Letters to the Editor
On behalf of the English language program at Summit Middle School and Summit High School, I’d like to thank our community partners who helped to make this year’s FEP (Fluent English Proficient) Celebration a success. As a district, we aimed to honor the achievements of students who reached fluent English proficiency and met the criteria to be formally exited from the program. Thanks to our sponsors who made the evening special. Prizes for the raffle were generously donated by Loveland Ski Area, Starbucks and Cameez. Walmart graciously donated certificate frames for our honorees. Beaver Run Resort and Safeway contributed to making the event festive by their donation of tablecloths and balloons. Thanks, again, for your generosity and partnership in celebrating our students’ success.Learn more »
Opinions concerning day care subsidies in Breckenridge have recently appeared in the Summit Daily imposing an agenda of second class citizenship upon our children based upon the premise “we earned it and we’ll decide where it goes” versus “we don’t have it and we don’t know what to do to survive”.
Eliminated from the debate is leadership willing to pay a greater price for a better education for our children—leaders rising above the lack of vision languishing in the mediocrity of our own self-serving affluence.Learn more »
What a remarkable flood of letters on the Breckenridge day care debate. Let me add one more to the stack. Some of the writers are spot on with their observations; the arguments of others seem to lack basic logic. For example: Some proponents of public handouts for day care want so much to compare it to the recreation center or golf course, etc. Let’s clear that up. Town-level entitlement programs like day care aim to please a very small group of nagging parents by giving them cash. If you don’t have preschool age children there will be no cash for you. This type of spending is completely different in my mind from legitimate town facilities and “amenities” that are broadly available to everyone. I don’t use the rec center but I am glad to support it financially with my taxes. On the other hand, I do not want my tax dollars going to pay a middle income family’s day care bill just so they can spend more on other things rather than raising their kids independently. So as we move forward I would hope that the pro handout group does not mix apples and oranges in hopes of diverting more town cash to their checking accounts. To simplify: Spending on narrow entitlement programs is not the same as investment in public facilities. Next point: We all know Breckenridge is awash in excess tax revenue. This should not lead to the conclusion that the town ‘has to spend it somehow’ as some have suggested. This has and will lead, as others have pointed out, to wasteful and ill advised spending programs. The solution here is to cap and/or reduce tax rates to restore fiscal discipline in Breckenridge. Otherwise, the line clamoring for their cut will get long and noisy.
Doug BlackLearn more »
The Town of Breckenridge has a huge coffer of surplus funds, funded by property taxes, to be used for whatever they determine to be useful. Currently, the town supplements recreation and entertainment by funding the recreation center, the ice rink, the golf course, the NRO, and the arts district, just to make these recreational opportunities more affordable to the town residents and guests. Having such a wonderfully generous town is one of the reasons I have lived here for 20 years. The recreation center has 6 outdoor tennis courts and two indoor tennis courts, but I don’t hear anyone complaining that the town supplements these courts, even though I’ve never used them. There are many wasteful things that the town has spent money on over the years, including nearly a million dollars for the kayak park which was determined a flop by most kayakers, and nearly a million dollars to Mercy Housing, who was supposed to run the Valleybrook project, but then the town managed themselves. But nobody ever complained about these projects. So why now are people who use the recreation center, the golf course and visit the NRO concerts and the arts district so against helping support the future of our town? By supporting local families, we create the magical town atmosphere that people want to keep coming back to. Without these people we would become a town of one season wonders, where no one is committed to the culture of the community. All the negative comments here are from people who don’t want to pay for my lifestyle, but yet we all are paying for each other’s lifestyles by living here and paying taxes. I commend the town council for making an investment in our community that will pay off in the future.
Tom VitaloneLearn more »
I find it interesting that no one is questioning the unbelievably high costs of the child day care — only who is going to pay for it. A Nov. 27 article states $1600 per month for 2 children for 3 days per week childcare. That is utterly ridiculous. I would think that local government and parents should be questioning these rates and not squabbling over subsidizing or not subsidizing the costs.
