Letters: 4/26/18

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Democratic Party shenanigans

Democracy for America (DFA), a political action committee founded by former presidential candidate Howard Dean, claims that its mission is “to take our democracy back from corporations and the wealthy few, and aggressively combat growing income inequality.” Yet, when it comes to Colorado’s Second Congressional District, DFA has abandoned that pledge by endorsing a candidate who has been hand-picked by the Democratic Party establishment and is taking donations from representatives of some of the most powerful corporate interests in the state.

DFA has blasted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for inserting itself into campaigns in Pennsylvania and Illinois in an attempt to sabotage progressive candidates. But here in Colorado, DFA is doing exactly the same thing.

A recent story in the Boulder Reporter cited complaints that the state Democratic establishment had early on selected Joe Neguse to be the heir apparent to incumbent Jared Polis, who is running for governor. And former University of Colorado Regent Jim Martin wrote in an op-ed in the Boulder Daily Camera that “a Democratic bigwig showed an advanced state of tone-deafness by dictating that, ‘We have to clear the field for Joe Neguse’ … a full year before the primary on June 28, 2018.”

That maneuvering shouldn’t sit well with the district’s Democratic voters, who like candidates who stand for robust policies that address the needs of all Americans. Why DFA would endorse Joe Neguse over a truly progressive candidate like Mark Williams, who refuses to take PAC donations or money from oil and gas interests, is a question only it can answer. But in the upcoming Democratic primary, district voters will have the opportunity to make up their own minds and support someone who will fight for them and not follow the dictates of the party establishment — in Colorado or in Congress.

Cerah Hedrick/Boulder

Another reason not to arm teachers

Regarding “Gun Control” (Re: News, April 12, 2018). Yes, no. 18, arming teachers is an ugly, dangerous idea — for even one more reason than mentioned: What happens when a teacher loses it?

It’s a worst-case scenario: Someone armed, supposedly trusted and already inside the school. The idea of arming teachers relies on the foolish assumptions that you can tell the Good Guys from the Bad Guys, and that a Good Guy never turns Bad.

Sure, the odds are tiny, but they’re not zero, and there are a lot of public school teachers. Do you bet against millions-to-one odds?

Teachers often face major stress already: bratty kids, angry helicopter parents, clueless admins, just for starters. If a teacher snaps, having a gun could mean the difference between an angry outburst and a massacre.

Dick Dunn/Longmont

Colorado students deserve fair debt options

I remember stories my dad told me of what my grandfather called wasted youth. This stereotype of partying all night and studying all day is not a full picture of a student’s time. For many students, working during school becomes a necessity. But part time work these days doesn’t come close to paying for a 4-year degree.

For more students than ever before, student loans are the only option they see to get through college, and from application to graduation, both students and their parents are inundated with offers for student loan financing. Students are often forced to take these loan servicers’ word and trust them to be fair.

Unfortunately, student loan servicers in Colorado are rarely required to be licensed. According to the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), student loan servicers have used the lack of oversight to keep students on the hook as long as possible by: failing to post payments on time, applying payments to interest instead of the principle, leading students away from the quickest repayment options, and more.

Without state licensing of student loan servicers, Colorado students and their families are at risk of the same fraudulent treatment. By 2017 Coloradans had already filed 900 complaints against fraudulent practice by loan servicers, an increase of 78 percent from years prior.

This session, the Colorado state legislature will consider the Student Loan Servicer Accountability Act. This bill would create a state license for student loan servicers. The act would provide the same basic protections to students and their families that already exist for mortgage, credit card and business loans. Colorado students deserve the opportunity to pay off their loans fairly and to not be defrauded into inescapable debt.

Ben Hadley/Boulder

No fracking here

Thousands of earthquakes have occurred in Oklahoma and surrounding areas since 2009. This is up from an average of two earthquakes a year from 1978. Scientific studies attribute the rise in earthquakes to the disposal of wastewater produced during oil extraction that has been injected more deeply into the ground.

Near fracking areas there is also a 400 percent increase in childhood leukemia and a significant increase in cancer and respiratory disease for those living within one-half-mile of active well pads.

The state of Colorado has the power to tell the County Commissioners to allow fracking on our land even though we Boulder residents paid more than $100 million to create Boulder County Open Space. Right now over 11,000 acres of Open Space and conservation easements are targeted for 192 fracking wells as early as this Spring 2018. However, the legal superiority of the state over the county does not apply to citizens. To learn more about the citizens movement to block this travesty and how you can help, Google “Hold Our Ground Boulder County.” This is urgent.

Kate Guilford/Boulder

Trump’s taxes

So… Don Trump is insisting that Jeff Bezos is not paying his fair share.

Not even a nice try, Don.

Until real tax-paying Americans are convinced that paying no taxes is “smart” and not cheating, you cannot be believed about anything.

You may now return to your island, Don. And take your merry nepotistic band of fake rich kids with you. Thanks.

Tommy Holeman/Superior

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