Wolves, Mitsch Bush, Hickenlooper, Robinson and Soto, Trump, and water | PostIndependent.com
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Wolves, Mitsch Bush, Hickenlooper, Robinson and Soto, Trump, and water

Restore the howl in Colorado

As a decades long wolf advocate and a hiker who feels most alive in our wild lands, I care about wolf reintroduction in Colorado. Proposition 114 is on our ballots and allows Colorado to restore the howl.

I am a retired educator, who developed numerous interdisciplinary units with emphasis on our wild lands and environment. I understand the importance of wolves in the balance of nature and their value in improving our ecosystems. I also am dismayed about the wrongful history of wolf eradication in our state and our country.



Please read the detailed information in the blue 2020 State Ballot Information Booklet about Proposition 114 to better understand this science-based plan for reintroduction of wolves to their rightful places in western Colorado. There have been many studies about this plan over the past couple of decades with input from biologists, wildlife experts and our citizens. Plus, before it is decided where and how to restore wolves in our state, more input will be included from Coloradans.

Ranchers and hunters seem most concerned about this plan, which has a high percentage of support in our state. Statistics in neighboring states show wolves improve the health of prey like deer and elk. Wolves are an apex mammal but also selective hunters; they are not killers at random. Only the alpha male and female breed in a pack, thus wolves do not overpopulate their range. Data since introduction of wolves 25 years ago in the Northern Rockies shows livestock loss is rare. In 2015, less than 0.01% of cattle were lost to wolves. There are already funds in place for compensation to ranchers. Better yet, non-lethal tools and techniques have been successfully used in the backcountry by ranchers.



Does Colorado have room for wolves? Research shows 17 million acres of public lands in western Colorado are ideal habitat for wolves in our state. Colorado needs wolves and wolves need Colorado. Vote “yes” on Proposition 114 to gradually and safely Restore the Howl in Colorado.

Ann English
Glenwood Springs

Let’s not create complications for our wildlife professionals

As a sportsman who recognizes the holistic picture of predator-prey relationships on a landscape scale, I’d ordinarily approve reintroducing an apex predator like the gray wolf to Colorado. That said, I oppose Proposition 114 for several reasons.

First, I oppose game management not based on science. Ballot initiatives are inherently emotion based, not science based.

Second, the financing of this initiative is vague. It states that the state will pay fair compensation to ranchers for losses caused by gray wolves from monies in the Wildlife Cash Fund. It later states that the general assembly shall make appropriations as necessary to fund the programs, including said compensation for livestock owners. Nowhere is there mention of funding for the additional Colorado Parks & Wildlife (CPW) personnel to monitor the wolves.

The mention of the Wildlife Cash Fund is unsettling. That cash fund is funded from the Pittman Robertson act and the Dingle Johnson act, both of which funnel federal dollars from excise taxes on hunting gear and ammo and fishing gear to CPW. Any diversion of those funds can trigger a removal of them by the feds. That’s a $20 million-plus loss for the state.

All this puts CPW in the unenviable position of using monies from big game license sales to fund a wolf reintroduction plan. Imagine how hunters feel to know their dollars would be used to fund a program that will lessen their chance of a successful hunt? This is unfair in the extreme and has generated serious and justified backlash from sportsmen.

And, Colorado already has its first wolf pack. A biologist has seen a pup following an adult from the pack up in northwest Colorado. This pack is under full protection from the Endangered Species Act, and monitoring and the associated costs are borne by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, not the state of Colorado.

I hope supporters of this initiative realize that it should be a moot endeavor, with the emergence of Colorado’s own pack up near Cold Springs Mountain in Moffat County. Let’s not create complications for our wildlife professionals. Vote “no” on Proposition 114.

Bob Shettel
Carbondale

Mitsch Bush will work across the aisle

We need a representative who can work across the aisle to represent western Colorado. I will choose a proven pragmatist, Diane Mitch Bush, who cares about our health care system, not an inexperienced demagogue who will simply posture, and get nothing done. Please vote.

Dale L. Will
Carbondale

Mitsch Bush and Hickenlooper for Colorado!

I am writing to urge you to vote for Diane Mitsch Bush as our 3rd Congressional District Representative. She is focused on issues that affect Coloradans, especially on the Western Slope. Affordable health care is at the top of the list. She will fight for us to lower premiums, deductibles and prescription drug prices. She will work to protect coverage for pre-existing conditions and funding of rural health care clinics, and will support expanded substance/opioid abuse prevention and treatment programs. Her opponent, Lauren Boebert, has no plan to address these issues. Let’s elect Diane, an experienced representative for CD3. Serving in Congress is a job for a person that has knowledge of the job and their constituents, not someone who sides with conspiracy theorists and disregards law and order like her opponent.

I also encourage you to vote for John Hickenlooper as our U.S. Senator. His opponent, Cory Gardner, has disregarded many requests for in-person town halls across the state prior to COVID-19. It’s not as if he wasn’t in our valley; he was, but just for photo ops for himself. Hickenlooper may not be a slick-talking politician like Gardner, but he is thoughtful and respectful. Gardner has unsuccessfully tried to repeal the Affordable Care Act repeatedly, which would leave many Colorado residents without health care coverage for pre-existing conditions, coverage for adult children up to age 27 on parents’ plans and coverage for people that may have met their lifetime maximum coverage amounts. Hickenlooper will protect health care for all of us.
Please join me in voting for Mitsch Bush for Congress and Hickenlooper for Senate. They both will stand up for Colorado, not special interest groups.

