Letters: 2/4/16

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Anderson is shallow
Re: Dave Anderson’s Bernie-bashing… steady majority agree the U.S. should redistribute wealth [Re: The Anderson Files, Jan. 28].

What a shallow and obviously selfish statement. In fact I’m surprised the stats aren’t even higher. After all it is very easy to give away (or steal away by coercion) someone else’s money. If they are ill-gotten gains, either bust them or change laws, and certainly simplify the tax code and lower corporate taxes to bring jobs home … but let’s remember it is the wealthy of the world who provide most of the jobs so the rest of us can eat. They tend to work many more hours too.

The wealthy also give far more of the charitable funds. Punish the most successful and we will all see less of the good things in our society. Think of crony capitalists as the problem, not the wealthy, and certainly not capitalism.

Remember: reward what you want more of, punish what you want less of. Do you want to change the laws to encourage more entrepreneurs and successful producers who create jobs here and bring needed goods to us? We should be proud of success and work to bring more people up into high-earner status, not grab the money from those who’ve made it. Which, also, by the way, rewards those who don’t work who are capable of working.

Why not strive for the top instead of covet those who’ve worked hard to get there and even take risks (venture capitalism and stocks and crowd funding, etc.) on others trying to make their companies grow and contribute to those truly in need?
Karen Lin/Longmont

Anti-homeless laws wrong
A city attorney is supposed to tell the truth to the city. Well at the Jan. 26 afternoon meeting the woman in that office, spoke for the perceived interest of those paying her paycheck. She claimed no anti-homeless law was overturned anywhere in the USA. She did not need to leave Colorado to disprove that.

In 2013, this Colorado Springs City Council composed an ordinance which was indeed deemed to be mostly unconstitutional by the Denver Court. It was the anti-panhandling law.

Courts have called cities anti-homeless ordinances unconstitutional. In August, the U.S. Dept, of Justice (DOJ) joined a homeless women in Idaho, and said no person should be found criminally guilty of a crime, for fulfilling a basic need such as sleep.

When one aspect of a claim is false, examine the rest. This city officer said an anti-homeless law has never been stricken, and it has.
Jan Hoag/via internet.

For honesty, vote Bernie
The Flint Michigan toxic water story is a horrifying lesson in the damage that can be done when public officials lie to their constituents. The public repeatedly asked for disclosure about their water supply and why they were getting rashes, hair loss, memory loss, vision loss and other illnesses while watching the water become more and more brackish, distasteful and discolored. They were told over and over that the water supply was drinkable and posed no health problem in any way. Now many children of Flint will have permanently damaged their chances for a successful, happy life because of the brain damage caused by lead poisoning in the water supply.

At this point we are selecting presidential candidates. It seems clear to me that there is one mandatory characteristic for a candidate without which all other characteristics are meaningless. That trait is honesty. Does the candidate say what others want to hear or do they speak their truth even when it’s unpopular? Telling people only what they want to hear is the earmark of dishonesty.

I want to hear what politicians think, not what they think I want to hear. Don’t be fooled by what sounds good. Public servants fooling the public can have the most dire consequences. Ask the citizens of Flint Michigan. Their governor, Rick Snyder, is even now looking for a good PR firm rather than searching out the truth and making sure it doesn’t happen again.

If you don’t want to end up disappointed by the policies of someone you voted for, make sure you vote for an honest person. Bernie Sanders has a public record of speaking the truth that goes back over 35 years. You won’t be surprised by his policies. He is who he says he is. Every time.
Sally Terwilliger/Boulder

K-8 school at Flatiron Meadows
Some of you have contacted me about the letter from Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) Superintendent Bruce Messinger yesterday in which he describes the District’s efforts in resolving a specific concern related to oil and gas operations adjacent to the new K-8 school site at Flatiron Meadows that “might affect the construction.”

I know parents in particular are concerned about the timing of construction and the proximity of the site to oil and gas activities. That is why I thought it best to share this information with everyone.

Let me start by saying that the Town strongly values BVSD as a community partner. We supported the bond that is the funding mechanism for the school’s construction. And personally, I remain a strong advocate for school expansion in Erie — including this site at Flatiron Meadows. This is a complicated issue. In short, BVSD and the developer are seeking some form of relief from the oil and gas operator (Anadarko) and/or assurances from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) as they relate to the operator’s surface use rights on a well site adjacent to the new school site. This is the issue that might affect the timing of construction.

While it is true the Town is not a party to the surface use agreement at the heart of this issue, I want you to know that we remain committed to helping BVSD find a solution. As one example, in August of last year, Town staff met with BVSD and the developer to review options on a thoughtful path forward. I can assure you that we are doing our part to assist the District.

Many of the comments I’ve received or have seen on social media were from residents surprised to learn that there was in fact an oil and gas site adjacent to the future school site. I understand and share your concerns — especially as they relate to safeguarding setbacks from schools and oil and gas activity.

The Flatiron Meadows Master Development Agreement was approved by the Town exactly seven years ago today on January 26, 2009. And this agreement not only called for a school site to be dedicated but also specifically referenced the presence of existing and future oil and gas wells and facilities.

Seven years later, COGCC setback requirements have changed. That is why today we try to get drilling completed in residential neighborhoods prior to new homes being built. That is why we have successfully worked with developers and school districts to address concerns such as proximity to well sites.

The Flatiron Meadows school site was envisioned and planned for seven years ago. Similar to other developments, there are challenges to be overcome. And the good news is that we have the concerned parties — all who have expressed an interest in getting the school built — working towards a solution. That’s where the focus needs to remain. Those that drive down the road looking in their rear view mirror don’t make it very far. I would encourage each of us in our own capacities to continue to work towards a satisfactory solution.

