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Thumbs: Our high country lowdown on the news - Nov. 9, 2012

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By Optic Editorial Board

THUMBS UP! FINALLY, IT’S OVER. In what goes down in history as the most expensive election in American history (at least until 2016), we breathe a sigh of relief that it’s finally over. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the total cost of the presidential and congressional campaigns jumped up 7 percent to nearly $5.8 billion, with about $2.5 billion going solely into the presidential campaign. One big reason for the increases: the superPACs.
Not surprisingly, the previous record for campaign spending was in, you guessed it, 2008.
All this out-of-control spending begs the question, as many are articulating, what else could we have used that money for? It’s a shame that so much money was wasted on misinformation and half-truths.

THUMBS DOWN! SAME-OLD-SAME-OLD? Here’s another cold, hard reality: All that money was spent so we could, essentially, maintain the status  quo. The nation re-elected the president, returned Democratic control to the Senate and gave Republicans back their majority in the House, so Washington’s party politics will be the same in the next two years as it has been for the last two years — divided and uncooperative.
Or, maybe things will change anyway. President Obama won’t be looking ahead to an election, and House Speaker John Boehner might just find a backbone to stand up to his party’s extremists. We’ve placed the nation’s future in their hands; let’s hope they’ll work together better in the years ahead than they’ve have in the years behind.

THUMBS UP! TURNOUT. Nationally, turnout ran hot and cold, but here in San Miguel County it was better than 50 percent. “I expected it to be high, but not as high as it was,” County Clerk Melanie Rivera said.
It’s good to live in a community where so many people really care about the issues of our day.

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AND WE QUOTE

“Times are tough and the voters need to be conservative, I guess. That’s what we’ve got to live with. I would have appreciated more support from the city of Las Vegas, because they stood to gain a whole lot as well.”
— Les Montoya, San Miguel County manager, on voters’ rejection of a sales tax increase to go to emergency services.

“It’s a step in the right direction as far as ensuring that Mora County can do everything within its power to ensure that we do have an ambulance service. ... We’re going to work diligently to make it happen. This was a large part of the puzzle in that process. We’re definitely pleased with the turnout and we’re pleased with the results.”
— Thomas Sanchez, Mora County manager, on voter approval of a sales tax increase to go toward ambulance services.