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New Colorado plates causing a black-out condition

The four historic Colorado plates that can be purchased to benefit the Colorado Disability Funding Committee. Black is far and away the most popular. (Courtesy of Division of Motor Vehicles)

Dear Action Line: As one of our friendly Uber drivers, I see a lot of vehicles each day. An astute observer such as yourself must have noticed the new black license plates appearing recently. No mountain scenery, just a plain black background with stark white numbers/letters. Were they issued by Samuel Alito’s “stealth docket” or from the bowels of whatever the “deep state” actually is? Please research ASAP. – On the Road In the Uber

Dear On the Road: If Hollywood is in the hands of liberal progressives trying to establish a new set of morals and social order, then isn’t it fair play if the Supreme Court has been captured by a dangerous cabal and is using a “shadow docket” to rule from the nation’s highest bench?

For those of you not following things very closely, Alito is a Supreme Court justice not loved by the left, and Hollywood is a place where they make movies not always supported gleefully by the right.

Does it work out evenly in the end?

Action Line does not know, but can say with assuredness that Supreme Court justices have had ulterior motives since the court was created by the Judiciary Act in 1789. People are people, you see. Some are good, some are bad. Some are good and bad. But some are really, really bad. And let’s just stop there.

President Washington had the honor of starting with a clean slate and appointing the entire first Supreme Court. That court was to meet Feb. 1, 1790, in New York City, but three of the six justices appointed by then were at a pickleball tournament in Palm Springs and couldn’t make it until the next day. As well as meeting twice a year, those early courts got to travel around making decisions – “circuit riding” – and spent several months on the road. That meant justices could follow the Dead and other popular bands of the day. If they chose.

John Jay, the most important Founding Father you probably don’t know a thing about, was the first chief justice. Seriously, he was a big, big deal. And, this is just a rumor, but was a closet Dead fan and had all their albums, even the bootleg live ones.

Does it seem like Action Line is stalling? Well, there’s a reason. We’ve covered this question before. Back in December.

But it’s still a good question. These plates have done anything but lose popularity.

They were first available to the public on Jan. 2, 2023. Not to be judgmental or anything, but if you don’t appreciate beautiful white mountains on a green background, then a boring solid black plate with white lettering might just be the ticket.

In defense of the black plates, they are not only historical – that was Colorado’s 1945 plate – but their purchase helps a worthy cause: the Colorado Disability Funding Committee. There’s also a blue plate based on 1914, and a red based on 1915, and a green-on-white based on 1962-1999. When any of these four is purchased, a $25 fee goes to the committee, whose charge is to “maximize support for new and innovative programs benefiting Colorado’s disability community.”

Those who want to purchase any of Colorado’s 200 specialty plates can request them during vehicle registration at either a motor vehicle office or online.

Of those 200, the black plates are “absolutely the most popular, almost double of any other specialty plate,” said Tiffany Lee, La Plata County Clerk and Recorder.

Lee said that La Plata County issued 502 black plates in the first three months of 2024. Action Line was a bit surprised to learn that’s a tiny percentage of the 11,643 total standard passenger plates issues during that same time.

From March 2023 to March 2024, 1,384 black plates were issued compared with 44,800 standard plates.

“It will be interesting at the end of the year to see the trend. It seems like there is more interest,” Lee said.

Action Line was stunned to learn that nearly 45,000 plates were issued in one year, when there are only about 56,000 county residents, and a good portion are not yet of driving age. Action Line obviously needs to be registering more vehicles to keep up with the Joneses.

“Most people have multiple vehicles and trailers plus businesses,” Lee said. “So the total active registrations is much higher than the figures I gave for the two types of plates.”

Plus there are trailers, school buses, and people who buy them just for shooting practice. (What?! You’re not supposed to do that?)

Anyway, as far as we know, there is no deep state connection with the black plates. And we all know that the deep state disappeared with the Obama administration.

Email questions and suggestions to actionline@durangoherald.com or mail them to Action Line, The Durango Herald, 1275 Main Ave., Durango, CO 81301. Action Line was joking about Palm Springs and John Jay’s fixation with the Dead. The former wasn’t around until Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dinah Shore started going there in the 1950s, and the Grateful Dead didn’t start gigging until at least the 1870s.