Letters: 3/31/16

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Beet Field Community Brainstorm
Occasionally, a stray copy of Boulder Weekly makes it over here to the hinterlands of Chaffee County. A visitor left us your Feb 25th issue, and I just read with surprise and dismay your update on growing GMO crops on Boulder County open space lands.
Commissioner Cindy Domenico’s lament over the lack of alternative ideas from the public at the time GMO sugar beets were first considered is simply not true!

I served as an original member of Boulder County’s Food and Agriculture Policy Council (FAPC), which in late 2008 was asked by the commissioners for a recommendation regarding growing GMO sugar beets on county-owned agricultural lands. Each FAPC member received and reviewed a mountain of literature on the issue from the County Department of Parks and Open Space (POS). Noticing that the materials provided were heartily in support of growing GMOs, the FAPC did a great deal of additional research to round out its understanding.

As an FAPC member in the summer of 2009, I called a public meeting of interested parties to brainstorm the situation, inviting the general public, the sugar beet farmers, POS staff and the commissioners. The room at Lefthand Brewery in Longmont was packed, one wall was covered in huge swaths of paper, people loosened up with a beer or two, and even one brave sugar beet farmer showed up. We covered the entire wall with ideas, floor to ceiling — terrible ideas, brilliant ideas, ridiculous ideas, intriguing ideas, economic ideas, agricultural ideas, social ideas, practical ideas, visionary ideas, some pure genius and a whole lot of crap — like any thorough brainstorm.

We held a follow-up meeting at the county fairgrounds, clarifying and organizing the brainstorm into a presentable format. We did nothing to evaluate the ideas, leaving that for the county agricultural staff, for the farmers, and for local entrepreneurs who might find value in them. Market and other conditions have changed since 2009, so any analysis would yield different conclusions today. In particular, industrial hemp is now on the scene and solar electric panels have dropped significantly in price.
I created a report from the 15 charts generated at that meeting:

Beet Field Community Brainstorm — Possibilities for Transforming Production on Boulder County Open Space Lands that Currently Support Sugar beets. After a brief introduction, the charts were presented, including Possible Crops, Possible Value-Added Products, Available Resources, Processing and Storage Facilities, Evaluation Criteria, and Possible Long- and Short-term Strategies. A spreadsheet of over 50 potential crops summarized everything, and a color chart captured the process.

Given a few minutes to speak about the Brainstorm near the start of the next public hearing, I handed copies of the document personally to Commissioner Pearlman, Commissioner Toor and Commissioner Domenico, as well as to POS staff, who were well aware of it at the time.

It was clearly not, as BW quoted Commissioner Domenico, that the public offered only “all-or-nothing demands.” It was that the public was ignored.

In the end, a large majority of the FAPC — the county’s very own agriculture council — recommended to the commissioners that GMO sugar beets NOT be grown on county-owned open space lands. I never heard back from anyone about the Brainstorm.
Thank you to the many fine people who contributed their time, energy and creativity to the Brainstorm project! Copies are available upon request.
Sandy Cruz/Salida, CO

Cáceres’ blood is on Hillary’s hands
Thank you, Boulder Weekly, for publishing “Paying the Price: Indigenous environmental activists have become targets of violence” (3/24) by Angela K. Evans. Yes, the persecution these activists are suffering deserves greater attention, particularly the March 3rd assassination in Honduras of the internationally renowned and Goldman Environmental Prize-award winning Berta Cáceres. What’s interesting is what the piece doesn’t mention.

Perhaps Evans feels she’d be seen as partisan for saying it, but the blood of Berta Cáceres is on the hands of Hillary Clinton.

In 2006, Honduras elected a reformist president, Manuel Zelaya, a member of the wealthy Honduran elite, but one with a conscience and an agenda that included the vast majority of poor Hondurans. In 2009, as has so often happened throughout Latin America over the last decades, a U.S.-armed, -trained and -funded military staged a coup. This was in violation of international law, of course, and Latin American leaders, in particular, asked that the election results be honored, that Zelaya be returned to power.

The all-important U.S. decision rested in the hands of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Would the U.S. do the right thing, the legal thing? No, the U.S. called for new elections. Two problems:

First, in calling for new elections, Clinton de facto legitimized the coup by agreeing that the Zelaya election would be nullified. Second, while a new election might sound good in theory, in a state under martial law, in a nation with functioning right-wing death squads, the notion of a free and fair election is nonsense — and Hillary Clinton knew this.

A March 11, 2016 Democracy Now! story, “Before Her Assassination, Berta Cáceres Singled Out Hillary Clinton for Backing Honduran Coup,” has Cáceres blaming Clinton for a sort of rolling coup; in other words, the fascist violence that was unleashed in the Zelaya overthrow was never checked, and today, it continues in terror directed at those struggling against huge international hydroelectric companies and banks, as Evans well explains.

Yes, Hillary likes to portray herself as an advocate for women, as someone who as president would protect our environment and respect human rights, but ask the ghost of murdered Berta Cáceres, and she will tell you her blood is on Hillary’s hands.
Paul Dougan/Boulder

Go Donald
Once again Donald Trump has made the major media and his detractors look like idiots. Apparently in 2012 we gave Mexico over $200,000,000 in aid.

In 10 years that’s a billion dollars. So the past corrupt president of Mexico, Vicente Fox may want the Donald to F himself, but the fact of the matter is that $200,000,000 plus a year plus the savings in food stamps and other social services will eventually get the job done.

The real problem is that we have a president that armed ISIS, and allowed ISIS into the U.S., wants to start WW III with Russia over Syria and does everything to let the millions of illegals swarming over our Mexican border stay. But I can’t be mad at Obama in that he is only doing what his mother and father would want him to do. That is to take down America. If they don’t take Trump out like they took out JFK, our nation has hope of greatness again.
Joseph DuPont/Towanda,PA


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