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Monthly Archives: June 2011
In response to Richard Hansens’s letter about Las Vegas, “The City that shouldn’t be”:
Mr. Hanson writes, “it exemplifies the extreme over-the top attitude of greed and personal gratification, without regard for social values”. Was he talking about Las Vegas, or the Republican Party? He also talks about the disparity between the haves and have-nots, which is the case in many cities in the U.S., including Boulder.
Las Vegas is an entertainment city. It’s pretty clear what it is all about, and if it’s not your thing, then you shouldn’t go. Yes, there is gambling, drinking, 24 hour clubs and strip joints, and sex stores. You can get married, get divorced, get crazy, and end up in jail. The truth is, there are a lot more churches than bars in Las Vegas, and most locals don’t even visit the strip unless friends or relatives come to town. There is a very good public school system, some amazing restaurants, with some of the top master chef’s in the country, and about 70 parks scattered throughout the city. Most of the parking is free, anywhere in the city. Aria, on the strip, is one of the “greenest” hotels in the country, far surpassing anything in Colorado.
Why am I defending Las Vegas? Because years ago I left Boulder to work for Steve Wynn, to open Treasure Island, and then Bellagio. I was hesitant to leave Boulder, but found that Las Vegas offered much higher wages, for entry level positions, or management, the unions were strong, and the cost of living and housing was much more reasonable. There was great diversity in the workforce – Asians, Hispanics, African- Americans, and people from every part of America. Everyone worked hard, and was appreciative of the chance of making a decent living, and the opportunity to advance.
I returned to Boulder 8 years ago, because I have family here, and I missed Boulder- the hiking, the bike trails, and the climate. Mr. Hansen writes that Las Vegas “creates the illusion that we can live a lavish lifestyle beyond our means without any long-term social and personal consequences”. Do most people go to Vegas, and then feel they have been tricked, by an illusion, or just go to have some fun, and know what they are getting into? Is spending $500 a night, to ski and party in Aspen, a better option? Isn’t Disneyland an illusion? But of course, those are more wholesome vacations.
There are a lot of serious problems in the world today, and a lot of pressures. Why attack Las Vegas- it is, what it is-a playground for some to get away from it all, for a weekend.
Boulder Continue reading
This town must admit that CEO Chris Daily of his BCP Productions is
a workaholic with a solid reputation of successful Boulder events. Besides
the Boulder Creek Festival, hats are off at 29th Street Mall when
his company brings out the Saturday evening entertainment for dancing,
visiting friends and enjoying the summer evenings. Catch the
awesome sunset views of the Flatirons, too.
Great job, Chris!
Boulder Continue reading
To the Editor:
The lion’s share of Greece’s economic woes came at the hands of the greed and devious behavior of global corporate financial institutions, yet the Greek people see themselves being made a sacrificial lamb offered to these gods of high finance in an attempt to salvage the teetering house of cards that is modern economic theory and practice. The people of England, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, and Italy are in similar straits and need to face whether the EU, essentially an economic construct engineered and run by international banking, is worthy of future participation. Here in America, there is likewise a well-funded push to deflect the blame and burden of our economic collapse onto everyday, tax-paying citizens. In Greece, the biggest political winner will likely be a rejuvenated Communist Party. Here, the deflection may well take hold.
Boulder Continue reading
Highway 93 is a dangerous road, but it doesn’t have to be. A few thoughtful and inexpensive repairs and signs would greatly alleviate the hazard.
I have been traveling Highway 93 from Boulder to Golden and back for several decades through almost on a daily basis. I have seen the highway under all conditions and the number of accidents I have witnessed is large.
Lately several issues concerning the safety (or lack of safety) need to be mentioned.
The most serious are:
1. The erosion of the shoulder, especially on Rocky Flats and the north and south approaches to Rocky Flats. In many places, a lip, sometimes as much as 12″-18″ deep has developed along the side of the pavement. If one were to put a wheel over the side, damage to your vehicle and loss of control would be inevitable. I believe that this eroded lip is the cause of many winter accidents because the edge of the road is invisible, so even careful drivers are caught offguard and spin their vehicle when overcontrolling trying to get back on the pavement. This is not a major repair; a strip of asphalt would solve the worst of it quickly. Has maintenance on Hwy 93 been deferred whilst we wait for the W470 toll road to be constructed?
