Remember to vote with climate change in mind

In Colorado, we are already seeing the effects of climate change: increased intensity and prevalence of wildfires, decreased snowpack, persistent drought, and dangerous heat waves. In fact, this past summer in Colorado, we experienced the third hottest summer in history. It is apparent now that if we do not take immediate action, the future of Colorado and young people is at stake.

Unfortunately, the current EPA under Interim Administrator Andrew Wheeler has taken steps to reverse action on climate change with rollbacks on clean car standards, the clean power plan, and methane safeguards. This is despite the fact the administration itself admits that we are headed to a global increase in temperature of 7 degrees Fahrenheit annually by the year 2100.

A 7 degree increase would cause sea levels to rise so much that entire cities (such as Miami) will be flooded.

Now is not a time for apathy. It’s time for young people to take our future into our own hands. An overwhelming majority of us believe climate change is an issue that must be addressed. As a volunteer with the nonpartisan climate action group Defend Our Future, I hear from my peers every day about how they are prepared to make their voices heard on this issue in this year’s midterm elections. I encourage everyone to consider doing the same. We can’t afford inaction on this issue any longer.

Kimia Rejai, Denver

Vote no on fire district mill levy

I oppose Ballot Issue 6A and hope both the residents of the affected district and the Superior Town Board will do the same. We residents have tremendous respect for the professionals in the Rocky Mountain Fire Protection District and the service they provide to all of us.

The inherent ambiguity evident in 6A suggests that all taxpayers (residential and commercial) will be subject to RMFPD’s own determination on their additional needs for funds. Less transparency will be afforded to the district residents regarding the trade-offs that should factor into any decision as it relates to service levels.

Operating expenses at RMF have increased on a compound annual basis by 11 to 13 percent since 2014, with personnel expenses increasing nearly 17 percent since 2015. Additionally, RMFPD has an enormous cash balance and does not charge for ambulatory services as done so by other emergency service organizations.

Opportunities for cost reduction through service changes must always be fully evaluated prior to asking voters to increase taxes. With the ballot language of 6A, RMFPD would not be required to do so.

Unfortunately, the RMFPD already has one of the highest mill levies in the state. Homeowners and businesses in Superior pay nearly three times more than our neighbors in Louisville. This asymmetry puts our businesses at a distinct economic disadvantage.

Based on my own analysis, if the ballot initiative passes and assuming continued modest increases in Superior residential property values, the RMFPD mill levy would be increased from 20.445 to 23.9 in 2020 and then to 29.0 in 2022.

I urge the voters in the district and the Town of Superior Board to support a No vote on Ballot Issue 6A. The RMFPD should not be allowed to change the mill levy on their own and without specific assent by the voters.

Neal Shah, trustee candidate, Superior

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