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Home / Articles / Views / In Case You Missed It /  In case you missed it | Insult to injury
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Thursday, January 31,2013

In case you missed it | Insult to injury

You recognize Hilary Hall by now, right?

This past election season, the Boulder County Clerk and Recorder’s office bent over backwards to defend itself against complaints from local election integrity activists, repeatedly insisting that they were doing everything correctly.

Even when the majority of the county canvass board refused to certify the election results because of concerns about the process and the withholding of information they asked for, Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall and her staff maintained they were doing everything by the book. The two sides still disagree on whether there were violations of state rules in what the canvass board was provided.

So it’s almost amusing — if it weren’t so pitiful — that as of this week, this bastion of clerking and recording competency still had not paid canvass board members the measly $125 they earned for their time-consuming work last fall.

According to emails provided to Boulder Weekly, Deputy Clerk and Elections Coordinator Molly Tayer apologized to local Republican Party Chair George Leing for the delay, attributing it to paperwork being misdirected internally.

Inspires confidence in the vote tally, doesn’t it? The two Republicans on the board are raising hell, and rightfully so.

“I think it’s rather contradictory that the clerk’s office that claims to understand and manage the election process to decimal-level precision cannot manage a simple administrative procedure like paying the Canvass Board the meager $125 they agreed to in a contract that they wrote and personally had us sign,” canvass board member Russ Boehm said via email.

His colleague, Daniel Martin, added, “For this princely sum of $125, individual canvass board members expended hundreds of man-hours and risked unlimited personal liability in the event some voter or special-interest group decided to sue. … Was our pay contingent upon doing a ‘good job’?” Brad Turner, spokesperson for the clerk and recorder’s office, confirmed that none of the canvass board members had received checks due to “mishandling of paperwork in our office.” He told BW that the checks are being cut and mailed this week.

SHOULD WALMART COME TO BOULDER?

It’s really a pretty simple question, and the answer should be pretty simple as well. But unfortunately, many people, including some of our city and business leaders, read about as much as Sarah Palin on her way to a Katie Couric interview, so the debate often becomes an emotionally charged affair, with one side screaming about social justice issues while the other side shouts out free-market clichés.

We act like there is no way to intellectually win a complex argument about Walmart without TALKING LOUDER THAN OUR OPPONENTS. But that simply isn’t the case.

This is not even a controversial question anymore. There has been study after study done on the impacts of a Walmart store coming into a community. We don’t have to guess what those impacts will be. Researchers have spent decades defining them for us.

When Walmart comes, other businesses that pay better wages and better benefits go away. The community loses jobs and tax revenues, and the more this cycle repeats itself, the more people become dependent on Walmart’s low prices to get by, because they themselves now make less money because Walmart came. It’s a slightly kinder and gentler version of the old “company store” business model that coal companies used to employ. It’s really an amazing economic story that has been studied to death and written about for decades.

So hey, city leaders (those of you who have been using terms like “competitive prices” and “free market” to discuss the Walmart issue), why not take enough time out of your busy day to actually read the volumes of economic research that have already been done on this “Walmart” question?

Because, frankly, every time you use words like “competition” and “free market” with regards to Walmart, you are really just telling the rest of us that you don’t read much.

It looks better to go with the “we can’t legally stop it from coming” argument.

Respond: letters@boulderweekly.com

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