Letters: 11/1/18

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Yes on Prop 112

As more and more peer-reviewed studies are being reported (since 2013, more than 700), fracking is clearly and conclusively documented as dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of every man, woman, and child.  It is especially devastating to the most vulnerable in our society, i.e., children and older people with pulmonary or respiratory issues.  As an informed society, we must accept and implement our responsibilities to protect the health of all of us.
A peer-reviewed Environmental Health Perspective of 2016 within the Marcellus, Barnett, and Niobara Shales has demonstrably shown that living within a half-mile of fracking wells increases risks and direct detrimental impacts to human health.
A recent, peer-reviewed Princeton study of 10 million babies found that infants born within one kilometer of fracking wells were 25 percent more likely to have low birth rates (less than 5.5 pounds) than infants born more than three kilometers away.  (One kilometer is approximately .6 miles)
An explosive study from the Colorado School of Public Health documented that
concentrations of known carcinogens increase dramatically near Colorado’s oil and gas facilities, exceeding even the EPA’s threshold by more than 800 percent. This 2016 report showed eight times the normal cancer risk for Coloradans living within 500 feet of a fracking well and a fourfold increase of leukemia.
Respiratory impacts include sore throats, difficulty creating, nosebleeds, and asthma.  People living near wells report noxious odors, unacceptable noise and vibration, and truck traffic, the latter resulting in drastic and rapid deterioration of road surfaces. In addition, various other impacts have been reported, such as irritation of eyes and skin, headaches, nausea, vomiting, sleep disturbances and anxiety. Longer-term impacts include increases in heart disease, endocrine disorders, cancers, congenital birth defects and permanent brain damage to children.
Now more than ever, it’s time to protect our neighborhoods from filthy fracking.  Please vote YES on Proposition 112.
Tom Stumpf/Longmont

 

Willmeng for Commissioner

As a third generation Boulder County native who comes from a long line of eco-conscious farmers, conservationists, teachers and artists, I am proudly voting and supporting Cliff Willmeng for Boulder County Commissioner. The reasons are many. Never mind his main opponent- a mainstreamer who is firmly in lock step with the establishment and will do whatever he has to and say whatever he needs to, for political survival- even if that means at the expense of our quality of life and the protection of our natural heritage.

I want to use the limited space I have here to highlight what we will get with Cliff. Honesty, transparency, truth and integrity. With Cliff as a Commissioner, he will bring a tireless devotion to the residents of Boulder County taking on the special interests; the oil and gas and fracking industry and others who believe in profits over life. Willmeng will not sell his soul to these devils. He is quite simply principled. I know this first hand as Cliff has shown up to forums and debates and invites and answered every single question of those attending. He doesn’t avoid the hard questions and issues like the other guy does. I’m still waiting for my questions to be answered by that other guy, going on week 4!

Cliff supports true, enduring environmental protection and rights for nature which only protects us all! Cliff authentically advocates for the working people of Boulder County and has done so in profound, grass roots ways. Cliff truly supports the local agricultural heritage of the region, rallying for sustainable, local, healthy farming communities. Cliff believes in equitable and affordable housing for all including going to bat for a flourishing economy for workers, students and the overall communities of Boulder County. The difference between Cliff and the others is that Cliff walks his talk and has proven this time and again.

Cliff Willmeng is one of us and he will tenaciously fight for us with everything he has and it is unremitting! If you’re sick and tired of the hollow-talking lip service from these professional politicians who care about only themselves and their special interests, then vote for a citizen-activist who deeply cares and is passionate about protecting our quality of life, our families, our environment… vote for Cliff Willmeng!

Jeremy Gregory/Longmont

 

For Amendments Y and Z

The League of Women Voters of Boulder County (LWVBC) supports Colorado Amendments Y and Z. These will set up independent commissions to draw political maps for (Y) Congressional and (Z) Legislative redistricting that will result in fair and competitive districts. These amendments will secure Colorado as the national model for putting fair and effective representation at the forefront of congressional and legislative redistricting.

The amendments will: create balanced independent commissions (4 Republicans, 4 Democrats and 4 unaffiliated); set clear criteria for map-drawing and prohibitions on gerrymandering; limit the roles of partisans and courts; create robust ethical and transparency guidelines; and establish fair and effective representation for Colorado voters in minority and rural communities. The commissioners will oversee the analysis to be conducted by non-partisan paid legislative staff.

