Summit Daily letters: A matter of life or death on the ballot
October 12, 2018
On the ballot: A matter of life or death
Suppose you just landed on earth.
You go looking for the most beautiful place on the planet, so you come to Colorado. But amid the majesty of the mountains, you find people dying by suicide — more than 1,000 each year. Thousands more are sleeping on the streets or languishing in prison cells.
Here in Summit County, the suicide rate is three times the national average. Adults in the county have the highest rate of binge drinking in Colorado.
We can be shocked by these statistics or we can change them. The good news: Summit County has a chance to change.
Measure 1A would invest $2 million per year over the next 10 years in the prevention and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders. That means putting more mental health professionals in schools, delivering intensive services to treat drug and alcohol addiction, offering support for individuals with serious mental illness, providing specialized therapy for those at risk of suicide and enabling mental health professionals to accompany law enforcement officers as co-responders.
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Mental health care is a worthwhile investment — yielding a four-to-one return in improved health and productivity, according to the World Health Organization. Such care can spell the difference between life and death.
That's why 1A matters, not only to the Summit County residents who face a mental health or substance use disorder but to all of us. This cause touches every family on earth.
President and CEO of Mental Health Colorado
Vote yes on Ballot Issue 7D
If you are a registered voter in Summit County, I am encouraging you to vote "Yes" on Ballot Issue 7D, regarding funding of Colorado Mountain College, in the upcoming November election. I have had the opportunity to get to know the college first hand over the past seven to eight years and am consistently impressed with its offerings, its students and staff. Your yes vote on 7D allows CMC to remain the high quality, affordable asset that has been in our community for more than five decades.
• CMC is the primary provider of first responders, firefighters, nurses, early childhood educators and hospitality workers in our mountain communities.
• CMC provides free college courses for our high school students through concurrent
enrollment, saving Summit County families thousands of dollars and giving students a leg up entering college.
• CMC offers each "in-district" high school senior automatic admission to college and a scholarship to go with it!
• CMC has served nearly 500,000 students since its inception 50 years ago.
Continued support for CMC is critical to ensure the essential services and workers needed for our mountain communities to thrive.
Yes on 7D does NOT increase residential tax rates above current levels, it simply allows the college to respond to a quirk in The Colorado Constitution (Gallagher Amendment) that is negatively impacting mountain and rural communities.
In 2017, this quirk caused a revenue reduction to CMC of over $2.7 million. It is projected that this level will be lowered again costing CMC an additional $3.8M in 2019. These reductions are permanent and will continue as long as growth in the Front Range continues to outpace growth in rural Colorado, again causing a revenue reduction to CMC limiting or eliminating many of its services. Voting YES on 7D freezes the residential tax rate at current levels and ensures CMC's ongoing ability to remain our affordable, high-quality local college.
Board Member CMC Foundation
Support Jaime FitzSimons for Summit County Sheriff
The Summit Daily News does a great job reporting local news in a well-researched and articulate manner. On Oct. 11, two articles featured information about some of the outstanding work our Summit County Sheriff and his department are doing to make us all safer and better served. The first article described the potential impact of passage of Ballot Question 1A on mental health access and treatment, including plans developed by Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons to address mentally unstable residents not only when incarcerated (mostly accomplished in the last two years) but also when confronted during emergency responses, a frequent occurrence. The second article documented the above average performance in the sheriff office's professionalism in closing cases of arrested miscreants, a substantial improvement over the prior administration. These articles document two among many reasons to invite Sheriff FitzSimons to continue in office.
But current articles are not the only valuable source of information. In the archives of the SDN are articles documenting problems occurring under the prior administration when former Undersheriff Woodman had operational authority over the department. Others document an audit conducted immediately after Woodman's departure, demonstrating his various questionable practices.
One story describes the settlement of a multi-million dollar lawsuit stemming from the negligent response to and death of an at-risk inmate, one among several documented jail deaths during the prior administration under the authority and supervision of the undersheriff.
I think we should honor and reward success, not return to office a man with a documented record of poor performance. I encourage all to do their own research. I will vote for Sheriff FitzSimons.
Ballot Measure 6D is not part of 1A
From the numerous contacts made to the district from residents it is apparent some recent confusion has arisen around the fact of the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District's revenue stabilization issue titled 6D on the Nov. 6 ballot is thought by some to be part of the Summit County's 1A ballot issue. These are completely separate issues and are not connected in any manner nor do they support one another in any way. The Red, White & Blue's ballot measure is to provide financial stabilization to the district's current revenues because of the effects from the Gallagher Amendment and will not be utilized for new projects or expansion of services. The revenue will only be utilized to support the continuance of the district's current emergency response and prevention services.
Chief, Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District
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