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Something to consider with new developments

Editor:

Commissioners, over the next few weeks and months you will be asked to consider three major developments in the Aspen Park/Conifer area for your approval. You will hear from applicants with good intentions that will undoubtedly raise issues of progress and growth to an area that is ripe for both.

You will hear voices of current residents, some whom have been here for generations, who see this as an attack on all they hold sacred — their home community. The most important issues of water, traffic and general impact to the land will be raised and discussed. There will be good arguments on both sides from locals and experts for and against these developments. Through all of this I ask you to consider two points that may not make any top 10 list but should be of major importance for any large scale development in the unincorporated foothills of Jefferson County.

One, degree of impact on the existing community. The three proposals for development that you will be learning about will effectively double the size of the residential community of Aspen Park/Conifer within a short (24-48 months) period of time. Is there any rule of thumb within Planning and Zoning that establishes a recommended rate of growth in any existing community? Surely this fast-paced impact cannot be good for any community to try to deal with in such a short period of time. Even the development of Stapleton after the removal of the old airport was done over a 15-year period with Denver Water and Sewer supplying fundamental utility support for the area. And this leads me to the second issue.

Two, the impact of effluents to the land and fresh water in the area by overuse of leach fields and wastewater systems. There is only so much to be expected for the ground in the foothills to handle with regard to effluents with this much development. This is not soil — it’s decomposed granite and limestone with radium and uranium thrown in for good measure; so far none of the water availability studies have even addressed the possible impacts from effluents in the foothills. Much like monitoring the levels of radium and uranium, some choose to look the other way with regard to effluents, rather than gather a number of fact sheets that could allow us to predict what we may be looking at down the road. How long do we have before our deliberate ignorance of these impacts come back to destroy our existing communities in the foothills?

We are smart people on both sides of the development issues we are facing in the foothills. Let’s not risk ruining things for all to meet the demands of just one. Please give these issues your consideration when making decisions on development in the foothills.

Rhea Slowik
Evergreen

We need affordable medical care

Editor:

The New York Times ran an article today about how the insurance and health care industries have hired a small army of lobbyists to kill Medicare for all before it becomes any real legislation.

They are pouring their considerable wealth (wealth accumulated through bankrupting millions of Americans because of exorbitant medical bills) into maintaining the status quo. If this predatory industry is allowed to succeed in stopping a Medicare-for-all bill, we will remain the only advanced country in the world without universal and affordable medical care.

The constituents of Sens. Bennet and Gardner and Rep. Neguse are fed up with the status quo.

Allison Albright
Conifer

National emergency is a hoax

Editor:

President Trump’s fake national emergency at our southern border is an illegal, anti-democratic power grab rooted in racism. By circumventing Congress and its power of the purse, and the will of the majority of Americans, Trump is blatantly abusing his power.

This act is a misuse of authorities that are intended for actual emergencies, and it sets a dangerous precedent that could further erode our democratic norms and institutions. The people crossing the border illegally are committing misdemeanors, and they are not a military threat. Most of them seek asylum, which they have a legal right to do.

Drugs are not pouring over the border as Trump claims. Most drugs enter our country through ports of entry via ordinary modes of transport or through the known tunnel systems that already exist on the southern border. A border wall will do nothing to deter this activity.

For far too long, Congress has abdicated its responsibility to check presidential power grabs. Presidents have repeatedly misused national security as rationale to erode democracy and threaten civil liberties. The shameful internment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and post-9/11 torture, are just two of many examples.

Trump’s fake emergency declaration is already being challenged on many fronts in court. But Congress has a role here too and must push back. Congress is a separate and equal branch of government, and it has a constitutional responsibility to check an executive branch when it overreaches. When it fails to do this, it becomes a threat to our democracy.

The U.S. House will vote this week on rescinding Trump’s so-called border emergency. Call your senators and ask them to do the same.

The National Emergencies Act expressly provides a procedure for Congress to terminate a national emergency by passing a resolution. If Trump vetoes it, his opposition to constitutional norms will be on record, and he will have essentially declared war on our representative democracy. Additionally, both the House and Senate should immediately schedule hearings and investigations into this illegal power grab.

The president himself said on national television, “I didn’t need to do this,” in reference to his national emergency declaration. Then he went to Mar a Lago.

He could not have sent a clearer message to the world that this is not an emergency. He simply wants to keep a campaign promise to his blindly loyal base, who conveniently forget about all the promises he has already broken.

For example, where is that much cheaper and even better health care insurance he promised?! And how’s all that fantastic infrastructure our country desperately needs coming along? Promises, promises … and the lies keep coming.

Janis Dufford
Evergreen