More RTD info
Like everyone else in Boulder County, I have been paying for the construction of light rail in south Denver for years. Like most of us, I will feel deceived if we do not get similar service on the Northwest Corridor. Perhaps it will be possible to put off a final decision and work harder to sort out the problems RTD is facing.
RTD is misleading us about at least one issue. Recent publicity has made a major point of the difference in numbers of departures between "bus rapid transit" and light rail during peak hours. As a commuter, though, I know that it is not the number of departures that matters; 20-minute intervals between trains at peak hours is fine. What matters is the capacity of the vehicles running the route. RTD makes it pretty hard to find numbers, but the data I can see indicate that running a three-car train would put more seats on the route every 20 minutes than running more frequent buses.
Make RTD give us relevant information, not one-sided and fundamentally deceptive information.
Sanfaon for commissioner
Garry Sanfaon is committed to providing bold leadership and action on behalf of Boulder County residents. Garry, a Nederland resident, will make a great county commissioner because he has spent the last eight years listening, watching, learning, growing and doing as he prepares to serve the people of Boulder County. An active member of the community and county employee, Garry has worked with all sectors and areas of the county.
Two of Garry's priorities are having people at the center of decision-making and ensuring transparency. He says, "I intend to make myself accessible so I can listen to people's concerns and ideas and keep people informed about county business. I will hold regularly scheduled Coffee with the Commissioner in locations throughout the county." As a civically engaged Longmont resident, I can attest to his Longmont involvement for the last eight years in issues that matter (most recently stopping fracking).
As county commissioner, Garry's action items include: 1) banning GMOs on open space; 2) proposing a resolution prohibiting commissioners from seeking county jobs for 24 months after leaving office; 3) proposing a community-rights ordinance to end corporate and state interference with our right to self-governance (this ordinance would better protect our environment, health and quality of life and include a ban on fracking); and 4) proposing a resolution in support of overturning Citizens United -- stating constitutional rights are for people, not corporations.
Boulder County is under pressure to conform. Garry maintains we must transform if we are to leave a legacy of self-reliance and true sustainability. Boulder County needs a bold leader and that person is Garry Sanfaon. Learn more at garrysanfacon.org.
LHS moving ahead
Regarding the story from Sunday's issue, I wish to share good news from the Longmont Humane Society. Our work to serve animals and their people in our community continues and thrives. In a time when thousands of nonprofit organizations have closed their doors across the country due to financial failure, LHS continues with strong support from our community.
Through tough times we see opportunity to offer stronger programs. We had a 96 percent live release rate for dogs in 2011, a sign of success honoring the commitment of hundreds of volunteers and outstanding staff dedicated to the training and behavior of the animals. We are proud to offer an adoption support program that helps new owners assess their adopted dog in their home, for free. We participated in World Spay Day on Feb. 29, providing 20 low-cost spay and neuters to cats and kittens at our Well Pet Clinic.
Yes, we are reducing overhead and streamlining processes. After all, when LHS is positioned to help even more animals it will be due to more resources devoted directly to these important programs. That was not possible given the direction LHS was headed and change, though tough, was inevitable.
Thank you to the communities of Longmont, Lyons, Mead, Frederick, Firestone and others where we collaborate with local public safety officials to keep your towns safe. We care for your animals that are brought to LHS in need of shelter, food and medical care. Thank you to our contributors who despite the challenge of the economy still give, and to those who have yet to contribute, know that at LHS we are saving lives every day and we welcome your investment in our continued success.
Longmont Humane Society
Save the planet
There are 7 billion people on Earth, and at the current growth rate, our population would double by the end of this century. Mr. Santorum's stated desire to end birth control could add another 7 billion to the total if the Earth's resources could handle that many.
He also claimed that man's needs are more important than those of the Earth. Doesn't he know that every single element in our bodies came from the Earth's biosphere and our own well-being depends on a biologically diverse and healthy planet? According to his logic, we don't really need the Earth to be healthy. That logic jibes with the lunatic belief and desire that the world will soon end and all but a chosen few who swallow the dogma will survive.
The Earth will survive long after we, and the idiots who are ruining it for us, have been recycled. To pick a phrase from the Bible: "Dust thou art, and unto dust thou shalt return" (Genesis 3:19). To ask for more is only hubris.
We should strive to keep our planet habitable so our successors will remember us favorably. That would be a more realistic form of immortality.
Vote for Sanfacon
A great threat to us all is the huge increase in fracking, the current method of hydraulic fracturing for mining natural gas, with 100,000 new wells to be drilled in Colorado. A Denver Post editorial took a position that municipalities do not need more control over drilling on their land because the state of Colorado already has strong regulations. These regulations, championed by Colorado Environmental Coalition and others, are meaningless because they have not prevented the great environmental damage to air quality, drinking water, public health and property values near fracked areas in Colorado. We read examples of this in Weld County and now in Erie.
