Letters: 9/27/18

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Yes on Prop 112

Initiative 97 has been accepted onto the fall election ballot as Proposition 112, requiring all new Colorado oil and gas development not on federal land to be located at least 2,500 feet from an occupied structure or vulnerable area.  Currently, state law allows fracking operations to be within 500 feet of homes.

Already, the industry is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on promoting a no vote on the ballot in November. Citizens need to realize that existing laws regarding fracking are dangerous to the health, safety and welfare of every man, woman and child. We need to support this commonsense regulation, providing safer setbacks.

We have experienced several recent and local incidents: the Firestone deadly methane explosion, the Windsor well fire, the Boulder study of air pollutants near the reservoir. Each of these, as well as many others, palpably demonstrate the deadly threats to society. Living in such close proximity to oil and gas development is clearly a death sentence, if not immediately, then certainly in the future.

Fracking is an inherently dangerous industrial process, because there is an unacceptable risk of explosions and fires. Since the Firestone explosion, for example, Colorado has experienced at least 14 fires and explosions at oil and gas sites alone.

There are already nearly 129,000 oil/gas flow lines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings, so to add thousands more is even more foolhardy, given that there have been 832 serious pipeline incidents in the U.S. in the past 20 years, causing 310 deaths and 1,229 serious injuries. In addition, pipelines can rupture, leading to fatal explosions, like the one in Mead, Colorado, which killed one worker and seriously injured three others in 2014.

Please vote yes for Proposition 112.

Tom Stumpf/Longmont

Voting for Weiser

Please join me in voting for Phil Weiser for Attorney General. The GOP candidate’s claim that Democratic candidate Phil Weiser lacks “courtroom experience” misses the boat: no sitting AG has tried a case since the late 1800s. Criminal justice is only a small part of the AG’s job. The AG’s main role is to be the “lawyer for the state,” an executive responsible for a large team of lawyers addressing areas of law from antitrust to consumer protection to water law, as well as advising state agencies across the board.

His level of courtroom experience is comparable to three of the past four attorneys general when they took office: Democrat Ken Salazar, and Republicans Cynthia Coffman and Gale Norton (whom Republicans did not call unqualified). Colorado’s Attorney General is not a super-prosecutor or trial attorney.

Weiser’s record of leading complex litigation to protect consumers at the U.S. Department of Justice under presidents Clinton and Obama as well as managing teams of dozens of lawyers to get rural broadband to first-responders proves he has excellent leadership experience.

He has energetically progressed from clerking for Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg to serving as the Dean of the University of Colorado’s Law School. With the same energy and expertise, he now seeks the office of Attorney General. Claiming otherwise is misleading and disingenuous, and the GOP candidate knows better than to say otherwise! He is Stronger, Fairer, Weiser.

Join me in voting for Weiser for Colorado Attorney General.

Kathy Rosenbloom/Lafayette

War on drugs is a failure

The situation around our failed drug prohibition policies causing vast prison overcrowding is a stain on Colorado, and I would note on the country as a whole. A recent book called The New Jim Crow by Professor Michelle Alexander is making waves in academia, and it’s worth reading. Alexander makes a strong case that the so-called War on Drugs is a system akin to modern slavery. It ruins lives, primarily those of black and brown and disenfranchised people, while achieving nothing tangibly positive; drug abuse and addiction levels remain as high as ever.

The real solution is compassionate policies that treat drug use as a public health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue. Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2002 — meaning people are not arrested for possession charges — and overdoses and addiction rates have dropped sharply. The movement to allow psychedelic drugs to be used as medicines is another very important, compassionate approach that actually works. Marijuana of course needs to be legalized nationally.

The War on Drugs is indeed a massive moral and economic crisis, but there is reason for hope, as public opinion is steadily turning away from failed prohibitionist policies. Here in Colorado we could see change in this arena happen quickly — if Jared Polis is elected governor. If Walter Stapleton is elected, the nasty status quo will continue. Please vote.

Adam Hurter/Nederland