Letters: 3/1/18

Wikimedia Commons

Reading between the lines

Thanks to Joel Dyer for his brutally honest assessment of Joe Neguse’s candidacy and the “establishment” Democrats in general (Re: “For establishment Dems, it’s Party before people and the planet,” Dyertimes, Feb. 15, 2018). I can only add that, while liberal Boulder County may take notice, the problem is national in scope.

Similar “Republican lite” candidates are running for office all over the country, masquerading as Democrats and well-funded by large corporations and/or right-wing groups intent on building a Fifth Column within the Democratic Party, dedicated not only to fracking but the entire spectrum of far-right ideology. Destroying the environment for profit may be their worst policy but it’s not the only bad one they support. 

Robert Karnisky/via internet

Transparency needed
on muni

The true costs of the muni needs to be fully understood and a centerpiece of Boulder’s new communications and engagement tactics. Engagement tactics strikes me as a poor substitute for transparency. People are interested in the truth, and engaging them with propaganda will only fool half of us as the elections have demonstrated.

I was invited to join the new community working group, I signed up, and haven’t heard back. So let me continue to communicate with you the public, and engage you with the sad facts of the muni. 

The lost undergrounding is a true cost of the muni. As part of a franchise, Xcel offers to spend about one percent of the City revenues on undergrounding. In Boulder’s case, it amounted to about $1.2 million per year.

Since the City gave up the franchise to pursue the muni, the city no longer can access those funds. There is no specific tax associated with the undergrounding, it is just part of Xcel’s operating budget. Those funds are specifically reserved for those cities with a franchise. Those funds are lost specifically, directly and sadly, because of the muni. They must be added to the true costs of the muni.

Now for a perspective on what the daily cost of the muni really is, including undergrounding: the average daily cost of the muni for the last seven years is over $10,500 per day. The average daily cost for just 2018 based on the city’s estimate is over $16,100 per day. The three-month delay in the muni, to work out the details of separation costs and assets, will cost the “exploration” over $1.5 million; just a fraction of the $27 million spent by the “exploration.” Worse, the deceptive spreadsheet provided by the city forgets over $500 million in probable costs.

Patrick Murphy/Boulder

Don’t use plastic straws

On Tuesday, Feb. 6, I wore beachwear while addressing the Boulder City Council — not your ordinary beachwear, but what the beaches are wearing. It is estimated that 10 percent of the trash found along the coast are plastic straws. I had, therefore, attached dozens of straws to my jacket. Within our children’s lifetimes, there may be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Wildlife are now dying of starvation but with full bellies. Full of plastic.

On Feb. 6, I asked the City Council to continue its efforts in helping turn the tide of plastic pollution. But we all can make a difference. We all can help.

One simple action is to not use plastic straws. Over 500 million straws are thrown away in the U.S. every day. That’s enough to encircle the Earth two and a half times. It’s even making the moon dizzy. The alternatives to plastic straws include: paper, metal and compostable. Please note that “compostable” straws need to be processed in special facilities. You cannot put them into your backyard compost bin, for example, and expect them to break down. If compostable straws are not correctly processed, they can do as much damage as plastic straws.

Another thing that the reader can do is to support the group “SUCK THE STRAWS OUT.” They organized several years ago with the intent of getting rid of plastic straws in Boulder and beyond.

About 48 years ago, there was a rock concert in upstate New York. It was called Woodstock. Many of the participants were braless. Let’s celebrate the 50th anniversary of Woodstock by going strawless. It will make a difference.

Kristen Marshall/Boulder