Letters to the Editor

Letter: Gardner disappoints on climate change

January 30, 2015 — 

When Cory Gardner campaigned as a “different kind of Republican,” I had hopes he would truly represent Coloradans, 70 percent of whom believe in climate change and want our government to address the problem. His vote last week denying humans have an impact on the climate does not look good for representative democracy. Perhaps his vote reflects a fear that the costs of controlling atmospheric carbon would hurt our economy.

Even climate change deniers can embrace a plan known as “Carbon Fee and Dividend,” which non-partisan studies have shown will create millions of jobs and boost the economy while cutting our carbon emissions in half through a free-market approach. Even if Sen. Gardner chooses to represent the 19 percent of Coloradans who chose to deny climate change, he should sponsor a carbon fee and dividend bill purely for the economic benefits. That way he could represent all Coloradans.

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Letter: What is the road to the bypass?

January 30, 2015 — 

After reading Dean Moffatt’s letter of Jan. 28, let’s say that we agree with him, that now is the time to build the bypass/alternate route. I don’t necessarily disagree, however, the question I still have, is where and how do we build it?

To answer that, we need some hard facts and to get those facts, we need the required regional Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before construction can begin. In other words, no EIS, no bypass/alternate route.

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Letter: Way to go, Carbondale, on same-sex marriage

January 29, 2015 — 

We missed it the first time around, but in the Sopris Sun “Review of 2014” article we learned that late last year the Town of Carbondale adopted a symbolic resolution in support of same-sex marriage. Way to go, Carbondale. This is one more reason Two Rivers Unitarian Universalist church loves this town.

Now the U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide if our Constitution requires all 50 states to recognize same-sex marriage. If the court doesn’t already know the answer to that, Unitarian Universalists who are “standing on the side of love” as a nationwide association of congregations will tell them that all people — regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity/expression — deserve respect, love, dignity and equal rights.

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Letter: Bridge plan isn’t inclusive enough

January 29, 2015 — 

What is Glenwood’s charm? Glenwood’s charm begins in a valley with a hot springs at the confluence of two rivers. It’s he antithesis of life in a big city: absent the hustle and bustle, laid back and relaxed, away from it all. Let’s say Walt Disney wanted to design a theme park that not only included the hot springs, but the whole area. A freeway down the main street would not even be considered.

Right now several elements in addition to a replacement for the present traffic/pedestrian bridges are pending: an Eighth Street link to The Meadows via Midland, and cosmetic surgery on Seventh Street, etc. These are reasonable. It’s not quite clear as to a vague alternative route that keeps being touted. Is it assumed that the route would go up along the rail corridor to Aspen is a given? If so, for those who’ve read my previous letters, then it is well stated that that is the definitive route. Others have implied statements affirming this.

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Letter: RFSD board must retain Stein

January 28, 2015 — 

The question of whether Rob Stein is remaining with the Roaring Fork School District continues to loom large for many of us. We are at a critical point right now as the school board is reviewing Rob’s and Diana Sirko’s contracts at this week’s school board meeting.

We are wondering: What is the board’s process for negotiating the contracts? Would the board sign with Diana without having things worked out with Rob? Are they willing to get creative about Rob’s and Diana’s roles and would they consider limiting Diana’s contract to one year?

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Letter: Spending his time the wrong way

January 27, 2015 — 

So, our president cannot find the time or inclination to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu about current potentially life-changing events. He can, however, find the time and political reasons to be interviewed by someone who is 30 minutes short of an hour when it comes to knowledge, relevance, and cranial content.

Truly pathetic.

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Letter: It’s now or never for a bypass

January 27, 2015 — 

Disagreeing with an experienced, intelligent, ex-Glenwood city councilman, hopefully back in his seat this next election, who is also a friend, is difficult. But Russ Arensman has missed an important point. In his letter (P.I. 1/14/15) he pleads for us to stop the dialog over the bridge, build the sucker and then talk about a bypass.

