Letters: May 14, 2020

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Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

A letter to Joe Neguse

I am writing to state my extreme disappointment and disgust with the Congressional Democrats, particularly its leadership, for doing little to help ordinary Americans and small businesses. The so-called CARES acts have been a boon for billionaires, millionaires, large corporations, banks and other top-of-the-pile economic players.  

The leadership, especially Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer among others are letting the Republicans run the show in both chambers. There have been few meaningful efforts to meet the needs of the people who are suffering most, including gig workers, immigrants, essential workers, health workers, renters, mortgage holders, student debtors, utility customers, small business owners, the self-employed, those not covered by health insurance, states and local governments, colleges and universities, our Post Office and many other people and institutions that need help in this crisis. The $1,200 one-time payment and (up to) the minuscule unemployment compensation is a joke. $4.5 trillion goes to the tiny few at the top of the pile while bare crumbs trickle down to the majority at the bottom.  

If the Democrats think people will support them in the election with this kind of Democratic response to the COVID crisis, they better think again. Trump is terrible, the Republicans are terrible, but ordinary folks, youth and many who have found voting to make little difference in their lives will have little incentive to show up for a Democratic Party that offers little to nothing to them. They watched as the most popular politician in America was once again rooked out of the presidential nomination in favor of a long-time neoliberal, warmongering racist, sexist, elitist Wall Street, Big Pharma consort who now is losing his mental acuity. Beyond miserably pathetic. We’ll have Trump for four more years if the Democrats don’t do something bold and ground-shaking for the People.  

I am proud of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for her vote against the corrupt and pathetic CARES 3.5 bill in the House (Pelosi should be ashamed). I wish you had done the same. I want you to support progressive bills offered by Reps Jayapal, Omar, Senator Sanders and other true progressives whose proposals will make a difference.  

Right now, I and millions of others see little reason to get excited about the Democratic field this election year unless the Democrats do something meaningful.  That definitely has not happened. Democratic Party inaction does not bode well for November, the Electoral College and Congress. Please become a visible and forceful leader for progressive change. Don’t just go along to get along. I’d like to know what you will do to help the Democrats change course before it’s too late.  

Ken Bonetti/Boulder

Deadline quickly approaching 

Thanks to leadership from Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO) and the hard work of Western Landowners Alliance members and others on the 2018 Farm Bill, western landowners, ranchers and producers who manage their land in a way that complements and conserves wildlife and wildlife habitat now qualify for benefits from USDA’s Conservation Reserve Program (CRP). But landowners must apply quickly — the deadline is May 15, 2020.

This win-win allows landowners the ability to protect grasslands, rangelands and pastures, while maintaining their land as working lands. CRP is an opportunity for agricultural producers to contract with USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) so agricultural land is used for conservation benefits, such as improving pasture cover to benefit pollinators or other wildlife. 

Specifically, new provisions in the program recognize lands of ecological significance, including lands that support at-risk species, threatened and endangered (T&E) species and wildlife corridors. Farmers, ranchers and producers who include acreages that are known to be in areas of designated candidate, T&E species, critical wildlife habitat and/or wildlife corridors are encouraged to explore this opportunity to participate in the CRP Grasslands program. 

That could mean a lot of Colorado landowners could qualify. FSA works with willing landowners, ranchers and producers who are interested in receiving annual payments for their participation in the program. Payments vary from state to state and from county to county within each state. For example, in Colorado payments range from $1 to $11 per acre. 

Interested and willing landowners are encouraged to contact their County FSA office prior to May 15, 2020 to apply for the program. Find an office near you at offices.sc.egov.usda.gov/locator/app

Hallie Mahowald, Programs Director, Western Landowners Alliance