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Rosier, Griffin need to open minds on the need for more bike lanes
After reading the article “Commissioners skeptical of need for West Bowles bike lanes,” I am disappointed and not surprised with comments made by Commissioners Faye Griffin and Don Rosier.
As a cyclist myself, I am well aware of the tension among motorists and cyclists, and the plan for a bike lane along parts of Bowles seems like a good one. I am pleased that despite Commissioner Rosier’s misgivings about bike lanes and cyclists, he is in favor of public discussions. Commissioner Griffin’s statement that “I get really tired of the fact that bicyclists are telling us what to do with the roads that they don’t ever help pay for. … You’re taking away from the capacity of cars that pay for the road,” is confusing because as a cyclist, motorist and citizen, I pay my taxes and deserve the right to have my say at an open meeting about bike lanes. Maybe I do not understand her comment, but I think she needs to clarify herself, or learn more about tax-dollar distribution.
Let’s all step back a moment and look at this time in history; the number of cyclists is growing. Now is the time to strategically plan for those increased numbers. This is not a bad thing; people are being active and driving less. I have ridden my bike along Bowles, and it is not safe. How can these two commissioners not want to play a constructive role in this growth? As a voter, I want my representatives to be open to all perspectives and to do what is right for all constituents. Rosier and Griffin need to listen to different perspectives on this issue.
Cris Cardenas

In for a Penny, with a loss of dollars to city
Littleton citizens requested a year ago that City Manager Michael Penny come up with impact fees to be charged developers to deal with the impact of development on the city. After much citizen pressure, a study was done that arrived at almost $10,000 per unit. Not pleased with this amount, Penny paid for another study that showed $5,300 as the right number. Penny assured the citizenry that all was under control, that developers were ALL notified that there would be charges applied for all developments.
On Aug. 20 an ordinance proposal was presented to the City Council where Penny also showed a list of developments that WOULD NOT be charged these fees. Developers at this meeting claimed no notice of fees. So the City Council reduced the fees to $3,700 to console the developers. Failure to timely complete the impact-fee process, to notify developers in a timely manner and to respond to citizen requests to do all these things has resulted in a substantial loss of development impact fees.
Meanwhile two new tax proposals will be on the ballot in November to make up for revenue shortfalls.
Penny will need his illegal severance package if this level of performance continues. City Council members up for election can watch the results in November to see if their new tax proposals on the ballot are what our citizens expected from them.
Betty Harris

Poisoning prairie dogs is inhumane, and the wrong solution
I am very disappointed to learn of the 3-acre prairie dog extermination at Clement Park. I totally understand Foothills Parks & Rec’s predicament and the frustrations of the homeowners.
However, I do feel that Foothills is charged with stewardship of the natural resources present on their parks — and that includes prairie dogs. The answer is not to just to kill them off as if they have no value and are just a pest — Clement Park patrons enjoy watching the prairie dogs in that colony — as do many of the homeowners — and the prairie dogs provide a food supply for other wildlife in the park. I am eagerly willing to train — as an unpaid volunteer — Foothills employees and homeowners on the technique I employ at Mossbrucker Park to keep prairie dogs in their colony and out of undesirable areas.
But it’s not a one-stop, quick solution; this is an ongoing/long-term management technique. Again, homeowners and Foothills have a responsibility to properly steward the resources on and around their property — and regularly poisoning/exterminating hundreds of prairie dogs as a quick short-term fix is irresponsible, inhumane, lazy and flat-out not biblical.
I want to reiterate that I understand the predicament Foothills is in — and I want to emphasize that I am absolutely willing to train Foothills employees and surrounding homeowners on the technique they can employ to keep the prairie dogs out of their yards. Foothills has my contact information — I’m happy and eager to help.
Tina Gurdikian

Wildfires burn, while politicians fiddle
On July 30, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette introduced and sponsored HR 2858, the Wildland Firefighters Protection Act. The summary states: “To implement reforms to the federal land management agency fire programs in order to address the complexities of the 21st-century wildfires in a more cost-effective and efficient manner.” It has been referred to the Republican led House committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where they will probably kill it. So far there aren’t any co-sponsors.
When fires are burning, politicians rush in for photo ops, and as soon as there is an opportunity to actually address a problem, they won’t even co-sponsor a bill.
Last year DeGette introduced HR 6092, the Wildland Firefighters Protection Act. Rep. Jared Polis was one of only seven co-sponsors. No other Colorado representatives supported it. This bill failed. Across the country there are wildland firefighters shoving their hands into the ashes to feel for hot spots.
They are working in 100-degree weather, against the most extreme fire behavior, in full gear. They don’t complain because they have a strong sense of duty to each other, their country and their mission. Their families, many with infants and young children, don’t see them most of the summer. And the politicians can’t even get a bill through to the floor for full debate?
Please contact your senator and ask him to sponsor a companion bill in the Senate.
 Please contact your representative and ask them to support H.R.2958.
The firefighters don’t ask who lives in the house they are trying to protect; they risk everything to save it. Can’t we do this much for them?
Linda Mahoney

