Wednesday letters: More thoughts on the election front, and special thanks to first responders
2C a critical housing step
Bill and I moved to Glenwood Springs in the mid-70’s. The mountains were magnificent but most important the community was a true caring, participating community of people who worked here, made their homes here, raised families, cheered for the football and basketball teams, received medical care here, knew and trusted our police, participated in local government, school boards, volunteered as coaches, classroom help, community event organizers. If people cannot live where they work, the fiber that makes a strong community quickly unravels.
Housing in Glenwood Springs has become unaffordable for these very people who make a strong community. A critical first step plan in creating affordable housing is ready for our vote. Funds from the 2.5% increase tax generated by 2C will be paid by tourists who enjoy this community and use our resources, facilities and infrastructure.
Funds will go towards creating housing for people working IN Glenwood Springs, that means, teachers, police, fire, medical, including the “front line” providers: EMT’s in the ambulances, medical assistants, nurses, lab technicians. Do you want these key service providers to live in distant “affordable” communities?
A committee of dedicated citizens have researched and created a plan with robust accountability that has successfully worked in other Colorado communities. It’s a start. If you want to have some control over growth and to create a more sustainable future for our city, vote Yes for 2C. For more information, visit http://www.yes2cglenwood.org.
Nancy Bo Flood, PhD, Glenwood Springs
Trust in Moller
I’d like to offer my support and endorsement of Rebecca Moller for Garfield County Clerk. I’ve known Becky for 15 years, and her commitment to community service and leadership stands out.
I know Becky through her time served on the Carbondale Parks and Recreation Commission and Roaring Fork Leadership. She is always the first to raise her hand to volunteer in support of Carbondale’s many community events.
I trust in Becky’s commitment to efficiently managing the Clerk and Recorder’s office in an open and transparent way. I encourage you to take this opportunity to vote for Rebecca Moller, as I know she will settle for no less than excellence in the position and put forth system change where change is needed.
Ashley Hejtmanek, Glenwood Springs
I would like to express a thanks to the quick actions of the emergency response teams in Silt for saving my life. On Oct. 7 I was working when, with no warning, I had a major heart attack.
Being on the fire dept for 25 years I realized what was happening and called 911. Through the quick response of Colorado River Fire and the Silt PD, BC Kevin Alvey and his crew and the Silt PD realized what was happening and I’m alive today because of their quick response.
Within 90 minutes the CRFR crew had me at Valley View Hospital and the fast action of DR Howell at VVH had me in surgery putting in a stent. The reason I’m writing this is not only thanking everyone but to warn others, do not dismiss the early warning signs which include tightness in the chest and lack of energy.
I am very active and ignored the signs thinking it couldn’t happen to me. Wrong, it can happen to anyone. Get checked at the first sign of discomfort. Thanks again to Silt PD, CRFR and Valley View Hospital.
Jerry Seifert, Silt
Reasons for Velasco
I’m voting for Elizabeth Velasco this November, and I hope you’ll join me. Here are four reasons why:
1. Elizabeth has lived the struggles of our community. Elizabeth is connected with our working class, LGBTQ+, immigrant and Latine communities and will use that experience to drive policy change that works for all of District 57.
2. As the owner of an interpretation and translation business, Elizabeth has her pulse on the district. For nearly a decade Elizabeth has provided language access services from Aspen to Parachute to schools, hospitals, doctor’s offices, nonprofits, local government, courts, libraries and businesses. She has relationships and knowledge across so many sectors of our economy and community.
3. Elizabeth will be the first Latina immigrant representative at the Colorado Legislature. She navigated the U.S. immigration system for 26 years to become a U.S. Citizen. Elizabeth knows what our families go through, and she’s incredibly resourceful and persistent. The experience she has in navigating bureaucracy and advocating for our communities will be invaluable at the capitol.
4. Elizabeth is already a leader. She is already an advocate for practical and equitable solutions and has worked at the local and state level to implement policies that work for marginalized peoples. She has experience building coalitions across the political spectrum. She brings so much integrity to her work, and she truly respects people.
Elizabeth will be the amazing state representative we deserve. She’ll bring all her experience, resourcefulness, insight, relationships, and integrity to the state capitol, and she’ll put the people of our district first. Join me, vote for Elizabeth Velsaco for HD57!
Bryan Alvarez-Terrazas, Carbondale
2C is myopic math
Glenwood’s Question 2C is just another sneaky effort by the uber-rich people upvalley to lobby for us to subsidize their substandard wages.
Let’s face it, every normal person’s heart wants to help the poor; but do we truly help the poor by stealing from tourists, who don’t get to vote on the tax and then subsidizing their $12-$15 per hour labor when it costs $18 per hour to survive in this valley?
