Editor’s Column: Town mouse vs. country mouse

We’ve caught six mice in our house in the last two weeks. Statistically that means we probably have 500 mice running loose behind the scenes (if you see one, you have 100). while writing this, I watched one dart under the sofa, in plain view, for the third night in a row. 

Two weeks ago my son opened the closet he’s been using for a pantry since his escape from the COVID plague in Vail in March to discover mice had found his food stash. (They’d nibbled through half a dozen packets of parmesan cheese in a drawer in our kitchen a few weeks prior.) We set traps, to no avail. Then he caught two in one night. 

Unfortunately, those two may well have been a parental unit. Since then, he found one sitting ON a trap (too small to set it off), and one caught in the bathtub. On our side of the house we’ve caught one this week, and watched the adventurous one dart around in the living room despite three snoozing dogs. 

These aren’t the mice of my youth. Having always lived out in the country, the mice that invaded when the weather got cold were those cute little field mice with the big eyes and long whiskers that look like they posed for Beatrix Potter. Country mice… the cute kind that carry hantavirus. 

These are not those mice. These are Matrix-level mice. Their fur is gray, their tails are naked and they’re way too fast to catch, even for my aging terrier. And they can jump like tiny little superheroes. I’m trying not to be impressed.

BALLOTS

You should have your ballot by now. Next week we plan to run a ballot measure breakdown. If you intend to cast your ballot before then, please review the “blue book” in advance, or read through the ballot issues printed in this week’s paper on pages 3B through 9B, so you are aware of both sides of the measures presented, then vote accordingly.

The only local issue is the term limit questions. I’ve struggled with this personally. On one hand I’d like to see every multi-term representative and senator snatched out of the state and national capitol buildings and replaced. On the other hand I see the value in experience that comes from holding the same county-level elected job for years, a job no one is likely vying to fill. Don’t vote for term limits just because term limits are needed at the national level, think through what it means locally, too. 

BUDGET

By the time this is out in print on Thursday, the county’s proposed 2021 budget should be available on the county’s website (printed copies are no longer available). 

Given the number of contentious ideas presented about the budget in the last few months, I’m encouraging everyone to download a copy of the budget and look at what’s being proposed, then participate in next week’s budget workshops. Even if you can only call in to speak up for one or two departments, make your voice heard.

COVID REVELATIONS

I hate COVID. We’ve been so fortunate here that the virus hasn’t taken anyone out or put anyone in the hospital. 

That said, this virus has revealed some things about our society and culture that we should pay attention to: 

• Privilege = power and vice versa.

• Overall economic fragility.

• A broken system for the abused.

• A dearth of mental health resources.

• Health care shortages, from people to PPE.

If the coronavirus has accomplished anything, it’s the ripping away of the thin veils we use to divert our attention from societal problems. While uncomfortable, that’s not a bad thing, unless we choose to ignore them.

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