Fracking piece further evidence in the case for a ban

Thank you for your courageous reporting on the political barriers to banning extreme oil and gas extraction like fracking in Colorado. Joel Dyer’s incisive in-depth piece “Who killed the vote on fracking?” [Cover story, Oct. 2] clearly illuminates that technological limitations are not the problem; rather, entrenched political and corporate interests keep millions of Coloradans from enjoying the clean, renewable energy future that we deserve. As the first national organization to call for a ban on fracking, Food & Water Watch will continue to stand proudly shoulder-to-shoulder with grassroots groups like Frack Free Colorado, Our Longmont and Citizens for a Healthy Fort Collins. We are committed to educating and helping to mobilize Coloradans to build the power to hold our elected officials accountable so that we can pass local ballot measures and take the other actions needed to protect our health, safety and property from fracking. Last month, Food & Water Watch published a report, “The Urgent Case for a Ban on Fracking,” that surveys the more than 150 studies from the past three years that provide the irrefutable scientific evidence that fracking is so inherently dangerous it cannot be regulated. Dyer’s exposé drives home the sad fact that those with the vision for a sustainable, fossil fuel-free future are up against formidable opponents. As a third generation Coloradan and Western Region Director for Food & Water Watch, I implore everyone who cares about the health and renewable energy future of this state to join the call for a ban on this dangerous, irresponsible practice.

Sam Schabacker/Western Region Director for Food & Water Watch

Ballot initiative story shows larger forces at work 

Hats off to Dyer et al, their report [Re: “Who killed the anti-fracking ballot measures?” Cover story, Oct. 2], more than any single report I have read, connects the dots (if the dots are to be believed) — in meaningful ways that I have not seen connected before (I am sure there are other sides — maybe they will speak up?). It lays bare the Colorado political landscape — the players; the motives; the strategies; the stakes; the relationships; the whens, hows and whys; etc. and explains “how we got here” with more credibility than “pseudo-news babble” put out by our monolithic city newspapers, TV and radio stations that mostly report all the same news bytes (yes, the real news in them is that small) from the same source and perspective.

On the one hand, it is frightening that so much power is in the hands of so few — that is always dangerous and is not democratic (though we complain less when our horses are winning just like we have greater tolerance when it is our religion being feted) — and there is slight respite in that there appears to be some semblance of benevolent intent mixed in with the greed and need to have it my/our way.

This investigative report provides great insight into the workings (behind the scenes) of Colorado politics; political parties; environmental NGOs; oil, gas and coal companies; utilities; and the groups charged with regulating them (utilities and extractive industries). It makes clear the puzzle of why these highly respected environmental groups have been touting natural gas, not restoring the PTC [Production Tax Credit] or increasing RPS [Renewable Portfolio Standard] goals in many states that truly promote wind and solar. It is their funding source of course.

If this type of investigative reporting were the norm, it might serve to bring out 80-90 percent of our population voting with insightful knowledge on real issues and real people, not the slogans, sound bytes and deliberately misleading political garbage that passes for “political campaigns,” we might vote knowing the people under the artfully crafted PR masks, how they will vote on real issues not the vague “ideals,” which leaves the backroom deals so wide open and hidden from public view.

So Polis, you are off the hook this time. It is clear that all this “for the people” stuff was just a ruse. You play on a bigger playing field and “we the people” appeared to be a convenient prop at the time. Sorry it got so messy trying to represent us.

Robi Robichaud/Boulder

Sheriff’s race includes write-in

Joe Pelle is not running unopposed for sheriff of Boulder County this November, as stated in the Boulder Weekly Voters Guide published Oct. 9. I am also running, as a write-in candidate. If you were to write in “Mickey Mouse” for sheriff this November, that vote would not be counted. To have my name certified to be counted, I had to register with my chosen party, “unaffiliated” and declare my intention to run by January 2 of this year with the Secretary of State’s office. At least 96 days before the election date, I had to submit an affidavit and fingerprints for an FBI background check with the County Clerk and Recorder’s office. To have my name appear on the ballot required collecting 750 valididated, notarized signatures in an eight-week period starting May 15th, which I fell short of. My commendation to Kai Abelkis for placing his name on the ballot as an unaffiliated candidate for County Commissioner.

There are many obstacles to participating in politics, but the Clerk’s office does acknowledge the existence of writein candidates by only providing a checkbox and line if a valid write-in candidate is available for that office. I have spoken with the Boulder Weekly and they are certainly aware of my candidacy, to claim that no one else is running is incorrect. Sample ballots are available online at bouldercounty.org/elections, where Boulder residents will see a single blank line among the county candidates, for the single person running as a write-in candidate for a county seat. Contact and campaign finance information for all Colorado candidates is available from the Secretary of State at sos.state.co.us.

The non-partisan League of Women Voters requests and publishes statements from all valid candidates, at vote411.org. I participated in a county candidates forum on Oct. 11, posted at http://news. kgnu.org/2014/10/league-of-womenvoters-candidate-forum and was reported on the same day by Longmont Call- Times [sic] reporter John Fryar.

