Summit Daily letters: Thoughts on ballot measure 1A, sheriff’s race |

Summit Daily letters: Thoughts on ballot measure 1A, sheriff’s race

Support for ballot measure 1A

The board of directors of Early Childhood Options has unanimously endorsed ballot measure 1A. Families of Summit County are struggling and leaving our community. Juggling childcare payments the size of mortgages along with mounting health care and housing costs have stretched the hard working families who serve our visitors and drive our economy to the limit. 

Early Childhood Options helps local working families navigate the world of early care and learning. What still surprises many is the overwhelming cost of childcare. Today, the average cost of full time preschool here in Summit is over $1300/month (over $15,000 annually). Add this to the cost of housing and health care and it is wonder families are able to make it. Especially when working seasonal jobs where a winter’s income must stretch through the leans months of mud season. With 1A, parents of 4 year olds will find some relief. This well designed program will make tuition credits available so local working families can access the care they need to go to work and limit their spending to no more than 7 – 10% of their income. 

Voting for 1A will not only prepare children for learning; it will put counselors in all of our schools to look after their mental health; improve access to recycling, provide additional funds to protect our community from wildfires and provide funds for a new child care center where capacity is most needed. Our county commissioners have worked hard with non-profits who are on the ground to research how to help the community they serve. As a result, 1A directly addresses what our community has identified as some of our biggest challenges and our most important needs.

These carefully identified priorities will make Summit a Stronger and Healthier community. When we take care of our neighbors, we take care of our community. Join us and vote YES on 1A.

Board of Directors

Early Childhood Options



“You only have 10 minutes to get out, not 11 only 10!”

That is what I heard from a local fireperson as I entered my home after having been on a hike on Buffalo Mountain on June 12th of this year. I live directly across the street from the Royal Buffalo trailhead in Mesa Cortina and we had always thought that a fire would someday arrive because of the large number of dead and fallen lodgepole pine trees on Buffalo that would quickly fuel a very large fire. I gathered our important papers, photos, and other cherished items and drove to Lowe’s where I joined many of my neighbors for a very long day of second guessing the extent of the fire while watching the many heavy air tankers, helicopters and the DC-10’s dropping slurry and water on our homes and in the forest. We soon learned that we would not be going home as 1400 homes were under evacuation and another 1200 were under pre-evacuation orders.

What we did learn when we returned to our slurry-pinkened houses and blackened landscape was that ALL of our homes had been saved through the help of many federal, state and county partners AND perhaps most importantly the fuel breaks dug in 2011 had saved us from the ravenous fire. These 500 foot- wide land buffers were created by ridding the area of dead trees and other fuels which were a result of the pine beetle epidemic. The decision to aggressively treat our neighborhood saved our homes but most importantly lives. We will be forever thankful.

Ballot Initiative IA asks that voters approve a temporary, decade-long mill levy on property taxes for some of our most critical and urgent challenges-mental health, child care, recycling, infrastructure maintenance/improvement and $1million a year for wildfire prevention. Won’t you please vote YES for Ballot Initiative IA to protect your homes and lives, to help our Summit County neighbors in need of child care and mental health services and to help our environment through greater recycling efforts.

Maureen and Barry Westerland


Conflicted on voting in favor for Ballot Measure 1A

The Board of County Commissioners corrals five significant local topics together, on 3.5 pages, and devotes 2-4 small vague paragraphs to each topic for online reading, and a one-page summary in the county ballot measure that was mailed out. By doing so, the board undermines the magnitude each issue intrinsically holds and undermines voter integrity. The five issues at hand are substantial for our community’s future, which is why each issue deserves more than the few sentences the BOCC offers to voters.

Civic engagement and voter integrity deserve transparency on a ballot measure that asks for $8.8 million, and no less, per fiscal year. The proposed ballot measure boasts improvements to all the listed 1A measures but shares no information on how to achieve such improvements. As of now, a vote for 1A is a vote for lack of transparency and a lack of community and civic engagement.

Mill levies affect current and future property owners as well as current and future renters. As renters, consider who the increase in property taxes might be passed down to. As future property owners, consider how a mill levy seems to be local governments response to funding even though other sources are available.

My concerns do not stem from being a future home or property owner or from being a current renter. My concerns circumnavigate the ill-defined plans by Summit’s Board of County Commissioners on this measure.

Voters, renters, property owners – taxpayers – we owe it to ourselves to vote on transparent actions, but it’s difficult, if not impossible to do so, when local governments are not transparent on what is being asked from the public.

For me, it’s hard to cast a “yes” vote on vague feel-good intangible ballot measures.

Kathryn Diane Slaughter


Support for FitzSimons in sheriff’s race

Woodman doth protest too much. In the current campaign for the Sheriff’s Office, the tune that Derek Woodman and his supporter’s continuously play is one to convince us to ignore the fact that he is running as a candidate of and with the support of the Republican Party. Telling the voters that his GOP affiliation is not relevant to the office he wishes to ascend to is disingenuous at best, and I believe shows a lack of courage and ignorance of the mood of voters in our progressive county. His efforts to distance himself over and over again from his Party cannot be ignored. If he is so against being linked with the Republican Party, then why not be brave, and run as an Independent? Because the money and support he receives from the GOP, that’s why, I believe.