The missed point, the flaw in this thinking, is that once $120 million is spent and Grand Avenue is upgraded to carry twice as many trucks and cars as today, CDOT will never have the stomach or funds for a bypass. In recent months I have talked with three respected, high-ranking, retired CDOT officials. All three deeply involved in our local highway history. They are unanimous that a bypass with a new bridge would be highly unlikely, ever.

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Keystone questions

January 27, 2015 — 

If Keystone is so great for why did Republicans block amendments requiring 100 percent American steel and keeping all of the oil in America?

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Letter: Thanks a million for the pennies

January 27, 2015 — 

I really would like to say thank you to all the businesses throughout the valley allowing jugs to sit on the counters to collect pennies.

To Alpine Bank and the nice people who work there for helping count the money.

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Letter: Carbon fee and dividend is the solution

January 26, 2015 — 

Thank you to Randy Essex for his column, “Let’s stop making false choices on energy” and for setting the facts straight and reminding Americans not to fall into the trap of party politics or the false argument of climate vs. economy.

Many of us want a future where we get our energy from clean sources rather than fossil fuels that are harmful to our health and environment, and want to see more stable national security and economy. It is time to come up with solutions that are palatable to all parties instead of wasting our time arguing back and forth as we watch oil prices go up and down.

A steadily rising fee on the carbon dioxide content of fossil fuels would smooth price fluctuations, motivating consumers to make choices that are economically wise for them and ecologically smart for a changing climate. By returning that money to American households through a dividend, this fee on carbon is not a tax, and puts money in the hands of consumers who, by the adjusted price on carbon, are compelled to spend it on energy and goods that are less carbon-intensive, giving a competitive edge to renewables.

A recent study from Regional Economic Models Inc. (REMI) looked at this approach with a carbon fee starting at $10 per ton of CO2 and rising $10 per ton each year, with the money being returned equally among households offsetting higher energy costs and then some for most Americans. Under this program, REMI found that after 20 years, CO2 emissions would go down 50 percent and 2.8 million jobs would be created, primarily because of the economic stimulus of recycling carbon fee revenue into the pockets of people likely to spend the money.

I urge Republicans and Democrats to stop arguing and start focusing on real solutions to climate and energy. To learn more about the solutions, look up “Carbon Fee and Dividend.”

Michael Gorman

Carbondale

Letter: Plight of low-wage workers

January 26, 2015 — 

Putting it gently, Bradley Petroleum’s approach to employee theft (PI, Jan. 19) seems extraordinary. But it is part of a larger issue. It’s actually pretty easy for mini-mart (and fast food and dollar store, etc.) employees to steal from their employers, and employee theft is widespread in low-wage retail establishments. Bradley is hardly alone in having to cope with this problem. Most employers tend to eat the resulting losses as business expenses they pass on to paying customers. Bradley was reported to be quite aggressive about trying to suppress employee theft.

But why do these employees steal so much in the first place? Probably because they are only paid enough to subsist and often need help from government programs to achieve even that. (We all pay to subsidize profits for these low-wage employers.) Some employees have to work several jobs. They lack paid leave and are expected to work even when they or their children are ill. Many are not permitted enough weekly hours to qualify for employer health insurance. They receive no share of profits no matter how good a job they do. They are often required to work nights and on the Sabbath. And they can’t see much of a way to get a ahead in these “entry-level” jobs that in reality provide entry into nothing but economic dead ends. Why wouldn’t they steal?

Bradley Petroleum may stand out in terms of crossing ethical and legal lines with its efforts to suppress employee theft, but it is quite ordinary insofar as helping to create it.

Ron Kokish

Carbondale

Letter: The fascist assault on the U.S.

January 25, 2015 — 

Interesting to see Mr. Obama finally on the offensive against the blatant wealthy/corporate takeover of our government and the ongoing fascist assault on the people of the United States of America.

Consider the outrageous purchase of the last election: 1. Fewer than 200 people were responsible for more than $600 million of super PAC spending since 2010. 2. $486 million was spent by outside groups on Senate races in 2014. 3. More than $1 billion in super PAC spending since Citizens United. 4. In 2014 alone, 100 wealthy donors gave more money to political campaigns than 4.75 million small-money donors combined. (Numbers courtesy of The Washington Post).

