Letters: 2/22/18

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On the Democratic establishment

I very much appreciate the decision-forming information in Joel Dyer’s editorial (Re: “For establishment Dems, it’s Party before people and the planet,” Dyertimes, Feb. 15, 2018) regarding the candidacy of Joe Neguse without agreeing with what seems to be your conclusion that every establishment-wing Democrat listed on his website is an enemy of the people and the planet and should have a target on their backs.

I read your paper every week and your underlying editorial belief seems to be that the “establishment” Democrats stole the Presidency from Bernie, and that a blue wave of Democratic wins are a given in 2018 unless the “establishment” Democrats screw it up again by being hypocritical idiots.

That very well may be the whole truth, but the stakes are so high in 2018, I would ask that you consider another possibility. 

Maybe it is complicated, and the imperfect human beings that make up the Democratic party have many drivers, one of which is trying to make government work for people and the planet using the structures of our political system that are very, very flawed, while the democratic institutions those systems are holding up are under assault. 

Money and power are being consolidated towards authoritarianism in many ways, including by weaponizing information, with salacious distractions, by discrediting any institutional checks on power, and by sowing hatred, blame and divisiveness among the 99 percent. Once the latter are adequately stoked, they can proliferate on their own among good, caring people fueled by anger and fear. 

These are dire times, and I hope that while we still can, we each get involved and support primary candidates that align with our every issue and reach for our greatest ideals, and in the general election we wholeheartedly support the candidate that could be responsive to the electorate and provide thoughtful leadership, all the while recognizing the need to change the gerrymandered, moneyed, winner-take-all, Electoral College system to strengthen and defend our democracy.

Barbara Bradley/Boulder

Choice for Longmont Ward 1

We are lucky: Tim Waters is highly qualified for Longmont City Council from Ward 1.

Watching the video of the Sustainability Forum recently sponsored by Longmont Observer, Eco-cycle and SRL, I was impressed with Tim Waters for addition to the Longmont City Council. Waters is wonderfully qualified as a former CEO and education professional. He showed himself to be articulate and knowledgeable about local issues with good ideas about how to facilitate moving Longmont towards a progressive and fair future. Observing Josh Goldberg, he is a bright and attractive young man with good experience in local event management and on the Longmont Planning and Zoning Commission. However, Goldberg often acknowledged that he lacks information and would rely on city staff for ideas.

Important examples of their differences:

1) Affordable Housing: Though both candidates stated concern about affordable housing, Waters supports a return to earlier successful “inclusionary housing” which required developers either to provide 10 percent affordable housing or to provide proportionate funding for such housing. Goldberg supports incentives for developers; incentives for developers were adopted in 2011 to replace “inclusionary housing,” but incentives have not produced any affordable housing since then.

2) Fracking: Both candidates say they are opposed to fracking in the urban area. Waters has specific ideas for new local regulation of underground flow lines and fees for associated water and noise pollution. Goldberg’s softer idea was to negotiate with oil and gas industry representatives; he also stated that fracking problems should be addressed on a state level.

3) Renewable Energy: Waters proposes that the city be a standard bearer for developing new methods of energy use, such as providing infrastructure for electric cars, for a future that will be less dependent on oil and gas. Goldberg could only say that he supports hybrid cars and education to make the city friendly to renewable energy.

4) Land Use: Waters recognizes that urbanization and its impacts on agricultural lands are serious issues arising with Longmont’s growth. He suggests that land use codes need to be updated to correspond with Envision Longmont, our new comprehensive plan, with Planning and Zoning (PZ) leading the way for land use to correspond to a bigger vision of our future. Goldberg merely suggests that PZ hear more from the public about where to preserve agricultural lands.

Goldberg’s sojourn on the Planning Commission has been accompanied by little restraint on developers. Gravel mining is being allowed on stream-adjacent lands that are currently zoned agricultural. Conversion of agricultural lands to concrete will increase flooding problems and diminish the quality of the landscapes we have enjoyed. New developments are allowed to be built to butt-up to schools, thus increasing traffic and diminishing safety for students. These are reasons enough to vote for Tim Waters for City Council from Ward 1.

Edna Loehman/Longmont