This $1600 comes out to $ 61.54 per child per day or $9600 per child per year. What could possibly justify these fees? If this is the norm in Summit County, something is very, very wrong. Here in Summit we pay higher prices for almost everything to be able to live and enjoy this great place we live but a line needs to be drawn sometimes. Parents need to be able to afford to work.Learn more »
Readers of this section are quite aware of the recent contentious debates over issues that are shaping Breckenridge today. The debate over the subsidization of day care has largely taken the opposing positions of one side arguing that society needs to help the parent on a critical need in order to remain in the community while the other side argues against the unfairness of paying someone else’s bills. The day care debate on the blog www.engagebreckenridge.com had almost no mention of those who should benefit from this program the most, the actual kids themselves.
Misinformation, lack of information, misleading or irrelevant data, and personal attacks have become the norm in getting our personal agendas done in today’s political age. Ideological divides have grown insurmountable on the national stage and a lack of tolerance for others views handicap progress locally. When local business owner Dick Carleton recently spoke his views regarding this issue, he was lambasted by a gentleman who portrayed Dick as motivated by greed, apparently being unaware of Dick’s long track record of extreme generosity to the community. Recent editorials regarding Breckenridge Town Council’s unilateral decision, post 2b election loss, can be depicted as less than kind.Learn more »
Bartnick: Breckenridge child care critics miss fact that quality preschool builds stronger communitiesNovember 29, 2013 —
I was disappointed to read the cynical letters written regarding the Breckenridge child care scholarship. The people writing these letters are the ones who directly benefit from the scholarship, in my opinion. Who is going to answer 911 calls and dispatch first responders in emergencies, maintain our streets when the snow falls and teach our children when they attend school? The parents of the children who are both directly and indirectly benefited by the scholarship are the ones who will be maintaining these critics’ lifestyles. Richard Fore, I don’t think Morgan Thompson was suggesting that Breckenridge residents “ride the gravy train” so that they can provide their children with quality early education. I believe she, like many other parents, wants to see children succeed. Research shows that individuals who were enrolled in quality preschool programs are more likely to graduate from high school, to own homes and have longer marriages. Research also shows that at-risk children who don’t receive a high-quality early childhood education are 25 percent more likely to drop out of school, 40 percent more likely to become a teen parent, 50 percent more likely to be placed in special education and 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime.
Where would you rather see your tax dollars spent?Learn more »
What’s wrong with the Breckenridge Town Council? After reading the Summit Daily News recap of the council’s defiant action to fund the wasteful day care giveaway program despite the recent public vote against it, I am coming to the conclusion that this mayor and council exist only to give away money earned by others. This year the council handed out around $500,000 to a very small group of people who apparently had children they claimed they could not possibly raise without public assistance. Now, following the public vote to phase out that program, the council votes to increase its budget to $820,000 for 2014, a 64 percent increase! Seems we taxpayers have no representation whatsoever with this council cast of clowns. What a shame. To add further insult, Dick Carleton steps up to the mic and promotes the notion that local taxpayers need to subsidize his restaurants’ employees day care expenses so he can boost profits. Seems beyond self-serving. I’ve got an idea for Dick: Let’s pass an ordinance that requires all Breckenridge businesses to provide day care benefits to their employees; and then let’s mandate a $15/hour minimum town “living” wage. We should also require employers with more than one employee to provide generous health benefits. Of course, all of that would go over like a you-know-what in a punch bowl. Instead, the Breckenridge version of corporate welfare is alive and well with employers ready and willing to dump their costs on taxpayers to fatten their own wallets. The council apparently wants to tax working people to death, then hand out cash and benefits to boost the profits of business owners and quell the complaints of those who can’t afford to raise children.
