LETTERS | Week of Feb. 20


Don’t forget federal sting

[Re: “Eracism: Exploring the roots,” cover story, Feb. 6.] Loved the article. Would enjoy corresponding with the authors. I wrote a book that involves some of this history going up to and including the federal sting operation in the San Luis Valley in the late 1980s: The Secret of a Long Journey, published by Floricanto Press in 2012.

I first discovered this history when I represented one of the several dozen defendants entrapped and arrested then. So if these authors have time/inclination please have them be in touch.

Sandra Sanchez/Nederland

Replace county commissioner Domenico

I support Alan Rosenfeld to replace Cindy Domenico as our county commissioner. It is time for a change.

Let me discuss a few of Cindy’s questionable policy positions here. Of the three current commissioners, Cindy has been the most tolerant of the fracking industry because she is fearful that the county will be sued by the industry. In a separate issue, Cindy has continued the wrong-headed choice to neglect county roads. Her solution, along with the other two current commissioners, is to impose a user tax in order to maintain roads in subdivisions of unincorporated Boulder County. Guess what?

Over 100 citizens have now sued the county because of this wrong-headed user tax. Why is it that Cindy is afraid of a lawsuit by the fracking industry but she is not afraid of a lawsuit from citizens? The commissioners, including Cindy, have been provided legal opinions from environmental attorneys indicating that the county can also be sued by citizens over fracking if they don’t protect our rights to clean air and water.

Cindy’s questionable policy choices make me want to vote for someone else in this year’s commissioner race. That someone else is Alan Rosenfeld. The first step in supporting Alan is to show up at the Democratic Party Caucuses on the evening of March 4. Please show up and help Alan to win this race!

Cliff Smedley/Lafayette

We need experience, not excuses

County Coroner Emma Hall finally released the office’s annual reports for 2011 and 2012 this month, both delayed, she said, because of antiquated and sometimes inaccurate computer systems. That sounded more like an excuse than a reason to me.

It turns out there was a 100 percent turnover in the staff after she took over the office, and then there was a 35 percent turnover of the new hires. That may have had more to do with the late reports than the computer system did.

In the cover letter on the 2011 report, she said there was growing interest in the coroner’s office because of television shows like CSI. That helps explain why she developed badges for the office’s investigators, and new uniforms to go with them, despite the fact that coroner’s office investigators are not law enforcement personnel.

In 2012 and 2013, deaths in Boulder County rose by 1.5 percent, but the rate of autopsies conducted by the coroner’s office has increased by 36 percent. There’s no question that an autopsy is the most thorough and accurate standard to determine the cause of death, but competent and thorough death scene investigations coupled with understanding of the relevant medical records could bring down the autopsy rate and its attendant costs.

Fortunately this is an election year and we have a chance to get the coroner’s office on the right track by electing Deron Dempsey, a man with a decade of experience as a front-line coroner’s investigator. He knows how to do the job. He won’t need on-the-job training.

Please join me in helping elect Mr. Dempsey as coroner. He is experienced and qualified, and will perform the functions of the office with cost-effective methods, competence, compassion and understanding.

Bob Miller/Longmont

Don’t privatize our highway system

There was lots of yelling in Louisville [on Feb. 13] at the poor [Colorado Department of Transportation] employees, all about these contract shenanigans. We learned that they have not yet closed on the deal yet, but have a contract in place, which could be scuttled. We also learned why a private company is allowed to make a profit off us while running our public highway.

It’s an interesting study. In order to get to the point of outrage about a 50-year contract being awarded to a foreign corporation to run our highway, you need to know what the 1992 Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) did to us as a state in the recession of 2001–03, and its aftermath. The near bankrupting and shrinking of the state budget caused well-meaning Democrats to sign into law Senate Bill 108 in 2009, which allows the government to do privatization if it needs to, or the political climate directs it, which is what just happened.

The idea, as proposed, is that it would save us having to raise taxes, but it really opened the door for privatization and being taxed by a private company. There is no free road. Since TABOR, the state has been “de-Brucing” the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, a little at a time, but not enough to get new highway money, hence the road deal. Interestingly, studies are showing that using contractors costs more than doing the work with state employees (CDOT). The alternative to hiring a corporation to build us a road, and let them charge us for running it, is raising our own money and building it ourselves. If we used our own money to build the toll road, we would get to keep the toll money to feed it back into more road work. The privatizers are borrowing the money from a commercial bank. That’s not cheaper. Personally, I’m for raising taxes and doing it ourselves. Don’t let privatization be a model for the other metro highways!

Steve Ruby/via email