Letters: 12/20/18

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Disappointed in Dems

I am at a loss to know what to do with certain thoughts and feelings following the mid-term elections.

I am relieved that my wife and I, as well as tens of millions of other Americans, will not have to fear our Social Security retirement benefits being cut by 25 percent by the Republican Senate and House. With the Democrats taking over the House, we will no longer have to be scared for the next two years. The Democrats will block any Republican attempt to cut our benefits. The same holds true for those who rely on Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, college student loans and unemployment insurance benefits.

But I am angry, resentful and disappointed with many of my fellow Democrats who I thought cared about people like me who have low incomes. These Democrats are members of the upper-middle-class and upper-class, although they don’t see themselves as wealthy or well-off. I am angry at how they scolded me, admonished me, and tried to shame me and bully me for the past two years because I did not care much about the “identity politics” and “cultural wars” issues that they constantly bashed Donald Trump over.  I focused on the bread-and-butter and kitchen-table issues of everyday survival. I focused on protecting the safety-net programs like Social Security.

These financially well-off “liberal/progressive” Democrats thought that I should have been more concerned with the plight of illegal immigrants, for example. I don’t understand how they could be so insensitive to my plight and the plight of millions of us seniors who have to live on Social Security checks of $1,200 per month.

A good friend of mine who does not earn as much as they do has provided me with the answer — they can well-afford to care primarily about the “identity politics” and “cultural wars” issues and to focus on constantly bashing Trump over them.

People like my wife and I can’t afford that luxury. We don’t have their high yearly incomes. They don’t need Social Security. They never will. It will not affect them if their Social Security checks get cut by 25 percent.

Yet I am still surprised and disappointed that these self-proclaimed “humanists” are so insensitive. I expected more empathy and compassion from them.

For the next two years, I will still focus on the bread-and-butter issues that the poor, the near-poor, the lower-middle-class and the middle-class struggle with that these affluent Democrats do not.

Stewart B. Epstein/via internet

Opportunity Zone versus affordable housing

There is a battle going on in Boulder — opportunity zones versus affordable housing, and affordable housing is losing.

Our city administrators and the Colorado Economic Development Office have established an “opportunity zone” in Boulder, where investors can develop property, sell it in 10 years, and not pay income taxes on the profit.  It is supposed to “spur economic development and job creation in distressed communities.” Obviously Boulder is not “distressed,” and why would any smart investor choose to build affordable housing — with a very slim chance that it can be sold for a profit in 10 years — instead of elite office space, which will definitely yield a profit? Boulder’s opportunity zone goes from 28th to 55th Street, and Iris to Arapahoe, totaling 2.5 square miles.  Questions: Are we not already bursting at the seams with 60,000 cars arriving daily to bring employees to their jobs in Boulder? And when did staff decide that they had the authority to make this momentous decision?

Last week, City Council was finally informed of this astonishing staff decision, now probably a done deal lasting 10 years. Council members are hustling to minimize the dilemma, suggesting various actions, perhaps a moratorium to gain time. Council should do it ASAP to prevent an investor from spending some early money and then say “it’s a taking” if the City rescinds the financial opportunity-zone benefits.

We all know we have an affordable housing crisis for those who already work here but cannot afford housing — like school teachers, police and fire-fighters. The huge disparity between jobs and housing will only get worse with a job-generating opportunity zone. Our only hope is to slow down job creation. Sounds extreme? It is the reality. Do we have the will?

Ruth Wright/Boulder

Vigil for Yemen

Local Muslims are inviting people of good will to join them for a vigil for Yemen this Sunday, Dec. 23 at 2 p.m. on the Pearl Street mall in front of the courthouse. We will be witnessing to the calamity, calling for an end to U.S. military assistance to Saudi Arabia, and handing out literature listing relief organizations at work in Yemen.

Please come join us. Following the vigil, at 3:30, some of us will convene for Coffee with Muslims at Boulder Baked, at 1911 Broadway.

If you cannot attend either event but want to help the people of Yemen, you can send a contribution to International Rescue Committee, Islamic Relief USA, CARE, Save the Children, or Oxfam, among others.

Todd Buchanan/via internet

On immigration

The immigrant “crisis” in Europe has roots in the Colonial conquest and exploitation of Africa and the Middle East, as well as in the turmoil and destruction of whole cities in the wars begun, funded and armed by the United States and our allies. When one adds in climate refugees from drought and lost agriculture, this is not a reality with easy answers. Changing climates and weather patterns are here into the foreseeable future. Migration in the Americas has similar roots in violence and economic exploitation compounded by white European supremacist Manifest Destiny and its holocaust and genocide of Native Peoples and cultures. One can suggest, if the concept of karma is true and can be applied to cultures, that the masses gathering at our southern border are simply people seeking access to their former homeland. The burning question of the 21st century is not immigration but whether or not humankind will terminally bomb, exploit and pollute itself (and the Earth) into oblivion.

Robert Porath/Boulder

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