Letters: 9/29/16

Wikimedia Commons
Wikimedia Commons

‘The Other’
It is impossible for me to believe that households in and near Twin Lakes in the Gunbarrel area, are being ingenuous about their opposition to an affordable housing development there. I was an urban and regional planner, and I’ve heard all the arguments, disagreements, platitudes, and NIMBYisms. I doubt “density” or “loss of open space” has entered into more than a neighborhood lexicon. The real “issue” is “THOSE people” — letting “them” in.

There is an alternative. Raise wages for all who earn less than $50,000 per year. Double them, if necessary. But wait! Rents in the region would also rise. So that leaves but one untried solution: The neighbors should chip in to buy one Range Rover SUV per new Twin Lakes affordable unit [to be built]. That way THOSE people can zip around and look just like everyone else. Nobody ever needs to know that THOSE people have invaded another planet.

After all, we are what we own, right?
Gregory Iwan/Longmont

Which one of our attacks?
What crap you publish. President Benson has done more for the University of Colorado than all of his predecessors put together! You should be ashamed of your ad hominem attack!
Lewis Frauenfelder/Boulder

Kicking the neo-liberal can
Dave Anderson has been one of my favorite columnists for Boulder Weekly. A few weeks ago however, he sadly adopted the neo-liberal’s resurrected Cold War tactic of painting a political opponent, in this case, Trump, as a patsy of Russia. No doubt this age-old boogieman distraction will go over well with those who remember the red-baiting of yesteryear.

Everyone but his supporters know full well what a dangerous clown is Trump. But what is nearly as frightening is kicking the neo-liberal can down the road with the hopes of tweaking its policy of endless war and trickle down economics once the reins have been handed over. “For the political revolution to advance, the first priority is to crush Donald Trump and the Republicans in November.” (Boulder Weekly, 9/22/16). We can clearly see how effective the revolution will be from the actions Hillary has taken to date, such as appointing fossil fuel champion Ken Salazar as leader of her transition team and pursuing Jeb Bush as opposed to Sanders voters.

Mr. Anderson may however be right. Perhaps Sanders’ millions can swing the neo-liberals back toward progressivism. But we should be telling ourselves this: “In order to prevent a Trump presidency, I will vote for accelerated global warming and ever increasing environmental disasters through fracking, pipeline construction and off-shore oil drilling, the greatest military build up in history, including a new generation of nuclear missiles, continuing war and the provocation of war with Russia and China, an ever expanding surveillance state, continued banking corruption and corporate control of the people.”
Of course a vote for Jill Stein is throwing your vote away because progressives will vote for Hillary because they don’t want to throw their vote away.
Doug Richards/Eldorado Springs, CO

Co-op Conundrum
Jan Trussell’s column got it exactly right: A vocal, self-selected group of activists is coercing City Council into granting them a special privilege — at the expense of residents in every existing neighborhood of Boulder. The co-op advocates’ resort to name-calling and labeling is unhelpful. But the biggest problem is that City Council is swallowing the co-op story whole, without asking critical questions:

Why are we creating something that will have very little benefit in terms of affordable housing, yet will put still more pressure on middle-class housing availability? Why do we need to define umpteen different types of co-op all at once? Why not start with a single model that everyone can understand, a real ownership co-op, instead of experimenting with untried concepts like so-called “rental co-ops”?

How can we prevent the extreme occupancy of a co-op from causing a domino effect on neighborhoods, as neighboring families decide to move out and find that their only good option is to convert their house into another high-occupancy rental? Why are we giving an incentive to investor landlords to snap up single-family homes and turn them into lucrative high-occupancy boarding houses?

Why is it OK to allow 10 to 15 people to take over a house in the midst of a low/medium-density zoned neighborhood? Why should people that moved into neighborhoods specifically for their low-density characteristics be subjected to the high-density hubbub of a crowded co-op next door, and not at least have a chance to voice their concerns in advance?

Why can’t high-density co-ops be placed in high-density areas of the City, instead of being plopped down into middle-class, low- and medium-density residential neighborhoods? Why can’t we re-purpose areas of the city, like the former hospital site, and set up co-op or co-housing opportunities that would not erode existing stable neighborhoods?

