Our Readers Write

-A A +A

LWV objects to commissioners’ anti-gun-control resolution
Two of the three Jefferson County commissioners recently agreed to send our state and federal lawmakers a resolution that purportedly represents the sentiments of the nearly 600,000 residents of Jefferson County in regard to gun-control legislation. This proposal was drafted by Commissioner Don Rosier and first presented at the county commissioners’ meeting on Jan. 26. It was not linked with their meeting agenda online for citizens to review.
The Jefferson County League of Women Voters testified at the commissioners’ meeting on Feb. 5, objecting to this lack of transparency in government, the need for better accountability to residents, and the importance of soliciting citizen input on such a controversial issue. Copies of the resolution, as well as Commissioner Casey Tighe’s alternate proposal, were handed out at that meeting. Tighe’s proposal focused on public safety as well as protection for the Second Amendment. His counterproposal changed the tone of the resolution to include encouragement for “… continued work to find reasonable solutions to reduce gun violence and advance public safety.” Tighe’s version also included a plea to properly fund mental health services.
In spite of three hours of community testimony representing all sides of the issue, Tighe’s proposal was not considered, and Commissioner Faye Griffin sided with Rosier on his original resolution without amendments.
The League of Women Voters believes that limiting the accessibility and regulating the ownership of handguns and semi-automatic weapons are necessary to protect the health and safety of citizens. We take exception with this resolution stating that neither the U.S. Congress nor the Colorado General Assembly should entertain consideration of ANY new legislation for any aspect of gun control, claiming any action would infringe on Second Amendment rights. The resolution justifies its cause by claims such as “… tyrants have recognized that a disarmed population is readily dominated,” and further claiming that gun-control laws implicitly assume the guilt of lawful firearms owners. The resolution urges Congress to reject international treaties, including those with the United Nations, which might stand in the way of restricting firearms access, sale and ownership. The resolution also cites a study from the Centers for Disease Control claiming gun control doesn’t reduce crime. We note that Congress, responding to pressure from the NRA and Gun Owners of America, forbade the CDC from receiving funding for researching gun violence in 1990, basically shutting it down.
In our opinion, this resolution — which is confrontational in nature — does not reflect the majority view of the people in our county. As one citizen expressed in public testimony, Jefferson County is now a “purple” county, with equal representation of all party affiliations and approaches to governing, and this is a “deep red resolution.”
The League objects to many parts of this resolution, especially its accusatory tone with no willingness to consider any new approaches to solving the tragically violent nature of our society. As Commissioner Griffin said, “This resolution says we won’t listen to anything new.” What a sad document to present to our state legislature and the U.S. Congress from our county.  
Ann Taylor Roux
Jefferson County League of Women Voters

Nicholson town halls were disappointing
Because I didn’t know much about Sen. Jeanne Nicholson prior to her becoming my senator through redistricting, I have taken three opportunities in the last few weeks to attend her town hall meetings.
At the first two, held in Columbine Library, she made it a point to tell the crowd (98 percent Jeffco residents) that these meetings were really for her south Denver constituents. While I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt, she insulted the many, many residents of Columbine and Ken Caryl areas when she told us that her Jeffco meetings are normally held in Golden or Evergreen — but we were welcome to stay at these meetings anyway. Despite her probable good intentions, she started things off with a slap to the faces of those of us who live in this area of her district.
Later in the first, and promptly in the second meeting, she escalated the resentment by refusing to tell us her opinions on any of the gun control measures currently before the state Senate. She has forgotten that she works for US, not the other way around. We pay her salary and provide the many perks that come with her position. Even if we don’t agree with her decisions, we have a right to know her positions and reasons for same before we read them in the paper. We live in a republic, not a democracy (although the senator stated that America is the latter). In a republic, the senators represent the people who have elected them — they should never be voting for their own interests at the expense of those of their constituents.
At the packed meeting in the Conifer High School auditorium, we were reminded immediately that Nicholson would not tell us her opinions or answer questions. According to her, she was there to “listen.” Yes, she “listened” for more than two hours: She never took a single note, asked a follow-up question, or did anything but smile politely at everyone. Her moderator told the attendees we were not to applaud, or to voice agreement or disagreement with any speakers. Obviously, this was ignored by everyone — and with good reason. At one point, however, when a gun opponent told a blatant lie and the audience called her on it, we were told to “Shush!” and were threatened to be removed (all 300-plus of us!) if we didn’t abide by her rules. Let me make this clear: There were NO threats, NO foul language, and NO intimidating remarks made by anyone. To be treated like children by the senator and her proxy was yet another slap delivered to her constituents.
The disrespect Sen.Nicholson showed all of us needs to be remembered, long after the current battles are over. An employee who treats her bosses this way does not deserve to have her contract renewed.
Kathy Arford

Everett vote reflects lack of knowledge about process
I am writing to correct something that was written in an article about state Rep. Justin Everett’s recent town hall. I was not one of the people who challenged Rep. Everett on his opposition to gun-control legislation. My question for Mr. Everett had to do with his vote against supplemental funding for Military and Veteran Affairs.  
In response to my question, he said that he votes against all supplemental funding bills because he believes we should live within our budget. This answer demonstrates a lack of understanding of the supplemental budgeting process and indicates that Mr. Everett did not read the bills he voted against. The four criteria for supplemental bills are that they address acts of God, technical errors in calculation, data not available when the original appropriation was made, or unforeseen contingencies. Supplemental bills can DECREASE budgeted funds as well as increase them.  
Ironically, by merely following his reflex to vote “no,” apparently without checking the details, Rep. Everett actually voted against some bills that cut spending.
Mary Parker