2. The Mesa View (?) trailhead parking lot just north of the intersection of Hwys 93 and 128 on the west side of the highway is the scene of many rear-end collisions and near misses-just look at the skid marks in the northbound lane by the entrance. Strictly speaking, this should be a “No Left Turn” intersection for those traveling north who try to turn left into the parking lot. To make the turn, one must turn over a double yellow line, which I am sure is a violation. On that heavily-traveled high speed highway with no shoulder (see above), a car turning left usually must come to a dead stop to wait for an opening. Meanwhile, 55 mph traffic in a long line of cars comes rushing along behind. Accidents have happened and continue to happen as well as some fearful near misses. It is really not good enough to blame the following driver for following too closely. There should be no left turns allowed there. Drivers can proceed to Hwy 128, turn right, and make a safe u-turn beyond the median. A much safer situation for all would result.
Boulder Continue reading
In yesterday’s article on the Maxwell Fire, a Forest Service official was noted to say that the Forest Service can’t simply close public lands. Well, in Arizona when the fire danger gets real high the National Forests are closed to all entry, including driving on roads and hiking on trails. And Arizona is a pretty libertarian state, but they seem to accept it as there is good reason with their dry climate. With the current warming trend one wonders if this is not part of our future. We seem to be stuck with some historic uses of public lands that may not be appropriate given the fact that we have never had this many people recreating and living in this “wildland/urban intermix.”
Eldora Continue reading
I graduated from CU-Boulder in 1979 with a degree from the School of Journalism. Effective, June 30, 2011, the School of Journalism closes.
I was a resident of Nichols Hall in my freshman year at CU-Boulder. Effective 1989, Nichols Hall ceased to exist.
Now when I tell people I was a resident at Nichols Hall and graduated from the School of Journalism, only history majors will think I am not a liar.
If my school experience no longer exists, am I an alumnus?
New York, N.Y. Continue reading
Dear Open Forum,
I do not understand the hypocrisy that the Boulder City Council wants to start its own power utility to “be green”, when it can’t even ban GMO’s and pesticides, especially systemic pesticides, on our public land. They should be banned everywhere, but at least let’s start here in Boulder and Boulder County.
France, Germany, Italy, and other European countries have seen proof that systemic pesticides caused Colony Collapse Disorder in honey bees. They banned these chemicals and the bees made a come-back. Can you imagine a world without the honey bee? What limited food or flower would be left?
If anything should be on the ballot, it is that. We must do everything we can to protect our local food, the honey bees, and our environment. Studies have also shown that there is a link between pesticide use and the increase of autism in our country.
There is no major monetary investment involved in prevention, in just saying “no”. Yet it would cost an unforeseeable amount if we have to clean up a situation after the fact, if that’s even possible.
Trying to repeal Corporate Personhood on a national level is also extremely urgent. It is the corporate dictatorship of Monsanto, et al, that is ruining our farms and killing our bees. The organic industry does not have the resources to fight such bullying, nor the brainwashing of the EPA by these chemical giants.
All I am saying, is Give Bees a Chance.