Does this look like “of the people, by the people, for the people” to you? Why does this same group of people constantly attack women, the poor, education, environmental protection and economic regulation? The only thing they favor is the enrichment of their wealthy and corporate masters.

Republicans struggle trying to justify their inherent misogyny with complete and utter ignorance. They deny any accusations that they are waging a war against women. However, it doesn’t take much examination of the speeches of various Republican candidates to realize the war is real. The issue is simply this: “The ability of women to control their reproductive lives is essential for their health, careers and equality.” (New York Times Editorial Board, Jan. 20).

Modern society won’t work any other way. The neo-Christian/fascists in control of the Republican Party are attempting to force the times backwards to male dominated control of the society. I remind you of a Sinclair Lewis quote (1937), “When fascism comes to America, it will be draped in a flag and carrying a cross”; precisely what has already happened.

Don’t believe it? Offended by the thought? Think it can’t happen here? It already has. Check out “Fourteen Signs of Fascism” on the Internet and see if more than just a few “signs” ring true when noting the behavior of our political parties and government. Before you flip out, check to see if your critical thinking facility still works.

R.W. Boyle

New Castle

Letter: Be careful what you wish for

January 25, 2015 — 

Hey Roaring Fork Valley — food for thought.

Back in the day…

1964: Maroon Bells designated as Wilderness. Cool! On the map!

2014: 175 piles of human waste, 244 dogs off leash, 107 illegal campsites, 307 illegal fires (probably way more than this).

Result: Trashed.

Today…

2013: Outside Magazine declares Carbondale one of the Best Towns 2013.

2014: Sunset Magazine considers three attractions in Glenwood Springs as finalists.

2014: Livability declares Glenwood as a top 10 Small Town — America’s Best Places To Live and Visit.

2014: http://www.visitglenwood.com/accolades (more of the above, over and over).

Result: You tell me.

So Roaring Fork Valley: What do you wish for?

Dave Heyliger

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Thank you, Heather Cremeans

January 24, 2015 — 

I am a parent of two children who attend Crystal River Elementary School. Recently, our principal announced her resignation. Heather Cremeans started at CRES in the fall of 2013. She came in to our building with a smiling face and warm energy.

That year, my daughter was starting first grade. The week prior to the first day of school, I was notified she had been moved into a different class from her original assigned homeroom. My daughter had friends in the class she had been primarily assigned and was understandably upset by the last-minute switch. This change was the subject for the first conversation I ever had with Ms. Cremeans. She was gracious and polite while explaining the switch and generous with her limited time. I knew at that point that I appreciated and respected her as our new principal.

The school year began and Heather impressed me even further. She reinstated the pledge of allegiance being said as a school, together in every classroom each morning (why this ever went away in the first place is beyond me). She created “Ram KaBam” awards: each month the school would gather in the gym for a spirit assembly and two children from each classroom would be recognized for a unique quality or significant improvement they achieved. By the end of the year, every child in the school was given a Ram KaBam. Talk about positive reinforcement!

In the first year that Heather was the principal at CRES, the school increased its state rating by an entire letter grade. These are just a few examples of the positive changes I have seen Heather make at our school. She has always been open to communicate with me and any parent that walks into her office. I have appreciated her efforts and dedication to our school and our children. My daughter, at bedtime last night, said, “I am sad my principal is leaving, I wish she would stay.” I responded: “Me too.” Thank you Heather for your contributions and time committed to CRES. You will be missed.

Letter: Small employers back clean energy

January 24, 2015 — 

This week’s article “Let’s stop making false choices on energy,” highlights how divisive and politicized the issue of energy has become. This disunity not only hurts our energy resource needs, it also ignores the opinions of the economy’s No. 1 job creators – small employers.

Since 2010, we’ve polled small employers on clean energy policies and found consistent and broad support. Small business owners view common-sense energy policies, like the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed Clean Power Plan, as essential in addressing the threat of climate change while bolstering small businesses and unleashing new economic opportunities.

