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HOFFMAN: Postcards from Europe

Jim Hoffman
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Free Press Weekly Opinion Columnist

Well, it was bound to happen. After 1-1⁄2 years of toiling away on the Free Press opinion pages a promotion has been offered and accepted!

As you read this, I have fled the heat of the Grand Valley and taken up my new position as the Free Press’s international correspondent. Actually, the position was created in my imagination, offered by myself to myself, and I doubt my request for reimbursement of travel or meal expenses will be accepted upon return.

If weather prognosticators are correct, today is partly cloudy, maybe 75 degrees. We (my wife and I) should be visiting Windsor Castle and Stonehenge and making observations that may be reported back to you next week. As this is being written to placate an editor who demands an early submission this week, it is not possible to report on the four days already spent in the U.K. We have hopefully arrived safely and seen a lot of London and will be heading to the Wimbledon grounds tomorrow.



Staying in touch with the goings on in Mesa County is not the highest priority on our agenda. In our absence, the city council will be taking up the task of replacing Harry Butler. We could hope they find a replacement that reflects Butler in their altruistic and non-partisan ideals. We fear they will find instead a partisan that will solidify control of our city in the hands of a few powerbrokers with a predetermined agenda. We fear they shall select a replacement with baggage more weighty than that of Mr. Brainard. We fear that they will be guided by ideology and fail to vet their candidates. Pray that we are just being paranoid and that our councilors shall do the right thing, not the ideological thing. Pray that prayers will be answered.

Also in our absence the campaign to recall Rick Brainard will begin in earnest. If successful, this will create yet another opportunity for the city council to hand-select another member and further remove control from ordinary citizens. While one may support the ouster of Brainard, that support is tempered by the knowledge that the citizens may force his departure but will have little voice in his replacement. This is a terrible Catch-22 in the world of local politics.



OK, so back to the international coverage. In just a few days more, we shall be arriving in Germany. I have been told their economy is robust at this time. We shall move on to Copenhagen, Denmark. Copenhagen is a city of great ecological awareness and is the “greenest” capital city in the world. The nation as a whole is looking forward to being powered 100% by renewable energy resources in just a few more years. Unfortunately, there will not be time to explore this aspect in great detail, so I will have to content myself to exploring the city, visiting museums and even seeing the famous “Little Mermaid” statue.

After too few days in Copenhagen, a return to Germany — Hamburg in specific — is planned. We will have two days of visiting friends in Hamburg and then on to Ireland, possibly the crown jewel of the sojourn.

After a fairly regimented and pre-planned trip to this point, now we will be free of any rigid agenda, we shall roam the Irish countryside in a rented car. Of course, we will see the Blarney Stone being the tourists we are. Our rooms are booked, mostly bed and breakfasts, one night in a castle, so we do have to end up at a specific point each day, but meandering is certainly on the schedule. There are castles, quaint villages, tiny roads, fast drivers, rivers, beaches and even a pub or two. Being a fairly small place, our longest drives shall be on day 2 and the last when we will be about 4 hours from our destination. Otherwise, it looks as though there will be a lot just 30 minutes from wherever.

We will not miss the heat, but do look forward to a safe return to our friends and family and even a scalawag or two.

Jim Hoffman is a local Realtor and investor who, when not working, loves skiing, camping and fishing (in season). He may be reached at freepressjim@gmail.com.


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