Letters: 2/11/16

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Ted Cruz: A dangerous absolutist
I caught a brief clip of Ted Cruz working from the pulpit of a church prior to the Iowa caucuses and he was masterful. He could go on the evangelical circuit in a heartbeat should he ever decide politics was not his A-game. The problem I have is imagining the nature of a government led by him (or any Libertarian for that matter, Mr. Danish).

Self-righteousness is usually ascribed to Donald Trump, but Cruz beats him by a landslide. The bully pulpit is a dangerous office for anyone so absolutist in his beliefs.
Robert Porath/Boulder

As a person who hears trees crashing to the ground 4,000 miles away in the Amazon jungle when the, so-called, happy news of a stock market positive spike is proclaimed in the media, I found it chilling that a recent hike in oil prices was cited as the reason for the market to rise. It again reinforces my sad conviction that the stock market reveres money over the health of the planet. Like so many other things that we are programmed to respect, the stock market has eroded through the last century to reflect not the real health of our economy, the planet or its people, but the financial excesses of the wealthy and their ability to manipulate our government.

As a former owner of a company once acquired by a public company it fast became obvious to me that the quality of a product and the focus on innovation and a healthy workforce would take a back seat to quick profits. Now, the science is proven. The planet is overheating and faces a perilous future caused by human greed/stock market growth.

For many of us our natural inclination is to rationalize our conduct with a reluctance to accept reality and make the hard changes needed to prevent disaster. We have only one choice left; change or desist as a species. A vote for Bernie Sanders would mean a vote for a difficult opportunity to shatter the status quo and establish a status futura with all of its heavy impediments. The stock market must be reprogrammed with a realistic value system that reveres the health of life over cash. The future of our future is ours to struggle for and we must look beyond the moment to endure.
Tom Lopez/Longmont

Beware women hunters
The bill currently up for debate by the Colorado Senate that would allow hunters to wear pink in place of orange is an effort by hunters to recruit more women into the so-called “sport.” But any woman who cares about children and family shouldn’t let a sweetly colored hunting vest convince her to gun down animals. It’s important to remember that animals love their families too, and hunting tears those families apart. Hunting turns terrified animals’ habitats into a warzone and disrupts migration and hibernation patterns.

Many animals endure prolonged, painful deaths when they are injured but not killed by hunters. When hunters kill mothers, their young are left to fend for themselves, often starving to death or being killed by predators. For animals such as wolves, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting can devastate entire communities. Families who want to enjoy nature together can hike, bike, kayak, canoe, camp, stargaze, rock climb, and swim, along with countless other activities. There is no need for them to destroy other families in the process.
Michelle Kretzer, The PETA Foundation/Norfolk, VA

All tied up
If only “polls” could vote. We are enmeshed in yet another national political power search, as candidates jockey through the sound bites and photo ops, seeking the brass ring stored at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. In just a year, one of them may well hang his or her overcoat in the elliptical workspace there, but where do we hang our hopes today?

It has been well said that in our collective way — our unity in community — lies our strength. True, in WWII we sent Japanese soldiers to Italy, along with African American pilots trained in Tuskegee, Alabama. But it is very difficult to say that our pulling together as a nation did not materially contribute to our ability to defeat the Axis powers.

Would that Americans knew this now. We have 310 million nations now, exemplified, but not highlighted, by the vestiges of the Sagebrush Rebellion in Oregon. Failure to comprehend how much we can do only as a greater whole means we cannot and will not do very much, if anything. Oh, we have at least one political candidate who claims to be the populist’s champion, the apolitical dealmaker, the unpol. This one spends a lot of breath saying what ought to be done to this or that person or group, but never says a word about what should be done for anyone. That would be too liberal, to labor union, too common.

Where are we to discover statesmanship now? What honor and justice can we demonstrate to the world? How many times will we be apologizing for shooting up a hospital in Afghanistan, or Homs or Kirkuk? What makes us think we somehow can lay claim to some birthright of security, convenience or privilege?

Take a look at the society around you. As long as we don’t have to pay for anything (except fast food, the smartphone bill and gasoline), never have to wait, and can eat 4,500 calories a day, everything is jake. Right?

Pogo, I’m convinced you have always been correct. The enemy is beneath our noses, in our mirrors, behind our garage doors. If you think we in Colorado can trust the electorate any longer, I offer only two words: marijuana and TABOR.

The fattest thing here is the chance. Fifty to one against.
Gregory Iwan/Longmont

Fat biking and nordic skiing, compatible winter sports
Recently, a letter to the editor was published concerning Nordic skiers’ perception of fat bike use on area trails. We at Boulder Mountainbike Alliance take seriously these issues of potential conflict and have been proactive in raising awareness to avoid issues amongst legitimate users of USFS lands. We’d appreciate the opportunity to respond in kind. Thank you for your consideration.