Specifically, the EPA’s proposal will help small businesses and the economy by spurring innovation and investment in low and no-carbon technologies, helping create new energy infrastructure and energy efficiency technologies, and mitigate the effects of climate change and extreme weather events that are wreaking havoc on small firms by reducing carbon emissions.

As policymakers move forward in implementing clean energy policies, it’s important they understand the small business perspective so employers’ unique needs and interests are addressed. Small business owners are pragmatic, not ideological. And contrary to a long-held misconception, small businesses are not reflexively anti-government. But they want government to understand their needs and respond in a constructive manner — and then act on it.

Instead of falsely perpetuating our energy resource needs as a partisan issue, our elected officials should work to reframe it as an economic issue, and focus on adopting policies that will help propel small business, the economy and the environment forward.

Letter: Thanks for the junk people

January 22, 2015 — 

I am a paraprofessional at Riverside and would like to thank the Post Independent for showcasing the junk people project on the front page. I have the privilege of witnessing superb teaching by Mr. Hills each and every day. He puts in a lot of time to make this happen. It is a pleasure to be in his classroom and his students are lucky to have him. They have really enjoyed this event and have learned a lot from this project. Our public school system could benefit from more educators who share the passion and commitment that Mr. Hills has.

Letter: Economics of pricing carbon are clear

January 22, 2015 — 

Thank you for your front-page coverage of Sen. Gardner’s visit to Glenwood Springs last week. I was pleased to hear that in addition to being open to dialogue about the Thompson Divide, as you reported, our junior senator is also already pursuing energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation. Gardner responded to my question about climate change legislation by saying he is working on an energy performance contracting bill, as well as other ways to transition away from fossil fuels to cleaner alternatives.

As a volunteer for Citizens Climate Lobby, I hope that rather than piecemeal solutions, Gardner will co-sponsor a bill for the most efficient policy option: carbon fee and dividend. A recent study showed that this free-market tax, which returns all the money to U.S. households, would add 2-3 million jobs to the U.S. economy, grow GDP by over $1 trillion, and save 227,000 lives due to reduced air pollution. And, oh, it will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50 percent in 20 years, just in case global warming actually is a problem.

Regardless of what Gardner or anyone else in Congress understands about climate science, the economics of the right price on carbon are clear. Carbon fee and dividend: good for jobs, good for health and, as a nice perk, good for the climate, too.

Letter: Build a monorail, not a bridge

January 22, 2015 — 

Why are the citizens of Glenwood Springs even thinking about trying to build a bigger and better bridge when all it will cause is more congested traffic and cause more accidents?

It has been said that it will cost more than $99 million to construct. Why build something that will cost more to maintain than it will to build something more economical and reduce the traffic and number of accidents?

Why not build a monorail that would reduce pollution, the number of cars on the road and greatly reduce the number of accidents? Europe has had trains for transportation for decades and they have less accidents than the U.S. It would also keep the quaint, small-town atmosphere that people like in Glenwood Springs, and people would be able to save time and money by not having to spend time in traffic with people who don’t know the rules of the road.

Letter: Confusing the word “freedom” with “license”

January 20, 2015 — 

After reading Randy Essex’s column of Jan. 12, it is tempting to think I now have permission to insult and call him names. I might even render a cartoon of him eagerly searching his Roget’s Thesaurus or Google for synonyms of “stupid” or “dirtbag.” I could feel patriotic while doing that because I was exercising my First Amendment rights.

I’m as passionate about freedom of speech as anyone; the alternative is anathema. I also appreciate the value of satire in exposing duplicity and hypocrisy. The brutal attack on Charlie Hebdo was abhorrent. But I also believe that with any freedom comes responsibility, not just as a moral imperative, but from a pragmatic point of view. With an eye for the greater good, and as a minor, unsung poet, I like to put it this way: What do we leave in the wake of our words and actions?

Several panelists on a recent “Diane Rhem Show” expressed the same view, so I am not alone in wanting to temper the “anything goes” interpretation of the First Amendment.

The newly released movie, “The Interview,” is another case where inflammatory content has worked to stoke unnecessary conflict. As one analyst put it, it was like waving a red flag in front of a raging bull. Some people thrive on this kind of drama.

