A Response to Jack Amant, TC Letter 12/27/11, About Fracking

The following letter to the Times Call appeared in the 12/27/11 edition.

Letters like this from people who actually work in that field carry much more weight with me than emotional responses from people who seem to be looking for any argument to support their cause.  What Amant (who has worked in the industry for 10 years) continues to show is that yes, there are risks involved with fracking, but in the vast majority of cases, there are no issues or very minor ones, and many people are earning a good living contributing something important (maybe unfortunately, but nevertheless still important) to our economy.

Thank you, Mr. Amant, for contributing rationally to a sensitive subject.

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A Response To Teresa Foster, Letter to the Editor 12/24/11

I debated whether or not to respond to Teresa Foster’s letter to the editor in today’s Daily TC, but when FRL posted the letter and highlighted some pretty serious charges against Councilman Gabe Santos, the decision to respond was made really easy.

I do not know Teresa Foster and have nothing against her, as she’s done nothing to me.  I have seen numerous letters from her to various media sources and can conclude that she is a pretty devout environmentalist.  I’ve also seen her name associated with with pretty shady Longmont political activists, which leads me to question her motives somewhat.  But personally, I wouldn’t know Ms. Foster if I were to run into her at the local Green Peace rally, and my response to her is more about the substance of her letter than her character.

In her letter, Ms. Foster claims to have given Councilman Santos a DVD that “contains pertinent information that will help council members understand the consequences of exposure to chemicals resulting from natural gas drilling.”  After the meeting, she claims Santos handed her back the DVD, which she interpreted as bullying her.

First off, my guess is that A) Santos has heard pretty much every argument for and against fracking that anyone has ever come up with, and probably had neither the time nor the desire to sit through an entire DVD that contained information he was already familiar with.  And B) I’m quite sure Santos knows Foster and the position she has taken, and considering she is a frequent poster to a site dedicated to attacking him at every opportunity, is anyone really surprised that Santos didn’t bend over backwards to listen to what she was offering?  He could have just kept the DVD and tossed it afterward, but for whatever reason he didn’t, and what went down between them at that point is something only they know.

And then Ms. Foster claims Santos bullied her.   FRL even went so far as to highlight the definition of bullying for more effect.  This is where I’m very curious as to exactly what each person said, because the simple act of handing a DVD back to someone does not constitute bullying in my mind.  Foster claims Santos “forced her” to take back the DVD.  How, exactly, did he force her to take it I wonder?  Apparently more happened than Santos simply saying “thanks but not thanks”, and Foster taking it and responding “ok, at least I tried”, because Foster claims Santos accused her of  threatening him.

I’m not going to accuse anyone of anything here, and neither should anyone else except Foster or Santos, because no one else knows what exactly was said.  I’d be very curious to hear the rest of the story, though.  Accusing a Councilman of bullying a citizen is a very serious charge, and it would be a shame to think that a local blog is accusing a sitting councilman of it just because he happens to be taking a position that the blog writer opposes.  I suspect the rest of the story will come out soon……

Boulder County GOP Didn’t Break the Law After All

The Daily TC has reported that the CO Sec of State ruled that the BOCO GOP did not violate financial reporting requirements and won’t have to pay an $18,600 fine after all.

The Daily TC also psychically reported a couple of months ago:   “Wray said he knows he hasn’t kept the political discourse civil on his blogs and did not feel any obligation to update the blog with information about the judgment…because he is a blogger, not a journalist.”

When you start openly admitting your mistakes, you’ll get kudos from me.  Do the right thing.

A Response to Diane Wood, TC Letters to the Editor 12/23/11

Diane Wood wrote this letter to the editor recently (from the Longmont Daily TC, 12/23/11):

Letters to the Editor – Dec. 23

Posted: 12/23/2011 01:00:00 AM MST

Emergency landing on Hover

For years I have opposed extending the runway at Vance Brand Airport. My concern is safety. Planes fly as low as 400 feet over our home. The 80-decibel aircraft noise that routinely stops conversation in our backyard is troubling, but at least it is not terrifying.

