Letters 7/14/22


Ghost Riders

It’s almost 7 a.m. on Sunday and I’m stopped at a red light at 95th and Dillion Road in Louisville with seven other idling vehicles, for the green turning arrows servicing ghost riders in either lane. Do you sit and wait for an empty traffic light lane to hold you back while wasting your money and polluting the air at the highest rate a vehicle can? Or make the adult decision to go? … If clear of armed tax collectors, I go every time!

The absurdity of this careless phenomenon caused by local municipalities is frustrating at best. They are essentially helping those who pass through their community to become part of the problem by increasing regional haze, respiratory health issues and global climate change, from the unnecessary idling at misdirected traffic signals.

Upon researching data to back up my argument, it’s estimated that approximately 300 four-cylinder cars idling for 30 seconds will burn one gallon of gas, which produces about 20 pounds of greenhouse gas.

The light I mentioned earlier in Louisville stops actual vehicles for ghost riders all day long with about a 30-second turn arrow. I don’t have the time or patience to sit there and count how many resources are being wasted every hour, let alone every day and year. Louisville is not alone. Lafayette along 287, oh boy. And if you stop and look, you will see it happening everywhere, all the time.

The simple truth is an idling vehicle pollutes more than a moving one and the traffic light technology of the 21st century is not being reviewed, programmed or managed thoroughly enough for different times of the day, to have the positive effect that they are capable of and intended to have. Quick fix, why not have an over‐ride to flashing yellow arrows when no traffic exists in a turning lane?

Are we so lazy that we cannot make these basic driving decisions for ourselves? The technology of convenience has created a sense of entitlement with the result of excess and waste; we need to change our priorities if we want a better future. 

Jeremy Mahall/Boulder

Sweet Misinformation

I take offense to the idea presented in “Cooking hack: Vodka of tea sweeteners” from the July 7 issue of Boulder Weekly. Pure cane sugar dissolves perfectly in iced tea, as long as you add the sugar before the ice. This is common knowledge in the South, and makes a superior iced tea without having to concoct a simple syrup.

Just kidding/Boulder

“Stand back and stand by”

Former president Donald Trump was acquitted by the Senate in February 2021 in relationship to his role in the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol. Part of the argument in favor of convicting him was that he had used the word “fight” when encouraging his supporters to protest at the Capitol that day. At the time his defenders pointed out that people often use that word without referring to physical violence, and they’re right. But Trump still bears a lot of responsibility for what happened. In addition to everything that has been exposed by the special House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot, his use of the word “fight” needs to be considered in connection with two things. First, he painted a picture of America being in grave peril if the results of the election were not overturned. Second, he has a history of encouraging political violence. During the 2016 election campaign, there were at least a couple times when he encouraged his supporters to physically attack protesters at his rallies. There’s also his statement directed at the Proud Boys during the first 2020 Presidential Debate: “stand back and stand by.”  The proud boys are all about political violence and they were at the Capitol that day. Trump had spent months lying about the election and we shouldn’t be surprised that his followers did what they did on Jan. 6  when he said “fight.”

Tom Shelley/Boulder

Bottom line of the Limelight

With the Limelight Hotel (to be run by the Aspen Skiing Corporation) under construction and with plans for a convention center kitty-corner at Broadway and University on the Hill and a new “South Campus” expansion equal in size to its existing campus, the University clearly displays a burgeoning corporate ambition that has more to do with business and profit than the education of its students. And, thus far, the “makers and shakers” of the city are thrilled with these plans, the impact of which on the quality for life of Boulder citizens, congestion, traffic, and pollution, has been of little concern to the City Council. Boulder once had a certain aura of being quirky, outside the mainstream, somewhat exotic in Middle America all because of the presence of the University. “The People’s Republic of Boulder” and “Baghdad by the Flatirons” were appellations given at different times. The Board of Regents, elected statewide and until the last election Republican dominated, chafed at all this “liberal” tendency but was unable to turn the tide until the selection of Bruce Benson, successful oil man and Party fundraiser, as President despite his having no expertise in education and only a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology. His selling point was fundraising, and diminishing state funding had left the University in financial straits. Conservatives had been calling for universities to be run as businesses for decades. Under Benson’s tenure, the bottom line became the focus of all operations, including sports. The business plan was simple: money had to be made, and he was successful in putting CU on firm financial ground, with a current operating budget of $2.1 billion for the Boulder campus alone ($5.5 billion systemwide). Administrative costs continue to rise, but its expansion ambitions remain flush with cash. Nonetheless, tuition and fees for students continue to climb and gender inequality in faculty salaries, while recently lessened, remains the norm. All in all, be it questions of education, the well being of students, faculty, and the people of Boulder, or the reality of climate change, persisting drought, and the necessity of carbon reduction, CU’s answer has been Lily Tomlin’s classic line, “We don’t care. We don’t have to.” It shows an arrogance that should shock everyone.  

Robert Porath/Boulder


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