The City Council claims the extra 2.5% tax (discriminating only against the lodging industry) will bring in about $1.5M, or the equivalent of three $0.5M homes, if the bureaucrats don’t steal from the fund. Why not vote for a 25% lodging tax and provide 10 times as many homes as the 2.5% would create? If you’re going to steal, go big!
Rather than Glenwood succumbing to the thievery of “taxation without representation,” why not point our finger at the source of most of the housing demand being the upvalley’s need for workers.
There are about 10,000 workers who pass through Glenwood each day on their way to Aspen at 2,080 hours per year = 20,800,000 worker-hours per year. A raise of $1 per hour = $20.8M. A raise of $3 per hour = $62.4M.
The City Council needs to petition for fair wages, rather than rob from our tourists.
If the City insists on stealing from the tourists through a lodging tax, then charge them what they voted for in the city they came from; to avoid being accused of “taxation without representation.”
Other Colorado cities charge much more than Glenwood when we visit their lodges, so we’ll end up with more than 2.5% extra. Just a thought.
Jerry Law, Glenwood
Embrace change in commish race
As one of many who are disillusioned with both Democrats and Republicans, especially in Washington, I want to vote a new kind of person into local and national offices. At every level we need fresh, new minds who care about service and not a long-term paycheck.
I support Ryan Gordon, a family man and engineer, who understands that the situation today is not as it was before and can analyze and think outside the box. I want to see new faces who listen, understand and care about health and humanity. They must be realistic yet creative, open and transparent and ready to accept new challenges.
Term limits are an issue both locally and in Washington. I want younger, smarter and more energetic people, who are willing to give their time, to know that they, too, will have a chance to work hard to serve their communities. Term limits would give them this chance. Without term limits we can almost guess at outcomes and feel like our futures are predetermined.
Ryan Gordon has specifically said that he is not only about term limits but also for home rule. Meanwhile, we’ve endured three older men running our diverse county year after year, and they do not want term limits nor do they welcome the idea of more commissioners.
Our current commissioners are trying to keep “ruling” on their own. It’s not fair or healthy for Garfield County.
I encourage folks to vote for Ryan Gordon for County Commissioner. Ryan Gordon listens, is an amazing thinker and speaker, is energetic, younger, supports term limits and is willing to look at hard agendas with fresh ideas. Ryan Gordon will be replacing someone who has been in this same position for way too many years. Electing Ryan ensures fresh perspectives for all Garfield County communities.
Embrace change. It’s one of life’s certainties.
Michele Diamond, Glenwood Springs
Biz owner supports 2C
As a local Glenwood Springs business owner, we are fully on board with Question 2C. The measure will help provide funds for affordable housing via a lodging tax that is consistent with what other mountain communities have adopted and the strategies are logical and proven.
Being a business owner, we have had many challenges throughout the past few years including COVID, the Grizzly Creek Fire, subsequent I-70 closures due to mudslides and highway damage and amongst all of these issues, there is one thing that we can control locally to ensure we have a workforce and it is to provide housing for employees so locals and tourists alike can enjoy what our community has to offer.
The tourist tax will not hurt the lodging industry, it is simply a pass through to the visitors that enjoy everything we have to offer. The cost to tourists is nominal, about a cup of coffee per $100 spent on lodging. In my experience as a business owner, small changes in price rarely deter visitors but can have a big impact on the bottom line.
As a community, we should take the opportunity to support the creation of a Workforce Housing Fund for Glenwood Springs and be a model for other communities in the area that are also struggling with the same issue!
John Goss, Glenwood Springs
Boebert brings outsider views to Colorado
Without question, Lauren Boebert is way too much into guns to represent Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District. Her gun show may be considered cute by some people until a wacko with an automatic opens up at a school or Walmart!
I’ve run into a couple of very aggressive, explosive, dangerous young guys in Garfield Co. who were definitely into guns, but not for hunting game. Probably unknown to Boebert, her gun show is providing the green light to radical young men, from places like Idaho, to relocate to western Colorado.
Boebert did not cast her vote in Congress against gun proliferation, including automatics, despite the horrific Uvalde school massacre.
Lauren is a definite transplant and outsider. She was born in Florida. How could she possibly know about Colorado’s old timers gun culture or their values?
I was born and raised in Gunnison County in 1938. My father and grandfathers were Colorado pioneer miners who helped create the middle class. Unlike Boebert, I am a staunch supporter of their values and hard labor. She knows little of their struggles or tremendous contribution. She has been far too busy contacting God on her superior, special private connection. The old timers could spot a phony when they saw one.
Climate change is another area where Lauren falls pathetically short in spite of unending global disasters. She has to get with it! It’s for the kids and grandkids.
Boebert has definitely shown she is unqualified to be in Congress. A much better fit for her would be to represent Texas or Florida. She could be much closer to her Southern buddy, Marjorie Taylor Greene. Unfortunately, she has become a pathetic major embarrassment for the old timers and the people of Colorado!