Connie Overton
Carbondale

County leadership has been stuck in the past

What will their world be like for our descendants? Be proactive and support meaningful change that will help today and into the future. With the power of your vote, you can make a difference. We can move past stale, nostalgic and partisan thinking to enlightened, fresh, more representative and adaptive decision-making. Our county leadership has been stuck in the past, “hitching their wagons” to fossil fuel extraction. Their support of and dependence on the natural gas industry ignores market realities and risks the health and well-being of our environment and residents. Opposing sage grouse protections and regulations on operations, to supporting the Jordan Cove pipeline to export natural gas are indicative of their single-mindedness.

Locally we survived the empty promise of oil shale and closure of two local coal mines. Other mines are closing with the move away from fossil fuels. Xcel, Black Hills Energy, Holy Cross and others are transitioning to renewable energy. Glenwood and Aspen use 100% renewable energy. Even China is committing to be carbon-free by 2060. Garfield County must adapt to these changes and not cling to being the outmoded “energy savior” for our country or Asia. We should no longer sacrifice our environment, wildlife and health of our residents nor allocate millions of dollars to fight against protections. Our region is successfully transitioning away from extraction dependency. The development of solar facilities has increased.

With the geography of Moab and Fruita, mountain biking has increased in popularity. Tourism and recreation are an increasing draw, without the demand to provide housing for service workers. The people, animals and environment should not be “collateral damage” from extraction impacts.
We are poised for greater successes working together, cooperating and identifying with entities less focused on resource extraction. Emblematic of the rigid, outdated and partisan beliefs of our incumbent commissioners is their support for candidate Lauren Boebert for, ”…her political ideology,” (Samson) and “…being the Republican candidate” (Martin). Prefer bluster, inexperience, dated, rigid and partisan decision-making or cooperative, visionary, flexible, energetic candidates? Use your power and vote for Leslie Robinson and Beatriz Soto for Garfield County commissioners and Diane Mitsch Bush for Congress.

Greg and Sean Jeung
Glenwood Springs

Promises made; promises kept

The Trump disinformation machine keeps cranking out the mantra, “Promises made; promises kept!” Voters should compare Donald Trump’s big four promises with the actual results:

  1. “We are going to have the best health care in the world with more options at a lower cost than ever before!” (Trump 2016). Actually, Trump has worked to eliminate health care for the 20 million young, poor, and elderly Americans covered by the Affordable Care Act, while providing no real alternative to replace it. In the meantime, health care costs continue to rise.
  2. “I will not be touching your Social Security and Medicare” (Trump tweet, February 2020). According to the Congressional Budget Office, Trump’s 2020 budget cut $1.5 trillion from Medicaid, $25 billion from Social Security, and $845 billion from Medicare. His 2021 budget also includes steep reductions in all three programs.
  3. “I will balance the budget in four years!” (Trump, 2016). Under Trump, the deficit has climbed higher and faster than at any other time in U.S. history. The Republican tax cut for corporate America added $1.5 trillion to the deficit before the COVID-19 crisis, and it has gotten much worse since then.
  4. “I’m going to bring beautiful, clean coal back!” (Trump, 2016-18). Actually, coal production was at a 40-year low in 2019 and demand is projected to continue dropping as coal-fired plants are shutting down all across the country. Trump gutted long-standing environmental protections to help the industry, but coal still couldn’t rebound.
    Bonus: Trump’s, “Big beautiful wall that Mexico’s going to pay for,” (Trump, 2016) has received no funding from Mexico, and mainly consists of upgrades to existing barriers on a very small portion of the 2,000-mile border.
    This is just the short list of Trump’s promises broken. America can’t afford another four years of his fantasy land.
    Cliff Colia
    Glenwood Springs

If there is no water for the Western Slope, nothing else will matter

This year is notable for its challenges — COVID-19, extreme heat, drought and huge wildfires. But there’s another challenge out there that we on the West Slope need to address that to my mind is the most urgent one. It’s about our water supply and the Colorado River. As Board President of the Colorado River Water Conservation District, and a lifelong student of the river, I am most concerned with the long-term ability of western Colorado to enjoy the benefits of our namesake river. The finite supply of water flowing down this waterway is being reduced by the continuing demand from burgeoning East Slope cities and the downstream states of Arizona and California. A decades-long drought is grimly and sequentially reducing rainfall and snow, and driving increasing demand for this most precious and globally valuable resource.

So, what can you do? You can make a difference by voting “yes” for ballot measure 7A.

By supporting 7A you’ll be helping the Colorado River District to protect our West Slope supply of drinking water for communities, water for agricultural uses, and ensuring there will be a healthier quantity and quality of water for all river users. The cost is modest when you compare it with other things — $1.90 per $100,000 of home value.

Why is it needed? A combination of the effects of the state’s Gallagher and TABOR amendments, as well as the decline in the energy industry, is having an impact on the revenue available. None of the money will be used for new staff positions, and 86% of it will be used as a catalyst for projects with local partners in the 15-county district, ranging from forest health to reservoir and ditch improvements and advocacy for the Colorado River watershed.

The remaining money — 14% — will be used to address the ever-increasing cost of operating. The district has already cut staffing and reduced expenses.

Again, I urge you to vote “yes” on 7A.
If there is no water for the Western Slope, nothing else will matter.

David Merritt
Glenwood Springs


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