How can we ensure that legalized rental co-ops won’t abuse their extraordinary privilege by operating as AirBnBs, boarding houses, couch-surfer havens and traveler’s hostels? How in the world could rental co-ops like Picklebric, with their revolving door of short-term, transient boarders and couch-surfers, possibly contribute to neighborhood stability? How can we enforce any of this, when we can’t even begin to enforce occupancy limits and other rental regulations?

City Council won’t ask these questions themselves. Citizens must come to the council meeting October 4th and do the asking.
Steven Meier/Boulder

Let’s be smart
It is smart to extend the term limit of the Boulder District Attorney’s office.
The length of service for the Boulder County District Attorney position should be extended to a fourth term. I urge the voters to vote yes on Resolution NO. 2016-91 on the November ballot for this term limit extension.

The District Attorney is responsible for many aspects of maintaining safety for members of our community. It is important that minority residents have trust in the District Attorney. This requires many years of service of a District Attorney dedicated to doing outreach to minorities, the elderly and others and to pursuing cases where someone has been scammed or abused because of their gender, sexual identity, ethnicity, age, or immigration status. It requires that a staff, as is the case in Boulder County, be developed that fully supports the entire community including having bilingual staff.

It is also beneficial that the District Attorney be recognized, respected and trusted by others in law enforcement, state administration and the state legislature.
We are fortunate at this time to have such a District Attorney. While this might not always be the case, the voters have the ability to make a change every four years.
Bob Norris/Longmont

Trump on Shale
In response to Donald Trump’s comments at the Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh:
“Donald Trump proved again that he is an unfit leader with no grasp on reality. Trump pandered to the Marcellus Shale industry today, singing the praises of a dangerous energy extraction process that threatens the health and safety of families and communities all over this country, and promising to slash critical regulations and the EPA. This man has no business dealing with America’s energy policy, and he would be a belligerent catalyst of catastrophic climate change if he were elected president.”
Cassady Sharp, Greenpeace USA spokesperson

ColoradoCare would heal health care for patients and providers
Money is pouring in from out of state to fund opposition to ColoradoCare. Outspending supporters 8-to-1, opponents of Amendment 69 want to protect their exorbitant profits at the expense of your wallets and your health.

As a rural family physician I struggle every day to get basic health care for my patients. The current system is unsustainable and getting worse. Recently, I had yet another asthmatic, who couldn’t afford her maintenance medications. She ended up on a ventilator and was discharged needing oxygen at home. Her insurance refused to pay for it. She is one of thousands of under-insured people in the state.

I see this petty system from both sides of the coin. After having a cancer treatment, which I need on a regular basis, my insurance would not process it because the provider had not done a “prior authorization” (which is insurance gobbledygook to avoid paying anything). Despite paying hundreds of dollars a month for an “insurance” plan with a huge deductible, coinsurance and copays, I couldn’t even count my out-of-pocket expenses toward the deductible because of a paperwork mistake. This absurd game would go away with ColoradoCare. I would pay my tax and have a platinum (not bronze) plan WITHOUT deductibles and coinsurance. My rates would not skyrocket every year along with increases in my out-of-pocket expenses.

Instead of health care rates being determined in a closed boardroom where you and I and our providers have NO input, the board running ColoradoCare would not be able to increase the tax unless approved by the members of ColoradoCare, the members being all Coloradans. If we weren’t happy with how they were running things, we could boot them out at the next election. Under the current system, we can’t change the insurance company executives who pay themselves millions by charging ever-increasing premiums and denying care to customers.

A study by the Institute of Health found that only 8 percent of health expenditures go to those who provide care, whereas 30 percent of health expenditures are wasted. That waste includes the administrative obstacles that the insurance companies put up to avoid paying for your care.

As 56 countries of the world have figured out, universal health care is a social necessity, just like public education and libraries. In those countries with universal coverage, health care is provided at a fraction of the cost as in the U.S., and their citizens are healthier than we are. This is not a partisan issue, but a fact of life. All people, regardless of their political persuasion, live in human bodies that get sick and injured.

Don’t let outside interests determine how we care for Coloradans. They do NOT have your interests at heart, but only care about their bottom line. Vote for your family’s and your health and wellbeing — vote for ColoradoCare, Amendment 69.
Madeleine Jacobs, MD/Penrose, Colorado

Colorado native Madeline Jacobs, MD has been a family practitioner in Penrose, Colorado since 1988. She got her medical degree at the University of Colorado Medical School in 1984, and completed her residency in 1987 in Fort Collins.

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