Letters: 10/12/17

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Avoid ‘voter’s remorse’ on muni

Keep in mind this election season what we would lose if Boulder does not continue to work toward a municipal electric utility:

• We’d lose any leverage to continue to negotiate with Xcel for more renewables. We’d end up married to Xcel, with no prospect for divorce. This means committing to coal until at least 2070 and being liable to pay for Xcel’s unwise decisions and inevitable stranded assets.

• We’d lose freedom to make our own community choices about our electricity. Instead, decisions would be made at the Public Utilities Commission in Denver, a complicated and costly administrative and legal process that has not always been friendly to Boulder.

• We’d lose $30 million per year in profits that Xcel takes out of Boulder. That’s a lot of money that could go toward our own municipal utility, stay in our community, and pay for things like putting the power lines underground for improved reliability.

• We’d give up on the energy and creativity of the people of Boulder and the renewable energy industry, for distributed generation, microgrids, innovations in solar, wind, battery storage, etc.

• We’d give up on our constitutional right as a home rule city to create our own municipal utility, and the opportunity to join 29 other communities in Colorado and thousands nationwide that have done so.

Think seriously about it. Vote yes on 2L, 2O and 2P. Make sure you feel good when you wake up on Nov. 8.

Jeremiah Kaplan/Boulder

Muni supporters have good reason for hanging in

In the most recent election on municipalization (2013), Boulder citizens approved a pro-muni ballot measure by a two-thirds margin while also defeating an anti-muni ballot measure by a two-thirds margin. We did this even though Xcel and its allies outspent the citizens by at least 10 to one.

What has changed since then? Things keep looking up.

The financial benefits of a Boulder utility are better than ever because the costs for wind and solar power are constantly dropping. Boulder’s Financial Forecast Tool and analysis has shown that a local electric utility would be cost effective over a 20-year period. Even with conservative estimates, a city-operated utility could meet each of the financial charter metrics approved by voters in 2011 and 2013 and would allow the city to reach at least 80 percent renewable electricity by 2030.

Municipal utilities like the one in Georgetown, Texas, have proven that it’s possible to have a 100 percent renewable utility right now. (Xcel has mentioned 55 percent, but they haven’t even committed to that.)

And most important, the Public Utilities Commission has finally given the city a clear path forward toward creating our own utility.

YES on 2L will let us find out the true costs of our own utility. YES on 2O will ensure that we get to vote again before moving forward.

The merchants of doubt want us to give up. Do we just throw in the towel? No! For a clean energy future for Boulder, for all the economic benefits to Boulder and for the sake of our planet, vote YES on 2L, 2O and 2P.

Cathy Conery/Boulder

Yes on 2M and 2N

Supporting our local infrastructure is vital now more than ever. Voting yes on 2M and 2N in this upcoming election will help preserve and protect the Boulder we all love.

We moved to Boulder in 1999 from Denver, driven primarily to the amazing lifestyle opportunity and the community connection that vibrates in this small college town. Boulder is all about supporting local and building a city devoted to preservation, security and strengthening our cultural ties.

Voting yes on 2M and 2N will move Fire Station No. 3 out of the floodplain, upgrade police radio communication systems, rebuild bike paths, provide much needed funds to rebuild Scott Carpenter Park, ensure an informed and engaged public through a complete North Boulder Library Branch and expansion of KGNU community radio. These are just a few of the benefits of a yes vote on 2M and 2N.

The best part: this is not an increase in our taxes. In 2014, voters approved a three-year tax of 3 cents on a $10 purchase for capital investments in community, culture and safety projects. 2M extends this small portion of our existing sales tax through 2021 to fund much-needed capital investments in our community’s safety services, cultural amenities and community facilities.

Vote YES on 2M and 2N and help Preserve and Protect the Boulder we LOVE.

Justin and Rebekah Hartman/Owners, Ozo Coffee Company

Muni costly, mismanaged

The wake-up call is coming in about 40 days. Regardless of whether or not 2L passes, will the City of Boulder still ignore all those who vote to end the muni just as they did in 2011? More than 49 percent of us voted to end the muni and pursue alternatives in 2011 and the City of Boulder ignored us. The City of Boulder chose to get “excited” instead of getting rational and consider pros and cons honestly. The City of Boulder chose to not report to the general public the more than $3.4 million in costs incurred for the muni effort but not billed to the muni.

The City of Boulder chose not to include the value of the lost undergrounding in the true costs of the muni. That deceit amounts to over $7.2 million. The City of Boulder chose to go to the FERC instead of directly to the PUC and that cost us years and money. The City of Boulder chose to go to the District Court instead of directly to the PUC and that cost us more time and more money. The City of Boulder, out of desperation, put together a pathetic PUC application that does a good job of explaining why they were so afraid of going directly to the PUC in the first place. This pattern of omission and illogic will end soon either by vote or when the number that includes assets, going concern, separation costs, and stranded costs makes the City of Boulder appear to be the dumbest city in Colorado.

