Lawbreakers are guilty not society – U.S. Population grows 330% so does the number of lawbreakers.

Police shootings increase 2000% from GW Bush to Obama. Population growth requires delicate balancing act.

Every nation, society, organization, race, religion nook and cranny where the human race lives we can expect to find lawbreakers.  As the U.S. population increases we can expect the number of crimes to increase too, likely in disproportion, but with increasing devastation to societal “norms.” President Reagan stated that “We must reject the idea that every time a law’s broken, society is guilty rather than the lawbreaker. It is time to restore the American precept that each individual is accountable for his actions.” On Sunday July 18, 2016 President Obama stated that “These are attacks on public servants, on the rule of law, and on civilized society, and they have to stop.” Reagan and Obama both laid the foundation that this is not a partisan issue and we clearly need to sort through the public demagoguery to put an end to violent killings of both civilians and police officers.

Police shootings of civilians increased by more than 2,000 percent after GW Bush’s Presidency (1989-1993) during the reign of the Obama Administration (2009 to date). Why? Based on public records, 124 police shootings occurred under President GW Bush compared to a record 2760 police shootings under President Obama. Before FDR was sworn into office some records reflect there were no police shootings as far back as President McKinley at the turn of the century. Up through President Carter no sitting President had more than 7 police shootings. President Nixon topped the list from FDR to Carter with 7 shootings. Under Reagan there were 17, Bush (Senior) 12, Clinton 50. For the record, see period 1900 through 2009: https://goo.gl/qjix2l.  For the period 2009 to present see, including related year-by-year links: https://goo.gl/d7l9Ka   The U.S. population increased from the turn of the century in  1900 through 2016 by 330% from about 76 million to about 323 million people projected in 2016.

America was founded upon civil unrest with the Crown. Our nation has a track record of overcoming adversity as proven by the results stemming from our historical roller coaster from the Civil War to the Vietnam conflict and challenges to our government at the time. What is different since Vietnam or earlier? The answer is not black and white and by no means does a wrongful killing of a civilian by a rogue police officer justify civilian shootings, open season style, on the very officers charged to protect us.  The U.S. is one of the most civilized nations with one of the most honorable public servants in law.  We must not let the public dialogue during a Presidential election year make this issue an “us” versus “them” issue.  We are all Americans and most of us place a high importance on maintaining a civilized society with respect for one another, people of all races, religions or orientation.

A few facts. The vast majority of the 990 civilians killed by police officers in 2016 through July have been white male, more than any other race and gender. See: https://goo.gl/MISIhI  The public debate suggests that the percent of race killed is the issue rather than the numbers: A higher percentage of black citizens have been killed compared to the percentage of white civilians. That is true.
Infographic: Breakdown of U.S. citizens killed by police in 2016 | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

Compare that the number of police officers killed by white v. black civilians (44 v. 43%) is a near dead heat according to the Washington Post. See: https://goo.gl/ETXYgi   Officers killed in the line of duty is not a new phenomenon but statistically it may be getting out of whack. Since 1960 through 2015 the number of officers who died in the line of duty hit a low of 124 in 2015, peaked in 1974 with 280 killing just before the Vietnam war ended in 1975 and is tracking in 2016 on an accelerated basis with a death toll to-date of 66.See: https://www.odmp.org/search/year

Infographic: 124 Police Officers Were Killed In The U.S. Last Year | Statista

You will find more statistics at Statista

Does the U.S. population factor into public discourse? I would submit yes. From one perspective the caucasian and black populations compared to the total combination of all other races showed the lowest, but steady, percentage growth since the Presidency of John F. Kennedy (1961-1963) through 2016. During the same time the total population increased from about 188 million U.S. Citizens to an estimated 323 million. See Census records https://goo.gl/56TcFC and presidential stats https://goo.gl/Ly571o The sheer volume of new citizens entering the U.S. is rapidly bring new “people” rather than simply “new races” to America. Every race and religion has “bad apples” that disregard the values of civilized society that both Reagan and Obama spoke to . Police officers are not immune either from having a few “bad apples” notwithstanding the vast majority are fantastic role models. How should we vet our police officers? What ratio of police officers to population base is the right, affordable size? See: http://goo.gl/CUfCyD How should we manage our immigration policies as a country? The fact is the U.S. is a very different country in 2016 than it was when FDR was in power having mushroomed from 137 million to 323 million citizens. The game has changed. Our collective strategy and resolve must change too.  A lot more people must collaborate to reach a consensus today than President McKinley had to worry about in 1900!

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Nation’s Airport Security Compromised by Small Town Politics?

Decide for yourself if self-interest and politics are at play making GJT the weakest link.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) report stated that airport security is “a system of interdependent airport hubs and spokes in which the security of all is affected by security of the weakest one.”  According to a CNN article issued this week, See: http://goo.gl/jSwCYM , the TSA has said it does not have enough resources to assess security breaches at all U.S. airports, but the GAO report said the agency should do better at finding ways to improve security nonetheless. “Other approaches, such as providing airports with a self-vulnerability assessment tool, may allow TSA to assess vulnerability at airports system-wide,” the report said.  I would submit that most airports and communities would likely do well to collaborate with the TSA through a self-assessment. I will elaborate on this below as a Certified Member (CM) of the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE).  You decide if the Grand Junction Regional Airport Authority (GJT) leadership is fit to conduct a self-assessment.