Mike SchroederLearn more »
I believe Julie Olsen’s recent letter to the editor has it completely wrong on why funding was voted down for the Breckenridge day care giveaway program. She speculates that people just did not want their property taxes to go up in order to continue funding these day care free loaders. Not so. People don’t want to pay other family’s day care bills period. Cancelling funding and ending the current bloated program is why I voted no. It is irritating to see that those that have drained their neighbor’s bank accounts for so long to supplement their own lifestyle still want more, more and more. If they are foolish enough to think that a sales tax hike, or new town-levied income tax, would win voter approval, go ahead and put another dead-end idea on the next ballot and the intelligent voters of Breckenridge will vote it down also. The voters have spoken, can we please move on?
Amy WarrenLearn more »
I read with dismay the story concerning alleged theft from the Breckenridge Festival of Film by its executive director.
Summit County is blessed with individuals that give willingly of their time and money to support nonprofit institutions, from FIRC, BOEC, Advocates, LAPS, the churches in the county and many other institutions. Because of them, Summit County is a richer, better place to live.Learn more »
Rep. Millie Hamner’s recent opinion piece on Amendment 66 focused entirely on education funding and programs.
“I appreciate the message sent by my constituents in House District 61….who voted against the measure”, Hamner notes. Under the rules of Senate Bill 213, Amendment 66 can be on the ballot until 2017 (the next 4 elections). If that happens, I hope we will be “appreciated” four more times.Learn more »
Scholarship program benefits the whole community
I believe that the town of Breckenridge [child care] scholarship program was voted to be discontinued solely on the grounds that it was a “tax” or that people disagreed with the “property tax” idea. What some people don’t realize is that this small tax would benefit the town (and the county) in more ways than most people could possibly imagine. At this point we must move forward and figure out how help our families remain a part of this community.Learn more »
RE: Bill Digneau’s letter to the editor, “Conservative Complaints.”
Digneau appears to a have a significant misunderstanding of conservative positions, the law and history. First, his attempt to equate driver testing with the ability to purchase a firearm is disingenuous. There is no 2nd Amendment protection for driving — there is for owning and bearing arms. Furthermore, some 35,000 people lose their lives each year in vehicular accidents despite licensing and testing. There are less than 1,000 accidental shooting deaths per year and no evidence that any testing would reduce that number.Learn more »
Save me! For the life of me I can’t understand why your newspaper gives Morgan Liddick a platform to regurgitate the same old extremist-right diatribes. If I wanted that stuff I’d just tune in to Hannity or Limbaugh. At least Ted Cruz gave us a break by reading “Green Eggs and Ham.”
I’ve been a 40-plus-year conservative but now I look like a liberal to these new conservatives. I think they should label themselves criticizertives instead. I’m so sick of hearing about what’s wrong without offering a single rational idea of how to fix it. All you get is the same old tired “solutions”: Cut taxes, lower the deficit, shrink big government, kick out the illegals, and increase military spending. OK, those are the goals, but exactly how do we do that?Learn more »
Kudos to Summit’s Swift Water Rescue Team
In this season of Thanksgiving I would like to recognize and thank the Summit County Swift Water Rescue Team for their service during the September flooding along the Front Range. The Summit Daily front page photo showing the rescue of Suzanne Sophocles of Boulder by our Summit County team was close to my heart as Suzanne is the sister of a good friend who lives in North Carolina. To quote my friend, “It broke my heart to see my strong resourceful sister so upset and hurting. I will be eternally grateful to the Summit County team for rescuing her from her day and a half ordeal of water roiling all around her home.”Learn more »
After reading several letters in the Summit Daily that disapprove of the Breckenridge child care scholarship, I would like a voice from the other side to be heard.
We are long time locals; in fact, we have had family in the area for many generations.Learn more »
As a resident of Summit County and a veterinarian, I have heard many opinions and “facts” concerning breed specific legislation and specific dog breeds being dangerous…or not. Pit Bull, German Shepherd, Rottweiler and other breeds have been targets of these laws. Recently, after a dog-on-dog attack during the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, the “Pit Bull,” which encompasses two breeds, American Pit Bull Terrier and the American Staffordshire Terrier, is being considered as a breed to ban.
