Letters: 5/11/17

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Mom’s Day

Mother’s Day is when we celebrate the efforts of moms everywhere to deliver on the promise they make to us when we’re born, to nurture and protect us so we can reach our full potential.

But no matter how hard some moms try, they don’t have the know-how or resources to ensure their babies get the nutrition they need to grow and develop properly. Without this essential nutrition between pregnancy and age two, many children die. Others are “stunted,” meaning their brains and bodies are irreversibly underdeveloped.

President Trump’s budget proposes a 30 percent cut to development assistance programs that help moms deliver on their promises to children. I’m calling on our senators and representatives to speak to leadership in the Senate and House about protecting effective development assistance programs, particularly nutrition programs. What better gift to ask for this Mother’s Day?

Dea Smith/via internet

BoB as an agent for social change

Congratulations BW! Best of Boulder nailed it! Again! Obviously, we have a ridiculous number of dining/drinking/health/etc. options and with BoB, we can cross-reference all our favs with everyone else’s. BoB helps us find the best, maybe try something new.  Though there are no negative categories (yeah, we have enough negativity during election season to last the year), absence from the top five speaks for itself.

We know it’s important to businesses. How many times have we heard recently “don’t forget us in the BoB survey” as you leave? They’re actively vying for positive reviews. Some probably change how they treat customers or do business to earn that coveted recognition. And we all benefit — they’re already good. Then, with even better “best behavior” to earn BoB.

BoB even covers banks (for those with money), real estate agents (those with money to buy) and hotels (those with money to visit), but how about BoB categories that hit closer to home?

There are some universals most of us could benefit from BoB’s ratings guidance — knowing what our fellow citizens think, what they’ve experienced, who they trust or rate highly. We know housing is really tight. Boulder has 52 percent renters, many who probably don’t deal with the real estate agents and hotels.

Wouldn’t it be great to have “best landlord?” Maybe with a few categories: students; people; apartment complexes; single family/duplex types; mobile homes; 3-bedroom ranch houses occupied by eight? Wouldn’t you like to know who others have dealt with, who they’ve gotten a fair shake from versus the shakedown? If BW readers read these reviews and act accordingly, BW could give recognition to those already exemplary landlords while providing impetus for others to improve customer relations and business practices!

BW could go further: best playground (for small and big kids); best slacklining trees (scratch that, too much environmental strain on a couple good trees); best city councilors (yes, elections do that but could be straw poll on performance between elections?); best county commissioners/state legislators (field narrows… considerably); best local utility (OK, let’s not go there now); best fracking company (if we don’t have the right to decline, can’t we at least pick the best one?). Possibilities are considerable, potential benefits: immense.

Use the creative powers of BW staff, with input from interested readers, to come up with some “social change categories” for BoB to make Boulder better!

Robi Robichaud/Boulder

Danish’s love affair

Here we go again. Paul Danish’s love affair with Big Ag, in particular regarding genetically modified organisms (GMOs) in food, reflects true loyalty and a strident voice committed to the cause of feeding the world’s ever-expanding population. In his most recent rant [Re: Danish Plan, April 27] he asserts that there is “scientific consensus” on the safety of GMO foods. He also says there’s a “sustained, global assault on scientific agriculture and genetically engineered crops.” To begin with, consensus is not defined by Danish. According to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, about 89 percent of scientists polled stated their beliefs that GMO foods are safe. Eighty-nine percent is not unanimity, and we don’t know how this cohort of scientists was selected. We can be certain, however, that none of these scientists reside in any of the 38 countries worldwide that have banned the cultivation of genetically modified crops.

For consumers who demand that food nourish them as nature intended, the arguments employed by organizations of scientists concerning safety are not compelling or comforting. There are levels of safety, and risk assessment is used in GMO safety studies just as it is in determining safe levels of exposure to mercury from eating fish, for example. No one wants to ingest mercury. Not even a little bit. When consumers asked for labelling, in plain English, thank you, the federal government engaged in backroom deal making with Monsanto and others to preempt future state initiatives to label GMO-derived ingredients. Instead, this information is to be embedded in barcodes. Forthright disclosure about GMOs in food has been denied the citizens of the United States, and we know why. To date, 64 countries require labeling of GMO-derived ingredients in food.

Danish also asserts that “Roundup is one of the most benign herbicides know to science,” which is what we were told by Monsanto and the FDA 40 years ago. As it turns out, the principle active ingredient in Roundup, glyphosate, has received a lot of unbiased attention recently and is no longer considered to be benign. It is an endocrine disruptor. The World Health Organization’s cancer research group has declared glyphosate to be “probably carcinogenic to humans.” Those of us who don’t want a disordered endocrine system will avoid eating food tainted with glyphosate. By the way, the so-called inert ingredients in Roundup have also been found to be hazardous to human health. The fact that Roundup will kill me somewhat slowly and 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (known as 2,4-D, an active ingredient in the herbicide Agent Orange), for example, will kill me more quickly is not an argument for assuring healthfulness and nutritional safety. Nor is it scientific. It must be mentioned that the EPA approved the use of 2,4-D in Dow Agrosciences’ product Enlist Duo in 2014, which is a combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D, to kill “super weeds” associated with Roundup-Ready genetically engineered corn, soybeans and cotton. Super weeds are plants that have developed resistance to Roundup.  GMO: God Move Over. The over-arching lesson is that humankind must respect and work with nature or face the consequences.

Finally, many people around the world, including farmers and agronomists, believe that low-input, organic farming can feed all of us. There is plenty of opportunity for science to improve sustainable, small-scale farming. It is a fact, perhaps the only indisputable fact regarding the issue of feeding billions of people: we have enough food today to feed everyone. The problem is one of distribution and access of equity. For those of us who are fortunate and live with abundance, adjusting certain lifestyle choices, such as eating less meat (livestock is fed GMO corn and soy) and wasting less food will contribute significantly to the world’s future food supply needs.

Cary MacDonald/Boulder

Longmont should be
sanctuary city

Becoming a sanctuary city simply means that Longmont won’t do Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s work for them. ICE is a federal program and is responsible for its own work and funding. Sanctuary city status will break the link between our police force and ICE so our residents will know, in no uncertain terms, that they can trust our police to protect them without regard to immigration status.

Today our residents are so afraid of authority figures that some are not taking their kids to school and doctors appointments, and are not reporting crimes. This is intolerable, not just from a human perspective, but also because undocumented people pay taxes.

It is important to codify Longmont’s policy of welcoming immigrants. The policy is a good one, but it is just that — a policy. An ordinance would “put meat on the bones” of the policy and spell out what actions are allowed and disallowed. If we truly welcome immigrants, we should spell it out in an ordinance.

Becoming a sanctuary city also promotes states’ rights. We have the freedom to determine how best to handle our own local police matters (10th Amendment — powers not delegated to the federal government or prohibited by the Constitution remain with the states).

In essence, this ordinance doesn’t let our local police do ICE’s work for it.  When ICE requires this, it’s an unfunded mandate and in some cases actually violates federal law (Fourth Amendment — need probable cause to detain people).

Passing this ordinance:

* Does not violate federal law. (Instead, city employees will simply not be allowed to ask about a person’s immigration status, unless it’s relevant to the person’s request for services.)

* Does not prevent police from responding to actual threats to our community. Studies show communities with sanctuary status are safer than those without it.

Standing up for one group’s civil rights protects us all. Let’s do the right thing and make Longmont a Sanctuary City.

Rosy Jacobsen/Longmont

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