Opinion | Knopf: Clear choices on Colorado ballot | SummitDaily.com

Opinion | Knopf: Clear choices on Colorado ballot

Susan Knopf
Guest column

He's done it in front me, several times. With a puppy-dog grin pasted on his face, he flat out lied. I could never vote for Walker Stapleton, not even for dog catcher. Jared Schutz Polis (aka Jared Polis Schutz) is our best choice for governor. He is the son of Susan Polis Schutz. Some of you will remember her as a poet and co-founder of Blue Mountain Arts, which she ran with her husband, Stephen Schutz. Jared helped create BlueMountain.com. Jared made his personal wealth creating online business ventures, like ProFlowers. He is one of the wealthiest members of U.S. Congress. He puts it to good use, creating and assisting many charities. He has been lauded numerous times for his philanthropic work.

The campaign waged against Jared Polis is a lying hoax. Republicans hope you don't read and can't find the truth. A woman who was later convicted of stealing trade secrets from Polis' company was blocked from leaving the building until police arrived to apprehend her and the evidence. You can read more about it in the Denver Post. Polis is endorsed by five newspapers and 18 leading labor and civic organizations. He has a proven track record: fighting to protect the environment, and fighting for good education for all. Find out more about his platform on his website, PolisForColorado.com.

74 and 112

Amendment 74 will suck you dry. Amendment 74 and Proposition 112 are brothers by another mother. Amendment 74 is a constitutional amendment to use tax payers' dollars to compensate private landowners, who claim lost value due to government regulation (like safety setbacks proposed in Proposition 112). Oregon passed a similar measure in 2004, and overturned most of it in 2007. The Oregon measure no longer authorizes challenges to restrictions on industrial or commercial uses of property.

There's a lot of money at stake. Private interests, looking for a big payday from your pocket, have plunked down nearly $9 million to persuade you to vote for Amendment 74. That's more than three times what nonprofits have spent trying to protect the public coffers from corporate raiders. The oil and gas industry spent $30 million to stop safety setbacks (Proposition 112).

Protect Colorado, that nice sounding organization which is a front for the oil and gas industry, is fighting for 74 and against 112. There is nothing inherently wrong with the oil and gas industry. My car runs on gas and I keep my house warm with natural gas. Gas is good. So if you are not trying to hide who and what you represent, why create a false flag "Protect Colorado?" Check the website at ProtectColorado.com. The organization opposes any restriction on the oil and gas industry. In other words, any safety concern you may want to address.

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Proposition 112 addresses an important safety concern; it increases the setback on new oil and gas exploration and extraction. It doesn't change anything that currently exists. So we won't lose any current revenues. There are projections of possible future losses of royalties and extraction fees, but no one really knows what will happen in the future. Most people are working toward reduced oil and gas reliance. And most oil and gas reserves can be reached horizontally, thus negating any lack of access to valuable resources. An oil industry inside report agrees, 112 will have little effect on the industry, according to a KUSA 9News report.

If you decide you agree with those who have studied the issues, and you'd like a 2,500-foot safety setback on new oil and gas operations from schools, occupied structures, water sources and other "vulnerable" sites, then Amendment 74 will make you pay for it through the nose. Oil companies are going to charge you, the taxpayer, for "devaluing" their properties.

This argument ignores the obvious. Their property would have no value but for the public highways and utilities that connect their land to the commercial marketplace. In Oregon, private landowners sued government to get lucrative zoning changes which ignored master plans and the interests of neighbors. We all pay a price and receive rewards in the capitalist marketplace. But no one should have to pay the ultimate price — dying for profit. Proposition 112 seeks to protect the health and wellbeing of all our citizens, and their property. I recommend NO on 74 and YES on 112.

109 and 110

Another case of brothers from another mother. One pays his tab, and the other is a freeloader. 109 NO! It has no source of funding and therefore would rob schools, and other vital services to pave roads. 110 YES!! Endorsed by Governor Hickenlooper and our local leaders. This proposition gets visitors to help pave our roads. It costs only 62 cents on a $100 purchase, for just 20 years. And 40 percent of the money comes back to help us pay for local transportation projects. Eli Pace does a great job explaining it in the Summit Daily News.

HD-61

Summit County Schools spokeswoman Julie McCluskie is running for Colorado House District 61, hoping to replace term-limited Millie Hamner. Her opposition, Mike Mason, frankly appeared to have no meaningful campaign or stance when he appeared at our town forum. McCluskie is well-respected and serves on several charitable boards. McCluskie is a strong proponent of affordable housing, good public education and affordable healthcare. She is a problem-solver who looks for workable solutions.

District 2

Both Democrat and Republican candidates running for U.S. Congressional District 2 are sons of immigrants. One, Joe Neguse, has a proven track record looking out for our interests, and has been recognized for his exemplary work. He is a lawyer and oversaw a state government department with commended results. His opponents on the other hand have no government experience. As one who worked on the Hill, let me say it's no place for newbies!

And let me bang the gong one more time. You can register to vote anytime, including on Election Day. Check out GoVoteColorado.com. In Brazil, 21 percent did not vote and a racist, militaristic fascist was elected by a large minority. VOTE! Your voice matters!

Susan Knopf is a Summit County resident. She has won awards from the Associated Press and United Press International for her news reporting.

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