Aug. 9: Letters to the Editor | Letters To Editor | laramieboomerang.com – Laramie Boomerang

Subverting the system is not an American value

I recently learned that several Democrats have changed parties to become more electable in Albany County. While this is a free country, I believe this tactic is contrary to what America stands for.

Wyoming is what the rest of the U.S. used to be. This ploy is an attempt to change gun laws and put forth a liberal agenda. This maneuver is being used in other states as well. This scheme was used in Virginia and the Second Amendment was all but destroyed. If people truly feel this way, I think honest voting will get them what they want, but to lie and deceive to get their way is not the American way.

My family and I are fifth generation Albany County residents. I was chairman of the advisory board that built the new jail. I was on the first Albany County Arbitration Board. I sat on the board for the Juvenile Detention Alternative program. I was on the Centennial Celebration Committee and was chairman of Jubilee Days. I am not trying to toot my own horn, but I truly try to be a good Wyomingite. I have never endorsed a candidate for office before. This election is important to our state, maybe for years to come.

I met a fellow that I believe has the conservative values Wyoming needs, his name is Chris Culross and he is running for House District 14. He is retired Air Force. He is also a local Veteran Business owner, UW graduate and has a positive and responsible attitude. I am very impressed with his effective communication skills.

Vote. Our future depends on it. Democrat or Republican, we all have our own views. To subvert this system is not the American way.

Bruce Mitchell

Laramie

Congress needs to do what it can to get pandemic under control

The economy is of great concern to us all at this time. People are losing jobs and homes, businesses are closing, schools don’t know how to open safely, etc.

Instead of fighting about unemployment help, moratoriums on evictions, etc., all this could have been ameliorated, and to some extent could still be, by a federally-led response to the pandemic.

To our congressional delegation, if you are truly fiscal conservatives, the most effective, economical thing you can do is to work to get the coronavirus pandemic under control. That means speaking out for a coherent, science-based, federal strategy instead of the chaos we are getting from Trump. We need you to forcefully promote a national strategy, to promote the best information and practices from our medical professionals, make concerted plans to protect those in communal living situations and impoverished condition, to supply and protect our health care workers, etc. And you need to speak out against Trump’s lies, false statistics, confusion of total deaths with per capita deaths when comparing his success with that of other nations, his promotion of ineffective and potentially harmful treatments, his disrespect for experts, and general lack of empathy and understanding. Our response has been shameful when compared to that of other countries. We are no longer a world leader, and not even a follower, but lost in Trump fantasy land where a pandemic is a political tool in his campaign.

If we are to re-start the economy, then we need to protect the health of Americans, to support our healthcare and other essential workers, maintain our supply chains, promote factual information, and acknowledge the human cost as well as the economic one.

Continued silence in the face misinformation, lack of a unified response, and apparent indifference to the emotional and financial suffering of Americans will only prolong the pandemic and worsen the economy and security of our people and our nation. Barrasso, Enzi, and Cheney need to be vocal in their support for an effective response. Let them know you expect them to put Americans’ safety above personal and party loyalty.

Carol Smith

Laramie

Accusations that protests were not peaceful unfounded

So Sandi Rees was called a bad name at a BLM protest. I’m sorry she was offended but that does not make the protest violent.

Was she pushed? Was she shot at by rubber bullets? Was she gassed or sprayed with pepper spray? No, she wasn’t because the protests were peaceful. I suspect Rees would prefer the BLM folk to just stay home and behave themselves. Hm, where have I seen that before? Oh yeah, from racist white people in the South in the 1960s who didn’t see a problem with segregation and Jim Crow. Rees says that she believes recognizing the truth of color makes you racist. This is just a variant of the trope, “I don’t see color.” This denies a person of color’s life experiences and reality. It says, “I don’t see you.” Living in Laramie is wonderful but its demographics makes it easy to ignore what’s happening out in the world.

All lives do matter. But at this particular point in our timeline people of color’s lives are not mattering as much as white people’s lives. White people are not being killed by the police for inadvertently using a counterfeit $20 bill. Twenty dollars. That’s what George Floyd’s life was worth to the officers killing him.

I won’t address Rees’s specific accusations about the BLM organization other than to say that she needs to watch something besides Fox News.