I hope this letter addresses some of your questions and concerns.
It is an honor to serve as your Mayor.
Tina Harris, Mayor of Erie

Bloodless occupation
Video footage of the Oregon State Police shooting of armed occupier LaVoy Finicum following a vehicular chase is so very sad to watch. Finicum may have been quite stupid in his belief that American public lands should belong to private ranchers, but he did not deserve to die. Sadly, he arranged for his own death. Finicum, the spokesperson for the armed militia which took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge on Jan. 2, 2016, was quite open — he carried a gun at all times and was ready to use it. He reached for it, apparently, and was shot dead. Geez. Like Finicum, I’ve opposed U.S. policy enough to risk arrest, to occupy federal facilities, and to stand up to federal law enforcement. Unlike him, I’ve actually done it numerous times and never been shot. I’ve always been nonviolent and, to be frank, my method makes victory possible and, in some cases, achieved. Finicum apparently thought that a gun makes you safer. It is the opposite.

I helped occupy Oregon Senator Ron Wyden’s office twice — once when he was thinking about how he might vote on the 2002 Senate bill to grant George W. Bush essentially illimitable powers to invade and wage war on Iraq or anyone else. Wyden ended up voting our way. We were nonviolent and courteous. I helped occupy his office again in 2006 to convince him to speak out against the war in Iraq. We were quite friendly, actually, with Homeland Security, who arrested us. Wyden did as we asked — he posted on his website (finally!) that he opposed the ongoing war and he even rose on the United States of America Senate floor to call for an end to that occupation.

As usual, we carried no guns and in fact met with the staff ahead of time to explain nonviolence. I’ve done other nonviolent occupations over the decades — even a one-man occupation of the Soviet embassy in nonviolent resistance to their weaponry. I’ve never even had a weapon pulled on me, let alone being shot, and every single public policy ask I’ve made has ultimately been granted. It is so sad to see Muslim extremists reverting to 12th century brutality and American “patriots” regressing to 19th century behavior. LaVoy Finicum didn’t have to die; he needed to learn about nonviolence.

Dr. Tom H. Hastings, faculty in the Conflict Resolution Department at Portland State University,Founding Director of PeaceVoice.

Trump chump
I think I part company with my fellow Cobalt Blue Liberal Democrats, Center Leftists, Progressives, Democratic Socialists on the Nordic model (thanks Bernie) and Independents over Donald Trump. That is to say I no longer see him as an aberration and passing phenomena. An aberration, yes, no doubt but no longer just a passing phenomena, he’s here to stay. And I think he is a clear and present danger to the health, welfare and any potential political harmony in our country.

The poison he spews and attracts should be of particular concern to minorities. He started his shrewd campaign by attacking Hispanics and quickly pivoted to Muslims, as there’s probably more bang for the buck there. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time before he turns on the Blacks, Jews and anyone else not like him. Dangerous Rightwing racist groups are ecstatic at the prospect of his candidacy. I blame the Republicans for this bizarre political construct. They had better think of something to stop this xenophobic cat. I don’t think the world has forgotten the last German (Trump’s German) megalomaniac that grabbed political power.

Enough of even talking about the man. Republicans drop the Trump Chump. Thanks.
Grant D. Cyrus/Boulder

Media Trump coverage
Like most sentient beings I am appalled and disturbed by what comes from Donald Trump. Could it be that this is exactly the desired reaction?

Aside from the possibility that Trump is the best thing ever to happen to the Democratic Party, I cringe most when I observe more than a few low-data voter types nodding to his beat. What can they be smoking? Some say they like him because he’s a businessman, can get things done. Ignoring the way businessmen got us into that financial crisis a few years back, I wonder which political party is more responsible for the lack of items ticked off the list lately. Could that be the party Trump supposedly claims?

Trump’s ego won’t let his head through a single doorway. But the power of words is related to the power over minds (especially weaker ones, in the Middle East, in Michigan, in Midland or elsewhere). If this guy were to achieve the real reins of power, where might we end up?

I’m sorry, but this wind gust must be calmed. I think the best way to do that would be to ignore Trump completely. If the broadcast outlets and internet folks would agree not to carry a single word — even for money — perhaps we could restore some sense of moral gravity; to politics if not to governance. Hopefully, advertisers could agree to pull all ads from media not adhering to a course of Trump silence.

By comparison each day would then seem like Spring.
Gregory Iwan/Longmont

Navy boats in peril
As a former Navy enlisted and Navy officer, I am disappointed with the capture of our two riverine boats and crews by the Iranians in the Persian Gulf.
I understand one of the boats had a navigation problem, either mechanical or human error, and it wandered into Iranian waters. But why couldn’t the other boat tow it away from Iranian waters?

Furthermore, why wasn’t a warship accompanying the two small boats as they traversed waters in close proximity to an unfriendly country?
Why didn’t the riverine boats communicate their problems to their commanding officer, who should have been monitoring their transit from Kuwait to Bahrain? If they did communicate their situation, what were the instructions they received from higher command?

It appears to me the personnel on the riverine boats and the command hierarchy viewed the movement of the boats as a routine operation, and they were caught off guard by the problems encountered, and they were not prepared to conduct contingency operations. It reminds me of the capture of the USS Pueblo off of North Korea many years ago.
This incident could embolden the Iranians and other unfriendly countries to test our military prowess.
Donald Moskowitz/NH