Letters: 5/2/19

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Little public support

The Jefferson Parkway is a proposed toll road to help complete the Denver Metropolitan beltway. This project will disrupt nearby communities and is a risk to public health due to residual plutonium-contamination that remains at Rocky Flats along Indiana Street. 

Let me remind you, plutonium has a half-life of 24,110 years and inhaling one microparticle can cause severe health problems. 

The Jefferson Public Parkway Highway Authority has asked Arvada, Broomfield and Jefferson County for a total of $7.5 million in additional funding for the Jefferson Parkway this year. Arvada City Council voted 5-1 to approve the proposed funding at a meeting on April 1. Over 20 well-informed individuals, including nearby residents, environmental lawyers, medical doctors and nuclear guardians commented in opposition to funding the parkway at this meeting, in addition to numerous emails, phone calls and public comment at prior meetings. 

I would like to thank Nancy Ford for hearing the concerns of constituents, prioritizing public health over profit and development, and voting against additional funding for the parkway.    

It is important to note that the Jefferson Parkway will not complete the beltway around Denver. Meaning, JPPHA will likely come back to investors requesting more money to complete the beltway down the road. This is a pit for taxpayer dollars that should be used to enhance our communities, not destroy them.  

Brittany Gutermuth/Boulder

On the CU president selection

I have lived in Boulder for 42 years and have been paying close and careful attention to the actions of University of Colorado’s administration. To fully understand what is actually happening in the selection of CU’s president it is necessary to review some very relevant articles from the last few years.

Start with “Connecting the Dots” by Dr. Alan Jones, June 16, 2006, from Inside Higher Ed. Dr. Jones, Dean of Faculty at Pitzer College, details the many interconnections between various conservative organizations and think tanks, how they cite each other’s publications while trying to keep these connections hidden, and the funding sources for their coordinated attacks on higher education because they think it is too “radical” and “liberal.” I heard Dr. Jones give his excellent presentation on this here in late April 2007 at Muenzinger.

Then see BW’s Sep. 17, 2009  story “ACTA – ing Out: Who is Pulling the Strings at CU?” which details the very strong influence of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni on CU. Former CU President Hank Brown was a founding member, as was Lynne Cheney, Dick Cheney’s wife.

Then see “Profs Silenced at CU” by Professor Martin Walter in the Nov. 13, 2007 Boulder Daily Camera. He details ACTA’s actions at CU, and what happened when he brought up the case of Professor Adrienne Anderson who taught for 11 years in CU’s School of Environmental Studies, was consistently rated one of the top teachers, but had all her classes canceled suddenly with no explanation because she had dared to publicize the fact that one of CU’s top corporate donors was also responsible for extensive environmental pollution. For more on this, and the extensive corporate and conservative influence on the selection of CU’s President, see Professor Anderson’s letter in the Friday, Feb. 15, 2008 Colorado Daily. The title is “Is the Neo-Con Agenda Your Agenda?”. After reading all these you’ll understand why the selection process was so “opaque.”  

Skip Keith/Boulder

The Boulder blizzard of ’19

The people of Boulder will mostly forget about the blizzard that did not happen Wednesday, March 13, 2019. There will be some short-lived ribbing towards the forecasters who got it wrong. Even though, let’s face it, they got it right. There was no promise of a blizzard in Boulder proper but yes, the conditions called for a warning. Weather is complicated.

Blizzard conditions roared all around the area but Boulder had a bubble around it. A lucky bubble that kept the streets cleared and the grocery stores, restaurants and small retail shops opened up as usual for the residents and working commuters.

Quickly a surge of telephone calls to stores, restaurants and small stores came in from their workforce. The second and third shifts of Boulder businesses were not coming in. Why is that? Because the labor force in Boulder does not live in Boulder. Not just the part-timers but management and supervisors and even owners have found more affordable housing outside of Boulder. And they could not get into Boulder.

I walked by a grocery store and overheard a frustrated customer talking to a manager who was locking the doors at 5 p.m. “What’s going on here?” she asked. She pointed out the obvious, there was no blizzard in Boulder, and it was only 5 p.m. Yet all the gift stores and restaurants in the mall had closed hours earlier. I did not stay to listen to the answer from the manager of that stoic little grocery store who had served its community for as long as it could. I am guessing plenty of people of Boulder were annoyed that schools never opened and grocery stores closed early and they could not get a coffee in the afternoon, or a quick morning smoothie. I am guessing there are a lot of people who are angry at the weather forecasters. There was no blizzard in Boulder! So what’s going on here?

I think the highly intelligent and wealthy class citizens of Boulder know what is going on. If you want your schools to open and likewise if you want stores, coffee shops and food providers to be around, it is best to have a local workforce. Boulder needs to build homes for the middle-class workforce and not just expand to those who can bid the highest prices or largely subsidized the underclass. 

Of course, housing is complicated. We can point to the obvious; it is free markets and it is the competition that is keeping housing prices high in Boulder. I agree. Free markets and competition is a great force but in the case of Boulder, it is keeping the incoming middle-class from owning a house or getting reasonable rent. I believe the middle-class knows what is going on in Boulder as well. And they will look for jobs closer to home.

There is no reason to worry about a one-day weather event. However, what happens if something less news-sensational, harder to forecast but a more sustaining event, such as competition blows in from other towns. What happens if another municipality attracts businesses and provides the jobs to their local middle-class workforce? What happens in our lucky little bubble that does a great job attracting solid citizens only to find there’s nobody around to manage the restaurants, put together schedules in coffee houses or stay open for business past 5 p.m.? The answer might look like what happened on March 13. The roads will be clear. Fewer (but still pricey) places will be opened for dinner. Stores will shut down early.  I will not predict when a competition blizzard will hit Boulder but the conditions are already around. What is not complicated about these questions is that predictably all bubbles burst, even the lucky ones. 

John Dungan/Boulder