Garry takes the strongest pro-environment position of any commissioner candidate. He has been publicly opposed to GMOs since 2004 and, unlike other candidates, is committed to a ban on GMOs and fracking. Hundreds of communities across the nation, regardless of their political affiliations, have taken this courageous approach.
Garry will also introduce a resolution prohibiting county commissioners from seeking a job with the county for 24 months and supports a county resolution for overturning the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling. He himself has no political ambitions beyond the stewardship of Boulder County.
Garry Sanfacon is the candidate who most represents common values for a viable community, healthy environment and political justice.
President Obama's anti-capitalistic agenda of killing our nation's oil and gas industry is finally being felt locally as nervous politicians buy into the exaggerated fracking scare by issuing frantic moratoriums as if this practice will surely bring the world to an end tomorrow, when we should all know that this threatened destiny is simply not true. The big, bad oil companies -- which sell ROAR.org members their gasoline --drill because they own or lease the mineral rights, and Colorado already has pretty stiff rules regarding how and where they can drill, including the use of hydraulic fracturing chemicals. And, of course, Obama's act of stopping the Keystone Pipeline and its 20,000 jobs is never mentioned in any of the anti-fracking coverage or accompanying editorials.
Talk about infusing dangerous chemicals, we don't hear a peep about using chlorine to help purify our drinking water and treat our sewage.
Reflecting the fracking scare, Erie officials are reportedly upset over a study showing that Erie's air had "large" levels of butane, ethane and propane. But then, in the same news story, the bearer of bad news, a scientist, backed off by saying the data don't definitively show that drilling is the cause. Well, duh.
My wife and I enjoyed living in Erie for four years, despite the occasional smog, most of which undoubtedly drifted in from Denver and Boulder. But far worse, if we're into scaremongering, in the middle of Erie is a huge, active regional landfill and nobody knows what is leaking out of it, and it's near the new high school.
The local press is letting us down. We need to know more about ROAR, who they are and who is financing them.
Polluting our backyard
Chris Hoffman's op-ed column in the Feb. 24 issue of the Daily Camera suggests "The sky (atmosphere) is not a sewer." We might add, nor is the lithosphere or the hydrosphere. Desecrating our own "backyard" with ill-conceived and poorly planned programs to extract natural gas and oil trapped underground is playing into the hands of an industry that apparently cares only about its bottom line. Outlined, briefly, are three stages of concern that we have regarding proposed indiscriminate fracking plans for our region:
Self concerns: We can define "self" as either ourselves or our community. Do we have any clear evidence that the oil/natural gas folks really know or care about the consequences, intended or otherwise, of their operations on us? Using their history as a window to the future, we should have huge "self concerns."
Task concerns: In the rush, by politicians and industry, to extract every bit of fossil fuel mother earth has left for short term economic gain and the political well-being of elected officials we fail to consider the nature of what we are doing and how we are doing it. Is the task important enough to risk damaging our environment and our health?
Impact concerns: In the short term, by extracting "fracked gas" from our environment, we postpone the inevitable. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable and impact the earth's environment negatively in both their extraction and their use.
While we have the luxury of time, let's do things right by declaring a minimum six-month moratorium on any additional fracking projects. Consider seriously fracking's impact on our water resources, the land we live on and the air we breathe. They are huge!
Dave and Mary Ulmer
Stunned by the left
Baldwin Ranson's response to my letter regarding the Obama administration forcing religious institutions to include birth control and sterilization in employee health insurance plans is another example of my completely underestimating the extreme positions of some people with opposing viewpoints.
For instance, when confronted by a friend who did not agree with my position that roughly 66 percent ownership of Boulder County by various governments was enough, I asked how much would be enough. She responded that the government should own 99 percent of Boulder County. Wow. Such an idea had never entered my mind.
When I reminded another friend that the federal government is $15 trillion in debt, equivalent to roughly $50,000 for every single person, my friend laughed. He said we would never have to pay that back. Again, such an idea had never entered my mind.
Mr. Ranson's letter equates a religious organization that provides health insurance that does not cover birth control pills with a racist restaurant owner. This is not a valid comparison. The religious organization is refusing to provide a product on religious grounds to anyone. The restaurant owner is refusing to sell a product to a group of people based on race. This is very different.
Further, Mr. Ranson states, "If a church wants to offer medical services to the public, it has the obligation to provide all relevant services." So if a church-owned hospital wants to be able to mend a broken leg, it must also be willing to perform abortions. That the government should force a Catholic hospital to perform abortions is astounding.
