Letters: Feb. 23, 2023

Signed, sealed, delivered: your views


Re: Leaded aviation fuel

I consider myself to be strongly pro-environment and always have: Yup, I’m a liberal. I am also a private pilot and read the Feb. 9, 2023 article “Boulder County Calls For Regulation of Aviation Gas.” As of today, there isn’t a replacement for leaded aviation fuel and the collective voting of Boulder County municipal leaders is frivolous. One might just as well pass county legislation demanding generally available fusion energy by 2032. Great idea, extremely unlikely to happen.

I was frankly more than a little disgusted with the complete lack of information the various (and unnamed) community officials who voted for this nonsense legislation have. This is nothing more than feel-good legislation and will accomplish nothing. General Aviation (GA) has been anxious to obtain fuel with lead alternatives for decades. The problem is one of origination and supply and demand. The GA community would be thrilled if an unleaded alternative fuel were to suddenly be approved and available at the pump of their local airports. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association surveys all indicated GA is willing to pay for an alternative fuel, even if there is a cost increase to the pilot. (As of this writing, 100 low lead aviation gas is $6.37 per gallon at my closest airport.) The biggest issues preventing unleaded avgas are 1) The GA population is so small that petroleum manufacturers can’t justify developing lead free fuel. 2) The average age of a GA aircraft is about 30 years. (My own aircraft was built in 1959.) 3) There are only 204,000 GA aircraft in the entire U.S. About 25% of them use no lead auto fuel. Compare that to the 1,807,777 cars registered just in Colorado. In other words, GA aircraft are not a significant source of lead pollution. Smelters and lead acid battery manufacturers are.

Lead acts as a lubricant for engine valves. There has been no FAA certified replacement, and the FAA requires exhaustive testing in order to obtain certification. Perhaps the collective councils that passed this useless legislation should have looked into the data that is easily accessible.

— Dan Meester/Boulder

Gray wolf plan ‘breaks the law’

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) plans to adopt a gray wolf reintroduction plan that breaks the law. The language of the law defines the gray wolf this way: “‘Gray Wolf” means nongame wildlife of the species Canis Lupus.” 

This sentence has clarity as nongame species means no one cannot hunt wolves. The law declares the gray wolf is an endangered species, which means it’s protected from killing.

Despite this clear language, the CPW plan includes three ways to kill wolves: lethal control, hunting, and issuing permits for ranchers to kill conflict wolves. 

None of these ideas were evident in the language of the law passed in 2020.

There is anguish that the law was passed by a narrow margin. Many laws pass by a narrow margin, but it still is the law that must be followed to the letter of the law.

How can any animal protected by the Endangered Species Act be killed? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service can delist any animal using the 10j rule which gives the power to manage endangered species to the state.

Because of the 10j rule, wolf hunting seasons are management tools in Montana, Wyoming, Idaho, and Wisconsin. Recently, laws were passed to kill 90% of the wolves in Idaho and 85% of the wolves in Montana.

CPW began the process to delist gray wolves in August 2022.

How can this be the future of wolves in Colorado?

— Kathleen Willard/Fort Collins

CO is trying to exclude independent parties

State Senate Bill 23-101 (Candidate Ballot Access For Primary Elections) would effectively kill all minor political parties in Colorado. It should be killed in committee. Both establishment parties have demonstrated they will stoop to any level to exclude independent and alternative party candidates from participating in the political process. 

Corrupt, dishonest legislators led by Senate Majority Leader Stephen Fenberg (D-Boulder) already destroyed ballot access for independent candidates in Colorado. They embedded independent candidate suppression provisions in long, broad based packages of election law changes. This includes HB 19-1278 and SB 21-250.

The United States generally has the world’s worst ballot access laws as a first barrier to obstruct candidates from participating in an archaic 19th century political system that was designed in secret by slaveholders to preserve their own wealth and power.

From 1997 through 2019, Colorado had some of the best independent and minor party ballot access laws of any U.S. state. Democratic Party state legislators cynically destroyed this minor reform under the radar by hiding it in long bills backed by so-called “progressive” organizations. 

Section 13 of HB 19-1278 was designed to keep independent candidates off Colorado’s ballot. 

Two words were included in Section 83 on the last page of a 63 page bill (SB 21-250) to secretly repeal ballot access for independent presidential candidates without anyone noticing. There was zero media coverage of Stephen Fenberg’s corrupt maneuver to keep independent presidential candidates off Colorado’s ballot.

The current Republican effort to eliminate all alternative political parties looks like a scorched earth tactic by an extremist faction to burn any remaining shred of democratic process to the ground. 

Both the Democrats and Republicans are determined to destroy any remaining legitimacy in Colorado’s Fool’s Gold Standard of a sham election system. 

Fundamental election reform is critical. The most essential reform would be to institute a hybrid proportional representation voting system to elect Colorado’s General Assembly, as proposed by the election reform group Best Democracy (bit.ly/3lrzKSt). This system would combine a single transferable vote in seven member districts for a unicameral legislature with a compensatory party list system, empowering nearly all voters to elect representatives of their choice.

Everyone should have fair representation in government. 

Under any voting system, reasonable ballot access laws are essential. Colorado’s current petition signature requirements are absurd. They are designed to ensure that only political campaigns backed by big money are able to get off the ground.

Ballot access requirements for candidates of any affiliation should be vastly reduced. I suggest giving candidates the option of either submitting a reasonable number of petition signatures or paying a nominal fee for ballot access. The existing option of nomination by party assembly should also be continued.

— Gary Swing/Boulder

History will be kind to Jimmy Carter

After hearing the sad news of Jimmy Carter now in hospice care, I am thinking how special this man is. Within a decade or maybe much less, Jimmy Carter will be celebrated as the equivalent of a Protestant/evangelical saint. History will recognize his genuine accomplishment of delicately balancing the imperatives of faith with public policy. In time, we will realize that the tenor of our present partisan comments is simply a symptom of a passing affliction of hyperpolarized acrimony.

Events will surely arise that will cause many more of us to behave like adults. In time, many more of us also will honor real human progress rather than ingrained biases and cherished political ideologies.

— Gary Carter/Homer, Alaska