This is a very sensitive issue in our dog friendly community. A dog attack shouldn’t be taken lightly. I’m hopeful that people are using reputable resources to guide them in their decision making regarding legislation concerning dogs. Obviously, Love-A-Bull, Inc is going to be biased in favor of pit bulls and Dogsbite.org, founded by a woman who was attacked by a pit bull, is against pit bulls. The resources below have too much information to list concerning education to prevent dog bites, education for potential dog owners to help them choose a dog breed best for their family’s lifestyle, the financial costs to communities that have implemented breed specific bans and the ineffectiveness of breed specific legislation.Learn more »
I was very surprised to read in the November 6 Summit Daily News article that there is apparently some post election maneuvering by the Town of Breckenridge involving the day care program that was voted down last Tuesday. I don’t understand, it seems quite simple, Breckenridge voters decided not to fund the program so the program is cancelled, right? No need to convene any task forces; no need to get more public input as that was done during Tuesday’s vote. I also don’t understand the articles reference speculating that if more people would have voted to sustain funding the measure might have passed. Seem pretty obvious that in any election if the losing side got more votes they might have won; but that didn’t happen. Heck, if Hillary Clinton would have gotten more votes in the primary she might be president. Let’s face it, this past spending spree only occurred because the millions of tax payer dollars spent on it were misappropriated from taxes approved by voters specifically for recreational facilities. No one likes bait and switch. Please do not swindle Breckenridge tax payers again by ignoring their vote and attempting to reincarnate this program by robbing other important town budgets. That’s just wrong.
Howard WilsonLearn more »
Now that voters have rejected question 2B I thought I would offer a few suggestions to the Breck Town Council. First, I would urge the council to respond positively to the message delivered by voters. This means moving back to the political middle on the host of town level social welfare programs being pushed by a few self-interested constituents. Part of the 2B message is that the town needs to be run as a cost efficient business and not as a lax social welfare agency.
Point forward, I suggest that the current tax payer paid day care program be frozen but funded and kept in place until the end of the current school year. Then next year cut funding by 50% by requiring participants to both work and live within Breckenridge town limits. In addition, reduce payments to day care providers until the current spare capacity of 20-25% is reduced by either facility consolidation or increased enrollments. Three years out the program should be shut down or maintained under a minimal cap and focused solely on the truly needy or indigent. Under any scenario an independent governance and oversight group should be formed, as already contemplated by the council, in order to support and enforce the council’s policy direction. The council also might also consider inviting local business owners to offer child care benefits to their employees to the extent that such benefits might assist with attracting and retaining quality staff. At the same time, the council should make clear that business owners should not expect to shift their benefit expenses on to the backs of local tax payers.Learn more »
It’s called “smoke and mirrors”—this idiom an allusion to the illusion a magician creates by hiding, disguising, or camouflaging the reality on stage, and thus deluding his audience. That’s what Liddick has presented us in his last column.
Once again, he materializes another immigration myth as tiresome as the rabbit-out-of-the-hat. “They take our jobs!” Such a myth, by now, should only exist in the garbage heap of unsubstantiated cliches on discarded posterboards. Anyone with some understanding of today’s global economy would know that the concept of an “American” job is a delusion. But perhaps it’s an attempt by Liddick to magically dupe our senses, scare us into stupidity. Yet, Liddick scoffs at the “sad-eyed kids” and the “poor economic refugees,” implying that they are an insidious component in a campaign of compassion to wrestle immigration reform out of the House Republicans. Well, better to pander to compassion than fear. However, if you think fear can mesmerize more, then let me offer the image of a bloated, partially-devoured cadaver in the Arizona desert that was once a pregnant woman.Learn more »
As one of the profiled breast cancer survivors, I’d like to thank the Summit Daily for running articles in October, Breast Cancer Awareness month. There were four wonderful profiles featuring the lives of local women who have been through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Thanks, also, to the three other women for sharing the possibly very difficult times of their lives with our community. The stories spoke of the hope, courage and strength these women had to muster up while fighting this terrible disease. I hope the SDN readers found these articles to be inspirational and educational.
