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Thursday, January 14,2010

Praise to go around

(Re: “Boulder County People of the Year 2009,” cover story, Dec. 24.) I would like to thank the Boulder Weekly for their selection of those of us who worked on the ClimateSmart Loan Program as their 2009 People of the Year. We believe that ClimateSmart is an important program that helps the environment, helps individual property owners, and is good for the local economy, and it is an honor to have this recognized by the Weekly.

I would like to make it clear that this program could not have happened without the hard work of many people, beyond those of us honored by the Weekly. County Commissioners Ben Pearlman and Cindy Domenico have been leaders on this issue, strongly supporting the program from the beginning and using their participation in Colorado Counties and the National Association of Counties to spread the idea far and wide. County Attorney Larry Hoyt and his staff played a key role, both in crafting the authorizing legislation and in addressing the numerous complicated legal issues involved in implementation. Ramona Farineau and others in the County Finance Division put in many hours creating systems to make the program work administratively. The County Treasurer’s Office, Assessor’s Office, Budget Office and Information Technology Division all put in significant effort to make all the pieces come together. Our public information team helped bring recognition to the program on a local and national level. No program of this scale could succeed without the strong support of all of the political leadership and the entire county organization.

In addition, many people outside county government have played important roles. Without the hard work of the Yes on 1A Committee in 2008, this program could not have happened. There are too many people to list them all, but some of the leaders include Dane Cobble, Ken Regelson, Bill Jirsa, Neal Lurie, Eriks Brols, Brandy LeMae, Alison Hyde, Collin Tomb, Joellyn Newcomb and Leslie Glustrom. The voters of Boulder County deserve thanks for passing 1A by a margin of more than 60 percent. The Center for Resource Conservation did a wonderful job hosting workshops attended by more than 2,000 property owners interested in participating in the program.

Every municipality in Boulder Country opted into the program, and the cities of Longmont and Boulder contributed in a special way by allowing the use of their Private Activity Bond allocations. Gov. Ritter, Tom Plant and our local state legislative delegation have all been strong supporters. Our congressional delegation, especially Congressman Polis and Sen. Bennett, have helped to ensure a supportive federal environment for these programs. And, ultimately, the 612 property owners who have already used the ClimateSmart Loan Program to make energy improvements to their properties have made this program work.

It is good to live in a community where this many people can come together so quickly to make something good happen.

Will Toor,
Boulder County Commissioner/Boulder

Putting a myth to rest

(Re: “Obama is not a citizen,” letters, Dec. 31.) Because I think it’s a mistake to just say, “Wow, that right wing nutcase sure is stupid” without refuting the specific assertion made by said nutcase, I’d like to reply to the letter from Mr. Rich Reamer of Crofton, Md., who wrote in to make the claim that Obama is not a “natural born citizen” because his father was from Kenya.

Beginning with the dissent in the Dred Scott case of 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court has consistently interpreted the phrase “natural born citizen” in Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution to mean “born on U.S. soil.” U.S. citizenship is acquired by place of birth (jus soli) and not through lineage (jus sanguinis).

The argument put forth with such confidence by Mr. Reamer was explicitly laid to rest more than 100 years ago in U.S. v. Wong Kim Ark (1898), when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a child born on U.S. soil to two Chinese citizens who weren’t even eligible for U.S. citizenship was, indeed, a “natural born citizen.”

Michael VanElzakker/Boulder

A health care travesty

Tragically, almost 3,000 people died on Sept. 11, 2001, but since then almost 350,000 Americans have died prematurely from lack of medical care. Think about that. It is so much more tragic than 9/11 in lost lives. But our president does almost nothing, and our Congress turned it into a circus. Does anyone in Washington care? So I ask you: Please pass a decent and useful health plan for all Americans.

I have carefully watched this sick and depressing process in Congress. As a former health planner for several governments, I am sickened by the whole thing turning into a huge corporate gift with almost nothing for the people. This is very typical of what has been happening in America the past 30 years. I wonder if we will survive this onslaught from Wall Street and corporations, plus a useless Congress.

We must have controls on the prices people have to pay. What is the point in forcing people to buy insurance if they can’t use it because of high deductions and copays? It is just a tragic joke. We need to make sure the insurance companies are not allowed to discriminate by charging higher prices for older people. What is this about? The whole point of insurance is to spread the risk, but they don’t do that anymore. Make them.

Don’t allow discrimination against women. Abortion is a legal medical procedure that is often life-saving, but this Congress makes it sound like a sin. Remember, folks, our Constitution guarantees separation of church and state, but only if the legislators actually have read the Constitution.

Don’t we have one honest leader in America? The president has failed that test, and so have many in Congress.

We are a do-nothing-but-makewars country, so you have the power and opportunity to change that. Take a risk. No one changes things without taking risks. We accomplish nothing without risk. Only Bernie Sanders takes risks these days. He is a hero.

And for heaven’s sake make it fair.

Either make a strong public option, or allow people to join Medicare at age 50.

If you offer health care, make it work. Otherwise, it is just a political joke, like many laws. Its purpose is to save lives and prevent suffering and tragedy, but it has turned into just a joke so you can all get re-elected. But if you don’t pass a good, decent, helpful health care bill, then we don’t want you anymore. You are just the ones we know we won’t vote for.

I am tired of writing nice polite letters, so now I write the truth. I know more about how health care plans work than any of you. So listen to the people who know how to do this and not the naysayers who insist we can’t afford it. We most certainly can. We must join the 21st century. Otherwise we will slip to the bottom and only fight wars and do nothing for our citizens. A government that does not care for its most vulnerable is a bad government, so please change that.

Do the right thing.

Barbara Crowley/Boulder

End reefer madness

(Re: “Legislators: Pot law needed,” news, Jan. 7.) I was at my local Target buying the usual staples from the $1 area, as well as some antihistamines and NyQuil. You see, I have what 70 percent of Colorado has — a bad cold.

Anyway, upon paying for my items, the clerk had to scan my license in order to sell me the antihistamine. I understand that it is to curb the meth production problem, but it got me thinking. I should really give an ID and sign sort of form saying I read all the potential side effects of the NyQuil. That is the truly dangerous drug that I will be ingesting. I can O.D., develop a physical addiction, and be a lethalweapon behind the wheel of a car while “high” on it. Yet, I can buy bottles of it over the counter.

Then I read your article and came up with an easy solution to the marijuana laws: sell pot over the counter. Let dispensaries sell it as medicinal, but let the buyer decide how he/she will use it, just like NyQuil or Benadryl, etc.

Our (useless) state legislators should ease the regulations instead of trying to work around the state’s constitution. In the end, it will save taxpayers money and create tax revenue. The money saved would all be from the endless court cases that will be eliminated. The law would state that it is still medicinal, but eliminate the horse-and-pony show of who really “needs” pot. Then, DAs and sheriffs would know exactly how the law applies.

This would put new pressure on the federal government to either enforce the federal law or re-evaluate whether marijuana is a drug with no medicinal purpose. The current administration has pussyfooted around this issue, and I believe this would bring this issue to the forefront.

Another part of the law should allow cities/counties to allow how pot is sold. They could allow everything from a “coffee shop” setting like in Holland to being absolutely dry. There are dry counties all over the United States. They forfeit tax revenue from alcohol sales for puritan beliefs. That should be their right in this case as well.

In the end, this could change how every state and the nation looks at the pot issue. Colorado could be the model that other states follow. Then maybe the “reefer madness” myth will also be finally destroyed.

William Ambrose/Broomfield

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