Letters: 5/19/16

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About your 5-12 ICUMI

You missed the most humorous (rhymes with beautimous?) aspect of the story of “America” beer. [RE: ICUMI May 12] Since Anheuser Busch InBev is headquartered in Belgium, shouldn’t those cans read “Belgium?” Celebrate American independence by drinking Belgian beer! What did those Belgians ever do for us anyway? I remember a Monty Python sketch about a contest to think of the most offensive name for Belgians. I think the winner was “dirty, stinking Belgians.” No offense if anyone on the staff is of Walloon or Flemish ancestry.

Jim Wilkinson/Boulder

Associated Press and other media discredit Sanders There have been a string of articles written by the Associated Press (AP) in recent weeks to undermine Bernie Sander’s bid for president. The latest article, “Dems fear Sanders harming effort to top Trump” appears to be propaganda coming straight from the Clinton campaign. Who is AP referring to as the “Dems?” Not me. AP does not speak for me as a Democrat nor for the millions of other Democrats who support Sanders. AP is doing a huge disservice to the citizens of this country by trying to sway the vote. By the way, AP isn’t alone. I hear the same garbage from NPR and PBS. Who is behind the machine trying to discourage us? Corporate Dems? Well, they are shooting themselves in the foot. The more they try to undermine and discredit Sanders’ efforts, the stronger our resolve gets. Remember, the vote for President has NOT BEEN DECIDED YET!

Teresa Foster/Longmont

Paul Danish tonic

The Paul Danish column “Danish Plan” is a marvelous tonic for Boulder’s environmental and social progressivism.

When Boulder’s scientists and leaders offer carefully researched and realistic proposals to address real life problems and social inequities, Paul is always there to find flaws based on his perfected ideology that has cleverly anticipated all scenarios, especially those questioning the status quo (a place he finds most durable and comfortable).

Paul’s cynicism, nicely illustrated in “Goodbye to the five year ‘timeout’” [May 12, 2016], offers a good lesson in the “due diligence” of the Donald Trump & David Brooks School of Punditry. Indeed, Paul’s polished critiques are an improvement over this East Coast and Texas movement to clear the air.

Paul’s column is surely good for those fact finders and would-be reformers trying to cope with the indiscretions of the Capitalist World Order and its American adaptations. Let us celebrate Boulder’s diversity of opinion.

Alan Taddiken/Boulder

It Ain’t Over

Joel Dyer’s May 5 column regarding fracking and the Colorado Supreme Court was masterful [Re: “What now?” May 5]. Never mind that the decision stinks like sour gas; this juris has no prudence. And now there is more tortured “precedent” or decisis for future courts to “stare” — that’s [phonetically] “staw-ray duhseecus,” or standing on what has been decided before.

It is supremely interesting to realize that local governments in Colorado have the right to zone air rights, but go five feet below the surface and voila! No more authority. It is supremely vexing to recall a true U.S. Supreme Court landmark case from 1922 (Pennsylvania Coal Co. v. Mahon), wherein the Court held for active and permanent support for surface interests, on the part of subsurface operators. Now, oil is not coal, but the relative positions of the land estates are really no different.

It’s about time we faced just what the oil operators are likely going to leave us once they have sucked all the hydrocarbons out. All the low-hanging fruit has been gone from the oil patch for a while now, and the “squeezers” are very afraid that bans and moratoria could spread. They don’t really want to have to think about where to produce; that decision generally hinges on where cost is lowest. And don’t buy that “inconsistent regulation” nonsense; the industry operates in fifty states, no two of which apply identical regulatory regimes. And the oil and gas outfits manage just fine.

How tragic that our government — the one we supposedly elected — chooses to emphasize some narrow “mission” at the expense of individual rights, property, health and welfare. Again an apt example is a federal matter -— Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant and the U.S. Energy Department’s flaunting of environmental laws. National security, the touchstone of the Cold War and most wars since, came first and has cost many lives. What came second? Everything (and everyone) else.

Now we have a state — our state — declaring that its citizens don’t count, and their needs, wishes, and votes don’t either. What to do? We start by making sure everyone in elected state office learns just how much our votes count, when we turn every incumbent out in every election until the message is deciphered.

Another and longer-term help in the fracking conundrum might be found in a privately funded intelligence and acquisition campaign aimed at placing severed mineral estates into a nonprofit trust, starting adjacent to and near cities and towns. This would require use of what once were called oil field scouts — persons who watch for leases to come to expiration. No production? Then it’s renew or leave, vaporheads.

Buying up this acreage could be accomplished via tax sales and arm’s-length market transactions. Boulder County, where real property seems to be nearly as dear as air, values nonproducing/dormant/abandoned mineral estates at less than $7 per acre. Offer ‘em $14. Surround holdouts with acquired tracts so that no oil operation could gain a unit within their fence lines, then start reducing the offer to them. A good deal of title work would be needed, for which I would volunteer. I did that for a living for years, in fully one-fourth the counties in the country.

Something else may happen someday. Every town in Colorado could, at an extreme, face demunicipalization imposed by the state. The counties could be next. Don’t laugh; Connecticut did away with its counties years ago. In view of what happened last week at the highest bench in Colorado, don’t be thinking there can be comfort that the state’s cities are safe. How intriguing that many conservatives claim that government closest to the people (that’s us) is the best. But it’s much easier for the robber barons to deal with but one entity while counting their ill-gotten gain.

If there is any justice left, Top Operating or another energy entity will spud a fracking well 100 feet from the residence (or second home, probably in Aspen) of every Supreme Court justice who voted for this figurative burning of the Reichstag in Denver.

Gregory Iwan/Longmont

Start Over On Co-op Ordinance

The proposed Co-op Housing Ordinance, which is being rushed through Boulder’s legislative process right now has tremendous potential to disrupt neighborhoods throughout the city and to have many unforeseen consequences.

The Co-op Ordinance is complex, but essentially aims to allow single-family homes in any neighborhood to be converted into rooming houses for 10 to 20 or more people. This is not limited to current multi-family and high-density zones. It is actually targeted to increasing the density in existing single-family residential neighborhoods without even notifying the current residents of those neighborhoods. Extreme occupancy in one house on a block will spread as neighboring families decide to move out and find that their best option is to convert their house into another high-occupancy rental.

The idea that this will encourage the type of affordable, community-based housing that would address the needs of aging boomers and middle-class workers is wishful thinking. It is far more likely to result in the type of high-priced, luxury “co-ops” prevalent in Northern California, combined with still more crowded rental housing for university students.

The Co-op Ordinance that has been crafted by city staff and the Planning Board so far has been based only on input from a small but well-organized special interest group of co-op advocates and developers. Most residents of Boulder are not even aware that this is being considered. Very few people have any idea of the details it contains or how it is being influenced. City Council should take a step back and seek out input from all citizens, not just the special interests. Residents should let the Council know their concerns by letter or by email.

Steven Meier/Boulder