Boulder Continue reading
Whoa! How come this energy municipalization chatter seems to be All Excel vs All Boulder? Maybe it’s some form of negotiating strategy to extract a better deal from Excel? I can only hope. Some form of middle ground seems viable, and it’s called a partnership. I’m not interested in hearing from unqualified volunteers (with vested interests) about running a reliable (99.999% Operable) electrical system. Over the past 25 years I’ve lived in town, Xcel and the Colorado PUC have demonstrated that reliability. I can’t fathom a City run municipal energy company providing the necessary maintenance and upgrade to our current antiquated distribution network for “the same costs”. We hear about Generation costs and types of energy production, but no discussion about the grid and the connections to our homes and businesses. That has to be a big expense. I and most others have come to rely on 24/7/365 electricity. It’s like Air and Water, a need vs a want. I don’t like pollution. I don’t want to pollute the world for our future generations. But there are no instant gratification solutions I’ve heard about, so lets wean ourselves from the “Dirty Coal”, the “Frack’n Natural Gas” and “The Oh My Nuclear Power”. If we all believe, lets put our money where are mouths are and start taxing ourselves like the Open Space taxes. I’m In! In fact, let’s put wind and solar farms on our open space, we sure do have the acreage and the sun and wind. Forget Nederland, let’s dam the Canyon for our own Hydro, sorry Sugarloaf bye-bye to you too. We can ban all cars and lawnmowers in the City. We can rip out all those power gobbling AC units and replace them with Swamp coolers. Insulation for everyone while we are at it. Maybe we can all reduce our consumption by 10% to 20%? But in the mean time, as we transition, leave my electrons from Excel alone!
P.S. How’s that train station to/from nowhere coming along? Oh, I meant Transit Village !!! It’s only been 6 or 7 years worth of taxes and nothing to show for it. If that’s any comparison of how the City will handle our power supply, I’m not hopeful.
Boulder Continue reading
So, the wizards of smart at the Boulder City government really don’t think the obvious $45 Million cost for the FAILED “SmartGrid” might be charged to Boulder, or the $300 Million in stranded costs wouldn’t either? Reluctantly, these same wizards of smart calculated their version of the “Worst-case” cost of municipalization of the electric utility. With logic like this, who believes their numbers, for an instant?
“To learn what’s in their calculations, you would have to pass the bill.” That notion worked out so well for ObamaCare, of course, we would be so foolish as to do it again.
Thanks to George Karakehian, we got a hint of the more realistic cost of “municipalization”. Of course, when the wizards of smart prove to be wrong (anyone believe otherwise), guess who will indemnify their misrepresentation or miscalculations? WE WILL.
Don R. Sherwood
Boulder Continue reading
Negligence in Boulder County by U.S. Dept. of Forestry
Negligence is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary as “Failure to exercise the degree of care considered reasonable under the circumstances, resulting in unintended consequences to another party.”
In the last 6 months there have been three forest fires started at the unofficial shooting range on National Forest lands in Left Hand Canyon. This “range” is within a mile of many homes and every fire results in closure of an important road to those here. Boulder County and the U.S. Government have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting these fires and local property owners have had their lives disrupted due to costly evacuations, yards burned, farm animals and pets put at risk, as well as their homes and sometimes lives threatened. The fire crews have worked incredible hours and have put their lives at risk every time. Must we wait until a firefighter dies trying to defend us to take action?
In a year when government budgets are being cut, over half a million dollars were spent fighting the Left Hand Fire in the same location in March, yet the U.S. Forest Service has done virtually nothing. If money were spent relocating them to a safe range area where stray rounds would not start fires and threaten hikers (as the current unofficial range does), we could eliminate this problem. Some of the funds used to fight fires could even be used to make a new “range” area safe at a far lower cost than quarterly fires. Until that happens, the forest service could, at least, ban shooting near mountain residential areas so as not to threaten residents.
The county has stringent rules on noise and light pollution as well as hunting, yet the constant chatter of automatic weapons ringing from the canyon never stops, the peaceful country life desired by those living in the county is shattered every day by automatic weapons fire. And every week we wonder when the next fire will start and whose lives will be threatened. This county has already lost nearly 200 houses due to forest fires; how many does it take? Since the U.S. Dept. of Forestry won’t act, why is Boulder County not challenging/suing the federal Government to shut down or move this unnecessary, hazardous site? Why is the Daily Camera not investigating this negligence? Why are the local news stations not doing a story on government negligence and waste–think of the money wasted due to this single firing range. Couldn’t our tax dollars be better spent?
Having served over 20 years the U.S. Army I am biased in favor of the Government and the constitutional right to bear arms (not automatic weapons); but we depend on government to maintain a balance between those rights and safety on “public” lands. The U.S. Forest Service is failing in that responsibility and our local government is doing little to protect us from their continued negligence. That said, three cheers for our local sheriff’s department, our mitigation crews, firefighters and those slurry bomber pilots!
