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Archive for the ‘My DAILY CAMERA EDITORIAL ADVISORY BOARD COMMENTS’ Category

My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Oct. 20, 2007:

I believe I understood President Bush’s statement on Wednesday, in which he said if the United States were interested in avoiding World War III, we ought to be interested in preventing Iran from knowing how to make nuclear weapons. He was underlining the seriousness of the threat posed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. Although Iran’s president says he has only peaceful plans for weapons-grade uranium, that doesn’t give me any comfort. I feel the United States has no reasons to trust him and lots of reasons to believe he would use nuclear weapons to the detriment of the United States and the rest of the world. Nuclear weapons are dangerous by their very nature in anyone’s hands, but more so in his hands.

In spite of my appreciation that President Bush is taking seriously the threat Iran could pose with nuclear weapons, I think the president could have made his “rhetorical point,” as he called it on Thursday, without bringing in the possibility of having a World War III. No need to yell when lower volumes will do. Threatening an outbreak of war is terrible enough. Bringing up the possibility of another war’s engulfing the entire world brought back too many images and feelings of past world wars for political opponents, and allies alike, to hear Bush’s call for serious concern about Iran’s having nuclear weapons. It makes sense to focus on that now and hope and pray diplomacy resolves the issue.

*This title was not part of the original Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Sept. 8, 2007:

Boulder’s main public library may not resemble Fort Knox. However, for the steep price tag of nearly $500,000 approved by City Council this week to protect the library’s 387,000 books, DVDs and CDs, it might want to look that way. Appearance is a deterrent as is already known from the effects of the current installed gates. Still, Boulder began investigating a new technology, Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, in February 2006. It has gates, sensors and tags somewhat like other systems. It also allows for speedy, multiple check-out scans and can manage the library’s inventory from check-out to check-in and reshelving.

Security benefits are far less clear. I found it extremely interesting that libraries who responded to the Feb. 22, 2006, Library Materials Security questionnaire with absolutely no security systems found loss rates from theft only between 2 percent and 3 percent. That’s only a little higher than Boulder’s 0.15 percent loss rate last year. So, if Boulder did nothing at all, it’s likely most people will continue to stick to the honor system.

Then, there are two other points to consider brought up by survey responders. Edward A. Scott for the U.S. Air Force Academy’s library said library security systems are, at best, intimidation of the timid, and those intent on stealing will find ways to get around any security system. Others added that more losses in libraries come from unreturned check-outs than from theft.

If these representatives from Colorado libraries are right, and I believe they are, Boulder should look less to expensive security systems to prevent thefts and more to recovery services for its no returns. Douglas Country Libraries has already blazed the path there.

*This title was not part of the original Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Nov. 3, 2007, in response to the Camera’s question: Is covering the state’s uninsured worth $1.1 billion? The state’s blue-ribbon health-care-reform commission figures it would cost $1.1 billion to implement a sweeping measure under which all Coloradans would have to buy health insurance. The commission’s work is aimed in part to address the fact that nearly 790,000 residents are uninsured. The numbers are preliminary, but the question remains: Is this the right direction for Colorado?

The Colorado Blue Ribbon Commission for Health Care Reform, or the 208 Commission as it is also called, has the legislative charge to bring a solution to the Legislature in January. A few brushes with the current health-care system through loved ones make it clear health care needs to be reformed.

One dear family with four young children lost coverage for a while when the father was between jobs. The parents worried about medical expenses eating up their savings should something terrible happen. Another young family without health insurance at the time went to the doctor’s office only on rare occasions as extreme necessity dictated and received emergency room treatments several times for true emergencies. That meant co-pays they didn’t have. Then, an older woman with limited or no health insurance lost her life, I believe in part because she didn’t even bother to see the doctor or go to the hospital until it was far too late. One of her big concerns was her ability to pay for treatment.

In contrast to the sad experiences brought on by limited or no health insurance coverage, I have also seen the joys of tiny babies born to loved ones with health insurance who do quite well in the neonatal intensive-care units of major hospitals. They received expensive, round-the-clock care and developed normally to the point where they could go home. It’s a great comfort to see the parents’ relief when their babies do well and when they know they will not need to pay for the care for the rest of their lives or lose their homes.