Commissioners should let voters decide whether to add two positions to board
I am writing to thank you and your excellent reporter for the recent article on the Jeffco5 movement!
I was disappointed that two of the commissioners are taking the Jeffco5 effort personally about their performance as commissioners, when in fact it is about structurally getting better representation. I had hoped that the commissioners would be open to a public debate on the issue, not attempting to decide the issue themselves, given that state law says the voters are to decide … SO LET THE VOTERS DECIDE! Demographics in Jeffco have changed since this was last addressed more than 20 years ago.
The cost would not affect the budget until at least 2016 … and would amount to less than $1 per person a year to have two more commissioners. I find it a sadness that the commissioners are unwilling to even have a public debate on this issue. Scary!
Karen Oxman

Seniors need to go?
Most of us remember years ago when governor Dick Lamm told us that health care costs were too high and that seniors had a “duty to die.” Well, Littleton now has another plan for seniors. The Economic Plan Priority No. 12 is for seniors to vacate their houses and downsize and move into apartments. Read it for yourself.
“Priority #12: Seniors looking for alternative, affordable housing options are not finding them in the city of Littleton. Most people aging in place are not vacating because they do not have a workable transition plan, their homes are paid off, they have deferred maintenance and they want to remain in the neighborhood they know. Many fail to downsize prior to a critical event that forces them into another, less desirable living situation.
Solution(s) : Provide transition liaison services and moving assistance programs for seniors. Develop or redevelop areas within the city that provide affordable, low-maintenance housing such as patio homes and co-housing. Develop or redevelop areas within the city that offer graduated care and flexible financial participation. “
This “solution” would be great if there were any developers in town who want to build low-income patio-type housing and if there was land available to do that. A more rational solution would be to make certain that any land that is currently zoned retail be developed as retail mixed use; Littleton does not have such a zoning code and the council has approved rezoning retail land for high-density housing rather than retail mixed use. Such zoning would keep retail alive to provide products and services that seniors may need and want and would be able to provide more low-income housing options designed specifically for seniors. And the retail could always be changed to suit a new demographic.
But no, the council would rather offer services to help seniors figure out how to find someplace to go and help them move. Doesn’t this smack of those death panels that people complained about regarding the Affordable Care Act? Does anyone wonder what kind of door-to-door survey the city has done to determine that its senior citizens have these issues? Normally family members help seniors with these decisions and with moving.
Never mind that Littleton seniors who own homes want to age in place. Or that many of them have fixed incomes and fixed expenses with homes that have no mortgage and that they may need long-term care, which can cost upwards of $50,000 a year and won’t be able to afford rents in decent apartment buildings. Or that the city is not full of assisted-care facilities. Or that many want to leave this small estate to their children. What if most want the privacy of their own home, not the noise and fear of living just a wall away from transient neighbors?
Senior homeowners have worked for some 40 years so that they could have a comfortable retirement and don’t want to spend their retirement funds and Social Security on renting a box above or below or next to another person, separated only by a wall, floor or ceiling. They don’t want to smell smoke from cigarettes or from marijuana, which is now legal for people to smoke.
It seems seniors are not as important to the city as the huge out-of-town developers getting tax and monetary concessions to ruin the character of our wonderful small town.
Betty Harris

City Council underestimating the impacts of new residents
Most cities of any size require impact fees to be charged to developers when building new projects, apartments, etc. The purpose is to make sure that growth pays for growth, because it is wrong to force current citizens to pay to bring in more citizens. But not Littleton nor Englewood. Both city councils seem to be falling for the false assurances of out-of-state developers that building high-density housing will solve all their financial problems.
Littleton spent about $40,000 on studies regarding impact fees rather than relying on their own employees. The first study suggested the impact of each apartment unit was about $10,000 in extra costs to the city; the second came up with about $5,300 per unit. The differences? Not including all the fire stations that we have? Having a great deal of the city’s infrastructure underinsured? Not including the costs to expand County Line Road as needed by an apartment complex they have approved?
Next the City Council looked at the $5,300 number and eliminated fees for parks and recreation areas, leaving the final (new) impact fees at about $3,700 per unit. Hardly a result that would help the city or make certain that Littleton citizens have access to adequate parks and recreation areas just at the time that the city will see some 6,000 more residents move in. This assumes that the planned 3,000 apartments that are proposed will actually be rented.
But it gets worse. During the budget hearings the City Council had to look for how to get the money to acquire the open space for all the new residents we may be getting — after eliminating that amount from the impact fee ordinance.
What were they thinking?
I guess that is the result you can expect when the economic plan does not address spending. Look for more new taxes in your future. That’s the real economic plan.
Ray Flesher