Last fall GJT’s Vice-Chairman Steve Wood (now Chairman) announced to the public with pomp and fanfare that a plan was underway to remove two security gates which would be the impetus to amend the Airport Security Plan (ASP).  See report by Grand Junctions KREXTV, CBS News Channel 5, reported by Julia Maguire at: http://goo.gl/2y2lKj

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How will the Supreme Court’s Ruling Impact Local Planning Control with Citizen and Builder Input?

Three nights ago on June 26, 2015 the Santa Fe City Council voted down “El Rio” housing plan presented as housing targeted for “young professionals.” Citizens complained “good plan, wrong spot” based on compatibility with regard to density among other reasons of the project.  See Santa Fe El Rio. Common local planning issue, right?  Not so fast. The day before on June 25, 2015 the Supreme Court, in a 5 to 4 decision, held  there can be “Fair Housing Act ‘liability'” under the disparate impact legal doctrine. The court explained that “a decision to build low-income housing in blighted inner-city neighborhood instead of a suburb is discriminatory.”  Well, here the developer-builder wasn’t choosing to build in a blighted area but rather in an area provoking a “not in my backyard” reaction from citizens to which the City Council responded. The Court noted a city can be liable if it allows more tax credits in lower income neighborhoods than in higher income neighborhoods.  It seems to me that this expansionist ruling creates a bit of federal creep into an already complicated process for housing and development and the public process involved in local planning.  See Supreme Court on Disparate Impact Housing Claims. Stay tuned!

Land, Labor & Love of Homeownership Challenged

An economic report expressed that “lot shortages are an issue, as is finding the right talent at the right price.”  See: Balancing Land Cost and Labor.  It seems logical that the challenge for homeownership is the labor force itself can’t find the housing they need at the right price given the current slow wage growth the market is confronted with. Home building mergers, such as the Ryland merger, are attempting to align costs to improve margins so that they can deliver housing product to both entry level and high market demands. This also has the benefit of reducing competition for land from which new housing units will be built.  Hopefully this will  help avoid the artificial inflation seen in the pre-recession era. If we can let the free market’s hand playout without artificial drivers from lawsuits giving rise to inflated home prices too and, the lack of condo inventory in the case of Denver, perhaps everyone will find attainable housing to meet their budgetary needs.

Will Colorado’s legislature give a reason to celebrate conflict resolution month in October?

WHAT BILLS ARE PENDING THAT STAND TO ADVANCE ADR? Senate Bill 177 focuses on bringing forward Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) tools including mediation and arbitration to resolve construction claims.  The State’s Senate and House members will be asked to embrace their commitment to ADR, a growing community value across the state. October is Colorado’s declared conflict resolution month by the State of Colorado and a growing number of statewide municipalities.  Governor Hickenlooper, by proclamation, embraced local leaders  last October.  As these leaders  begin planning for 2015’s Conflict Resolution Month let’s hope our State Legislature gives them a reason to applaud the Legislatures commitment to promote creative resolutions to disputes to strengthen our relationships across the state.

See Governor’s Proclamation and navigate to other municipal proclamations at: Continue reading

The Mediation Association of Colorado Issues Call to Action to Support SB177

As a member of theMAC (The Mediation Association of Colorado) I am pleased that our Board of Directors voted unanimously to pass a resolution in support of SB15-177 concerning prerequisites to the authority of a unit owners’ association to pursue resolution of disputes involving construction defects.  As explained in a Call to Action of members issued today of theMAC it stated “As mediators we need to make sure our representatives in the legislature understand what mediation is and how it can be of benefit to these cases.”  TheMAC’s support is a reflection that SB-177 offers a solution to resolve disputes without costly litigation which is a benefit for all Coloradans.

Mayor Hancock States Denver is Fast Approaching Aspen’s Affordable Housing Dilemma

ROCKY MOUNTAIN LAND USE INSTITUTE’S GOAL TO ADDRESS THE AFFORDABLE HOUSING ISSUE SHOULD BE VIEWED “IN BALANCE.”  MAYBE THERE IS A SOLUTION THROUGH COLLABORATION!

My comments on this topic are merely my own observations and do not reflect the positions of any boards, commissions or employers that I am engaged with.  I hope to advance the discussion in the spirit of Balance Advocate seeking solutions through collaborative dialogue.

Mayor Hancock reported in a speech on February 6, 2015 that the City of Aspen has a mere 6,000 residents but a budget of $100 million of which “Most of that budget goes to support affordable housing, because most people work in Aspen can’t afford to live in Aspen. And we are fast approaching the same scenario here in [Denver].”  See the full context of the Mayor’s comments in the University of Denver Magazine on-line edition in a March 10, 2015 post at: http://tinyurl.com/q4hu8gh

Based on what I know, there is no doubt affordable housing or attainable housing is becoming a creeping epidemic in Denver and the metro area.  The Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute (RMLUI) is continuing the dialogue in their proposed “Sustainable Community Development Code Framework” on the topic of affordable housing where they cite impacts and goals. This blog will discuss the cited impacts and goals with suggested considerations to take “in balance.”

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