Today’s medicine offers miracles in many cases, but it comes with a price. Doctors order too many expensive tests routinely to protect themselves from lawsuits from unhappy patients. Also, less expensive ways to do the same thing don’t seem to be explored. I was shocked to see one bill I received several years ago for a minor surgery where a bowl in the surgery suite cost $50. You know, I still don’t think I have a bowl in my entire house that costs that much.

Real health-care reform is going to take controlling costs, not just making health-care available to those without it. The 208 Commission has done much great work but still needs to ensure the right of people to refuse health-insurance coverage, and it needs to bring down the $1.4 billion bill to taxpayers. We’re not made of money.

*This title was not part of the original Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Feb. 2, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: Should the county crack down on construction of new large homes?

If Boulder County’s efforts to curb the size of homes is really about energy efficiency, why the talk about “harmony” in the neighborhood? The BuildSmart basics and Expanded Transfer of Development Rights help to cloud the real issue — control of house size by the county commissioners.

It’s apparent to me that if my grandparents’ 70-acre-plus farm had been in Boulder County when their house burned down and they moved into their chicken coop and lived there for years, the county commissioners would have had them rebuild a chicken-coop-sized house. No consideration for their needs or wants for their lifestyle choices. No consideration for their property rights.

Maybe some negotiations could have been won in my grandparents’ case, but not with “rich” property owners wanting to build larger homes. They are the real enemy. Building smarter and more efficiently gets my nod; jealously restricting property rights does not.

*This title was not part of the original Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on April 12, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will not attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics in a show of protest over the recent unrest in Tibet. It is unclear if President Bush will attend the fete. What do you think is the best course for Bush and other world leaders to follow to pressure China to change its policies on Tibet, human rights issues and it’s involvement in the crisis in Sudan?

President Bush has already announced he will attend the Beijing Olympics opening ceremonies, and I believe he should. Unless the U.S. engages in an all-out boycott of the games, our president should be there to support our athletes. Many of them have dreamed and worked much of their lives to compete in the Olympics.

However, President Bush should not go to China without clarifying in a statement his positions on Tibet, Darfur, Myanmar and other areas where China’s policies have caused immeasurable human suffering and death. He should also call on other world leaders to join him in what should be a strong rebuke of China’s human rights policies. Together they should vow to use whatever social and economic sanctions they can muster against China until China changes its ways.

As China hosts the Olympics with the slogan, “One World, One Dream,” China needs a clear message from President Bush and other world leaders that the dream must include human rights for all.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on May 3, 2008:
What fun one of my dear friends has over native English speakers who don’t know when to use “my friend and I” or “my friend and me.” The humiliating and kind of nerve-racking part is my friend is from Mexico. She often points out mistakes Americans make in speaking English. She also says native, English-speaking Americans should study English like she did, when she lived in Mexico before she became a U.S. citizen.

She’s right, and Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, is right in sponsoring Senate Bill 098. The bill would require school districts and the state charter school institute board to adopt English language competency as a requirement for high school graduation during or after the spring semester of 2013.

The bill passed its third Senate reading on Friday. Communicating competently in English will help graduates be safer, have better employment opportunities and enjoy a more fulfilling participation in society.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on May 31, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: Advocates of splitting the Boulder Valley School District into two districts are preparing to circulate a petition to get the split before the voters. Do you think the Boulder Valley School District should be split in two?

I question the value added in splitting the Boulder Valley School District into an east district (Lafayette, Louisville, Superior and Broomfield) and a west district (Boulder and mountain towns). I don’t see size as important as the direction and resources the district has to get there. Splitting the district may be more like rearranging the furniture on the Titanic than actually preventing a catastrophe. The split may very well eat up a bunch of resources with no real improvements.

Boulder would love to sever its ties to schools in the east county and Broomfield. These areas have a majority of the children and those numbers likely will increase. Boulder and the mountain towns’ numbers likely will either decrease or remain about the same. The more conservative areas to the east may very well wish to be disconnected from liberal Boulder.