The true cost of the muni to the end of 2017 is about $27 million and the City of Boulder cannot tell the truth because it would lose face. It must continue to depend on Xcel hate and idealism bathed in ignorance to hide the truth.

The reason we are voting to possibly continue for three or more years and spend 16 million more dollars (not including undergrounding or more theft from other departments) is because we are suckers to salesmen, hucksters and some folks with good intentions but poor critical review skills. They believe what they are told and have failed to challenge their leaders. 

If and when the muni ends, there will be a lesson learned that fables for centuries have tried to teach us. It will not be the story of Valley Forge; it will be the story of Vietnam.

Money is key, and the current City of Boulder cash flow analysis is bogus because it does not include all the true costs. Claims that “we just don’t know what that cost will be,” are also bogus. The City of Boulder has highly paid experts, and although they constantly get it wrong, they should publish not only their estimates of the true costs, but also publish the number of times they have gotten it wrong. Kind of like a simple self-report card. Then have the profit claims of $20 million-plus applied to paying off the bonds for the many hundreds of millions of dollars and let the public know what the future really has in store. This of course will never happen and the City of Boulder will hem and haw around this difficult but honest effort. You may not remember that I had to sue the City of Boulder to get the first cash flow analysis that showed rates increasing by 30 percent about 18 months after “Day One.” I learned then what the muni effort really consisted of, and it wasn’t pretty. The person who did the risk analysis wasn’t even trained in risk analysis; she was trained as a lawyer who later quit the muni to go back to being a lawyer.

We have been misled, poorly managed, deceived, and now we are asked to pay for more of the same.

2P is one of the most bizarre measures I have ever seen. Would we vote to only consider war and never consider peace negotiations? That is exactly what 2P would do. It takes a lot of hate to forbid peace negotiations. The muni depends on hate to survive. That is so sad.

Do vote yes for 2O, if this boondoggle continues this would allow one more vote after we have wasted another three years and $16 million.

Patrick Murphy/Boulder

Extend the sheriff’s term limits

Voters in Boulder County will be asked in November, on the mail-in ballot, if the term limits for the office of sheriff should be extended to five terms, (from the current four). I am asking voters to support this measure and vote yes.

The office of sheriff is not a highly political position. Sheriffs are responsible for a broad range of public safety services. These include law enforcement in the county, running the jail and alternative sentencing programs, managing the county’s 911 and emergency dispatch systems, coordinating search and rescue and wildfire suppression, providing courthouse security and for the movement and extradition of prisoners, executing orders of the court and the service of writs and other court orders, and a host of other statutory responsibilities. It is a complex job, with over 400 employees in a variety of divisions working hard to provide efficient, effective public safety services. My team is awesome, and they continue to be supportive of my administration and our culture of “Character First” leadership.

I stand on a record of ethical, successful leadership, serving in the office for the past four terms. I have the experience of leading through fire and flood, and building a strong emergency management system. We are currently in the middle of a number of major long-term, strategic projects aimed at relieving jail crowding and diverting the mentally ill from the justice system into more appropriate treatment options. I want to continue this effort.

I am ready, willing and able to continue serving another term. I would welcome the opportunity to run for re-election in 2018, but will be unable to unless the term limit extension passes this November. I would argue that the office of sheriff should be occupied by a career professional, not a politician, and for this reason term limits should be relaxed.

Please vote yes on the term limit extension for the office of sheriff.

Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle

Affordable housing key to City Council election

I have studied one issue germane to the Boulder City Council race in detail — affordable housing. While all candidates support it, there is a big difference on how to accomplish this goal.

There is a belief among some that the only way to provide affordable housing is by increased development with greater density and expanded height limits. I don’t agree.

In 2016, a Middle Income Housing Study was delivered to City Council. While “middle-income” usually refers to people at 80 to 120 percent of area median income (AMI), this report counts it as 80 to 150 percent, which would include a family of four that earns $150,000 per year. Obviously, this skews the statistics to justify more expensive rentals and sales prices. When I asked the reporting entity why they chose 80 to 150 percent AMI instead of 80 to 120 percent, I learned that City staff wanted the higher number. That, alone, makes me yearn for a City Council that doesn’t cater to developers.

Over the past year, I studied construction costs, typical percentage of developer profits (shockingly high), city fees and more. I studied salaries of the very folks that all candidates say they want in Boulder — nurses, teachers, firefighters, police officers, service workers, non-profit staff. Well, they are far below 150 percent AMI. They are even below 120 percent. They don’t have a chance at “market rate” home rental and sales prices that developers and their candidates want to build. (To learn which candidates are supported by developers, look at their endorsements.)