Joe Krizmanich, Glenwood Springs
Colorado Water Plan needs work
As a 19-year-old who grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley and deeply appreciates the importance of water in all of our lives, I couldn’t help but notice that Colorado is revising its state Water Plan. While the Colorado Water Conservation Board recognizes the dire importance of water in our lives – their work protecting the Crystal River watershed is instrumental – there are notable areas for improvement and clarity.
My passion for water is motivated by the humbling sensation of watching the crashing waves of the Crystal and Roaring Fork rivers — driven by Colorado’s quintessential powder fields.
However, Colorado’s current drought has lowered snowpack and water levels. My family, like so many others on the Western Slope, depends on tourism driven by high snowpacks and full rivers. That $19 billion economy is a defining characteristic of our beautiful state and requires clear, well-defined water management goals to continue thriving.
The Latinx community and low-income workers lay at the bedrock of the recreation economy. Their work is one of the most crucial pillars of the success of the industry, but it too often goes unnoticed and unappreciated. They are the groups that often feel the brunt of floods, wildfires, and droughts. In order to sustain our thriving recreation economy, it is crucial to clearly outline who will ensure the Colorado Water Plan’s commitment to equity.
Implicit the strength of the recreation industry is healthy ecosystems. Fish, wildlife, and plants suffer considerable damage from a lack of water and inadequate management. As habitats and ecosystems fall apart, the natural environments we cherish lose their allure.
The Colorado Water Plan needs to have specific and measurable goals to ensure the health of natural ecosystems — both for the animals’ sake and for ours.
While the current draft of the Colorado Water Plan recognizes water’s necessity, it needs to clearly outline goals and expectations to ensure every Coloradan has access to clean water and can sustain their families for generations to come.
Aden Berry, Carbondale
2C provisions proven strategy
Glenwood Springs is a small, picturesque and wonderful community. It’s an amazing place to live, work and visit.
People come from far and wide to experience our unique attractions and to enjoy this authentic Colorado vacation destination.
Unfortunately, like many other mountain destinations, housing in Glenwood Springs is unaffordable for those that live and work in the community. We depend on our workforce, but our workforce has largely been priced out of real estate due to market factors. We are at a critical juncture to maintain our authentic community by adopting Measure 2C.
Measure 2C will place an additional 2.5 percent tax on lodging to include hotels and short-term rentals. The total proposed 5% lodging tax is consistent with other Colorado mountain destinations that are popular among tourists. Locals will not pay the tax but will benefit greatly from the funds raised by providing housing opportunities for our workforce.
As studied, the tax is consistent with what other flourishing communities have in place and will not be harmful to our important tourism industry. Instead, it will be helpful to our tourism and other industries. Lack of workforce is the biggest threat to our economy, and this measure will help solve that issue by providing housing opportunities.
Money raised will be placed in a dedicated workforce housing fund. Oversight for the fund will be provided by a seven-member community board, separate from City Council. The money will be distinct from the City’s general fund and must be used solely for workforce housing initiatives.
This strategy does not reinvent the wheel; 2C will create a local program that incorporates best practices and proven strategies from similar places that are successfully taking care of their workforce and doing their best to preserve their communities.
2C is a long-term and sustainable solution for our community. Vote Yes on 2C for the future of Glenwood Springs!
Ben West, Glenwood Springs
FF helps kids, communities
Food insecurity is hurting so many people in our state right now and rising costs is making it that much harder. I can’t help but also think about the fact that my community is particularly hard hit. The Latinx community is almost twice as likely to live in food insecure households. Folks are having such a tough time and we need to do more to help!
This November, voters can take an important step by supporting Proposition FF. This ballot would provide long-term funding for healthy school meals for public school students in our state. This will have positive benefits for schools, support local farmers and food producers, increase wages for the people who work so hard to prepare and serve meals for our kids, and most of all it is a concrete and effective way to help eliminate food insecurity in our state.
Studies have shown that when children are given healthy food they do better in school and stay healthier overall. Healthy food is as important as any other tool for children to learn, grow and thrive. Right now low income thresholds are leaving many children out of current school meals programs.
The Healthy School Meals for All program is an investment in public education and in our children who need healthy food to learn. I am excited to vote yes on this measure in the fall and I hope that others will join me. No one should go hungry because their family is struggling to make ends meet. I hope folks will join me in supporting this important ballot question!
Karla Gonzales Garcia, Denver
I endorse Becky Moller for Garfield County Clerk. I have known her personally and professionally for many years.
She is organized, smart, a great communicator, and professional. She has all the skills to keep our clerk’s office providing the quality services needed, and to innovate to meet changing demands in our fast-faced world.
She has a long commitment to community service that makes her best-suited to ensure that the clerk’s office continues to serve all aspects of the community in a professional and transparent manner.
Jennifer Smith, Glenwood Springs
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