A few years ago a plane crashed in our driveway and I returned home to find the driveway blocked by firetrucks, ambulances and sheriff’s cars. Yesterday it happened again, this time on busy Hover Street; just another harmless crash done with a dead engine in full emergency conditions. How many times will we turn a blind eye to these crashes and the tragedy that will happen someday? How will you feel when you lose a family member in such an avoidable tragedy?

What will it take to deliver this message to the City Council?

Remember the airliner crash in the Hudson River in New York and the fortunate survival of all? A flock of geese brought that aircraft down. We have thousands of geese circling inside the flight pattern each afternoon. No aircraft crash has yet been reported but just think about the possibility of it happening over downtown.

Why doesn’t the City Council take into consideration these safety issues? They keep touting that increasing air traffic over Longmont will bring in business and jobs. That is just pie in the sky thinking. They should consider the safety and well-being of residents.

DIANE WOOD

Longmont

—————————————————

I was wondering how long it would be before someone tried to use the recent emergency landing of a small plane on Hover to make an argument against airport expansion.  Seems Ms. Wood has good reason to be a little spooked, though.  I went back looking for Longmont airplane crashes and found a couple, but wasn’t sure which one she was referring to that crashed in her driveway.  Needless to say, if one crashed in my yard, I would also be hypersensitive to any airplane issue I would imagine.

That said, there are a couple of points that need to be made.  First, expanding the airport will really have no measurable effect on the minutely small chance of an accident.  Diane admits that although there are thousands of geese circling in the flight pattern daily (debatable, but ok, I can’t prove otherwise, though I suspect this is an exaggeration), there haven’t been any reported crashes.  I actually did find a couple with sketchy details, but none mentioned geese.  Still, the fact that the airport has operated for so long without a crash would indicate that the risk is pretty low.  I would bet that the accident rate for people driving to the airport is higher than the rate of actual plane crashes.   Like just about anything in life, there are going to be risks.  Could a plane crash into an elementary school?  Of course it is possible.  Is it likely?  The odds are exceptionally low.

The other point to be made is that the airplane that landed on Hover was actually not even headed for Longmont’s airport.  It was headed to Boulder.  And one flight I read about from way back when blew up over Longmont and originated from Stapleton.  So simply having planes in the sky is going to introduce the risk that one could fall in Longmont (or anywhere else for that matter).  Again, weighing the risk versus benefit, the benefits far, far, far outweigh the risks.

So Ms. Wood, while I can see why you are jittery about the whole issue, the fact is that the odds of a catastrophe happening are still about as good as winning the lottery.  Thankfully no one was injured this time, and hopefully any future incidents (God forbid, but there will obviously be some) will also end similarly, but this isn’t the best argument against airport expansion.

Classy

First a tweet insinuating that Longmont bloggers are making threats (like a family member of a certain Longmont fiction writer on Facebook recently), and then a tweet belittling the recovery of a college student that doctors thought was brain dead?

Kaye Fissinger said it best….”Lots of dummies like that in Longmont” and “yes, this is a sick country”.  Well, at least she is correct about one of those people in Longmont.  Classy.

Cronyism

Clay Evans wrote a nice piece recently about cronyism in BOCO politics.

In this lengthy article, there is one sentence about Longmont city councilman Gabe Santos: ” Though in truth, whoever stands in House District 11 may face a stiff challenge from ultra-conservative Republican — and politically skillful — Gabe Santos, now serving on the Longmont City Council; no done deal, that race.”

In all of the commenting that followed, two stood out:

From a “doog”:  “Santos? Really? Tom Delay’s ex office manager? No cronyism THERE. *cough* ”    Really?  After reading this article, all you got out of it was enough to cough up another snide remark about Santos and his former position with Tom Delay?  We get it, really.  You don’t like Delay.  And Santos used to work for Delay.  Therefore, guilt by association, and you don’t like Santos.  We get it.

