Stay Free Colorado rally, county commissioners, and homelessness response |

Stay Free Colorado rally, county commissioners, and homelessness response

Rally cries a dereliction of duty

The rally for Stay Free Colorado on Jan. 30 involved a dereliction of duty. First Amendment Rights are broad but are not unlimited and not extended to overt danger of others and advocacy of imminent lawless action. 

When our elected officials took the stage to host and speak out at a rally, which advocated anti-vaccine information, unsubstantiated information regarding the COVID-19 virus origin and spread, and anti-public health measures, they crossed the line from freedom of speech to failure to uphold their elected duty.  

Sheriff Lou Vallario can believe that certain laws are unconstitutional and dangerous. However, he has sworn to uphold those laws, which are deemed constitutional until the courts, not individuals, decide that they are not legal.  

Officially standing on a platform that implies that there is a right to ignore such laws and giving credence to the denial of public health directives is a dereliction of duty. Mr. Tom Jankovsky may have personal beliefs regarding the origin of a virus. However, to publicly endorse unsubstantiated claims, to stand with a mask denier and minimizer of the pandemic danger, to stand by a claim that “the land of the free, home of the brave” does not have a role in protecting public health, is irresponsible for an official chosen to represent all of the electorate. 

To disparage science and expertise is dangerous and irresponsible as official policy. Individual rights are different when you are an elected official and can incite and endorse imminent lawless action. 

The pandemic is real, it is deadly, it spreads easily. Masking and distancing and certain restrictions help to control its spread and save lives and save medical expense and health care burdens. These are not personal choice options, they are requirements to protect the public health and general welfare.

It is dangerous to the rights, freedom and safety of all if we do not speak out against official sanction of dangerous falsehoods and conspiracy-based theories.  

Freedom of speech is both a right and a responsibility. Elected officials should be working for solutions, not arguments. Let’s do so responsibly. The event on Jan. 30 did not do so.

Sumner Schachter

Glenwood Springs

True commissioner colors

Are you as surprised as I am that our county commissioners are against President Joe Biden’s climate crisis plan? Yeah, me neither, since our county commissioners have always been against any plan to protect the planet. 

As stated in the Post Independent’s Feb. 17 issue, the commissioners show their true colors once again in putting money ahead of a healthy planet and saving our natural environment from polluting gas and oil exploration. 

There are enough gas wells in operation already, and many of them are slowing down production because of lack of demand. We do not need any more. 

You have to decide what is more important to you in your life — a county with tons of money in the bank or a beautiful, healthy, natural place to live. These commissioners have been spending millions of our tax dollars to fight our state government when they make laws to protect the environment, and they are most likely going to do it again with our federal government on climate change plans. It’s your county, your great outdoors that you love to play in; don’t let them take that away from you and sell it to the energy companies. 

The commissioners are pushing their own personal feelings on all of us. Don’t let them do that. Vote them out of office. As we saw in the presidential election, when all you younger people voice your feelings, a lot of good can be accomplished. I see you all out there biking, hiking and skiing. Let’s protect those wonderful activities.

Vote for the planet, not the gas companies.

John Korrie

Glenwood Springs

Glenwood Springs should rethink response to homelessness

We need to rethink our community response to homelessness in town.

You get more of what you reward.

We have been giving people shelter, food and money while asking nothing of them. We need to set up some parameters now.

 1) The homeless that we support should have strong ties to Glenwood Springs. We should offer support only to those people who grew up here, such as those who have attended at least four years of K-12 schooling here, or those who have worked in Glenwood Springs for 24 full months out of the last four years, or those who are working locally but have hit hard times.

 2) Garfield County and the city of Glenwood Springs currently give money to support Feed My Sheep and the Extended Table. We need to pressure those groups to sign contracts with the homeless that are getting their support. The contracts should say that the homeless will actively look for work or will be available to do community work. No contract, no more day shelter. The charities should not get city or county money unless they require the indigent to take personal responsibility for their behavior.

 3) Night shelter should only be offered for the homeless that have strong ties to our community. We are a small city of about 11,000 people. We should be willing and able to help people in need, but a middle-
class community cannot take on any and all who decide to come here and stay.

 4) We should set a cap, perhaps 1% or less of our city population, for the number of indigent that we serve.

 5) If the needy that are here will not sign a contract specifying acceptable behavior, help getting off drugs and getting mental health support — which we are going to have to help them find — then the charities need to cut off their services. 

 6) Put up signs where the homeless have begging-
stations. The signs must say do not give money to the homeless.

Chris McGovern 

Glenwood Springs

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