Robert Mortimer: Election: Michael Bennet is part of the solution
It was disconcerting to see conservative columnist George Will’s foray into Colorado politics in the Camera. Will flatters us by asserting “Coloradans have the nation’s political healing in their hands.” This we can exercise, according to Will, by voting for the Republican candidate for the Senate, Joe O’Dea. In fact, this would be a very poor strategy for healing the country’s current political ills for several reasons.
First and foremost, our current Senator, Michael Bennet, has done an excellent job representing Colorado. Bennet has progressive views on a host of issues that are important to folks in this state. He is committed to environmental protection, and to sensible gun control policies such as universal background checks. He has voted to protect reproductive rights, the right to vote and for veterans’ health measures. He worked to gain $4 billion in drought relief for the Colorado River Basin and other funding for water infrastructure and forest health. He is an experienced legislator who shares the values of most Coloradans.
O’Dea on the other hand is a conservative businessman with no experience in public affairs. His election would provide life support for Mitch McConnell and his right-wing agenda.
The way to achieve “political healing” in our nation is not to contribute to a roadblock in the U.S. Senate but to elect a Democratic Congress that can contribute to the huge task of moving beyond Trumpism which ostensibly is what George Will would like to do. Michael Bennet is part of the solution, Joe O’Dea is not.
Robert Mortimer, Boulder
Mindy Kittay: Library district: Stable funding allows planning for the future
Before opening a clothing store in downtown Boulder, I worked for many years as a public library administrator. During that time, I was employed by three independent library districts — much like the one being proposed here in Boulder — and saw first-hand the difference that districts make in the communities they serve.
Public libraries of all kinds deliver a positive return on taxpayer dollars. For every dollar invested, they typically generate $2 to $10 in local outcomes. And independent library districts typically do better. That’s because stable funding allows them to plan for the future. Library districts are also flexible: they can adjust their services and programming when needed without getting tangled in city bureaucracies.
Because library districts are funded by property taxes, rather than volatile sales tax revenues, they can also weather economic downturns better than their city-funded counterparts. This means they can keep their doors open when the community needs them the most. The situation in Boulder illustrates this point. While the Boulder Public Library still hasn’t restored all services cut during the pandemic, district libraries in other Colorado communities bounced back quickly after public health measures were relaxed.
Finally, districts match a library’s service area and tax base with its patron base. More people who use library services help to pay for them, and serving them, in turn, becomes part of the library’s mission. Districts ensure that libraries are both of and for their communities.
Having seen library districts operate successfully in literally dozens of Colorado communities, I’m surprised that Boulder has taken so long to consider this model. When we vote on the concept this November, I will be an enthusiastic yes.
Mindy Kittay, Boulder