Letters: 9/6/18

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

Nationwide prison strike

Prisoners nationwide are on strike and many are fasting. This is a 19-day strike ending on Sept. 9. It is on schedule to be the largest prison strike in U.S. history, but have you even heard about it? Is it covered in the news or in our papers? This peaceful protest will include not doing their enforced labor, such as cooking, cleaning and generally maintaining the prison — as well as such dangerous jobs as fighting fires in California — for paltry wages, sometimes as low as 4 cents an hour. By speaking up for their human rights with this strike, prisoners risk the possibility of solitary confinement, extension of their prison time, loss of privileges such as phone calls or visitation, and even prison lockdowns.

What are they striking for? Their 10 demands include recognition of their humanity, a formal channel for grievances and violation of rights, more rehabilitation programs and financing of such programs statewide, the possibility of parole in all cases, an end to racial bias, reinstatement of Pell grants, a decent wage for their labor and finally, voting rights.

One in every 100 people is incarcerated in this country. This is the highest rate of any country in the world. With this strike, prisoners are taking great risks to change our dehumanizing system. Our awareness, voice and support are needed at this critical time.

Ellen Stark/Boulder

$20 million for parking?

It’s hard to believe that the City of Boulder is even considering spending $20 million for 200 parking places on the Hill. And yet, here we are just one vote away from doing it. I thought the goal of the city was to reduce car dependency and increase the use of public transportation, cycling and walking. Adding more parking spots will induce more driving on our already congested, dangerous and polluted roads. Broadway, Arapahoe and Canyon are already gridlocked for hours each day. Please don’t add to this problem by adding more parking places.

Use this money to widen and light up the Creek Path. Use this money to build protected bike lanes. Use this money to protect intersections for pedestrians. Make “No Right on Red” and “Lead Pedestrian Intervals” the default across the city. Use this money to improve bus service in the area. Use this money to implement a true Vision Zero strategy.

Over the last few years, we have added thousands of new parking spots in Boulder. Just because they are hidden below ground, doesn’t make them any better.

Pearl West: 300 new spots and traffic induced by the parking.

GooglePlex: 800 new spots and traffic induced by the parking.

Boulder Depot area: Hundreds, if not thousands, of new parking spots and their related traffic is coming soon.

If Boulder ever wants to reduce the number of SOV in-commuters, then we need to reduce the available parking, not increase it.

Stephen Haydel/Boulder

Vote yes on 112 to protest Sand Dunes

In “Too much to risk,” (Re: News, Aug. 30, 2018), Angela K. Evans highlights significant threats to the Great Sand Dunes National Park and surrounding local community from proposed oil and gas leases.

As an economics student at Colorado College back when the Great Sand Dunes was transitioning from National Monument to National Park, I modeled economic impacts of increased tourism on the San Luis Valley and studied the complex geology inherent to the integrity of the dunes formation.

In subsequent years since National Park designation, new visitors have provided an economic stimulus to local businesses in the Valley, but the benefits of tourism rely on responsible stewardship of the fragile ecosystems involved.

One important thing Colorado residents can do to protect the Great Sand Dunes, as well as other parks and water sources, is vote yes on Proposition 112 (formerly Initiative 97) this November, the ballot initiative requiring new hydraulic fracturing wells be set back 2,500 feet from schools, homes and sensitive areas like parks.

While we can’t directly control the Department of the Interior’s decisions to grant new oil and gas leases, Prop 112 offers us the opportunity to keep the air and water contamination inherent in the fracking process farther away from people and sensitive environmental areas. To help protect our economy, environment and public health, vote yes on Prop 112.

Christie Renner, Researcher/Boulder

Vote Theresa Stets for
community rights

When the topic turns to fracking, Democrats keep turning out to be a lifeboat with holes already drilled into it. They continue to tolerate a state government with two conflicting legal mandates — protecting our health and environment while also promoting the toxic process of fracking.

For example, our Democratic Governor as well as the Democrats of the Boulder County Commissioners have always had the option of filing a federal legal action to cause the Oil and Gas industry to cease fracking until they prove it is safe, and of course all evidence points to it being unsafe. Such a federal lawsuit would be preemptive and very likely to succeed. This would have to be in federal court so that it bypasses our schizoid situation in Colorado. The Boulder Commissioners have instead concocted a lawsuit that gives us money after the damage is done. The Democrats on the Lafayette City Council similarly have had this federal lawsuit option available. It was recommended to them in candidate forums during the 2017 Lafayette Council election. Both the County Commissioners and the Lafayette City Council refuse to consider reasonable legal action that would be preemptive.  Why is that?

In the midst of these sellout choices by Democrats we have a state representative race between Democrat Sonya Lewis and Independent Theresa Stets. Despite my urging, Lewis won’t step an inch beyond the sellout choices of establishment Democrats. Theresa Stets, on the other hand is promoting a community rights legal approach. This is a new, preemptive legal strategy, which has not failed in courts where the decision was based upon the merits of the Community Rights legal argument. It should be noted that this strategy has failed where the court’s ruling strayed from the argued merits presented by the Community Rights side. I am tired of business as usual, which is taking us towards a climate disaster. I want to support a candidate who wants to align our Colorado energy policy with undeniable climate science!

For Theresa this would mean no new fossil fuel infrastructure combined with a program to transition fossil fuel workers into clean, fair employment. I am voting for Community Rights and for Theresa Stets for House District 12.

Cliff Smedley/Lafayette