Letters: 3/3/16

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An open letter to Barb Halpin, staff deputy to the Boulder County Commissioners, and Public Information Officer

I wanted to reach out and clarify the record on this quote from you in the Boulder Weekly article yesterday (Re: “Decision time… Again,” Feb. 25): “Back then, Domenico lamented the multitude of “all-or-nothing demands” from the public, something Halprin says the commissioners have seen from the current round of public meetings as well.

“Are there other ideas? Are there actual ways that people could come forward and say, ‘We understand this can’t be ended over night but here’s a thoughtful way to start moving in that direction’?” Halprin says. “That’s the kind of input the commissioners would like to see. They are seeing a lot of ‘Don’t’ make any changes’ or ‘Ban them outright.’ Not a lot of middle ground here.”

To be fair, this is not an “overnight” issue. This has had 5 years to be looked into, to be managed, for Commissioners to call meetings, reach out to experts who have been offered to them in various other fields of farming and food systems.

Personally, as a citizen, and without pay, I put together a team to help with the transition mandate in the 2011 Cropland Policy. I would think this would qualify as “thoughtful” and a way to “move in another direction.”

You may recall when we came to the Commission with stakeholders from across the industry, from growers to manufacturers, to retailers. Even Baystate Milling said they could take all the wheat that could be grown here and process it for Rudi’s to make a local bread. That was an unprecedented offer. A first of its kind.

We offered to bring in wheat growers from neighboring areas to help teach and advise on how to manage that land for wheat. We offered to take the local growers to those wheat farms so they could learn on the ground.

We offered opportunities for dairy alfalfa to be grown, to be purchased, to be trucked. That one is particularly egregious considering the option of GMO alfalfa now on the table.

These meetings were recorded. We brought the Colorado Department of Agriculture Organic Program Manager to the county to hold talks and provide help and advise on moving in another direction. I would consider this “thoughtful.” And there were many, many meetings with the Boulder County Parks and Open Space that went completely disregarded as well.

For 5 years this offer was sidelined.

Much like the advisory councils tasked with coming up with policy that was thoughtful and moved in another direction. There was a Citizen’s Cropland Policy that was well beyond an “overnight, all or nothing demand.” It was thoughtful; written by a PhD, a food scientist who just might be smarter than all of us combined on the issue at hand.

I am concerned by your comment as it sweeps under the rug years of work by citizens in the county who have answered the call to provide the carrot before the stick. After 5 years of lack of compliance with the Cropland Policy that only the handful of farmers requested, it is clear that the stick must come.

I would appreciate your clarification on your comments. It is insulting to many community leaders in the food industry who took time out of their jobs to lend a helping hand and expertise only to have a spokesperson for the Commission tell the news media that no such thoughtful offers existed and no plans to move in a direction have been floated. It is clear that many plans have been floated and the only one that seems to get traction isthe call to expand GMO farming on Open Space. Why is that?
Mary VonBreck/Boulder

Proposal for Science Tuesdays
Dear Boulder City Council,
In regard to your future scientific Presentions, maybe you could fly me in and I’ll give a talk on Bipolar Manic Depression, a genetic and biochemical condition, since you folks don’t seem to understand the plight of the mentally ill, as evidenced by your behavior treatment of yours truly, some years ago!!!
Maybe, you would be more empathetic to the plight of the down and out when you realize the trials and tribulations of those who suffer, sometimes at the hands of the “elite.”
Seth Brigham/formerly of Boulder fame