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Keep them public
In the words of America's greatest hunter-conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt: "Of all the questions which can come before this nation, short of the actual preservation of its existence in a great war, there is none which compares in importance with the great central task of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us." However, not everyone agrees.
As a big game hunter, veteran, and chairman of Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, I've watched with some trepidation recently as a select (and misguided) few among our state's lawmakers and county commissioners have encouraged fringe-types by pushing ginned-up proposals to transfer federal public lands to the state or sell them outright.
Of course, our state would go broke overnight trying to manage these extensive lands and promptly be "forced" to sell them to mining, oil and gas, timber and other private interests, which would then lock the public out. In addition, Colorado hunters depend on access to federal public lands: 92 percent of Colorado hunters use public lands.
And an unsettling spinoff threat of proposed public lands transfers/sales is that they would ultimately undermine one of the general public's primary reasons for continuing to support Second Amendment rights: the great tradition of public lands hunting. As federal public lands disappear, the health of wildlife habitat deteriorates, wildlife numbers decrease, hunting opportunities fade away, and so goes the most defendable reason for the non-hunting majority to allow us to keep our guns without restrictions long-term.
As Theodore Roosevelt stated so many times, the true hunter loves all wild creations, understands the value of wild public lands, and stands stalwartly against the loss of both. Sign the Backcountry Sportsman's Pledge today to show your support for keeping public lands in public hands: tiny.cc/n1u1kx.
— David Lien
Chairman, Colorado Backcountry Hunters & Anglers
Diversity in the NPS
Thank you Ms. Jodi Peterson and High Country News for the article ("Wild places suffer from sameness," cover story, Sept. 10) about how difficult it is for minorities to excel in the National Park Service.
The article was informative and had a nice graph. Ms. Peterson did some real research, but failed to explain why minorities don't excel in the National Park Service. There really is no other way to say this, but the article, although informative, is politically correct-based.
Yes, there is most likely a disproportionate rate of Caucasians per blacks, Latinos, Asians and females, filling the top spots in the NPS, but it is not by design in any manner. Since the late 1970s and early '80s, there has been an advantage push to enroll those minorities mentioned above. Over 30 years has passed and still the balance is off — if you only look at figures.
One has to ask why? If the job openings at the bottom and through the top give advantages to the minorities, and all they need is to be qualified and want the job, why don't they have the job? Could it be they don't want the job, it's not on their list of wanted careers, or they are not qualified for whatever reason, like the proper education, degrees or loss of interest?
I suspect the reason for the disproportion is one of the reasons above. If the NPS wants more minorities, they better make the job look more attractive. As for Ranger Cliff Spencer, good for him — I'm sure he is good at his job.
— Ron Patterson
In cold blood
Rosemary Harris Lytle's letter about the death penalty does not tell the whole story ("Death penalty ills," Sept. 10). She says that the death penalty costs 10 to 15 times more than life in prison. This is because of the anti-death-penalty people suing in court to drive the cost up to stop executions.
Also, how much is a person's life worth that has been killed in cold blood? Common sense alone will tell you that executing a person for murder would be a deterrent to others wanting to commit this crime. When people are convicted of murder they fight the death penalty because they fear execution.
Reports say that prisons have many conveniences of home, air conditioning, TV, radio, free medical and dental, etc. It is not right that Gov. Hickenlooper let the people that have killed women and children in cold blood continue to live.
— Jill Coleman
Up on the roof
In response to the Aug. 13 letter "Behind the PR," I would like to provide information about our rooftop solar program and share our commitment to offering renewable options for our customers.
We do offer renewable energy net metering as part of our electric tariff, and have done so since the early 2000s. In 2006, we developed a rooftop solar program, which helps make installing solar panels on your home or business more affordable. Due to high demand, funding for our residential program has been exhausted for 2014; however, we will offer these rebates again next year.
One option for those looking to add solar power to their residence is to lease the equipment. At one time, solar leasing from a third party was not allowed per our city code. We recognized this as an opportunity to improve our renewable energy options and worked to change the code in 2011. The new city code allows customers to lease solar equipment and install it on their homes, although the leased equipment is not eligible for our solar rooftop rebate.
Customers who are not able to install solar panels on their rooftop or property can participate in our community solar garden program. Those enrolled in this program receive a credit on their electric bill for their share of the energy the garden produces. We were one of the first utilities in the nation to offer this option to our customers.
With about 300 days of sun per year, Colorado is an excellent platform for solar power. We are committed to offering electric service options that allow customers to choose the ones that work best for them.
— Deborah Mathis
Senior conservation specialist,
Colorado Springs Utilities
Not my problem
I am voting no on County Question 1B (the stormwater question), because it's terribly unfair to retired and low-income citizens.
The proposed $7.70 per month represents a 24 percent increase in my property taxes. I am on Social Security and do not live in an area that is in any way impacted by stormwater. People who live in areas directly affected by the flooding should pay a larger portion of this tax.
— Diana Belles