As executive director of the Boulder Mountainbike Alliance, I am concerned when misinformation and unfamiliarity of best practices and trail etiquette cause user conflict. The area in question is Brainard Lake, which is maintained by a plethora of multi-user trail organizations, namely, the National Forest Foundation, Bryan Mountain Nordic Ski Patrol, Colorado Mountain Club, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance, and BMA. These organizations supply countless hours of volunteer labor for the public good, regardless of their chosen form of outdoor recreation. Winter access to this area is open for Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, hiking, dog walking and mountain biking.

Fat biking is allowed on trails not designated as ski-only, i.e., the Colorado Mountain Club (CMC) Ski Trail #814.2 and Little Raven #802. These 4.5 miles of trails are off-limits to snowshoes, hiking and biking! There are no other recreation specific, designated trails for winter use. Please refer to the USFS Occupancy & Use Restrictions for Brainard Lake: http://tinyurl.com/jfoetd3.

The balance of the trail system is designated multi-use and is where user conflicts can occur. BMA believes that self-policing amongst user groups is preferred over regulation and should be the basis of behavior for sharing public lands. BMA has adopted the International Mountain Bicycling Association’s Winter Mountain Biking Best Practices.

Some of the more salient points being: 1) Yield to all other trail users, especially downhill skiers! 2) Use only tires that are 3.7” or wider and maintain tire pressures (4 to 8 psi) so that impressions are 1” or less, 3) Ride to the right side of the trail and avoid classic ski tracks, 4) Allow groomed trails to set-up, 5) Be courteous ambassadors of the sport!

BMA has also been proactive this year in teaching best practices to fat bikers by holding public education events, namely a Fatbikeology seminar and a fat bike demonstration ride at Brainard Lake. These events were designed to inform cyclists of the proper use of fat bikes on our public lands, and proper etiquette. While these were attended by over 50 folks, we suggest that there are 10 to 20 times that amount of fat bikers using USFS trails, many who are not part of our 1000 plus membership base. BMA takes seriously the concerns of our fellow multi-use trail friends and are committed to doing our part to maintain the experience sought by all — recreating cooperatively in our beautiful high country this winter.

Steve Watts, Executive Director, Boulder Mountainbike Alliance

A new year for Colorado solar power
A new day is dawning for Colorado’s solar power. With solar installation costs falling, the efficiency of solar cells improving, and the threats of air pollution and climate disruption mounting, solar power’s growth could not come at a more critical time.

We are poised both globally and nationally to accelerate the development of renewable energy, and in Colorado there is an especially great opportunity to become a leader in the U.S. in solar power capacity per capita.

Meeting the goal laid out in the global climate commitment made in Paris earlier in the month would require that the world stop emitting greenhouse gases altogether, most of which come from the combustion of oil, coal and gas for energy. An emissions reduction goal of this scale involves a complete transformation in how people get energy, and states like Colorado need to be leaders in meeting these goals and bringing us closer to a clean energy future.

The U.S. positioned itself to meet the goals in the Paris agreement when Congress agreed to extend the federal tax credit for renewable energy. The extension of this important tax credit will allow more Colorado homes, businesses and communities to go solar.
Our accelerated transition to renewable energy will also support jobs in Colorado.

Governor Hickenlooper and Mayor Hancock announced on December 11th that Sunrun, one of the top solar installation providers in the country, is opening a new corporate office in downtown Denver, and plans to hire 800 people.

The new year brings optimism for solar power in Colorado. I urge city councils across the state of Colorado to start the new year off right by making a commitment to develop solar power in their city to 20 percent by 2025. Let’s ensure Colorado is lighting the way toward a clean energy future.
Katie Otterbeck ,Solar Power Campaign Organizer, Environment Colorado/Denver

A meatless resolution
It’s time for resolutions, particularly those to improve our diet and exercise routine.
Although gun violence and traffic accidents remain the leading causes of death among young people, the most dangerous weapon for the rest of us is still our fork. Well over a million of us are killed each year by high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and other chronic diseases linked to our meat-based diet.

But times are changing. According to Gallup, 22 percent of American consumers are avoiding meat and 12 percent are avoiding dairy products. Supermarket chains, along with Target and Walmart, offer a growing selection of delicious and healthy plant-based meats and dairy products. Animal meat consumption has dropped by 8 percent in the past decade.

Hundreds of school, college, hospital, and corporate cafeterias have embraced Meatless Monday and vegan meals. Fast-food chains like Chipotle, Panera, Subway, Taco Bell, and White Castle are rolling out vegan options.

Let’s make this year’s resolution about exploring the rich variety of plant-based entrees, lunch meats, cheeses, ice creams and milks, as well as the more traditional green and yellow veggies. The Internet offers tons of recipes and transition tips.
Rudolph Helman/Boulder