Are we confusing the word “freedom” with “license”? It seems so.

Letter: A condescending editor’s note

January 20, 2015 — 

The Jan. 18 editor’s note made it sound like Mr. Douglas hit a nerve since he was talking about a letter that was supporting a topic close to the editor’s heart. Very condescending and very tasteless because Mr. Douglas was right.

Letter: Clean up your butts, please

January 20, 2015 — 

Most cigarette filters are made from cellulose acetate. Cigarette filters contain 12,000 plastic-based fibers, and like many other forms of plastic are not biodegradable. Cigarette filters are the most common form of litter in the world, as approximately 5.6 trillion cigarettes are smoked every year worldwide.

If and when you smoke a pipe or cigars, you do not pollute that much, those around you might beg to differ.

When you smoke cigarettes you throw away the remnant butt. The state of Washington will charge you over $1,000 for littering cigarette butts.

How about you carry a little pouch of some sort and put your spent butts in there to dispose of later in a litter bin? Please don’t throw them on the ground and litter.

Letter: Letter writers: Check your facts

January 20, 2015 — 

Once again I will urge Mr. R.W. Boyle to check his facts before sending letters to the editor. Everyone can agree that the newly elected Congress does not represent the demographics of the country; however, this is no different from past years when Democrats won both houses of Congress.

The problem is that many of Mr. Boyle’s statements are misleading and false. The fact is this newly Republican-controlled Congress is the most diverse in the history of the United States. The newly elected 114th Congress will have more women and minorities than ever before; in this new Congress there will be 96 racial minorities and a record-breaking 104 women, these numbers according to the Washington Post. Of these newly elected officials, the Republicans elected Mia Love of Utah. She will become the first black Republican woman in Congress and the first Haitian-American member from either party. The Republicans also elected Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa; she will be the first woman in Congress from the Hawkeye State, Republican or Democrat. Also, New York Republican Elise Stefanik, 30, will be the youngest woman in Congress. Yes, the Republicans are behind when it comes to electing a more diverse make-up of representative, but to portray the Republicans’ all-white old Christian men is misleading at best.

Also, Mr. Boyle seems very concerned about the fact that 92 percent of congressional members identify themselves as Christian. Well, Mr. Boyle can rest easy, because according to the Pew Research Center, “a growing share of the American population want religion to play a role in politics.” Also according to Pew, “the idea that America is increasingly secularized is exaggerated.” People might go less to church than in the past, but it’s not a significant drop. Church attendance is pretty high relative to what it was about 200 years ago, which I am sure just irritates the heck out of Mr. Boyle.

In closing, I would urge all writers to try and keep the facts straight, don’t try and lead readers to a conclusion, give them the facts and let them decide for themselves.

Doug Meyers

Glenwood Springs

Letter: Cheap oil and natural gas is good news

January 20, 2015 — 

The Post Independent editor’s piece titled “Cheap oil: breathing room to get off fossil fuels” made some valid points but erred on one important conclusion. Cheap oil and natural gas will lead to more reliance on fossil fuels over renewables because entities that decide what fuels to use to meet their demands will buy the cheapest fuel.

Renewable sources are more expensive and were not competitive with fossil fuels without government subsidies with oil at $100 per barrel and natural gas at $8 per MCF. Now with prices half that, guess what buyers will choose? Governments at several levels have propped up renewables with subsidies. You can agree or disagree with whether that should have been done, but the fact is we tax and rate payers are carrying an extra economic burden that rises each year.

One other point: The editor stated that fossil fuel resources are finite. They are not within the context of human life spans. Each decade that passes shows that with new technology more oil and gas is found, and there are huge sources such as oil shale and gas hydrates that have not even been touched. The fact is renewables are not infinite, as is often alleged, because there are economic, social and land use restrictions that limit their use in the future. So let’s drop that argument against fossil fuels.

Fossil fuels have raised the standard of living and life expectancy for us and for people around the world for the past century. As long as fossil fuels are available, can be produced economically and meet health-based standards, we should continue to use them to benefit mankind.