The Boulder Weekly bases their opposition to these amendments on the funding source for the campaign, suggesting that funds from the Koch brothers and oil and gas industries are behind these amendments. The beauty of these amendments is that they have garnered truly nonpartisan support from Republican, Democratic, and unaffiliated political leaders. Contributions to the campaign to pass Amendments Y and Z have been received from many groups and individuals, from all parts of the political spectrum.  Good government organizations as well as industry and business leaders, including those in the oil and gas industries are supporting both amendments.

The Colorado League of Women Voters, Common Cause, Fair Maps Colorado, People not Politicians, Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, chambers of commerce, both major political parties, and every member of the Colorado General Assembly support these measures. We urge your readers to do the same.

Mary Ann Wilner/League of Women Voters of Boulder County

 

Don’t be swayed by industry ploys

A recent flyer promoting Amendment 74 features former President Ronald Reagan riding his white horse across his pasture with a prominent American flag, seemingly supporting their campaign. However, there’s something wrong with this picture, as we deeply respected this man for the way the Constitution provided the foundation of his presidency.

Reagan consistently sought to reintroduce constitutional principles and certainly was not one to desire changing the Constitution – not even under his own speculation that the First Amendment was too easily abused by extremist groups. With this flyer, the Committee for Colorado’s Shared Heritage, funded by Protect Colorado, has gone too far. Mocking up an ad to mislead voters by implying that the former President, laid to rest in June of 2004, would be in full support of a 2018 Constitutional Amendment is both disrespectful and disingenuous.

The flyer prominently quotes Reagan in asking, “What does it mean whether you hold the deed or the title to your business or property if the government holds the power of life and death over that business or property.” Exactly! Which is why our laws already require just compensation when private property is taken for government use. Unfortunately, an antiquated Colorado law allows private corporations to “force pool” our communities and develop our minerals despite the consequences to our community’s health and safety. We desire to keep our minerals in their present location until technology advances to the point that they can be extracted safely. However, industry would probably prefer that the government (i.e., the taxpayer) be required to pay fair market value for their minerals, even if they cannot be accessed safely. The taxpayers will undoubtedly pay, but who sets the price?

It is interesting that this ad also quotes Reagan stating, “Government’s first duty is to protect the people…”, thereby actually putting Amendment 74 in direct conflict with the existing Constitution which requires protection of public health. Perhaps the real reason for Amendment 74 is to ensure payout for mineral owners whose shale deposits have recently become accessible through technological advances, but which have also resulted in public health risks to already established communities. This flyer is just another ploy by the industry to protect their profits while government laws and regulations are updated to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the people. Do not be misled. This Amendment is not for the hard working Citizens of Colorado.

Amendment 74 will cost our taxpayers billions to pay off corporate interests, and will be complex to undo. This is exactly what Raise the Bar last year was purported to protect us from. Please join a Republican and a Mineral Owner in voting NO on 74.

Laurie Anderson and Bill Young/Broomfield

 

Colorado needs a representative like Karen McCormick

I write in strong support of Karen McCormick for Congress in Colorado’s 4th District.  She is exactly the person we need at this moment in time – balanced, smart, capable, well-spoken, and inclusive.  She would represent the people of the 4th District very well – energetically, fairly, and with great attention to the needs and issues of those who live in the District. As a working vet with her own practice, she has owned and run a small business for over 20 years, so she understands well the issues of small business owners. She will successfully represent both parties. Republicans have nothing to fear from Karen McCormick. She is the daughter of a Navy family and has had those values instilled in her since birth.  Having been raised in a family of gun owners, she understands the importance of the Second Amendment to her constituents. To Karen McCormick, service, courage, and integrity aren’t Republican or Democratic values–they’re American values. She lives these values every day, and in Congress, she will be a strong voice for our Colorado way of life.

Molly Baldrige/Hygiene

 

Support Ballot Issue 2D to Improve Health Equity

Last year, the City of Boulder’s Health Equity Fund provided funding to Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA) to promote better health outcomes and reducing food insecurity for the more than 4,000 City residents that access EFAA’s food pantry each year.

Thanks to this funding, EFAA was able to form a partnership with Bridge House and Community Food Share where donated food was transformed into nutritious frozen meals at Bridge House’s Community Table culinary training program for homeless adults and then distributed through EFAA’s food pantry. Hardworking, low-income families coming through EFAA’s doors are not only experiencing food insecurity, but are also strapped for time to prepare healthy meals. Last year almost 21,000 such meals were distributed, saving time and improving nutrition. Feedback from EFAA’s shoppers was overwhelmingly positive.

