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Everett has in fact become the ‘no’ representative at the Capitol

Editor:

In a recent interview with the Columbine Courier, state Rep. Justin Everett expressed his belief that he and his Republican colleagues need to guard against being the party of “no.” He felt there were areas where lawmakers can work together and put partisanship aside. Unfortunately, it is Everett himself who has voted “no” more times than any other representative this year. He was one of seven lawmakers to vote against wildfire mitigation incentives and one of seven to vote against a bill creating preferences in hiring for disabled veterans’ spouses. 

Everett has earned quite a reputation for himself down at the Capitol, where many of his colleagues refer to him as Justin Neverett, a moniker he solidified by being one of just three lawmakers to vote against the supplemental appropriation bill for the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs.

Despite Everett’s contention that “education is No. 1,” he was one of only five lawmakers to vote against the supplemental appropriation bills for the Department of Education and Higher Education. In the House Education Committee, he was one of two people to vote against a K-12 school breakfast program, and he was the only person to vote against a technical education pilot program. It appears that Everett’s plans to move forward in a bipartisan way didn’t last very long.

Helen Hurt

Littleton

 

Commissioners Rosier, Griffin should represent Jeffco voters, not the NRA

Editor:

I am embarrassed that Jefferson County Commissioners Don Rosier and Faye Griffin have chosen to announce to Colorado’s state government and the U.S. government that Jefferson County does not support ANY new gun regulations. The two commissioners were supported at the Resolution 9A hearing and vote by a clapping, whistling, packed crowd loaded with NRA and gun-lobby enthusiasts. All this took place despite our country’s desperate need to restrict ownership and access to military assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition clips as well, as a need to firmly close gun acquisition loopholes. 

The assault guns were originally developed only for use as mass-killing weapons by our military during wartime. They were not intended to have a place and role within our general population. We should by now all be acutely aware that the military assault guns are extremely dangerous weapons to our general population when they are readily available. 

As a result of the approval of Resolution 9A, I would ask Commissioners Rosier and Griffin if they are representing the citizens of Jefferson County or the National Rifle Association.

Jack F. Salter 

Evergreen

 

Rosier’s resolution on gun control is ridiculous

Editor:

Jeffco Commissioner Don Rosier’s nonbinding resolution to oppose any and all gun safety measures is inane and unbelievable for the following reasons:

• Jeffco is the home of the biggest high school gun massacre in the U.S.

• Jeffco is not like El Paso or Douglas county, where the Tea Party dominates and Republican are in control. Jeffco has a balance of Democrats, Republicans and independents, almost equally represented. Please remember this when Commissioner Rosier is up for election next year.

• Universal background checks are supported by 90 percent of Americans and even a majority of NRA members.

• A majority of Americans support limits on ammo clips. (Who needs 30 to 100 rounds in a semi-automatic assault rifle that has no legitimate hunting purpose except to kill masses of people?)

• 40 percent of gun purchases have no background check today through private gun sales and at gun shows. This means that people with felony records and mental illness, and gang members, along with those with domestic restraining records, have free access to guns.

• 18-year-olds can purchase unlimited semi-automatic assault rifles and ammo sales legally, even though research shows the brain is not fully developed until at least age 25.

• 30,000 people are killed with guns in the U.S. each year, far more than in any other country, with one-third of them suicides, many of which could be prevented if there was a universal waiting period for gun purchases as a “cooling off” period.

• No reasonable politician is proposing or supporting taking guns away from private individuals who use them for protection and hunting.

Cal Johnston

Littleton

 

To the Jeffco commissioners …

Editor:

Dear Commissioners Griffin, Tighe and Rosier,

I am writing to you about the proposal by the Jeffco Public Health Department and Healthy Unincorporated Jefferson County to further the smoking restrictions in Jeffco. In the Columbine Courier article, Dr. Walter Young of Tobacco-Free Jeffco argues that smoking in any public venue (including the “loopholes”) must be stopped. He says that the goal is to eliminate the exposure to secondhand smoke for the majority of the public that doesn’t smoke. Closing these loopholes, he says, will level the playing field among businesses that allow smoking areas and those that do not. Young explains that while businesses have the right to choose whether to allow smoking, the perception would still be that a smoke-free business would lose money to competition. I find several flaws with Young’s arguments.

First, while there are studies that show secondhand smoke is a carcinogen in concentrated quantities, many studies also show that it is not nearly as detrimental as previously thought. Also,  Young states that Jeffco has a higher rate of young people and men that use some form of tobacco. Higher compared to what? The Centers for Disease Control reports that 19 percent of all adults in the U.S. smoke. The 16 percent minority of smokers in Jeffco that Young cites is then lower than the national average.

However, I agree that I do not want to breathe someone else’s smoke, particularly when I am eating. With respect to locations where people can smoke such as tobacco shops, cigar bars and hookah lounges, I find it difficult at best to believe that the 86 percent of non-smokers in Jeffco that Young cites will be in danger of secondhand smoke since they have no reason to visit such locations. Further, I live and eat out in Jefferson County, and I can’t remember the last restaurant patio where someone was smoking while I ate. As far as bar patios are concerned, smokers like bars as much as non-smokers, so that may actually be the only place where a non-smoker might legitimately be exposed to secondhand smoke. Since his goal is to eliminate the exposure to secondhand smoke for the 86 percent majority of the public, then I say job well done. So the reality is that this issue, and his goal, has already been covered by the current law.

But really, this seems to be about a much bigger issue facing our society as a whole today. It is about one group of people dictating the definition of acceptable behavior for everyone. Since the goals and objectives that Young cites are already being met, his goal is actually to force people in Jefferson County, and perhaps the state and the nation, to stop smoking all together. The problem with overarching policy is that it often conflicts with liberty. Liberty, it would seem, is becoming politically incorrect. I fear for our society when personal liberty becomes politically incorrect. In fact, liberty, being the foundation for our nation, is the most politically correct concept we have.

I was heartened to read that all three of you had concerns about these proposals, as I was about the comments from Commissioners Tighe and Rosier. I am encouraged to see that the right to own a small business that can choose to employ and serve people who smoke is important to you. I am encouraged to see that your forward thinking with regard to the implications of putting policy over programs may be a slippery slope. Where might this lead next? Would it then become illegal for a smoker to smoke on his own property, in her own backyard, for fear the smoke would endanger a neighbor? Unlikely? Maybe not.

Is habitual smoking bad for you? Yes, I think we can all agree on that. But really anything done to excess can be bad for you, which Commissioner Rosier alluded to. But the great thing about our country is personal liberty, which says you can smoke, or drink, or eat as much or as little as you like, because it is up to you, and you accept the consequences. Is enjoying an occasional smoke bad for you? Probably not. So really, neither is occasional secondhand smoke. In reality, all things in moderation is still a good policy. Our current law, our policy, allows for moderation. Maybe not enough for some, but at a least some for all.

I would encourage you to take a stand against the tide of those whose overreaching agenda would whittle away at our personal liberty. If not now, then when?

Andrew R. Hawker

Littleton