 minutes to spare." I didn't bother arguing. He makes a copy of the 5 documents and puts the "received" stamp on it.
I start flirting with the temp. "What are you doing?" I ask.
"I'm scanning in signatures for the mail-in ballot."
"Cool. Would you tell me if my signature matches what's in the computer."
"Sure!" She was so proud of her skills. I giver her my name and in about 60 seconds she brings up a copy of my signature on file.
I start to walk out when the guy with the shuffle calls after me. "Sir! Sir!"
"You delivered the City's TABOR comments to the wrong place. You need to take them to City Hall."
"What!?!? You told me yesterday that I could deliver it here!"
"Well, I'm sorry. I gave it to ..." I didn't catch the name.
"Do you realize that the deadline is 4 p.m.?" I say to him.
"Well, I'm sure they'll accept it since we stamped it here."
"Right," I think. "Just like you think that I could deliver it here," I think to myself.
I run down to my car. While running I congratulate myself on my foresight in flirting with the receptionist. Had I been the dutiful husband that I should be then I would have left and the shuffler would never have caught up with me.
I break a few more speed laws in the parking lot of the County Clerk. I drive like a very sane person and accommodating driver to the public library's parking lot.
I don't bother paying the lot fee since I know that the sign saying that you need to pay doesn't have the force of law. Yet. I hope.
I run to City Hall and dash up the steps to the office.
"I'd like to submit these TABOR comments."
"That desk over there."
The guy behind the desk says, "I'll take that."
He stamps the comments and gives me a receipt.
Well, let's see if Tom Parker and Bo Shaffer have read this far.
Tom and Bo, I have the five comments in electronic form. I'd like you guys to post them to the LP Boulder web site as part of the "Why you should vote this way" section.
Paul Tiger will likely disagree with my position on the vote for the bond issue for the jail. I hope he'll change his mind once he reads my stuff. There is, though, one line in the TABOR comments that I wrote that I really like:
"The voters are being asked to vote on a pig-in-a-pokey."