Citizen Telegram Letters to the Editor: Rec center, marijuana, transportation
Rec center economics 101
I have followed with increasing interest, and increasing concern, the large debates going on in our community now. Most notable are the City Council election and the recreation center debate. First to the rec center. I am a member of the most disrespected educational group there is. I have a bachelor’s degree in economics. Almost everyone I know is an expert in economics, in their own minds. Thereby the disrespect. The 0.74 percent tax to support a rec center amounts to 74 cents on every $100 purchase, or 7.4 cents for $10. I have seen many characterizations in the debate that vastly overstate the amounts.
Amounts aside, as an economist, I need to convince you that investment in your community does not happen if it doesn’t come from you. Projects like this rarely happen by private investment. The exception is what we see in Battlement Mesa. One must realize, however, that Battlement Mesa Inc., as developer, was actually acting as a “quasi-governmental entity.” Private financing totally relied on public function to build the facility.
No one will invest in your community if you will not, and a community needs investment to progress. I can appreciate the feelings of the Rifle No More TAXES group, but we need to think of this as an investment that produces gains, rather than a tax drain. It will be a benefit to Rifle.
As to the City Council … Yes to Randy Winkler, yes to Barb Clifton, yes to others, but absolutely NO to Dirk and Hans.
Commissioners preach morality
Garfield County Commissioners Mike Samson and John Martin have used the heavy hand of government to hurt entrepreneurs who wish to take advantage of the new state law allowing the recreational use of marijuana.
Samson and Martin have overstepped their bounds as elected officials and insulted the parents, teachers and everyone in the lives of our young people. They were not elected to preach their version of morality or to pass ordinances that are in direct opposition to the voters’ wishes.
Their public positions and now the actions they have taken are aggressive, offensive and immoral because they violate the freedom of choice we have as humans. They have not been elected to “save” our children from marijuana and they have not been elected to shut out legal business propositions.
Their level of aggression towards the marijuana industry is obviously a product of their right wing religious beliefs. Why aren’t they against alcohol? There’s the real “gateway” drug. I won’t argue that pot is a much safer intoxicant than alcohol, because when the Bible or God or whatever divine entity tells them something is wrong, it must be true. And I can’t argue with a man’s faith.
In this country, we should leave morality and parenting to parents, not to an ex-cop and an ex-principal who happen to fill the roles of county commissioners.
By passing a ban on commercial marijuana operations for recreational purposes in the county, they have taken a choice away from businessmen who wish to profit from a legal activity. This is an abuse of power and I encourage everyone who agrees to email Samson and Martin to tell them that they were not elected to enforce their personal and biblical ideas on the free people of Garfield County. Send emails to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Better transportation for all
A recent report ranked Colorado’s rural and urban interstate conditions 47th and 33rd in the nation, respectively. Whether you’re from Aspen or from Denver, poor transportation conditions are a problem. Fully investing in our transportation system is a shared responsibility, and we must work together if we’re to succeed.
In the near future, Colorado could face a ballot measure asking voters to invest more in transportation. Educating and persuading residents will be a challenging process that will take a statewide coalition of determined people. We’ll need to be united behind a vision that promises a better future for us all.
What does a future with modern transportation options offer? A report by American Road & Transportation Builder’s Association calculated that “money invested in transportation construction industry employment and purchases generates $354 billion in annual U.S. economic activity.” Greater investment in Colorado can have long-term economic and community benefits.
To get there we’ll need an open, honest discussion. Public officials and the Colorado Department of Transportation will rely on community feedback. Identifying our priority projects will provide us with credibility when making the case for more funding.
During the process it’s important to remember that we’re all in this together. It’s not easy balancing the needs of diverse communities. At times we may disagree, but we can’t sacrifice our over arching goal of fulfilling our mission of a safe, efficient and reliable multi-modal transportation system for Colorado’s citizens. We can overcome our differences and create a better future for our families if we stand by our mission.
We must move forward, push for change and unite behind a common duty to make Colorado better for its residents. If we’re willing to go the distance together, we’re capable of building a 21st century transportation system that provides us with mobility, freedom and economic rewards. Let’s be considerate of each other’s needs and understand that we’re stronger with a united voice.
Executive director, Move Colorado
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