Gwendolyn Wilson

Laramie

Public lands are critical — especially now

Editor:

With our families and friends, we have spent many hours and days this summer hiking, camping and riding horseback on our public lands. We were trying to avoid close contact with crowds, thereby reducing our risk of exposure to COVID. We have also sought relief from the constant barrage of disheartening news about the state of our country.

On these trips we have been impressed by the huge surge in public use of these lands. From fifth-wheel RVs to climbers on Medicine Bow Peak, people are desperate to get out of their homes and away from crowds. They find solace and even health in the beauty and solitude of our landscapes. These experiences have made clear to us the importance of public lands—national forests, national parks and monuments, BLM lands and state lands—for our national security.

Citizens have fled to public lands in Wyoming to protect the physical safety and mental health of themselves and their kids. We often think of “recreational use” as non-essential, except as it contributes to economic activity. Our experiences this summer have shown us that the public views access to these lands as essential. These are places that we own collectively and that matter enormously for safety and security. Public lands mean the difference between sickness and wellness. Public lands are important for everyone fortunate enough to have access to them.

In this time of budget slashing for federal and state land agencies, we hope that lawmakers will remember the security function of public lands for Americans, along with other security-related programs.

Steve Buskirk and Carlos Martinez del Rio

Laramie

Attempted refutations of ineffectiveness of masks fail

I am responding to the Aug. 2 letters from Ms. Viner, Mr. Kubichek, Mr. Maldonado and Ms. Wilson where they attempted to contradict the medical research I cited in my July 26 letter regarding mask ineffectiveness. I am writing just one response since their letters are so similar they may have been coordinated at a coffee klatch.

I was expecting at least one of my four critics to construct and present a reasoned argument supported by research indicating mask effectiveness. Yet not one of their letters referenced any peer reviewed medical or scientific research concluding that masks are effective. Why not? I provided six in my July 26 letter.

The closest to eyeing a target came when Kubichek indicated there were articles on the NEJM web site supporting masking but he didn’t have the perseverance to locate and cite even one.

I was disappointed both Viner and Maldonado cited the same un-sourced quote which refers to a different article than the one I cited in my July 26 letter. That’s a pretty sloppy effort on their part.

Rather than cite evidence, all four offered their opinions, quibbled over words (particles versus droplets) and celebrated that one of the six research papers I cited has since been retracted. The authors of that research paper offered to fix the data error and republish but were denied the opportunity by the journal’s editors, which is a most puzzling decision.

Nonetheless, the science of mask ineffectiveness seems to becoming more acknowledged as progressive countries like the Netherlands and Sweden lead the way.

Richard Hubbard

Laramie

Addressing concerns about shadow flicker from wind projects

I’m writing in response to Ruth Sommers’ Aug. 2 LTE, which discusses shadow flicker from wind projects. Shadow flicker is based on the sun’s angle, turbine location, and distance to the observer, and it can occur when wind turbine blades move past the sun during sunrise or sunset.

Ms. Sommers’ comparison of shadow flicker to a strobe light is misleading. Strobe light frequencies range from 3 Hz to 10 Hz (1 Hz = one flash per second) while modern wind turbines have a blade pass frequency of less than 1 Hz, which is far below the frequency that, according to the Epilepsy Foundation, is normally associated with seizures. A study commissioned by the Massachusetts Departments of Environmental Protection and Public Health found that, according to scientific evidence, shadow flicker does not pose a risk for causing seizures. Furthermore, an expert panel for the National Academy of Sciences found shadow flicker “harmless to humans.”

The intensity of shadow flicker decreases as distance from wind turbines increases. Shadow flicker modeling demonstrates that the turbine setback distances required in most Wyoming counties (including Albany, Carbon and Laramie) are effective at limiting the public’s exposure to shadow flicker. Even Sweetwater County, one of the only Wyoming counties to specifically regulate shadow flicker, has a reasonable limit of 30 hours/year of shadow flicker at non-participating residences. Ms. Sommers’ suggestion of an outright ban of shadow flicker on roads or residences is unduly burdensome.

Shadow flicker is predictable, and wind turbines can be sited to minimize the public’s exposure to shadow flicker. However, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that shadow flicker must be prohibited outright in order to protect public health and safety. Anyone driving on a road with trees experiences flickering light, but no one would suggest banning trees alongside roads.

In the case of Albany County’s wind regulations, thorough review demonstrates that they advance and protect public safety by limiting exposure to shadow flicker and ensuring that wind projects are responsibly sited overall.