EFAA has been able to increase the amount of nutritional education we provide to our participants. EFAA now has a certified nutritionist on site weekly to provide shoppers nutrition information, cooking ideas, and advice on nutrition-related health issues. In addition, EFAA began hosting bi-monthly community dinners with nutrition education and was able to begin purchasing shares from local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) non-profits to augment supply of local organic produce to promote healthy eating.

In November, residents of Boulder will be asked to allow the City to keep the overage from the Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Product Distribution Tax revenue collected in its first year of implementation as TABOR requires, and to use it as originally stated on the successful 2016 ballot for health equity in Boulder.

Economic insecurity and hunger affect thousands of City of Boulder residents each year, with serious consequences on health and wellbeing. EFAA seeks your support in passing measure Ballot Issue 2D which will support reducing food insecurity and improving health equity in our community.

Julie Van Domelen/Executive Director of Emergency Family Assistance Association (EFAA)

 

Vote like all life depends on it

Our nation was founded on the wildly progressive idea that all people are created equal, and that each should enjoy equal rights under the law.

Each individual American was to achieve this via a share representative government of the people and for the people.

That’s just not happening.

We protest and call our representatives. We write letters. We march. And we are ignored.

Most Americans want to be able to live and raise families in a safe community, with good schools and safe roads, and to earn a decent living so we can put food on the table. Most of us want to be able to go to the doctor when we are sick.

And, with a dream and lots of willpower, we believe each ought to be able to rise and achieve it.

We believe every child should be able to attend good schools and be safe there from both bullying and bullets.

We trust women as equals. We stand for justice for all, no matter who we love or the color of our skin.

We think clean air and water are important, that this shared treasure of an Earth is worth preserving and protecting not only for us humans, but for all life.

I don’t know if our democracy works well enough anymore to be saved. We must overturn Citizens United, end dark money, and stop our elected officials from turning into lobbyists and back like some kind of weird revolving door where big money wins and we the people keep losing.

It’s time to reclaim American government for we the people. It’s time to kick greed to the curb.

We have to do everything we can to save our democracy, and then, when we do, finish the important work of making sure it works for all of us.

If we vote in record numbers on Nov. 6, I hope we’ll discover that “We the People” can still win, that elections still matter, and that we still live in the land of the free.

Vote like your life — indeed all life —   depends on it.

Sara Wright/Colorado Foundation for Universal Health Care

 

Phil Weiser for Attorney General

Colorado’s air, water, and public lands are in jeopardy. The current Secretary of the Interior wants to open up pristine wild places in Colorado and around the country to oil and gas exploration and other industrial uses. These activities threaten wildlife and their habitat.  They also impact our ability to enjoy recreational activities on our land.  Outdoor recreation is a major driver of Colorado’s economy, far more so than extractive industries.  The environment and natural beauty of Colorado is what makes this place so unique and is core to our way of life. It our responsibility to select leaders with the experience and values to stand up to dangerous interests and protect our land, air, and water. This is why I ask you to join me in voting for Phil Weiser for Attorney General.

As a law clerk for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and as a top advisor to President Obama, Phil not only has the legal skills to take on the fight against the federal government’s assault on environmental protections, he has the resolve and commitment to do so.

While, Phil’s opponent has gone on record saying that climate change is a myth.

Our environment faces pressures like it has never seen before, as the current administration is rolling back fuel standards and other measures designed to combat climate change.  They promote energy that pollutes, suppress clean energy solutions, while eliminating regulations designed to protect children and vulnerable populations.

Please join me in voting for Phil Weiser for Attorney General. He will use the law to fight for our Colorado values, lands, and natural resources.  We have never needed a champion for our environment more than right now.

Shaun LaBarre/Lafayette

 

Protect Climate: Yes on Prop 112

As hurricanes continue to devastate the Southeast we are reminded that climate change has consequences.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report on October 8 warning that that there is only a small window left to institute radical change to the way we produce and consume energy and that leaving the remaining oil, coal, and gas reserves in the ground is essential if catastrophic warming is to be avoided.

While passing Prop 112 in November would do nothing to the 55,000 active wells in the state, it would limit the proliferation of new development by creating common-sense setbacks that protect public health and safety. Rather than continuing to invest in an industry which, as a whole, is much less lucrative or necessary than it wants you to believe, we could be investing in Green Energy which is what the IPCC report points to.

A major component of fracked natural gas is methane, and we now know methane contributes to global warming much more than carbon dioxide — 84 times more, on a 20-year time scale.

There are many reasons to support Prop 112, but if you care about further destabilization of our climate and the enormous impacts this will continue to have, vote YES for safer setbacks.