Glen Vawter

Glenwood Springs

Letter: The danger to plutocrats

January 20, 2015 — 

History has revealed that dictatorships, oligarchies and plutocracies can exist for only a relatively short period of time before being pulled down by the proletariat, often with the assistance of outside aid. Without exception, the demise of these once high and mighty individuals comes with the same grim consequences. Examples of this are the beheadings of the French Revolution and the violent deaths of the once powerful dictators Mussolini, Qaddafi and Hussein.

Today, the ongoing experiment in governance called the United States of America is threatened by a plutocracy that is characterized by a perverse and unsustainable transfer of the wealth of the nation from the pockets of a once-large middle class into the coffers of approximately 1 to 2 percent of the population.

The current “trickle down” economic system now in place, stemming from the Reagan years, clearly works for only the very few at the top. As a consequence, the once-growing and thriving middle class in America is rapidly disappearing; and as capitalism requires a large, vibrant and healthy middle class in order to flourish, it is safe to say that the nation is in very deep trouble.

For readers with an inquiring mind, I urge you to Google www.TED.com and view an excellent short talk by Nick Hanauer titled “Beware, Fellow Plutocrats, the Pitchforks Are Coming” on the subject of the inevitable results stemming from allowing the concentration of too much power and wealth in the hands of too few individuals.

Peter Bergh

Edwards

Letter: Disgracefully low bond in coke case

January 20, 2015 — 

After reading how easy coke dealers get treated in our fair valley, it’s no wonder the peddling of paranoia is flourishing. Luis Enrico Garcia was found asleep in a running car with two pistols, an open bottle of booze, 10.5 grams of nose candy, a large amount of cash in small bills and a 19-year-old woman in the back seat.

Now God forbid that anyone should profile Luis as a local rep of a Mexican drug cartel from this scanty evidence, but the cops did and charged him with a half-dozen felonies, including failure to appear on a previous dealing bust.

Now here comes the funny part. Some clueless bozo let this armed, drunken misery merchant loose on a measly six grand bond. Who wants to bet me this low life ever shows up in court?

The irresponsible setting of such a low bail is disgraceful. Do we want a community where armed foreign nationals get busted twice and are set free for posting a lousy $600 — 10 percent of a 6K bond?

Then again if I was Luis’ supplier, I’d sure wonder how he got off so cheap. Twice. Usually you have to rat out someone before they let you walk. But the cartels don’t worry; there are plenty more like Luis, who by the time you read this will probably be dealing in a new location with a new ID.

Sadly, since armed gangs dealing drugs openly is bad for business and realty values, we don’t even admit we have a problem much less address it. Might I suggest that all those self-righteous pot-site protesters should worry about armed drug dealers running around their neighborhoods.

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Rifle

Letter: Letters length and media bias

January 17, 2015 — 

Yet again the bias of the media is loud and clear. The Post Independent rules on submitting letters to the editor reads as follows on their web site, “The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reserves the right to edit all letters. Because of space constraints, please limit your letters to 350 words.” Yet on Jan. 16 we see a letter from a gentleman who has a vested interest in the topic he writes about and his letter was a whooping 606 words, 253 words over the stated limit.

I have yet to see a conservative letter writer have a letter over the stated 350-word limit.

The only conclusion is if you want to submit a letter to the editor and your topic that is of a liberal nature, have at it, there is no limit to the space the Post Independent staff will give you. On the other hand, if you want to submit a letter of a conservative nature, don’t you dare think of going over 350 words, and don’t be surprised if your letter is not printed.

EDITOR’S NOTE: We do not reject letters because of length or ideology. We reserve space for people living in the area and do edit or even reject letters that are hopelessly unclear, libelous or excessively mean-spirited. We do, in fact, ask “Because of space constraints, please limit your letters to 350 words” and our online form does limit writers to that length. Letters may also be submitted by email to letters@postindependent.com. We have printed an increasing number of guest opinions and letters above that length in recent months. We’ve printed full pages of letters to get more in. Our goal is to publish as many opinions as possible and to host a vigorous debate. If everyone writes 500 or 600 words, eventually that will limit our ability to print as many letters.