Deby Forry

Laramie

Liar, liar pants on fire

It didn’t work. Donald Trump barreled ahead claiming coronavirus soon will disappear and convinced his Republican buddies in Florida, Texas and Arizona that it’s OK to “open up” their economies. That K-12 schools should fully reopen in the fall with in-person teaching. That businesses should recall their employees and get this country back to work. Leaving to states responsibility for managing the pandemic; forcing governors to compete with each other, the rest of the world, and ironically the federal government for PPE and other desperately needed medical supplies. He tells his vice president to slow aid to states with governors not saying complimentary things about him. He criticizes members of his own coronavirus response task force; prevents some of them having access to the media; contradicts their expert advice; and retweets outright lies to his millions of followers.

With all his nefarious meddling, gas-lighting and profound leadership failures, 160,000-plus Americans lie dead; more than 4 million have been infected; long-term health of hundreds of thousands is compromised. With the economy collapsing the president’s minions in the Senate debate whether to renew a measly $600 extra weekly for unemployed working people. In the midst of this, egregious officer-involved murders reoccur. Somehow white America finally awakens and demonstrations go nationwide. But Donald Trump is not going to acknowledge 400-year-old grievances. He labels everyone involved rioters and anarchists. By this time one wonders who is not affected by this man’s twisted leadership.

The president’s dictator friends will try and throw this election his way, and not just because they like his style. While he sits in front of Fox TV all day in his underwear, the governors of 50 states, plus Puerto Rico, and other jurisdictions are left to cope with the worst pandemic in more than 100 years.

This is Donald Trump’s America. Oblivious to suffering. Incapable of showing empathy. Enemy of the poor. Friend to the rich. He means to remake this country in his image. Unless we stop him in November.

Patrick D. Sheehy

Laramie

Former county party chair endorses Homer

Editor:

As a former Albany County Democratic chair, I write to give my strong support for Marc Homer in the Democratic primary for House District 13. HD 13 has elected quality Democratic legislators–such leaders as Mike Massie, Jim Rose and Jane Warren, as well as the current incumbent Cathy Connolly. All of them came to the job with the characteristics that Homer has: enthusiasm, dedication to Democratic party ideals, and a willingness to listen to their constituents.

Previous Democratic HD 13 legislators served three terms and then stepped down to allow new leadership. Our current incumbent has not abided by the generally accepted practice of self-imposed term limits, but has long overstayed her time in the legislature. We need fresh ideas; we need new levels of experience; we need different perspectives; in order to be served well in the legislature.

Marc Homer is the right candidate for these challenging times. Homer has a genuine interest in improving the quality of life in Wyoming; he has the education and experience, a persuasive personality, a pragmatic approach and a progressive vision for Wyoming. Homer supports a transition to a sustainable energy economy that can create new jobs in Wyoming, and he has demonstrated his effectiveness advocating for juvenile justice reform, as well as other progressive policies including health care and education.

I know Marc to be someone who listens to people and stands up for the rights of others. The Democratic party and our political system will benefit from renewal and change. Therefore, I believe Marc Homer to be our best choice to represent our district.

Phil Roberts

Laramie

Candidates with ‘not a politician’ messages are not above anything

To the Editor:

Election years in the current political environment are often an occasion to witness some of the least admirable aspects of our democracy. Mean-spirited attacks on the personal character and motivations of the candidates are commonplace. Nothing new there unfortunately, but there seems to be an increase in popularity for a few particular tactics. This year we’re seeing that in primary contests between members of Wyoming’s majority party, much time has been spent cherry picking the record of incumbents. This information is then used to create a flimsy pastiche of an elected official’s policy positions and cast doubt on whether they genuinely represent their constituents. Instead of taking the word of a primary opponent, or some anonymous single-issue group on Facebook trying to paint an incumbent as a “secret liberal” or whatever, it might be a good idea to personally ask candidates where they stand. In Wyoming that isn’t difficult to do, voters can usually just call them.

Another common tactic, and the main subject of my letter today, is the incredibly silly campaign tactic that seems almost inescapable lately. This is the tactic where the candidate loudly and proudly declares “I am not a politician.” This is kind of amusing, think about it for just a minute and ask yourself if it seems genuine at all.