Lieutenant Colonel, US Army, Ret.
Boulder County resident Continue reading
With three fires in Left Hand Canyon since March of this year and the tragic Four Mile Mile of last year, it is high time for Boulder County and the Forest Service to immediately implement new regulations to reduce the chance of another major destructive wildfire. The fact that the Left Hand shooting range remains open is not only negligent on the part of both the County and Forest Service, but down right stupidity. The same goes for allowing open burning to occur except on red flag days. Do we need another Four Mile fire before the County and Forest Service finally wake up and utilize some common sense to reduce the likelihood of human caused wild fires? It would seem so. Obviously, there are many viewpoints on how to best reduce the threat from wild fires, but we no longer have the luxury of waiting for the airing and deliberation of those views. For now, the County and Forest service should immediately close the Left Hand shooting range and prohibit all open fires throughout the year in the County except (1) in established Forest Service campgrounds with fire pits, (2) prescribed burns performed by either the Forest Service or local/county fire departments or districts, and (3) where permits have been issued to private entities or persons for a demonstrated need such as ditch clearing.
Boulder Continue reading
I’m urging Boulder City Council to put a ‘voice of the people’ proposition on the ballot this year, questioning “Should corporations have the rights of citizens.”
Macon Cowles and Crystal Gray have come out asserting that the issue is really important and should be on the ballot. Council member Appelbaum waffles, isn’t sure about timing and is worried that we voters can’t consider two important issues in one election. Council member Karakehian indicated that he is too busy to worry over such things.
But we voters aren’t too busy! This is a major issue of democracy and our voice here in Boulder will be added to many others across the country urging a constitutional amendment that “Corporations are NOT people.”
The same sort of thing took place in the past. Voices from all over the nation rose up to end slavery and to give women the right to vote. This sort of up welling is absolutely necessary to correct major wrongs in society.
We are not the only ones to speak out. The Democratic parties of Maine, New Hampshire, and Washington State have passed resolutions opposing corporate personhood and the constitutional rights it confers. Last March, the 4,600 residents of Barnstead, New Hampshire, approved an ordinance, designed to shield the town’s water supply from commercial bottlers, that effectively voids corporate personhood. And in California’s Humboldt County, voters this year approved a ballot measure banning campaign spending by non-local businesses. “No corporation shall be entitled to claim corporate constitutional rights or protections in an effort to overturn this law.” This is a local assertion that “Corporations are not people.”
Locally, corporate personhood is really important because ‘corporate persons’ may prevent us as sovereign citizens here in Boulder from protecting our open space and water supply. If we chose to ban inadequately tested and potentially dangerous GMOs from being planted on our Open Space, ‘corporate persons’ may nullify our local civic actions.
This is truly a local issue. We must urge council to permit us to voice our opinion on ‘corporate personhood’ by placing it on the ballot this year.
Boulder Continue reading
The Camera predicts (June 26) that if there is a vote on electric municipalization, “Xcel will likely launch a massive campaign to defeat the ballot measure, at least if history is any guide.”
And money wins elections, even in Boulder, because it buys persuasive ads written by professionals who are masters at subtle misinformation.
So who can we trust? Let’s look at motivations. Xcel clearly cares about its profits and growth, not the best interests of Boulder. But I think the Boulder City Council members have the best interests of the people of Boulder at heart. They’re not always right, and they’re sometimes influenced by ideology, but they’re trying to do the right thing for Boulder, not for their own pocketbook. That counts for a lot.
Suppose we ask the Council to consult credible unbiased experts, as they have already started to do, and provide to Boulder voters, not so much the Council’s opinion, but information on two very separate issues: (1) What are the likely short-term financial and other impacts on Boulderites, and (2) what are the likely long-term effects on the environment of the world, either directly or through setting an example for others. And to let their ideologies influence only their environmental opinions.
