Monday letters: For the People Act, Ascendigo, clean transportation
Pass For the People Act
The first 100 days of Biden’s presidency are underway, and I’m hoping that he and Congress will make reforming our democracy a top priority. The best way to do that is by passing the For the People Act.
The For the People Act is a bold piece of legislation that would strengthen our democracy for generations to come. The law would dismantle numerous barriers to voting and representation, like gerrymandering, racist voter ID laws, unnecessary hurdles to registration, and felony disenfranchisement, adding millions of new voters to the rolls. It would also reduce the influence of big money in our politics by enacting limits on donations from lobbyists and increasing the power of campaign contributions from Americans by enacting a small-donor matching program.
Without this much-needed reform, our political system will never be truly democratic or fully representative, meaning our government will continue to work only for the privileged few.
With a new president in the White House, I want to build a better system for all Americans — which is why I’m urging Congress to pass the For the People Act.
Ascendigo ‘helicoptering’ into rural Missouri Heights
As a resident of Missouri Heights, and a homeowner directly impacted by the proposed Ascendigo project, I am writing to voice my concern. Regardless of the potential strain on the limited natural resources in this area, I believe the heart of the issue is the application for limited impact review as an educational facility.
As per Garfield county’s own guidelines, an educational facility is: “Buildings and uses for instruction or research activities associated with an academic institution that has curriculum for technical or vocational training that may be, but is not limited to, kindergarten, elementary, secondary, or higher education, including residential facilities for faculty, staff, and students.”
Ascendigo Ranch does not meet this standard. They are not associated with an academic institution, nor have they ever been. They do not have a curriculum for technical or vocational training. In their application they state, “Summer camps would be offered between May 1 and September 30. … The facilities may be made available for … training groups of educators and/or employers.”
The idea that Ascendigo “may” offer some educational courses, with no formal curriculum or academic institution association, sometime in the future, should not allow them to be approved as an educational facility. They are a recreational summer camp funded and supported by a corporate entity, and. as referenced to in their application, they have visions for year-round operations. “There will be therapeutic services offered year-round. At some point, winter camp programming that is currently housed near the ski areas in rental homes could be housed at the site.”
Ascendigo Ranch is a commercial operation. Their nonprofit status has no bearing. This is no different than the Boy Scouts of America buying 200 acres off of Panorama, starting a fee-for-service summer camp, and calling it a “school.” I am sure Garfield County would never let that happen.
They also reference Strang Ranch as one of their main examples of local land with non-residential use. Comparing a working ranch that offers a few commercial operations and events to use their land is not the same as a dedicated summer camp/year-round commercial operation. Ascendigo provides no agricultural offerings to the community. Just because you put the word “ranch” in your title does not make you one.
I would encourage all who are interested and affected by this proposal to visit keepmohrural.com/ and to also read the Ascendigo’s application for limited impact review as an educational facility at sci-prod-
Ascendigo is trying to slip by the Garfield County Planning and Zoning department as a benign agricultural ranch and educational facility. They are “helicoptering” into the middle of a rural, residential neighborhood. The consequences of this sleight of hand will cause future land use disputes and conflicts that will reverberate well into the future of our quiet communities.
Clean transportation key to Colorado’s bluebird skies
Colorado, one of the top five states in the nation for EV ownership, has historically passed several nationally significant bills relating to clean transportation. Unfortunately, our state has also witnessed multiple failed attempts to raise new transportation revenue via legislation and the ballot.
Transportation is one of the top sources of greenhouse gas emissions in our state, and Colorado has an ongoing history of hazardous air pollution. Colorado has spent 95% of state transportation dollars on road construction, yet the traffic, congestion and pollution only worsen, and minority communities consistently bear the brunt of the impact.
In this legislative session, Colorado can address air pollution, combat the climate crisis and bring reliable, safe, efficient and clean transportation to Colorado communities. We need a bill that looks to invest in nonpolluting — not single-occupancy, combustion engine-fueled — transportation.
Let’s look towards the future, Colorado. As a state that will profoundly suffer the effects of climate change, we must play our part in reducing emissions. What better place to start than with our transportation sector — bringing Coloradans the accessible transportation they need while in tandem keeping our bluebird skies free of pollution?
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Less is more?