So many of us, unfortunately, know someone who has had to fight breast cancer. One particularly heart-wrenching story in the paper was that of Samaara Robbins. Without insurance to cover her huge treatment costs, she turned to Susan G. Komen for financial assistance. You can play a role in making a difference in our fight against this disease with your support of the Romp to Stomp out Breast Cancer, a snowshoe event, held at the Frisco Nordic Center on March 1. This is the only winter event held between Denver and, at least, Glenwood Springs where all the fundraising dollars and proceeds go to breast cancer screening, community services and research. In the case of the Romp to Stomp, the benefactor is the Denver affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. For example, via Komen’s granting process the Summit Community Care Clinic receives money to provide our under-insured and uninsured residents free mammograms. Please consider attending the Romp to help eradicate breast cancer as a life-threatening disease, the mission of Komen.Learn more »
This election day the Breckenridge Restaurant Association encourages registered voters to cast their ballots in favor of 1A and 2B. The Breckenridge and Summit County communities benefit from attracting and supporting vibrant, ambitious families who have many choices in where to put down roots. Our association is committed to the stout and stable funding of all educational opportunities particularly since these initiatives do so without increasing taxes. Please vote in favor of 1A and 2B to help build our wonderful communities.
Ken NelsonLearn more »
We were disappointed and surprised to read the misinformed criticism of Amendment 66 (“Amendment 66 bad math,” Oct. 25). Intentionally or not, the author makes a number of misleading math errors.
First, the impact on small business is overstated. The average small business may make $250,000, but the average is skewed by “small businesses” that have hundreds of employees and have organized as S-corps to avoid federal taxes. The truth is that 83 percent of Colorado’s small businesses make $170,000 or less, meaning their increase would be $400 or less in additional taxes.Learn more »
I am the director of an Early Learning Center in Breckenridge and wanted to bring to light the absolute importance of 1A and 2B for all of us as a community. We value these initiatives because they allow us to pay our teachers a liveable wage which means we can recruit and retain the most educated and experienced staff and offer an affordable and quality option for families who need childcare. We hope you value and support these ballot issues because the value of their passing spans beyond the childcare arena. It means that your business can recruit and retain valuable staff because your employees are afforded childcare options that work. It means there will be no interruption to the services that you depend on: such as the plowing of city streets, the stocking of the grocery store shelves, available appointments with your dentist because they all have affordable childcare slots available to them. And finally as a member of this community, it means that you are investing in a future of citizens that have had access to early education, which has a proven return of investment of over $10 dollars for every $1 invested. These initiatives mean everything to us and the other childcare centers in our community for our success and livelihood. As a long time resident of this community and a parent of two elementary school aged children, I recognize the value to all of us. Please commit to supporting 1A and 2B as a way to support your neighbors, your employees, and your community as these ballot issues have the ability to positively impact us all for years to come. Please take a few minutes to go and vote and create the change you want to see.
Leslie DavisLearn more »
Here are my proposed solutions to a slew of problem currently facing Coloradans:
• Amendment 66 is a dead end. Better to provide incentives for charter schools along with a voucher system that allows parents to choose which schools they want their kids to attend, thereby rewarding good teachers with higher pay and providing better results in the classroom. Start a pay-for-performance compensation package for teachers so that the best teachers make the most money without the restrictions and mediocrity of a union-supported tenure system. And allow more parents to be involved in the schools more often. When parents model learning achievement, kids will aspire to greater academic success.Learn more »
I am a small business owner and I’m writing in response to Ken Gansmann’s letter to the editor, “Amendment 66 math” in the October 25 edition of the Summit Daily News. The tax burden on me from Amendment 66 will be no different than it was when I was working for Hewlett-Packard for 20 years. There are no corporate taxes associated with Amendment 66 and my income as a small business owner is the same as my income as an employee as far as my tax liability is concerned. To imply that small business owners will somehow be unfairly affected by Amendment 66 is simply not true.
