Letters: Oct. 20, 2002

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Gilbert White would repeal the CU South annexation

Let’s talk about the late, great Gilbert White, one of only five CU Boulder winners of the National Medal of Science, ever.  

Gilbert is known firstly as the “father of floodplain planning” and that is the heart of the CU South debate. 

CU’s website says: “White’s landmark work, beginning with his 1942 University of Chicago doctoral dissertation “Human Adjustment to Floods,” challenged the notion that natural hazards are best addressed by engineering solutions. Instead, he argued that the havoc wrought by floods and other natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes may be better avoided by modifying human behavior to reduce potential harm.”

White won that debate, and now wise communities around the world follow his advice. Except here now in Boulder, where he founded and directed CU’s Natural Hazards Institute. Here, now, the morally bankrupt mis-leaders of CU still invest student money in fossil fuels as fire, flood and famine sweep the Earth, and plan untested, doubtful engineering solutions for a 100-year flood when White told the city three decades ago to plan for a 500-year flood! Since climate change has exploded since then, we should plan for even worse now. 

Some want the annexation for the housing. But, the details show the development will attract more employees and students than it will house, making the housing situation in Boulder worse, not better!

Everyone should learn about Gil White. He was a big supporter of direct democracy — the same direct democracy empowering us to vote “yes” to stop this disaster! 

Evan Ravitz/Boulder

Re: Furries, far right and the Colorado GOP

Thank you for your piece “Furries, far right and the Colorado GOP” (The Anderson Files, Oct. 13). I knew O’Dea wasn’t a blue collar guy, but I had no idea that he was a complete fraud. It appears he is. Possibly Next on 9NEWS could expose this man’s actual agenda? No wonder McConnel and Buck are stumping for him… it’s very disconcerting.

Thanks for that piece. I’m outraged about his corporate ties and disregard for our planet. It’s despicable.

Philip Riedel/Longmont

Earth has grown angry 

During the Benson administration at CU Boulder, there was a student movement urging the university divest its gas and oil holdings. Bruce Benson, a self-made oil man, would have none of it, and these stocks continue to be a part of CU’s investment earnings, which, judging from its current “buy and build” boom, are considerable. Rental properties, notably student housing, are also no small part of its revenue stream. Its claims of aiding Boulder’s housing shortfall mask the profit motive behind its desire to build another campus in South Boulder. There is also a provision in the agreement that the university will sell 75 acres of land unusable for building back to the City for Open Space. The cost: $2,812,500 — $37,500 an acre. Not so long ago, Boulder voters, prompted by a majority on the City Council, deemed that the City was incapable of managing its electric grid, an established infrastructure. Today, again encouraged by Council, voters are being asked to trust that the City, fronted by the Council, is fully able to design and build a flood mitigation plan from raw cloth, which, as currently proposed, addresses only a small section of the areas flooded in 2013. Behind both the University and the City is a pro-growth ethic that refuses to recognize that water conservation in a prolonged drought and lowering everyone’s carbon footprint is essential to counter the pending outcomes of global warming and climate change, and making money must be secondary to public wellbeing. The Earth has grown angry at our stubborn lack of insight. 

Robert Porath/Boulder

Say “no” to even-year local elections

I’m voting “no” on the City of Boulder Ballot Issue 2E — even-year elections. I hope that you will join me. Here’s Why:

One of the great privileges of a democracy is the opportunity to participate in local elections. In order to do that, we need time to hear about the issues facing our home town and get to know those who want to lead us. Local elections would be swallowed up on an even year ballot. Even-year ballots are for statewide candidates, sometimes presidential candidates and  statewide ballot initiatives. If you live in a special district, those district issues may also be on your ballot. Even-year ballots are long. Don’t you remember turning the page while you were voting and seeing long lists of names and issues you don’t recognize? Retention of judges, clean-up language for constitutional issues, etc. etc.

Now, if you added local candidates and local issues to that ballot, they would be swallowed up in the noise and focus on the “top of the ticket.”  

Local elections deserve community forums, discussion and focus. If local races are folded into even-year elections, the school board races will be left to be an orphan election, diminishing turnout even more.

It’s easy to vote in Colorado. We already have one of the highest rates of voter turnout in the country thanks to mail-in voting and same day registration. We have demonstrated that given the opportunity, people want to decide how they will be governed. There will be more focus on local races when local elections stand alone.  

Vote No on 2E if you are a Boulder voter.