As long as we are on the topic, please use the online form or submit by email. We don’t have a typist and it’s the 21st century age of instant electronic communication, with free email accounts in abundance and Internet access readily available at any public library if you don’t have a computer at home.

Letter: Elevate the bridge till 10th Street

January 16, 2015 — 

It’s a lovely conceptual illustration of a pedestrian-friendly area under the bridge the Post Independent ran on its front page (1/8), showing a deceptive perspective for a space that would only be slightly larger than its present configuration. Yet don’t dismiss the image on face value. Rather imagine the concept presented as this under-bridge pedestrian park extending the length of the downtown core and thus giving all these businesses the same opportunity to troll for pedestrians as businesses along Seventh, via keeping the bridge elevated till it meets the crest of the hill on 10th Street.

CDOT is bent on keeping 82 running right up Grand Avenue because the past decades have proven this town will never agree on where to put a bypass long past when cars fly — which incidentally are here in prototype — and traffic flow becomes a problem for the FAA.

Keeping the bridge elevated will solve more problems like allowing cross traffic on 8th and 9th to move unmolested underneath the span. No downtown core pedestrian crossings and the smooth flow of traffic through until the 10th Street light, where access to the downtown parking garage was designed to come from. Allow for covered diagonal parking spaces on both sides of those streets under the structure, when larger activities aren’t using the space. The space could be used for building floats building prior to the parade or Messiah Under the Bridge and other grand concerts created to recoup the tourist dollars lost during construction. Creating a grand pedestrian area large enough for many uses such as festivals, farmers markets and many things the imaginative dare to imagine.

And if CDOT wants to get innovative — on the advent of traffic lanes in the sky — it can finance the longer bridge on venture capital and research dollars by making it a competition to invent reusable, modular bridge segments able to be deployed elsewhere when we are either flying or can finally reach consensus on where to place a bypass.

Letter: Don’t roll back renewable energy

January 15, 2015 — 

One of the people heading a Senate committee is 80-year-old Republican James Inhofe of Oklahoma. He is the head of Environment and Public Works. Inhofe is a true climate change denier. Nice to know that he will be an unbiased watchdog for the environment. In 2012 “Senator James Inhofe (R-OK) appeared on Voice of Christian Youth America’s radio program ‘Crosstalk’ with Vic Eliason to promote his new book ‘The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future,’ where he repeated his frequent claim that human-influenced climate change is impossible because ‘God’s still up there.’ Inhofe cited Genesis 8:22 to claim that it is ‘outrageous’ and arrogant for people to believe human beings are ‘able to change what He is doing in the climate.’” (from Right Wing Watch)

As someone who has been involved with solar energy for the last seven years, I have found the GOP trend against alternative energy alarming. Recently, Oklahoma, Arizona, New Mexico, Ohio and Kansas, all red states, have enacted regulations to make it more costly for residents to go solar. Oklahoma actually undid a 1977 law prohibiting extra fees for solar panel owners so it could pass a law to charge solar panel owners an extra fee. That’s Inhofe’s Oklahoma.

Closer to home, Republicans in the Colorado House want to undo the progress we’ve made with solar in our state (Post Independent 1/11/15). Republican Reps. Brian DelGrasso (Loveland) and Ray Scott (Grand Junction) have decided to try and roll back the alternative energy legislation approved by voters in 2004 and expanded in recent years, claiming it has forced a burden on ratepayers in Colorado, while at the same time acknowledging that we have one of the lowest electrical rates in the country.

Can you say “cognitive dissonance?” According to DelGrasso, “Oil, coal and natural gas not only provide clean, affordable and reliable power, but are economical drivers in many communities in Colorado.” With Loveland and the Front Range not meeting ozone standards due largely to oil and gas development, perhaps DelGrasso should look up the definition of “clean power” (and cognitive dissonance). It’s worth noting that Xcel Energy was a major donor to his campaign. Xcel is also proposing rate increases for solar owners. It appears that solar is good if Xcel builds it and can charge regular rates for the power, but solar is bad if I produce my own power. Extractive industries have been financially supporting lawsuits to overturn solar mandates around the country and around the world.

