Letters | Second-class citizens


Second-class citizens

I am a hiker and commuter cyclist, not a mountain biker, but I completely agree with Stewart Sallo’s article “Bikes and ’boarders” (Stew’s Views, March 24). Mountain bikers seem to be seen as second-class citizens by the hiking establishment. They should have reasonable access to trails, and especially a connection to Eldorado Springs. If a route from Chautauqua is not feasible, one could be constructed from Shanahan Ridge along the South Shanahan and Lower Big Bluestem Trails.

Paul Siegtler/Boulder

Mission creep

I began cycling in 1970 when my high school in Palo Alto, Calif., initiated hair-above-the-ears policies for sports teams. Fortunately, my Palo Alto High School was just across the street from Stanford’s 14,000 acres and gateway to the Santa Cruz mountains — sound familiar? I rode a three-speed my grandmother won at a church raffle, followed by working up the $300 for a hand-crafted Pogliaghi Italian job which was just the thing to savor county roads, including flying through a complex set of curves near Joan Baez’s cabin and later near where renowned bike designer Tom Ritchey set up shop. Not long before I left the Bay Area in the early 1990s, just above Tom’s Ranch was a pond at the junction of Page Mill/West Alpine on Skyline Boulevard, an equivalent to Boulder County’s Peak-to-Peak Highway that had been bought by the regional open space district from folks that used to let us swim there among natural grasses and pond lilies.

Up there with a girlfriend on a Saturday afternoon, we were sitting on a small, recently constructed dock when an open space ranger approached us announcing that this was a “sensitive environment” and the dock was only for fishing. Well, I told him what he could do with that, but the absolute irony was that the open space district had recently ripped up the top of lightly traveled Alpine Road so they could insert a large-diameter galvanized walking culvert under the road for a new 15-car parking lot. The grounds leading down to the pond had been crushed and were still hammered down by the bulldozers necessary to insert the culvert; the site of course was complete with signs suggesting just what was now acceptable at this treasured and serene example of nature’s finest.

I came in on the West TSA discussions that have perhaps reached a similar saturation point. Now one may listen to the rantings of an aging collection of Boulderites who may or may not have had similar experiences, apparently long ago since forgotten. Yes, urban Front Range Colorado is becoming more crowded, but no need to panic just yet! Pirate “Angry Ranger Trail” rediscovered by rangers on Flagstaff just days before the West TSA final vote, come now? How many tree-hugging, mostly over-educated cyclists riding bikes that cost a small fortune do this sort of thing? If caught, rangers have the option of taking away their bikes and fining them. … Night use of any kind in the open space? Is this a problem? Are we now moving on to wearing name tags certifying and specifying just what we’re doing out there? Well, we went from parking meters on our busy commercial streets to more signs in many parts of town specifying allowed parking times to credit card-capable meter stations in pay-for-parking zones to video systems and radar vans dispensing tickets to computer-driven monitoring systems that can tell if our cars are overdue in at their parking locations, and police cars with automatic video systems that check for warrants and issues through license records — all in the name of progress.

Is this the stuff of our buffering open space? Last Saturday, I rolled into the overfilled Dowdy Draw and South Mesa parking lots on Eldorado Springs Road. As usual, there weren’t many trail users of any kind more than a mile out, which reaffirmed my thinking on a possible solution. My utilitarian proposal to send to Boulder City Council was to use an already existing open space gate and trailhead halfway down Greenbriar near Smugglers Way, just above the vast meadow south of town, for a new multi-use trail over to the South Mesa and Dowdy Draw parking lots on Eldorado Canyon Road (park by South Boulder Rec Center if necessary).

Why Shanahan Ridge folks object to cyclists and others accessing the larger south open space area seems to miss the crux of one of the larger problems. No traction on this one! Commuting to and from Eldorado Springs on bikes, kids playing safely near Shanahan, dogs, etc.? Yes! Get with it, dog lovers, cyclists, horsey people, night walkers! Elect or better influence representatives who will find solutions more of us approve of. We

all treasure the open space, and it will continue to serve us while protecting nature. Yes, I’d take 2.7 miles of trail across the “cow grazing meadow” below Greenbriar, and I expect it would be enjoyed by most.

Robert Moore/Boulder

Obama breaks his word

In a Dec. 20, 2007, interview with the Boston Globe, presidential candidate Barack Obama is quoted as saying, “The president does not have power under the Constitution to unilaterally authorize a military attack in a situation that does not involve stopping an actual or imminent threat to the nation.”

But now that he’s president, Obama is directly contradicting that. He has unilaterally authorized a military attack against Libya — without consulting with Congress, as is required by the 1973 War Powers Resolution. And under the Constitution, only Congress has the power to declare war.

Even President Bush had the decency to consult with Congress before attacking Iraq (although Congress didn’t declare war, which should have been a prerequisite).

So, Obama has now established that he is worse than Bush on the matter of “wars of choice.” Is this the type of hope and change we wanted? Libertarians don’t think so.

Yes, Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi is a monster, and libertarians would cheer his ouster. But Libya hasn’t attacked the United States, nor is it a national security threat. The Constitution should not be trashed by the president. Nor can we afford yet another unconstitutional war.

Stop the war! Chuck Wright/Westminster

How to save the Earth

It is estimated that if the whole world were consuming as much as the wealthy countries are consuming, we would have to use up five Earths. To increase the world’s sustainability, the wealthy need to shift to smaller, more efficient homes, i.e. multi-family units. Also, we should make sure that rangefed meat isn’t from animals over-grazing.

Alexander Michael Sokolow/Santa Monica, Calif.

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