Josie Heath/Boulder

No more belt-tightening for libraries

Demand for libraries is at its highest when economic times are bad. The Library Research Service published a report in 2011 that confirmed this uptick in usage during the Great Recession, with a preface that read: 

“Public libraries are more needed than ever, and they are stepping up as part of the social safety net that helps people protect the financial security of their families and build new futures when they must. For some, a new future means finding a job, sometimes in a new community; for others it means going back to school to re-tool for a new career; and for still others it means becoming entrepreneurial and creating their own jobs and jobs for others. People in all of these circumstances are finding the help they need at public libraries.”

When I hear that Boulder library must “tighten its belt” rather than ask for stable funding, I wonder if the folks saying this are aware that our library branches are shuttered on certain days of the week — right now — because of decades of “belt-tightening.” The library suffered budget cuts to such a degree in 2020 that programs like its nearly 40-year adult literacy program are paused, the makerspace is closed five days a week, and simple maintenance like roof repairs and HVAC issues go unaddressed. Why would we keep our libraries in such a state? 

Our libraries are celebrated and enjoyed during good and bad times, but they’re critical institutions when times are tough. We can put them on a stable funding path so that they can serve our community in good times and bad. That is what a library district does. I am a “yes” vote on ballot issue 6C to form a library district, because our communities are stronger when our libraries are strong.

Joanne McIntyre/Boulder

Repeal CU South annexation

Recently I visited one of my most favorite places, CU South. I sat by a creek and watched as dusk descended. I saw hawks searching for their dinner. I heard unseen animals in the tall grass chittering their welcome to the night. I intended to do some meditation, but every time I closed my eyes I immediately opened them again. I didn’t want to miss one second of the surrounding natural beauty. I thought how sad it would be for CU to destroy these natural wetlands and build 750,000 sq. feet of buildings, a 3000 seat stadium, and add 7000 daily vehicle trips to the area. CU’s plan will only exacerbate the current student housing shortage, and create a traffic nightmare. If we have to evacuate for another fire like we did in March, it would be impossible to leave, it would be traffic gridlock. The lure of flood mitigation promised by CU is woefully inadequate at best and would serve to only protect 230 residences. If this land is annexed, who do you think pays for the city services (power, water) to be brought to the area, which only benefit CU…we do — with higher utility bills. The added noise, traffic and pollution from this annexation will degrade our quality of life. There are threatened plant and animal species in this area, one of which is the Preble jumping mouse. This mouse lives in only a few areas of Colorado and Wyoming. It’s our duty to preserve these wetlands and protect nature. Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever. There’s no turning back from. CU doesn’t need another campus in Boulder. Let CU build another campus in an underserved Colorado community that would welcome having a campus there. Vote “yes” on measure on 2F, Ordinance #8384, to Repeal CU Annexation!

S. Hack/Boulder

Vote “yes” for accessible transportation

Please join us and vote Yes on 1C. Like everyone else in Boulder County, our participants need the ability to get to work, school and medical appointments, visit with friends and family, recreate, worship, and shop for basic needs. Therefore, the Family Resource Centers in Boulder County are enthusiastically supporting Ballot Issue 1C, to invest in multimodal transportation in our beautiful county.

Boulder County’s Ballot Issue 1C, to extend the existing penny sales tax on a ten-dollar purchase, will go a long way towards addressing the challenge of mobility by making transportation more affordable and accessible to all people.

A portion of the revenue generated by Ballot Issue 1C will fund transportation mobility programs identified in the Mobility and Access for All Ages and Abilities Plan. This plan, the first of its kind for Boulder County, is an assessment of mobility needs throughout Boulder County unique to older adults, youth, and people with disabilities, and the under resourced community. Twenty percent of the revenue generated will go to transit services and mobility programs. These are a lifeline for the families we serve.

If 1C passes, there will be more funding to help our participants with the cost of a bus pass. The transit ambassador program that helps people learn to use transit will have more stable funding. There will be greater access to call-a-ride services in areas not served by fixed RTD routes. With greater funding for micro-transit, lack of transportation will be less of a barrier to equity in the opportunity provided by open enrollment in SVVSD and BVSD. Investments and improvements for safer cycling infrastructure are also an important benefit if passed.

Please join the OUR Center, EFAA, and Sister Carmen Community Center in supporting 1C.

Marc Cowell, Executive Director of the OUR Center

Julie Van Domelen, Executive Director of EFAA

Suzanne Crawford, CEO of Sister Carmen Community Center 

Email: letters@boulderweekly.com

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