The other comment was from one “takenote”:  “Thanks for outing Gabe Santos, Clay. In addition to being ultra-conservative, he’s a political sleezebag that learned well at the feet of Tom DeLay, a corrupt felon. ”   “Outing Gabe Santos”???  For what, being ultra-conservative?  GASP!!  Really??  Gosh, you’re right…nobody who follows Longmont politics would ever have guessed that Santos leans right.  I’m glad Clay Evans was able to expose this evilness to you.  But calling him a political sleezebag?  How completely civil and expected from you.  Real eyes realize real lies.  (I DO love that quote…thanks for turning me on to it!)

 

Ironic Hypocrisy

Former mayor Bryan Baum was on the radio recently and said “the more people you get speaking, as far as that goes, the better off it is”.  Of course, he was called out on this by my favorite local fiction writer who continues to insist that Baum wanted nothing less than completely oppressing the freedom of speech of the citizens of Longmont.  After careful examination of the facts, I’ve come to the conclusion that said fiction writer is still upset for being cut off during PITBH at a council meeting a couple of years ago, and he takes it out on former mayor Baum (although the mayor who asked him to stop was not Baum).  It also seems blatantly obvious that Baum had always been happy to hear the public address council on the issues, but what he was tired of (as are many members of the current council, and rightfully so) was the repeated grandstanding and organized commenting by certain members of the community with an axe to grind.  He was trying to make things more efficient at the meetings, nothing more, and anyone with half a brain would realize this.

I’m also not sure where M. Fiction Writer gets his information that republicans voted decisively against Baum.  Again, simply untrue, although I guess “decisively” is subjective enough that one could use it without fear of being proven a complete liar.

It is time to move on from the Baum obsession, M. Fiction Writer.  Real eyes realize real lies.

Occupy Portland Protestor…Brilliant

What a perfect example of just how completely clueless the average OWS protestor really is.  Much more selfish than those they claim to be protesting against.

Keep talking….

Meet the Newest Addition to the 1%….Farmers

From Kaye Fissinger over at FRL:

“I often say of Colorado’s conservatives that they have one foot in the 1950s and the other in the 19th century. If ever proof was definitive, Gardner’s desire to put kids to work on farms sure meets that test.”

She compared Gardner’s stance on changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act to Newt Gingrich’s recent comments (his comments were unfortunate, but certainly being taken far beyond what Gingrich intended…but that’s another story).  Ms. Fissinger, did you read that letter Gardner wrote?  You can honestly read that, UNDERSTAND IT, and believe it to mean that he wants to force kids to do dangerous jobs on a farm?  Really?

Have you ever lived on a farm?    Ms. Fissinger seems to think that most farms and farmers want to operate like 3rd world sweat shops, where the workers make a few cents a day and are just being used as cheap labor.  When you live on a farm, you work on it.  Period.  Everyone has jobs, including the kids.  Most farmers I know are not going to force their children into doing jobs they obviously are too young to do.  They are some of the hardest working people on the planet, and what they teach their kids is the value of putting in a good day’s work and pulling their weight to keep things running.  It is something not everyone is cut out to be, but teaches those who work there tremendous lessons about responsibility.

So please, Ms. Fissinger, let’s stop acting like Gardner is trying to turn rural Colorado into a cheap supply of child labor to be abused at will.  He’s not, so you can rest easy.  And the vast majority of farmers are adamantly opposed to these proposed changes.  Are farmers the new 1% now?  Greedy?  Only out for themselves?   If more families and businesses had the work ethics of farmers (even without the proposed changes to the FLSA), this country would be a whole lot better off.

To…what??

I saw the funniest thing on a grocery bag design to days ago (apparently this design is on tee shirts and the like, to):

This is great stuff.  Too bad the joke gets lost too a most remarkable “oops”.  I wonder how many of these have already been printed and sent out?  I bet a million or too.  Definitely a great graphic for a local fictional blog too use.  To funny.