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Jeffco asks for another $33 million in local funding
I would be the first in line to say Jeffco’s newest teachers deserve a raise. With sky rocking cost of housing and how hard teachers work they deserved to be well paid.
Our children definitely deserve to have the highest quality professionals in their classrooms. Some would say an automatic yes to increasing our taxes to support Jeffco, but my family hasn’t seen any raises in the last five years so we count every penny. I did some research and found Jeffco spending is already up over $1,000 per student in the last six years and yet entry level salaries for new teachers has not increased significantly.
So where is all that new money going? Jeffco has increased the number of administrators despite having less students and fewer teachers in district runs schools. And just this month the Superintendent hired a second Communications Director with a salary over $100,000.  Jeffco could have hired 2 teachers with that money vs. a PR person.
Until I know this money will help our teachers I just can’t afford another tax increase. I will be a no on Jeffco’s 5A.  
Maureen Sielaff

Just wondering …
Just wondering ...
• Why is the most visible and vocal face of the Right-to-Life movement white and male? One of the columnists recently fingered “deadbeat dads” as a cause of what he calls the welfare state. OK, so when do the opponents of abortion rights start going after the sires of unwanted pregnancies instead of harassing women who are mostly going into Planned Parenthood clinics to prevent them?  Is this about saving lives or continuing to push women around?
• How come people persist in thinking that “welfare” refers only to a crack-addicted mother of six illegitimate kids? The largest welfare class the world has ever seen is made up of mostly white, middle class American retirees, drawing far more and for far longer than their contributions warrant. And then there are those who will never contribute. Aren’t they living on others’ money? Isn’t that welfare? Any World Almanac shows the numbers. Check it out.
• How is it that so many of our political candidates promise to fix our roads and improve our schools and at the same time vow to support tax cuts? Aren’t schools and roads, libraries, parks, etc., community concerns? Shouldn’t the community pay for them? If not by taxation, then how? And think about this:  does any one family really pay its way? How many singles and couples are still paying as much for, say, sewage treatment as any family of four? How many people are still paying property taxes that mostly go to schools, when their kids and grandkids are all grown up or don’t live in the district? These are burdens that are spread out among all members of the community, by (so far) mutual consent because no one lives in perfect isolation, and it is a fact that these costs could not be borne by a family alone. But polls, don’t lie about where the money is coming from, or tell us it is someone else’s fault and not our problem.
To end this discussion, ought we not to find out what “big government” really is?  We have instituted a system to promote the general welfare. Some people are going to feel put out by the needs of the general welfare. The general welfare sometimes thwarts an individual’s right to pursue opportunity and enrich himself to protect others from injury and exploitation. “Big government” is sometimes the only entity that can do so. And isn’t it interesting that those same individualists have no problem invoking government power to curtail someone else’s right to live the life she chooses?
Just wondering...
Carolyn Bredenberg

Hoping for more head-to-head confrontations
Those readers and letter writers who have objected to the conservative columnist John Riddell should now be very happy to have a liberal editorial contributor in the person of Steve Posner. Balance has been achieved.       If future columns by Mr. Posner are as devoid of facts as his introductory one, it will soon become very obvious that the left’s positions are lacking in facts, logic or basis in reality. Just compare the content of Steve’s column “Argue, don’t shoot” with John’s article “The welfare generation” for proof of that fact.
Let’s have more head-to-head confrontations between these two men and the ideas, principles and real-world outcomes they support. We will then see the failure of and detrimental effect of the policies advocated and implemented by the left on our nation.
Herbert Sanford

Time to shut down Seaquest
Kudos to Deborah Swearingen and Sara Hertwig for their ongoing coverage in the Columbine Courier of the nightmare called Seaquest.
For those who don’t know, Seaquest is a 20,000-square-foot aquarium/petting zoo that was opened inside Southwest Plaza earlier this year. It brags of having more than 1,000 animals in its facility.
Since opening, it has failed three animal welfare inspections, and it was issued a cease-and-desist order from the state Department of Agriculture for housing too many birds without the proper license. The way it “solved” that problem was to give away more than 70 parakeets to anyone who wanted one. Or two. Or three. Or four.
And it did it in the parking lot of a hardware store across the street from the mall. It claimed all potential adopters were vetted, but I have my doubts. Fortunately, the Department of Agriculture stepped in, so the remaining 10 birds or so were sent to The Gabriel Foundation, a parrot sanctuary in Elizabeth.
The Gabriel Foundation shared a photo of those birds on Facebook. Most notable is, instead of using the leg bands required by Colorado law, it used zip ties. Those had to be painful on those tiny legs. (Colorado law requires that all psittacine birds (parrots ... and parakeets are considered parrots) be banded if they are sold or even given away and zip ties are not acceptable leg bands.)
Many visitors who may have been excited about Seaquest coming to Colorado, are now outraged to say the least. They’ve reported murky water for the fish and other sea life. They’ve reported early onset of feather mutilation by a bird who’s less than a year old. They’ve reported small and dark enclosures for land mammals.
And let’s not forget the video showing a Seaquest employee using a broom to push parakeets around. The list goes on. You need only log onto Facebook to see the negative reviews and comments. You’ll be horrified.
The Portland (Ore.) Aquarium was successfully shut down a few years ago (same owner), and we must shut down Littleton’s Seaquest, too. It grieves me to write that it has opened aquariums/petting zoos in several cities around the country including Las Vegas and Fort Worth, Texas, and it’s planning to open yet another one inside a mall in Florida. Again, you need only Google Seaquest to read about protests in every single city where Seaquest has an aquarium or is planning to build one.
I don’t know what it’ll take to shut down Seaquest, but you can bet your last dollar that I’ll be on the front lines to make sure that happens. We don’t need another animal abuser in our neighborhood.
Ellen B. Kessler
Ken Caryl