Jasmin Cori/Boulder

 

 

 

Nick Thomas for CD-2

Nick Thomas, the Independent candidate for U.S. Congress for CD2, will, if elected, make history for Colorado.  Nick will put our state, and our district, on the map, thereby giving Colorado a stronger voice nationally. On day one, he would be heard as the voice of the growing number of Independent/Unaffiliated voters, the largest block of voters in our district, state, and nation, as well as a voice for those in the major parties who are unhappy with the status quo.  Change is unlikely, if not impossible, by sending another major party congressperson to add to the broken system.  Nick would be a new voice not trapped in the major party stalemate in Washington.  He would be independent, capable, courageous, and experienced working across the political divide.

Nick is the best prepared in terms of both his educational background (not another lawyer, but has a Political Science B.A. from CSU, a Internatiional Diplomacy M.A. from D.U., and an MBA from Hult International Business U.), and his political experience.   He was an elected student senator at CSU, worked at the Colorado Capitol in Denver where he interned and then was an aide to then Senator Tupa, also worked with his brother with their small video production company serving both Republican and Democratic candidates; worked in the Georgia State capitol; and has years volunteering in our state and nation’s capitols.  He was a Congressional Youth Ambassador to South Korea, and a Gabr scholar to Egypt.  Nick has visited over 70 countries and has always had friends from every background and political stance.  At a Stanford summer business institute, he was the #1 negotiator out of 120 young professionals. As a CSU student senator, he helped the Republican students start a newspaper to give them a voice.  He lived with Mrs. Martin Luther King for the spring of 2004, where she became a beloved surrogate grandmother to him, a mentor, and an inspiration.  He has close friends among many national senior leaders.

He can and absolutely would do more for our district and country and world than the other candidates, both because the D & R candidates would begin at the bottom of the ladder in D.C., and because who Nick is.  He cares about all people, will use the ProxyApp as a tool to have direct input from his constituents (rather than from a party or from corporate donors). Nick has been an environmentalist for decades; is the first and only federal level candidate to formally endorse Proposition 112,  and would work to rapidly push clean energy and to retrain oil and gas workers for the new clean energy economy.  Colorado can be a national leader in helping to fix our broken democracy, and in helping to lead us away from environmental catastrophe.  He respects and believes our scientists and the very real and urgent need to save our planet.

Nick would also work to get money out of politics, and for rank choice voting.  He was one of the first 5 people to back propositions Y and Z to stop gerrymandering in our next redistricting.  He has spoken nationally, including in Aspen at the AREday (American Renewable Energy) Summit, at EarthX in Dallas, SXSW in Austin, and many more.   His passion is people, the environment,  and politics, but he has accepted no corporate money, and is an honest, sincere, creative, out-of-the-box thinking, courageous millennial.  He has been working since a youth, including in the Boulder Mountain Parks trails program.  He is from a family of teachers and Quaker activists who have tried to help improve our world, and he can and will make a positive difference.

Both the Republican and Democratic candidates are personable and accomplished, but Nick is more suited to bridge the deep divide in Congress. The Republican candidate is a strong Trump supporter and the Democratic candidate is a lawyer comfortable accepting corporate and oil and gas money.  Neither one has much national and international political experience.

We ask you to Vote for Nick Thomas for the U.S. Congress for the sake of our democracy and the sake of our planet.  For those concerned about “splitting the vote”:  there are 209K active Independents, 175K Democrats, and 133K Republicans in our district, as well as a majority of Independents among pre-registered teens turning 18 by election day: 1100 R’s; 1500 D’s; 3700 Independents.  (There are another 100K inactive voters.) Nick hopes to earn the vote of the majority of Independents, the moderate Republicans who care about true patriotism and democracy, and the Democrats who are unhappy with the way the party has pushed back against fairness in this and the last election.

For those who have been concerned about losing Oil and Gas money and jobs, no amount of money can offset the losses of health, including infant mortality and lower birth weights; clean air, clean soil, and clean water;  lowered property values; and loss of peace and quiet for neighborhoods close to fracking.  Colorado has proven before fracking that we are capable of living without fracking, and that we can instead implement a clean energy economy.  Tesla, for example, just installed a new Powerpack project in cooperation with United Power in Weld County that will lead the way to many more such clean energy alternatives.  Oil and gas has been beneficial in obvious and numerous ways, but its extreme costs to our health and welfare and planet now greatly outweigh the positives.  The recent climate catastrophes in the Florida panhandle, North Carolina coast, Puerto Rico, and New Orleans coastal region are clear omens of what we are facing.

Carol Dreselly/Boulder