Library offers display space to variety of groups, points of view
On behalf of the Jefferson County Library Board of Trustees, I want to respond to Mr. Bagenski’s letter in the July 11 Canyon Courier.
As a public institution, the library has an obligation to provide equal access to information to people of all ages and lifestyles. We try to offer access to materials that reflect the full spectrum of political, religious and cultural beliefs and practices of the residents of Jefferson County. Our goal is to offer information with sufficient scope, depth and points of view to enable the citizens of Jefferson County to understand different issues and formulate their own beliefs.
The display case at the Evergreen Library is often used to highlight community groups and activities, and library employees follow library policy when choosing which organizations to highlight. That policy states: “Displays by nonprofit organizations, community groups, individuals and government agencies offering educational, cultural, recreational or civic information through displays of materials, arts and services will be considered. Displays should appeal to the diverse interests and concerns of the local community.”
Any local nonprofit organization may request a display, and within the constraints of space and time, employees try to accommodate all requests. They also make it clear that the library’s provision of exhibit and display space to non-library-related groups does not constitute sponsorship or endorsement of the policies, views or beliefs of the group.
Our June display was sponsored by the local PFLAG organization (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), a respected nonprofit group in the Evergreen community. In July, we’re presenting information on the Mountain Area Land Trust. Chances are that over the course of the year, we’ll have other displays that are more to Mr. Bagenski’s liking.
chair, Jefferson County Library board
Gerou defends position on tuition break for illegal immigrants
In response to Mr. Brad Eno’s letter to the editor in the July 11 issue of the Canyon Courier, I would like to compliment Mr. Eno on his passion for the Metro State decision on tuition breaks for undocumented students.
However, it is important to understand that my reasons for holding a Joint Budget Committee meeting regarding the decision of Metro president Stephen Jordan were tied strictly to the budget and legal process. I have not personally heard any legislation in committee regarding tuition breaks for undocumented students; therefore, I cannot speak to previous legislation that failed in the 2012 general session. However, I do believe this issue should be decided by the state legislature, not by individual institutions funded by the state of Colorado.
We are all aware that we are still experiencing the effects of the current recession. Billions of dollars have been cut from our state budget; K-12 funding has suffered while higher-ed funding has suffered even more. In the last 10 years, the state has moved from paying for two-thirds of students’ in-state tuition for higher ed to currently paying only one-third of in-state tuition.
The Immigration Responsibility Act signed by President Clinton in 1996 states that no state may offer college tuition to any undocumented student at a rate lower than any other U.S. citizen. In other words, offering undocumented students a tuition rate less than out-of-state tuition is against federal law. I believe the Metro State proposal violates federal law.
Lastly, Gov. John Hickenlooper and the Colorado attorney general agreed with my position. The governor responded to a question posed in Education News Colorado on June 20, 2012. Ed News asked the governor’s office if he had a comment on the attorney general’s opinion, and this response was provided by e-mail:
“… With regard to Metro State’s decision, we appreciate the underlying motive to do the right thing for undocumented students. We also respect the attorney general’s opinion of the legal and constitutional merits. On balance, we think the better and more certain approach to this problem is not to proceed institution by institution, but rather to pass legislation at the state and federal level.”
If you should have further questions or concerns, you may contact me at my cell-phone number, 720-635-3806, or by e-mail at email@example.com
state Rep. Cheri Gerou
Home sellers should be required to certify fire mitigation has been done
After watching the terrible destruction of homes in the urban-wildland interface, it has never been more clear to me what the problem is. People leave the city for some fantasy home in the woods, buy a house and live in solitude, and never do a thing about maintaining the environment outside their new home.
Unless it was a newly constructed home, where the builder was compelled by county ordinance to cut down trees and get the wildfire mitigation certified, chances are this new home is a terrible risk of property and lives … the lives of firefighters and of area residents.
So, for the life of me, I cannot figure out why Jefferson County will not require sellers of existing homes to meet the same requirements as builders must meet. An overwhelming majority of mountain homes sold are existing, not new. All you have to do is require sellers to have their property certified by a forester as meeting wildfire mitigation standards. There are plenty of foresters out there, and plenty of certified wildland firefighters who would welcome the extra income in their spare time. Sellers would have to mitigate, and have certified, the property they sell. No big deal.
This should be a revenue-neutral deal, since private foresters do the inspecting, and it would be one more piece of paper when the transfer of property is recorded.
Robert D. Tonsing
Morrison (Hilldale Pines)