The contention has gone on for years.

Unless I am otherwise persuaded to join in the call for the BVSD split, I would rather see a change in how school board members are elected. We should keep individual districts where board members must reside but change who votes for individual district representatives to exclude all except those who live within that district.

*This title was not part of the original Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on March 1, 2008, in response to the Camera’s question: Colorado could be among the first states to return to an all-paper-ballot election this November. Is an all-paper ballot the right way to go?

This bill and its bipartisan support is such great news. While it’s true that paper ballots don’t necessarily end all voter fraud, they do provide a paper trail that can be checked and rechecked. With minimal effort, voters can keep their ballots free of extra marks that could lead to scanners misinterpreting their intent. Another good aspect of this bill is the options for registered voters. Voters may request using voting machines at polling sites or mail-in ballots that must be returned to the county clerk’s office before Election Day.

I find it interesting that the main contention against an all-paper ballot election was voiced by county clerks who prefer only mail-in ballots. This view is 100-percent out of step with those I heard expressed during the caucuses. People aren’t just thinking “green” or paperless. They are thinking “one vote for one person.”

*This title was not part of the Camera publication.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Jan. 31, 2009, in response to the Camera’s question: The Great Depression shaped attitudes and behaviors for an entire generation. How do you think the current recession will shape the next generation?

My mother said more times than I can count, “At least we survived.” Not having experienced the Great Depression, I cannot fully understand. She was just 5 years old when the stock market crashed. Her father worked for $1 a day. Then when a drought hit when she was still young, she herded the family’s milk cows to keep up their cream production to bring in a little cash. She spent many hours miles away from anyone. This experience greatly impacted her life.

The next generation’s experiences during today’s recession will impact their lives as well.

Jacob, a 6-year-old boy I know, recently wanted to buy a Super Yo-Yo because he saw a demonstration of them at his school. He begged his parents for one. They said, “No.” Then, the boy came up with an idea to sell gumballs on his school bus. His price was $1 each! Why that price? Because he needed $6 to buy the yo-yo. His mother tried to urge him to charge something more reasonable like 10 cents, but he declined. His reasoning was that it would take him “forever” to get the $6 that way.

Jacob and his peers have a lot to learn about supply and demand, pricing, and product and service shortages. The impact on their attitudes will be determined in a large part by how much they suffer, how long it lasts and what their parents and society say and do.


Source: Daily Camera


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My Camera Editorial Advisory Board comment published on Oct. 17, 2009, in response to the Camera’s question: The Boulder City Council and the Open Space and Mountain Parks Board of Trustees are discussing how to set priorities and continue to fund open space purchases. Among the suggestions for creating more revenue to fund remaining purchases is to begin charging a fee for non-Boulder County residents who use certain city-owned trails. What do you think of the suggestion?

Boulder has a huge appetite for open space, which isn’t a bad thing if it can afford it. The problem is Boulder doesn’t seem to want more residents, just more money to pay for another 5,800 acres to add to its already 45,000 acres. Therefore, it becomes quite appealing that non-residents pay for open space use. This way Boulder’s friends, neighbors, former residents and visitors will fill the city’s coffers for open space purchases while its limited-growth or no-growth population pays only sales tax on food and retail purchases as its contribution. The idea is not fair as there is no credit to those who have already paid taxes in Boulder, and it likely will have negative consequences.

Government is great at changing behaviors by adding fees and taxes. Take taxes on tobacco products, alcohol and the current attempt to tax sodas and sugary drinks. These taxes are designed to discourage use as they bring in revenue. A user fee for non-residents will have the same effect on young people attempting to establish healthy outdoor habits and older people wanting to maintain what they’ve started.

The words “open space” suggest space is open to all, not free from humans. If the latter is the definition Boulder City Council ultimately goes with, one dear friend who raised her family in Boulder and moved to Broomfield will be one of many not able to afford the fee, a fee with the same effect as a tax on cigarettes.


Source: Daily Camera


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