If the individual Council members commit, on their honor, to do just that, I’d be inclined to trust them.
And I would also urge the Camera to not simply report every statement by someone with a personal stake in the matter, but to call attention to their “stake,” to investigate their claims to the extent possible, and to spell out exactly what the Camera was and was not able to verify before printing. That is not editorializing if it is done fairly; it is just reporting the facts — all of the relevant facts.
(Formerly of Boulder) Continue reading
Former Vice President Al Gore has written a long essay, “Climate of Denial; Can Science and the Truth Withstand the Merchants of Poison?” (Camera, June 23, 2011, Pg. 6A) This essay on global warming appears in the current issue of Rolling Stone Magazine. In the essay, Gore criticizes President Obama for doing very little to lead the American people to a recognition of the seriousness of the developing global warming. I agree completely with Al Gore on the seriousness of the problem and with his conclusion that the problem is caused in part by the fact that “In the past century we have quadrupled global population…” This is similar to Gore’s observation in his earlier book and film, “An Inconvenient Truth.” In the film, the book and the essay, Gore recognizes that global overpopulation is the cause of the global climate changes. So what are Gore’s recommendations for stopping the developing global warming? In the book, the last chapter lists 36 things “You can do” to help reduce global climate change; in the Rolling Stone essay Gore lists five recommended courses of action. All the recommended actions are bland; “Become a committed advocate for solving the crisis” etc. Nowhere in his recommendations in the film, the associated book or in the current essay does Gore call for addressing overpopulation which he has correctly identified as the cause of the problem.
Withholding information that could help others is what Mark Twain called a “Silent Lie.” Why is Al Gore involved in a “Silent Lie?” Probably because it is Politically Incorrect to identify overpopulation as the central cause of most of our national and global problems. This Silent Lie means that, tragically, Gore’s recommendations in his film, book and essay are all a Greenfraud.
With best wishes, I am,
Albert A. Bartlett
Boulder Continue reading
The Sunday Daily Camera generously devoted an entire column to Paul
Dougan indicating that everything was set for a dramatic surge by
progressive forces. While he may well be right, he very incorrectly
indicated that Canada was a leading indicator of how things would
develop with the growth of the New Democratic Party and the “likely
inability of Canada’s newly elected Conservatives to solve that
The so-called surge by the NDP is clearly less than meets the eye.
The NDP generated pluralities in only two provinces–Quebec and the
Northwest Territory. They were largely brutalized elsewhere and
finished second only due to the ineptitude of the Liberal Party.
How about those problems, then? Compared to the US, Canada has 1) a
much lower level of debt to GDP, 2) a lower unemployment rate, 3)
faster GDP growth, 4) lower interest rates and 5) a dramatically
higher level of consumer confidence. This has been achieved by taking
advantage of their energy sector, completing trade agreements with a
range of countries, avoiding a severe housing crises with conservative
lending policies and attacking debt with a ratio of $6 of spending
cuts for each $1 of tax increases.
If Canada is going to “throw the bums out” in the next election, then
what will US voters do? In Boulder, the answer is easy–blame it all
on George Bush.
Boulder Continue reading
According to a recent segment on CBS 60 Minutes…Roughly 25% of school age children in the US are living at or below the poverty level. Something is terribly out of focus when countless billions of dollars continue to flow into wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and (now) Libya. It’s time to plug those black holes, pull funds from the largesse of the Pentagon and begin the rebuilding so lacking in our own country.
Longmont Continue reading
I’m just shocked, shocked I tell you, that a group of self interested parties has found municipalization the electric utility to be “feasible”.
If a group of people that just happened to work for ExxonMobile or Blue Mountain Energy (coal) or Peabody Energy (coal) came up with a model that showed that coal was far cheaper than a combination of natural gas, renewable energy (wind and solar) to power our needed electricity, there would be OUTRAGE among the environmental weenies. Marches in the streets, effigies burned at the stake.
However, when those whose livelihood is dependent upon “green energy”, coupled with government bureaucrats that see an annual stream of $121 million passing by without their DIRECT CONTROL, produces a “model” that “proves” municipalization feasible, the Camera trumpets their findings on the front page of the paper.