So, not only would increased density and height limits hurt the city in myriad other ways, it wouldn’t do one iota of good for the very people that it was intended to help. In fact, it would exacerbate the situation.

I support the candidates that want to gather resident/voter input for innovative approaches. I want candidates that have inventive ideas of their own.

I admit my bias. I want truly affordable housing for lower- and middle-income people (of which I am one). At the same time, I want Boulder to still be Boulder. I believe we are creative enough to have both.

The candidates I support are Cindy Carlisle, John Gerstle, Mirabai Nagle, Sam Weaver and Mary Young.

I hope you will consider them, too.

Judy Nogg/Boulder

Clear choice in Lafayette

Recently the Lafayette City Council passed controversial and unpopular restrictions regarding homeowners’ ability to develop or remodel their property in Old Town. A 90-day moratorium on building permits followed. This occurred during the July 4 holiday week with many out of town, unable to attend to protest.

Additionally, this City Council has been slow and incompetent in addressing the looming threat of fracking near our homes and schools. Many dollars were wasted on a toothless, inappropriate lawsuit which legal counsel advised could not be won.

Clearly, we need to “refresh” our City Council. There are four open seats and 14 candidates. Three candidates are incumbents who want to continue on, though two have poor attendance records.

My candidate of choice is Dana Kusjanovic, a longtime Lafayette resident and homeowner. Kusjanovic presents a balanced platform with plans for fiscal responsibility, balanced growth, respect for diversity and a united front in the war against fracking. She has a bachelor’s degree in communication from CU and a master’s degree in administration from UNC. She is a longtime Lafayette resident, and an active volunteer in community affairs, including coaching youth soccer, assisting at Sister Carmen’s and serving on the Lafayette Planning Commission.

Ballots will be mailed out mid-October and are due for return by Nov. 7. Please vote wisely.

Jo-Anne Rowley/Lafayette

Push Xcel on muni

While a child in 1960s L.A., my father took me aside to tell me what he thought about American corporations. “They have far too much power,” Dad said, because he had observed, from the inside, irresponsibility at National Lead. He was also upset by the loss of rail transit in L.A., and the thick, brown smog that filled his son’s lungs.

Fast forward to 2010. The Citizens United decision gives corporations nearly unlimited power. Those corporations — especially those controlled by Mercer, Koch or Murdoch — headed by oligarchs without ethics have undermined the U.S. political system and trashed the reputations of accomplished climate/weather scientists.

When people write to the Daily Camera about muni, who is doing the writing? Is it really their personal pocketbook, or is it corporate-inspired? We don’t know, because the writers don’t include a Conflict of Interest statement. But the fruits of fossil-fuel corporate power are in evidence nearly every day, such as the veiled threat recently leveled at Lafayette by the President of COGA, the best government regulator which corporate power can buy. There is always a reason to install fracking rigs in incorporated, populated areas.

I want to see the wind power offset I purchase extended to all households as the default option. Fifty-five percent in 2025 isn’t good enough; I have not heard Xcel quote a date for 90 percent-plus. If Xcel won’t commit, then Boulder needs to continue to push them. Xcel will simply ignore Boulder without the muni “threat.”

Edward R. Arnold/Boulder

No on muni limits options

The ballot issues on municipalization present an easy choice. Do you want the fastest action on climate change? Do you want Boulder to be a leader in energy innovation? Do you want to end corporate control over your access to wind and solar energy? Do you want local decision-making? Do you want an on-ramp to 100 percent renewables? If your answer to any of these is yes, then vote YES on 2L, 2O and 2P.

Remember that a NO vote surrenders all our options.

Randy Compton/Boulder

Alzheimer’s research
funding needed

The Alzheimer’s Association estimates there are more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease and more than 15 million Alzheimer’s caregivers. My family is a part of those statistics, as my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease almost 10 years ago. In addition, my maternal grandfather and a great aunt passed away after long fought battles with Alzheimer’s. Most recently, my husband’s grandfather has been diagnosed with the disease.

The human toll of Alzheimer’s is obvious. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S. and there is no way to prevent, cure or even slow its progression. In addition, according to the Alzheimer’s Association report “2017 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures,” Alzheimer’s deaths nearly doubled in the last 14 years.

The report also revealed that Alzheimer’s-related costs soared to $259 billion in 2017, $175 billion of which come in direct costs to Medicare and Medicaid. That’s why I am urging U.S. Senator Michael Bennet and U.S. Representative Jared Polis to continue being champions in the fight against Alzheimer’s and support a $414 million increase for federal Alzheimer’s research funding for FY 2018.

It is only through adequate funding of research efforts that we will discover a way to prevent and effectively treat Alzheimer’s — saving lives and the federal budget.

Catie Davis/Boulder