Letters 4/30/20

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

‘Safer at home’ move-in order

Governor Polis has decisions to make with this pandemic. I think he has made the wrong one recently. In opening up the state for some businesses, testing was not mentioned, although I am sure he would prefer to have readily available testing. Without the ability to test, this modest opening he proposes is risky. With our limited testing, we have to assume that everyone is a possible carrier of the virus and staying away from everyone, is the safest thing to do. The estimates of infected Coloradans average between 13,000 and 33,000. Why wouldn’t there be an increase in new cases even though “social distancing must continue” for seniors and those with pre-existing conditions. A “potential” is mentioned of having “to return to a more cautious approach if the state sees a spike in new cases.” And why wouldn’t there be more infections (and deaths) unless we can test? In this modest “opening,” we are the guinea pigs. 

Some businesses are to open (such as restaurants) with social distancing within them. Some other businesses are to open with the practitioners and maybe the customers wearing masks. For dentists and those working with hair and doing tattoos, social distancing (six feet) is not possible.  

I don’t want people to be kept from working and I don’t want to see people get sick and possibly die. Of course if more people get the virus, (and why wouldn’t they?) we will be back to social distancing and shuttered businesses. We all, but especially the workers, are at risk in this proposal. I keep hearing: testing, testing, testing is necessary for a safe opening up of the economy. It looks like we are just giving up on testing and going ahead with this dubious experiment? Not me.

Patricia Youngson/Boulder

The suspicious firing of CU Professor Detlev Helmig

Distinguished CU scientist and professor Detlev Helmig was recently fired by the University.  Professor Helmig studied and monitored air pollution, particularly the sources of local air pollution in our northern Colorado area. His research established the connection between our polluted air and the massive oil and gas activities locally occurring. Professor Helmig’s work made Colorado a safer, healthier place. In return, it appears that CU allowed powerful interests to convince them to fire him. Many faculty at CU and other universities have private projects going on, some that make them money, some that don’t. Yet CU fires only the one researcher who speaks up loudest about the dangers that the oil and gas industry impose on our communities and on our world. Oil and gas production causes pollution that shortens lives; burning oil and gas damages our atmosphere as well as our lungs. 

We need to move on from fossil fuels, yet CU has now made anyone who works to reduce fossil fuel use feel less safe about trying to do so.

Shame on CU for apparently allowing the oil and gas industry to direct their personnel decisions. The public demands an independent, third-party investigation into the firing of Professor Helmig and his re-instatement if it is found that political and financial pressure from the oil industry played a role in this highly suspicious termination.

Judy Lubow/Boulder

Want a donation? Check Danish.

There are many people, businesses and organizations that need support during these challenging times.  While BW “…is dedicated to illuminating the truth, advancing justice and protecting the First Amendment…,” there is responsibility that comes with these excellent aspirations. Amongst other things, responsibility to give verifiably correct information and to not engage in activities such as race-baiting. Paul Danish has failed to meet these standards and your editors have not held him accountable.  

Race-baiting was discussed by Chris Malley in his letter in your 4/2/20 issue.   

In the 4/16/20 Danish Plan, hydroxychloroquine (HC) usage is repeatedly promoted to the readership for COVID-19 often associated with “wink-wink” smug hyperbole. Just because he read and/or heard something about HC and COVID-19 doesn’t make him a medical authority any more than reading a manual about flying would make one of your editors an advisor for 747 pilots. After Danish disses Fauci (and by implication innumerable well-educated, experienced, thoughtful, careful and appropriate medical practitioners) for Trump’s utterly uninformed, asinine assertions about HC, he suggests folks seek black market availability. Quinine and its congeners have side effects — occasionally including something called Torsades de Pointes, a lethal cardiac arrhythmia. This is why these medicines are only available by prescription from licensed practitioners who have spent years learning the medical field. That’s not “safe enough” for the population at large to be taking willy-nilly. 

If letting Danish use dog-whistle tactics to race-bait and give specific inappropriate medical advice is part of being a responsible news organization, the BW might want to take a closer look in the mirror. No way I’ll financially support BW with Danish being given a mouthpiece for his inappropriate claptrap. 

Mark Cole, MD/Boulder 

Don’t be fooled; you do have a choice

We cannot lose focus over clear differences between two imperfect political parties. The Supreme Court, the raping of our public lands and national parks, and the future of federal involvement with renewable energy research are clearly on the line. 

There’s a specific example of how the two parties differ at the Department of Energy’s Golden Field Office for Renewable Energy Research. During George W. Bush’s administration, when Republicans held the majority in the Senate, the Geothermal Program (a pet program for then Senator Harry Reid of Nevada) was targeted for extinction. I was working on the program from 2004 to 2008. The budget was slashed and only enough money was left in 2005 ($5 million) to close out all research projects that existed. We were in extreme scale back mode with about two dozen recipients across the western U.S.  

Then, the 2006 Congressional election gave control of the Senate back to Democrats. One of the first items they passed? With Harry Reid as Majority Leader, they added $50 million to Department of Energy Geothermal Research — We had more than a dozen new projects to administer.  

There is a difference between the two parties. It’s just that you don’t always see it because the media is so caught-up in what they do.

Pete Simon/Arvada