No doubt, they used a model developed by the same self interested bureaucrats who created the models that “prove” man made global warming.
It is truly an upside down world, at least here in Boulder
Don R. Sherwood
Boulder Continue reading
On June 25, 2011, Anne B. Butterfield of the editorial advisory board wrote
“I love(bicycle) riders in their Spandex and gleaming helmets, their strong
backs and bright colors.” She then went on about their need for safety and how hobby cyclists annoy her. I was eating breakfast while I was reading this and
suddenly lost my appetite.
I lived in Boulder for forty years, about thirty of them as a hobby cyclist.
I recently moved to Erie where they have a fine network of trails. The best part,
unlike Boulder, I don’t have to worry about a pack of brightly colored, mindless, fantasy racers running over me.
Perhaps Ms. Butterfield should spend some time on the Boulder creek path, and
see first hand how safety conscious these folks with their “Gleaming Helmets”
(I just love that one) really are.
Erie Continue reading
Children’s theater is alive and well in Boulder. Just spent 2 days attending the Boulder Dinner Theaters’ Childrens Camp performance of CATS and it was spectacular! The children’s talent and hard work under the guidance of the professional team at the Dinner Theater provided such pleasure for all who attended. A big thanks and hugs to all the actors and production staff of the Dinner Theater for all the support they gave our children while producing such heart warming entertainment. It has given me more appreciation for the theater treasure we take for granted here in Boulder. Let’s continue to support this wonderful venue and take family and friends out to the theater for an evening of thespian delight.
Boulder Continue reading
After reading the opinions of the Camera editorial advisory board
concerning bicycle safety on our roads, the bias against cyclists was
obvious, and the board seemed to be saying cyclists need to watch out
for cars, not motorists need to watch out for bicycles.
Judy Amabile considers automobiles to be just another natural hazard
that cyclists need to look out for, like trees while skiing or gravity
while climbing. She doesn’t mention that perhaps motorists should also
be aware of cyclists, and turning in front of them is actually not
only illegal, but rude.
Similarly, Spense Havlick stresses that cyclists should avoid car
door openings (the second most common cause of crashes). He neglects
to advise motorists to avoid opening their door into traffic (which is
of course against the law), and to watch for cyclists.
Marc Raizman references an internet survey, saying it indicates “at
times the problem usually lies with the cyclist”. Actual studies done
by governmental organizations, including an exhaustive one by the city
of Toronto, observe that it is the motorist at fault almost 80 percent
of the time.
Mr. Raizman mentions some cyclists are under the influence of drugs
or alcohol, but doesn’t seem to think it warrants mentioning motorists
are guilty of the same thing.
Anne Butterfield is irritated and annoyed at cyclists, especially the
ones who observe the right of way at crosswalks, neglecting to give
motorists the respect they deserve.
Steve Fisher cannot site cases of cyclists causing injury to others,
but he can certainly (like many people), bring up lots of close calls
(and included a motorcyclist somehow in his collection of cyclists
Mostly, it seems motorists get very angry when cyclists disobey
traffic laws, as if every motorist carefully negotiates the streets
safely and within the law.
What it all boils down to is modal bias. And what we need to remember
is that cars and bikes break the traffic laws constantly. This doesn’t
mean they are equivalent offenses.
When a motorist is not paying attention, or runs a stop sign, or
speeds in his 2 or 3 ton vehicle, he is greatly endangering other
When cyclists do the same, they are only endangering themselves.
All we ask is for a sliver of road space to share. Yes, occasionally
cyclists may momentarily impede your speed (just like other cars!),
but in the grand scheme of your commute it is a minor delay. I have
found myself slowed and delayed far more by other cars and trucks than
If we could just take a moment and consider the ramifications of
unsafe driving (the potential death of another human), we could maybe
all slow down to the speed limit, actually stop at stop signs (and
right on reds), signal our turns, and obey the rights of way. Until
then, perhaps it is unreasonable to insist cyclists do so.
Niwot Continue reading