Letters to the editor
Do you need all those lights?
A real long time ago, maybe in the last part of the 19th century, we had a new toy. It was called fog lights you put on the front bumper, for when you had bad weather. We also had a dimmer switch that you could dim your headlights for oncoming traffic that we do not use today.
Today we have four headlights that are on most of the time. You know what? They blind the oncoming traffic. Just remember this winter when you are going or coming in the De Beque Canyon. Or maybe some late night going home. Do you really need those extra lights in town? Do they really help you or are you just blinding the oncoming traffic?
John B. Scalzo
Eyes are upon Parachute town officials
It felt like a bit of the cold shoulder that last Parachute town hall meeting. If there is no recognizing the citizens’ will, all that is left is to speculate. Whether it’s on the evening’s agenda or not, citizen’s three-minute comments could be responded to. The first or second petition on the subject could have been acknowledged long ago, but there was nothing from the town to those they are to represent. I’ll guess they were doing as instructed; ignore them and maybe they will go away — the citizens don’t need to vote, we’ll decide what’s best for them. Parachute citizens are very dissatisfied with the town’s recent behavior. Lifting the marijuana ban without a vote by the people then ignoring the people’s protests.
Town officials did promote and advocate pot at this past August meeting saying a number of businesses were contingent on the marijuana drug business. Again, people spoke of the right to vote and Dr. Coleman spoke of the harm that comes with pot but it’s falling on deaf ears. Pot appears to be the town’s panacea. So I am very curious to see if town officials do the right thing and let the citizens vote on this. I truly doubt it at this point. They have known the will of the people for months now and have chose to ignore it. I am very disappointed. That shouldn’t be expected from here.
The pot issue is of major impact and should have been voted on directly by the citizens of this town. It appears the reason this town did not allow a vote is because there is an excellent chance that it is contrary to the beliefs of this board. To my knowledge, the only ones I’ve seen press for pot at town hall meetings (besides the board) are business people who do not even reside here. By not allowing a vote in the first place, and now, not allowing citizens to vote on it after seeing the outcry is not representative government. Imposing your personal beliefs on those who do not want it is more an authoritarian form of governing. The American politician’s role is to represent and serve the people.
This pot issue was brought up and closed too fast. It was brought up in the May 2015 meeting, including a pre-meeting with pot businesses, then voted on and closed in the June 2015 meeting. Of course, many people aren’t OK with this. If officials entered any agreements with pot business owners prematurely, well then … they shouldn’t have.
As I walked the town gathering signatures, I learned that, so overwhelmingly, the citizens of Parachute agree that the pot issue should be voted on directly by the people; whether they were for or against pot on our streets. Only a handful of people who were for pot said they did not wish to sign the petition because they already got what they wanted. That is extremely foolish to ever give up your right to vote, simply because a government official and yourself happen to agree on a subject. While gathering signatures I also learned people were insulted with the initial reason given for not being able to vote, which was: that is how representative government works. The electorate does understand representative government. While most are OK with the dozen or so nuts and bolts decisions trustees vote on every month, the citizens do want direct say on issues of major importance. Maybe they can vote on behalf of the citizens for our next U.S. president. Those are just absurd things to say.
Colorado’s Amendment 64 states that local governments are permitted to prohibit marijuana. Parachute doesn’t have to do what Denver or Glenwood Springs does. We, in our community, get to decide what we think is best for our town.
Our government is a government of the people, by the people and for the people. What that means is, both town officials and citizens are all part of this government. We the citizens insist our voices be recognized and we demand our right to vote be honored.
Marijuana in Parachute myths debunked
Marijuana in Parachute myth No. 1: “The schools in our town will receive a lot of money from the sales tax revenue of retail marijuana sales in Parachute.”
False for the following reasons:
1. Any school in the state can apply for money from the State’s Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund (Article 43.7 of title 22, C.R.S.).
2. The money from the PSCCAF is to be used for capital projects for the school, (as per title of fund) and not day-to-day operations.
3. A school does not have to be located in a town which sells retail marijuana to apply for and receive these funds.
4. Ordinance 683 in Parachute says “6.11.310 Use of Sales Tax Revenue-Schools. The Board of Trustees will consider as part of its annual budgeting the use of up to 1 percent of sales tax revenue generated from retail marijuana establishments to address marijuana use in the town’s schools.” Therefore, if there was $1 million in sales of retail (recreational) marijuana in town, the tax revenue would be $31,500 and the schools could potentially receive $315. As noted by the “ will consider.” The board is not required to give any money at all to the school for any reason.
Marijuana in Parachute myth No. 2: “I use medical marijuana and will be able to purchase it in town.”
False for the following reasons:
1. The town is enticing only retail (recreational) marijuana to come into town.
2. Medical marijuana cannot be sold in a retail marijuana establishment by law.
3. There is no excise tax revenue for medical marijuana sales. Therefore, no tax money for medical marijuana sales goes to the Public School Capital Construction Assistance Fund.
Marijuana in Parachute myth No. 3: “When a vote happens, I can vote on the issue because my address is in Parachute.”
False for the following reasons:
1. Only registered voters within the town limits of Parachute can vote on the issue.
2. If you go across the Colorado River to get to your home, you are out of the town limits for the town of Parachute with only a couple exceptions. Thus if you live on Battlement Mesa, you will not get to vote.
3. When we did our citizen initiated petition, there were 431 registered voters on our list.
Someone told me, “It’s only old people who live in Parachute who can vote then. And they are uninformed.” I ask you to review the information above and then ask yourself if you are truly informed.
Pam Jarrett, Let the People Vote
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