This message really shouldn’t be taken seriously and should possibly give the voter some pause. Who is being more honest with the voter? The candidate that admits that they are interested in serving or staying on in public office or the candidate that employs a cynical tactic and a weird “too good for this” attitude about their activity? If these candidates see those in elected office as such lowly individuals why are they looking to jump in the swamp and join them? Former Wyoming Gov. Mike Sullivan has put it well: “If someone is a candidate for elected office, campaigning for that office, and calling their opponent a politician…then they’re a politician.” That seems about right.

Paul Weaver

Laramie

Wyoming needs Ludwig in the Senate

The most important problem facing our country today is climate change. President Trump has removed our participation from the Paris Climate Accords and derailed attempts to curb carbon emissions. This happened in spite of scientists telling us that it may be already too late to avoid catastrophe.

Climate change has put Wyoming into a long-term drought. This drought has weakened trees and increased the number and severity of wildfires. Our snowpack now melts earlier, which increases the length of dry summer months. Besides impacting agriculture it also takes a toll on Wyoming wildlife.

Outside of Wyoming the effects are just as severe. Weather patterns change and sea levels steadily rise as the earth warms; storms have become more frequent and extreme. Basic human needs like clean drinking water and healthy food are threatened by global warming. The number of insects, birds and other animals are declining dramatically.

We must phase out fossil fuels and use renewable energy sources like solar and wind power. The goal of the Green New Deal is to make the United States carbon-neutral in 10 years.

Yana Ludwig is a Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate. Her vision of the Green New Deal would mean union jobs in Wyoming that pay a living wage, improved broadband access across the state, increased availability of higher quality (organic) food, and empowerment of local communities to address the problems that affect them as we transition to a new economy. In 2017 Yana wrote a book on this subject “Together Resilient: Building Community in the Age of Climate Disruption.”

Yana has many new ideas. She advocates a community based approach to problem solving. Her ideas include creating micro-grids to supply power and planting ten billion trees.

Wyoming needs a progressive thinker like Yana Ludwig in the U.S. Senate. As a senior I believe we need change now so future generations have a better life and future.

Kevin O’Leary

Laramie

Trustee’s talking points deny facts of COVID-19

Board of Education trustee Karen Bienz’s statement at July 30’s special meeting on the reopening plan repeated denialist talking points about the risk and magnitude of infection and death from COVID-19. It’s time for a drastic change in the composition of our Board of Education.

Bienz said: “. . . the data can no longer substantiate that COVID-19 is a fatal threat to all populations.” Young people infected with the virus die less frequently than older people, but many still die. Bienz also ignores the infection’s long-term damage to the heart, lungs, and cognitive abilities.

Bienz repeats the ghoulish talking point that since it’s mostly vulnerable people who are in unique danger, we can deprioritize prevention among the general population. Infections of the vulnerable occur because of uncontrolled community spread that then spreads into the at-risk population, and we’ve seen it happen again and again. Youth carry and transmit COVID-19 at much higher rates than Bienz assumes, they do so asymptomatically, and this is why any scenario that prematurely sends students back to school will lead to disasters in multi-generational households and among higher-risk people who live in homes with high densities of residents. The ACSD1 Reopening Plan doesn’t address these risks, nor does it address the thousands of college students returning to Laramie concurrent with the district reopening.

Trustee Bienz cites a February estimate by the Imperial College of London that predicted up to 2.2 million American deaths from COVID-19. That estimate purposely assumed no preventative measures would be taken. We haven’t had a greater infection and death toll because we’ve taken some precautions–and we’ve had a much greater infection and death toll than we could have because we haven’t taken enough of them. She also ignores the class- and raced- based disproportionality of these infection rates.

As troubling as Bienz’s statement was, I’m more troubled by the lack of response from any other member of the board. When other board members hear this kind of talk, it’s their responsibility to speak out–that’s what leadership requires. In public deliberation, silence is often interpreted as consent.

Matt Stannard

Laramie

More to think about with potential solar farm than covered in article

I read the article in Saturday’s paper about a large solar farm, possibly being built on the old monolith Ranch, south of Laramie. I found it interesting that the writer of the article did not mention how much the price of electricity would be going up in Laramie, due to the solar farm providing the electricity. We know that the price is not going to go down as they would have told us.

The following youtube, by a green energy advocate is worth the watch. Approx 18 min.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N-yALPEpV4w&t=24s

Tom Schmit

Laramie

Source: https://www.laramieboomerang.com/opinion/letters_to_editor/aug-9-letters-to-the-editor/article_5783eb09-4bc8-5eb5-b95d-63a6d7740d19.html

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