And no, as much as he tries to convince us, I cannot ignore the fact that he represents a group I find reprehensible, from it’s promotion of corporate greed, it’s utter lack of respect for the environment and worker’s rights and safety, and denial of health care to all Americans, not just those who can afford it. Not to mention the Republican Party’s exploitation of the basest instincts and divisions in our society, be it racism, sexism and just plain intolerance and lack of civility.

In addition, there nothing that would prevent me from voting to keep our current Sheriff, Jaime FitzSimons in office. From what I have heard and read, Woodman’s campaign has been negative in tone, and now is trying to convince the public that they too have suffered the slings and arrows of injustice. Not buying it.

Sorry Derek Woodman, I cannot look past the (R) after your name when I enter the voting booth.

Bob Portnoy


Elect Derek Woodman as sheriff

I am a former deputy of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. I began my career with former Sheriff John Minor and Undersheriff Derek Woodman and I loved my job. I continued as a deputy for Jaime FitzSimons. In the months following Jaime FitzSimons’ appointment as sheriff it became clear the agency was no longer healthy. I left because of FitzSimons’ (lack of) leadership. Had FitzSimons been the leader he claims to be or had Woodman been appointed sheriff I would still be working there.

In my years working for Derek Woodman I saw many examples where through fairness, experience and skill he did the right thing for the community and the employees of the Sheriff’s Office. Woodman quietly worked behind the scenes and never sought recognition, he simply did the right thing because it was right. I was proud to work for Derek Woodman.

Woodman cares for this community and spent three and a half decades helping to make it a great place to live. Woodman also spent three and a half decades ensuring the Summit County Sheriff’s Office served this community well.

I continue to work locally in emergency services. In talking with my fellow first responders and my friends I am constantly disheartened to hear their frustrations of FitzSimons. The phrase I hear over and over is “something has to change.”

Zak Slutzky


Support Mike Mason for HD 61

After a home cooked breakfast and a cup of kombucha, let’s talk about Mike.

Mike and Judy Mason were working towards a subdivision on their 300+ acre property near Cedaredge, CO when I met them 11 years ago. Mike and Judy tenaciously navigated the maze of bureaucracy for six grueling years holding fast to the declared principles of life, liberty and property that guide their lives today. Mike has that detailed, analytical, and encompassing way of looking at any topic. His physics, engineering, and scientific backgrounds are engulfed with compassion towards others and reverence to God.

Mike wants to work for the people of HD 61 because he wants to help people, not swell government. Mike Mason has shared with me his disgust with many of the elected in government who are diverted from the Principles of Freedom by emotional and “band aid” approaches. As a septuagenarian he steps into this arena to “read the bills”, consult his constituents, and pursue the guided course of the peoples’ government. Humbly Mike and Judy appreciate his recent cancer survival, and they enjoy their ranch enough to pursue the Hemp industry which is labor intense and financially demanding.

Mike and Judy Mason are very successful, self sufficient, generous, and giving of their retired careers in an effort of service to the younger generations so they too can become successful. Get to know Mike your Republican Candidate for HD 61 at

Roger W. Bentley

Self employed Chiropractor and farmer


The senior discount stops here?

So, the Frisco Nordic Center is raising rates for the Super Seniors. I can’t say as I blame them. That snow making and the groomers don’t come cheap. And besides, there is no earthly reason that someone, just because they are 70, should be provided what is essentially free skiing at three ski areas. Last I checked, Vail Resorts doesn’t do that.

I am just guessing here, but I would be willing to bet that the demographic impacted by this fee increase is hitting those with the deepest pockets in the county. Sure, not every senior has a lot of money, but as a population base I’ll bet they are pretty well off. If anything, a rate cut should go to the 20 year old ‘kids’ who are working minimum wage jobs.

This would have been my first year to take advantage of the Super Senior rate. Alas, it’s not to be. But I’ll happily pay a fair amount to ski these great Nordic centers. So this year I will pay $195 for a three area pass – ski 50 times and that comes out to $3.90 per day. In Summit County I doubt you can buy a cappuccino for that!

Charles Pitman


Meat industry is really scary

I have no fear of zombies, witches, or evil clowns lurking on Halloween. What really scares me is the meat industry.

This is the industry that deprives, mutilates, cages, then butchers billions of cows, pigs, turkeys, chickens – animals who feel joy, affection, sadness, and pain, as we do…

— that exposes undocumented workers to chronic workplace injuries at slave wages, and exploits farmers and ranchers by dictating market prices…

This industry contributes more to our epidemic of diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and cancer than any other, then bullies health authorities to remove health warnings from dietary guidelines…

— that sanctions world hunger by feeding nutritious corn and soybeans to animals, instead of people…

This industry generates more water pollution than all other human activities, spews more greenhouse gases than all transportation, and destroys more wildlife habitats than all other industries.

Fortunately, my local supermarket offers a rich selection of plant-based meats, milks, cheeses, and ice creams, as well as a colorful display of fresh fruits and veggies. Even the meat industry publication Feedstuffs reports that sales of plant-based foods doubled last year. That’s what gives me both courage and hope.

Samson Natal


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