With all of these ideas, I am stunned by the amount of power that some people on the left feel that the government should have.
Slanting the news
David Crary of the Associated Press wrote a story published March 3 about President Barack Obama's "supportive phone call" to Sandra Fluke, whom Crary described in his AP story as a "law student."
Crary failed to mention that Cornell University awarded Fluke a bachelor's in policy analysis and management, as well as feminist, gender and sexuality studies in 2003, nine years ago. This "law student" is past president of Law Students for Reproductive Justice, and spoke to their national convention in Berkeley some time ago.
In one of her first interviews, Sandra Fluke was quoted as talking about how she reviewed Georgetown's insurance policy before committing to attend the school and, seeing that it did not cover contraceptive services, she decided to attend with the express purpose of battling this existing school policy.
An Internet item posted by Pat Dollard continues: "Magically, at the same time Congress is debating the forced coverage of conception, she suddenly appears and is even brought to Capitol Hill to testify. Friday, March 2, in an interview with Matt Lauer on the 'Today' show, it was revealed that she is 30 years old, not the 23 that had been reported all along."
Age 30, a Cornell graduate, and Fluke is still a "law student"? Crary gives no information on who is paying Fluke's long-running college tuition.
The AP's David Crary's March 3 news story supports media darling Obama and bashes media outcast Rush Limbaugh. More research would have shown that our Bill of Rights does not guarantee everyone a right to contraception -- only to life, liberty and the pursuit (not guarantee) of happiness.
The Associated Press was once respected for accuracy. It is unfortunate that by deliberately including or excluding important information, news reporters now purposely slant the stories we read.
Airport plan lacking
In December, the Longmont City Council voted to retain runway extension as part of the airport master plan. At the time, it was pointed out that inclusion wasn't a done deal and that extension had to be voted for to justify directing the consultant to evaluate the economic impact of a longer runway.
Well here we are on the verge of airport master plan final approval. The consultant's final draft, specifically Chapter 8 -- "Airport Economic Impacts" -- does not provide or even allude to an economic assessment associated with runway extension. In fact it doesn't make an economic assessment of any of the three multimillion-dollar capital improvement plan elements.
I expected Chapter 8 would assess the economic worth of all the plans priorities, especially that of the projected $5.3 million expenditure for a 1,000-foot runway extension.
Chapter 8 laboriously provides an assessment of the airport's current contribution, to jobs, payrolls and money recirculation. It fails to extrapolate that information to the plans aviation-interest-only wish list.
Are we ready to approve a 20-year, $22 million airport plan with no economic impact evaluation? Or, for that matter, no environmental impact input (Chapter 6)?
The consultant's final draft has been restricted, developed and submitted under FAA guidelines and FAA direction.
I ask the council to now step in and retrospectively evaluate again airport neighbors' concerns over runway extension, determine whether runway extension is necessary to sustain a viable airport, address if previous council runway extension exclusion decisions are germane today.
Lastly, I ask the council to remove runway extension from the new airport master plan.
It is beyond belief how the mainstream press has reported only what the Obama administration wants regarding the Health and Human Services mandate. The press maintains this is, first of all, a women's health issue.
They are wrong. This is an abomination against our First Amendment promising citizens their religious liberty. The press ignores the ominous implications for our religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Never before has the federal government forced religious institutions to engage in behavior or to spend their money on policies the institutions consider "sinful." This coercion of conscience is the feature of this debate. This has never been done before and it paints a foreboding future for our country.
Lastly, the press is simply unfair in its disproportionate time given to supporters of the HHS mandate and little attention given to the church leaders' claims of discrimination. In our country, where individualism is prided so greatly, when was the last time you saw the powerful policy makers get more airtime on the news than the smaller individuals and institutions who are crying out "Injustice"?
General welfare must prevail
There was an article in the Times-Call recently about City Council activity that took place on Feb. 28. No mention was made of the full house. Public comments lasted more than two hours. Most people spoke about the fracking issue, raising the issues of public health, water use, ground water contamination, water pollution, air pollution, land contamination, property rights, degradation of property values, constitutional rights and violation of citizens' rights.
The print version of this article did not do justice to the passion of the speakers. Kudos to the writer, but no credit to the editor.
Does the public have a right to protect its health? Does public health come under the category of general welfare? The Constitution mentions general welfare in the preamble and in Article One, section eight. The Ninth Amendment has the title "Rights Retained By The People." It says, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."
Could the writers of the Constitution make it any more clear? The general welfare of the people prevails. It cannot be trumped by rules or laws passed by an elected body, or any group, elected or not. The general welfare of the people can only be constrained by a constitutional amendment.
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