Mr. Gansmann claims that a small-business owner making $250,000 per year will have a “tax hit” from Amendment 66 of a little over $9,000 per year more. I have no idea where he comes up with that figure. Someone with a taxable income of $250,000 would pay $2500 more per year under Amendment 66. And don’t forget that you would probably make well over $300,000 per year in order to have a taxable income of $250,000.Learn more »
The truth about the Affordable Care Act is, finally, coming to the forefront. Though criticized by some and defended by others, the fact is that it’s about instructing adults of this nation what is best for them in spite of individuals’ personal knowledge and choices. Many Democrat supporters are admitting that they knew what they were doing, the goal being to reduce choice and raise prices in the insurance market thus driving as many people as possible into government exchanges, making Americans more dependent on the government. In the meantime, so far, approximately 1.2 million previously insured adults have had their policies cancelled, leaving them without any health insurance coverage while the Obamacare enrollment system continues to fail. As a recent hip replacement patient, my wife has been informed by her orthopedic surgeon that he will no longer “be accepting Medicare and Medicare Replacemen/Advantage health insurance.” His reason: “Medicare reimbursement…has decreased 42% since 1985 and there is a mandated further reduction of 30%.” He has “little faith reductions will not continue and that the cost of the impending Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) is going to impact Medicare in a negative way. After January 1, 2014, it will be necessary …to engage in a private contract…” for his services. So for all you seniors, who believe that President Obama knows what is best for you and wouldn’t mislead you, get out your checkbooks, because your Medicare benefits are going to be systematically reduced. Consider yourselves obsolete, unless medical costs are not a factor in your lifestyle!
Don SevereLearn more »
The Summit Foundation recently adopted a resolution supporting the early childhood ballot Initiatives 1A & 2B. The Foundation is committed to creating ever better mountain communities by providing leadership that results in improving the quality of life for residents. The goals of the initiatives to provide safe, quality care and learning for the community’s children, to promote school success by preparing children for learning when the start school and to engage and support parents in their children’s education in the early years; are directly in line with mission and goals of The Summit Foundation.
The Summit Foundation highly supports the passage of these initiatives and we encourage you to join us in that support and vote yes on Initiatives 1A and 2B.Learn more »
Maybe better schools will improve the math being used by Amendment 66 proponents. According to the 2012 estimate, Colorado’s population is 5.188 million with 2.1 million households. If the “average Coloradan” will pay $133/yr. as stated, then Amendment 66 will only bring in $690m not $950m. The real figure is $183/yr. (simple math: $950m/$5.188m = $183 (per capita). However, elsewhere the article indicates the $133 is predicated on a median household income not per capita. With only 2.1 million households in Colorado, Amendment 66 will only bring in $276 million (a $624 million gap) using the $133/yr. average per household. Therefore, the real average per household is just over $452/yr! ($452 X 2.1m=$949.2m).
The figure of $133 uses skewed mathematics to hide the real effect on those with incomes above the median who will pay 83% of the tax hike through an unequal/unfair distribution of the tax. For illustration, using the oft-cited figure of $133 below the median income and half the total households in Colorado (1.05 million) only $140 million, or less than 15% of the $950 million, will be raised from this half ($133 x 1.05m = $140m). The other half (households over the $58,000 median income) will suffer an average increase in taxes of $772/yr. For the two income family, small business owner, better paid hard workers, the share of Amendment 66 is 6 times greater than $133/yr. Households making more than $75,000/yr. are subjected to a punitive and “progressive” 27% state tax increase to close the gap!Learn more »
On Nov. 5, we will vote “no” on Colorado Amendment 66. Here are the reasons:
1. It professes to raise some $1 billion only “for improvements to pre-school through twelfth-grade public education.” However, money is fungible. This billion dollars going directly to the schools will free up a billion dollars which ordinarily would be allocated to schools from the state’s General Fund. The politicians can then choose to spend the “freed-up” General Fund dollars on whatever they choose. This amendment is just a way around TABOR to raise taxes.Learn more »