As an alternative energy supporter, I have been told that us tree huggers have been the ruination of the economy of Rifle. When gas was $14/million BTUs and technology was so 2000s there was money flowing like, well, natural gas. Now with new technology and multiple plays, natural gas is below $3/million BTUs. I’d say the industry is a victim of its own success. France, Bulgaria, Romania, Germany, Czech Republic, Luxembourg and Northern Ireland, as well as parts of Spain and Switzerland have enacted fracking bans. New York state has recently joined the anti-fracking club. I guess they aren’t as concerned about economic drivers from fossil fuels as they are about the health and welfare of their citizens. All of these anti-fracking laws are being challenged in court, again by the extractive industries.

Perhaps DelGrasso and Scott should consider finding alternative energy solutions to driving the economies of their districts. They do exist. Polls show that almost 80 percent of Colorado residents support increased alternative energy mandates and net metering without increased fees. Relying on dinosaur fuels for energy will lead us to the same fate as the dinosaurs.

Letter: County commission districts: Bad idea

January 14, 2015 — 

The new fad notion of voting for county commissioners by district is foolish and shortsighted, and the Post Independent’s recent editorial encouraging further consideration of it is an unhelpful distraction.

The long-enduring, and democratically fair, model of candidates rising from their home districts but being voted on by all citizens is a primary tenet of the good-government reforms from the early 20th century.

This election format ensures that elected officials are distributed across all our neighborhoods, but that they remain answerable to all of us — not just those in their neighborhood or inner clique.

This was key to bringing down big-boss rule in government, replacing it with objective expertise and an emphasis on governance for the health and benefit of the many rather than the profit of the few.

Originally pressed by progressive leaders Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, Upton Sinclair, William Allen White, Samuel McClure, Margaret Sanger and a host of civic-minded locals across the country, reforms also included relying on expertise and science for government services (rather than on cronyism and swapping of favors), initiative and referendum to facilitate citizens’ direct involvement in governing, and the merit-based civil service system (rewarding government employees based on what they know rather than on who they know).

I cannot remember, in nearly 30 years living here, a majority vote by any combination of county commissioners with which I agreed — on land use, transportation, energy development, protection for wildlands and habitat, anything. I would love to have a county government more representative of my own progressive and environmentalist views.

The misguided attempt to artificially secure one liberal commissioner is not the way to do that. It is undemocratic and invites corruption.

Worse, it would not work. The token liberal commissioner would consistently to be outvoted by conservatives who are even more beholden to their narrow base.

The proper, and effective, path to better representation of progressives is the recruitment of strong candidates, well-organized and persuasive campaigns, and continued pressure on all elected officials to truly represent the entire county.

Letter: The freshly purchased GOP majority

January 14, 2015 — 

I guess it’s not just me. Here is a thoughtful quote from a Florida (Jeb Bush’s state) U.S. representative. This man is in Congress, an eyewitness to what is happening to America. Here are some of his thoughts on our freshly purchased Republican majority:

“For the past five months, every single elected GOP member of Congress (all 250-plus of them) has been a white Christian. Maybe it’s a coincidence. Let’s see: 27 percent of all Americans are black, mixed race or Asian. Twenty-four percent do not identify themselves as Christians. Let’s suppose that half of all Americans are white, self-identified Christians, and half are not. What are the chances that 250 of the white Christians just randomly would end up as the Republicans in Congress, and zero of the others?

“Answer: 0.28 percent. There is a 0.28 percent chance that it’s all just a terrible misunderstanding. And a 99.72 percent chance that it’s not.” — Florida Rep. Alan Grayson

Mr. Grayson did not choose to address the issue that half of our population is female. Do we really need to look it up to see that of the 250 new dollar slaves in Congress but a small percent are women? Another “terrible misunderstanding?”

I’m hopeful that Mr. Ceremuga, or perhaps another of our knowledgeable Republican apologists can explain these seeming impossibilities to someone of my age.

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