That said, I am not running “against” incumbent candidate Sheriff Joe Pelle. He is a good man and an able administrator, who has devoted his career to serving Boulder County. But I am running for sheriff, and as a patriotic mathematician practiced in non-violent conflict resolution, I am offering a genuine alternative to conventional law-enforcement. If you would like to know more my campaign website is sheriffoflove.org.

My Name is Toby Fernsler, and my message is love.

Toby Fernsler/via Internet

Domenico’s inaction on hunting should cost her election

We are disappointed to see BW endorse Cindy Domenico for county commissioner [Re: Vote Guide, Oct. 9]. Sugar Loaf residents have for years been frustrated and outraged by commissioner Domenico’s unwillingness to simply follow the law.

County Resolution 80-52 (No Discharge of Firearms) was enacted 34 years ago “to promote the public health, safety and welfare.” The resolution closes a four-and-a-half square-mile area of densely populated, highly recreated neighborhoods to hunting with firearms. The plain language of the authorizing statute defines “firearms” as: “any pistol, revolver, rifle or other weapon of any description from which any shot, projectile, or bullet may be discharged.”

(C.R.S. 30-15-301). Clearly hunting with bows and arrows is unambiguously included under the definition. Yet, the commissioners have refused to direct inclusion of bow hunting in the closure.

Residents are disgusted with the continuing wounding and crippling of half-tame deer in our community. As a benchmark, the Michigan Department of Resources records a 58 percent wound/cripple rate. Bow hunting is present here even on school days for the 53 days open to this cruel “sport” this year. Of note, our neighborhood is bookended by Betasso Preserve and Sugarloaf Mountain Open Space, where even carrying a bow is against the law and subject to a $300 fine. Jefferson County enforces the complete definition of firearms in the authorizing statute over much larger expanses of land. Why does this continue where we live?

Citizens submitted a petition with 86 signatures asking for the Commissioners to: 1) direct exclusion of bows and arrows as written in the statute definition of firearms and 2) request a hearing on expanding the closure to contiguous, now heavily populated subdivisions. This expansion of an additional few square miles would also significantly facilitate the enforcement of the closure. Why shouldn’t these qualifying neighborhoods be afforded the same protections as the original resolution area?

For the past three years, the commission, chaired by Ms. Domenico, has stalled, postponed, waffled, delayed and done nothing except consult with the sheriff and Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials behind closed doors. These agency representatives lobby to keep the status quo, though hunters have hundreds of thousands of square miles in which to hunt. These are the organizations with which Ms. Domenico boasts about collaborating. Collaboration might more accurately be defined as capitulation and appeasement of state and county agencies to the detriment of the rule of law and citizen safety in our neighborhoods.

Anita Moss/Boulder

Why Ballot Measure 2A will impact you and me

I am a student, a female, a Hill resident, a Greek, a student leader, a roommate, a neighbor, and a resident of Boulder. I feel a special connection to one measure in particular that we will see on the ballot this November. This measure won’t change the world; it won’t alter the political landscape or divide the population. But it will make you and me safer.

The buzz about 2A is that it will raise taxes by a mere .3 percent, and it will promote arts, community, and culture. It will fund so many projects that will make the already incredible City of Boulder that much more remarkable and different from other places in the United States. These are all great strides forward, but I think the biggest effect will come from the increased lighting.

Although some Hill residents decry student behaviors on the Hill come Friday and Saturday night, you can’t argue that safety for an at-risk group that makes up one-third of the population of Boulder isn’t important. Some of the streets that we walk every night are downright dangerous. Yes, arts, community and culture will make this city great, but safety will as well. The lights will deter crime in the areas of the Hill, the Boulder Creek Path and Chautauqua— areas that students—and residents—frequent daily. For any Hill residents concerned that the lighting will shine in their windows and keep them from getting sleep, but in fact the lights will be “pedestrian height” and their brightness will be adjustable by the City We must ask ourselves, is a 3 cent increase in tax on this $10 purchase worth the change that will result? I, along with many of my peers, belong to a modern type of political party: I am fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I am not the type of person who welcomes a tax increase with open arms, but when it is necessary and can benefit all members of a community for such a small cost, it simply makes sense. Recently I read that those who do feel apprehensive seem to think that private organizations should be funding these projects. I attend a public university, and I believe that safety is a matter of public interest, not only for the students, but also for the general population as a whole.

So this November, along with many other residents of Boulder, I’m asking that you make the choice that simply makes sense, and vote yes on 2A. Those 3 pennies on your $10 purchase could be pennies that would otherwise slip under your couch cushions or fall out of your wallet as you pay for parking on a crowded Boulder street. As a student, a female, a Hill resident, a Greek, a student leader, a roommate, a neighbor, and a resident of Boulder, I will support 2A, and I hope that you will too.

Eileen Sherman, Director of City & Neighborhood Relations, University of Colorado Student Government/Boulder