Paul Danish is no Libertarian
By Ron BainI once considered Paul Danish a friend. Now, I consider him to be an, ugh, politician.
Danish served on the Boulder City Council between 1968-70, pushing forward what ultimately became known as "The Danish Plan," the same plan that drew open space boundaries around Boulder and began the upward spiral in housing prices. So, every month when I scrape together the equivalent of a mortgage payment just to rent a two-bedroom apartment in north Boulder, I take a few moments to mentally note, "Thanks, Paul."
In between his stint on the Boulder City Council and his current role as a Boulder County commissioner (which he wants you to extend beyond the term limit), Danish cozied up to libertarians and hempsters by writing for "Soldier of Fortune" magazine, writing articles for the Colorado Daily that advocated legalization of marijuana and appearing as a speaker at hemp rallies. He once introduced Andre Marrou, the 1992 Libertarian presidential nominee, to a rally in Denver. He served as a Senior Fellow at the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Golden. There was a time when I thought Danish might become a card-carrying member of the Libertarian Party.
When he participated in the 1994 Democratic district primary for state representative, I was almost sorry that I had not changed my registration to Democrat for one day just so I could vote for him; he lost to Ron Tupa by four votes (Tupa, by the way, went on to the statehouse and carried legislation that made life easier for third parties). When Danish got the Democratic nod for county commissioner in 1996, there wasn't a Libertarian running so I voted for him...that one time. Boy, was that a mistake.
The Daily Camera also made a mistake on Thursday, Aug. 2nd in describing Danish on its editorial page as a small-'l' "libertarian," a term sometimes loosely applied to people who advocate drug legalization or restrictions on police powers. "He believes less government is the best government and that property rights must be protected and preserved," wrote the Camera editorial board.
I beg to differ. Since getting elected to the county commission, Danish has voted with Commissioners Mendez and Stewart, who are most definitely not even small-'l' libertarians, on:
After it became clear that Colorado citizens were prepared to vote in large numbers for medical marijuana, I once asked Paul when he was going to "do something" with his power as a Boulder County commissioner to ease the pressure of the drug war in Boulder County like working to make the county a proving ground for legalization. His reply to me, and other legalization advocates, was, "As soon as I'm re-elected."
- spy-cameras at the Boulder County Courthouse;
- federal anti-drug (read: anti-marijuana) funding for Sheriff Epp;
- the election for the sheriff's proposed new jail (although Danish joined the public in rejecting the idea after he helped place it on the ballot);
- chemical sprayings of pesticides in Boulder County, despite the objections of landowners and environmentalists;
- hare-brained growth control schemes that assist the Boulder City Council with turning Boulder into a haven for rich white people that no one else can afford;
- appeals of planning and zoning commission decisions, such as Steve Patterson's desire to build a nice home where stands one that's so old, delapidated and unlivable that it qualifies for "historical designation;"
- setting a Boulder County election to grant himself, the other two commissioners, the sheriff, the county clerk and coroner indefinite relief from term limits.
When he was first elected to the Boulder County commission, Danish assembled a unique coalition of Democrats, Greens, Libertarians, hempsters, students and property owners to support his candidacy.
Now it seems that all he needs is the good ol' Democratic Party and to be re-elected forevermore.
08/09/01 [Scheduled to appear in the Colorado Daily 8/10/01]