Lloyd Rollins: Don’t divide the county

To the editor:

Hello, my name is Lloyd Rollins, and except for three years, I’ve been a lifelong resident of Moffat County.


Is it wise for time and energy to spent on the effort to secede from the state of Colorado? To recite a limited quote given in the Craig Daily Press, I wish to include my entire statement given at the county commissioners meeting held Saturday.

This should give people who were not there a clear and precise understanding of my current thoughts on secession. 


We all agree that Senate Bill 252 will have a negative impact on the foundation (power plants and coal mines) of our economy in the Yampa Valley. I believe it is wasting both time and energy in pushing for secession.

It is my understanding that secession would require the approval of the Colorado state Legislature and the U.S. Congress.

The chances of this happening are extremely small. The same time and energy should be spent learning to be more moderate and reaching out to the other side. Reaching out is a continual ongoing process. Secession is a divider and does not bring the people together. I have ask Commissioner John Kinkaid to provide me with figures of how much Moffat County residents, etc. pay into the state vs. how much we get back.

Commissioner Kinkaid has assured me that he working on those numbers and will provide them to me. Could the efforts to secede have negative effects in obtaining money to help with the projects needed in Shadow Mountain?


At the commissioner meeting, commissioner Mathers stated that he was offended by those who brought up the issue of possibly having the money needed for Shadow Mountain project negatively impacted.

Commissioner Mathers went on to say that it is not about money, it is about principles. If secession is not about the financial (money) impacts of Senate Bill 252, what is it about? Commissioner Mathers’ comments made me feel like he was trying to berate those in the room that have a different opinion or view than he does a particular issue.

This type of treatment of others who are different on an issue is limiting the success rate of working with those across the aisle. I also believe it is detrimental to all citizens of this county.


In conclusion, I strongly believe that the county commissioner and others must learn how to me more effective at reaching across the aisle and being more moderate in working for legislation that affects the great Moffat County. Time and energy spent on secession is a divider and does not bring people together.

Lloyd Rollins

Craig

Comments

Nadja Rider 7 months, 4 weeks ago

The rural counties DID reach across the aisle BEFORE all the new laws were passed. We were ignored and told to go home. We were also reminded frequently that the Democrats are in control - and they truly did not wish to discuss or hear our opinions. The new laws and decisions made by our current liberal legislators will have a serious and detrimental financial affect on this county.

I don't see how a vote on secession divides the county. A vote would clearly show what the majority want.

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Marilynn Hill 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Part 1 of 2

Nadja, please don't make this into a liberal or a conservative issue. H.B. 10-1365 was an economic decision that was played out under a GOP Colorado Governor; pushed through with the strong armed tactics of Xcel Energy and the natural gas industry; was written and sponsored by both Senate and House western slope politicians. If we want our community to thrive then we need to diversify the economy. Build or attract companies which provide both primary and secondary jobs that can withstand the boom and bust of an extraction based industry economy that will thrive with or without one another, not because of one particular industry.

To your point, if we want only what the majority always wants then why don’t we go back to a Colorado where you and I didn’t have a voice in the voting booth, because that was not what the majority wanted in Colorado until 1893, even though Colorado became a state in 1876, and it was not until the 19th Amendment which was ratified in 1920, did women gain the right to voice in national elections. Why don’t we just go back to the original Constitution before the Bill of Rights as the original authors were fine without individual rights being written into our governing document?

According to the Moffat County Clerk and Recorders office, in November 2011, there were 9,014 registered voters in Moffat County; of those registered, 2,783 voted in that election, which was approximately 30.8% of the population. Please share with me where Commissioners’ Mathers and Kincaid get the notion that a majority of people in Moffat County feel disenfranchised, when less than 31% even show up to give meaning to their beliefs through the casting of their vote?

I have a better idea, why don’t we stop whining about not getting our way at the Colorado State House as an individual county; stop with the standing our ground attitude and find common ground? I have understood for a long time how it can feel to be disenfranchised in this county, you see come the primary voting season, if I want to have a voice of governance through my vote, I have to change from being registered as an independent and register as a republican. Do you think having Coloradoans only being able to vote party lines in primaries gives a full voice to ALL the people and ensures a full account of the vote of the people, it does not guarantee any particular outcome. A robust democracy is about full engagement and participation of the all voters, but it doesn’t not necessarily equate to fairness. What is wonderful about our democracy, if you truly don’t like who your representative is locally, state wise or nationally, you have a chance to put your voice forward every 2 to 4 years respectively. I am reminded of a great quote by Rory Stewart, “If local democracy is to flourish, it has to have the active and informed engagement of EVERY citizen.”

continued to Part 2

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Marilynn Hill 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Part 2 of 2

I will suggest here as I have multiple times while sitting in the office of Jeff Comstock, Moffat County Natural Resources Director; put a calendar on the wall with a date twenty years from now and have a plan as a community to completely economically diversify the county by that date! Let’s continue to value and work with all the natural resources we have, whilst finding other ways to keep moving forward and growing.

It would be great to stop being ranked 59th out of 59 counties in Colorado as the unhealthiest county in the state. The measured outcome was based on behaviors that included smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and drinking. I would like to see the commissioner’s step up and lead by putting forth a plan that is workable in getting our county healthy, after all, we can learn something from our neighbors in Routt ranking number five out of all 59 counties in Colorado. Let’s look at education, one that Commissioner Kincaid is very familiar with in this county. Back in 2010, CMS students were testing almost in all subjects below fifty percent of expectations for their grade level. We were put on an improvement plan by the state that basically said, “WAKE UP”. Three years later, we are not much better, and as a matter of fact in the sciences, we have actually dropped to 39.77%.

https://cedar2.cde.state.co.us/documents/DPF2012/2020%20-%201%20Year.pdf

Our leaders need to have a plan outside of secession banter to improve the county and if they don’t have a plan, get one or at least look at what others have developed through their Best Practice methodologies, tweak and copy those! If we want companies to move here, then make it an attractive place for companies and their workers to work and live by making it an economically and educationally vibrant community, while because family friendly.

My point is this, lead or get out of the way, but don’t put your head down and walk away from a challenge as life is not fully lived by what political party one is affiliated. My family came to the Colorado territory as pioneers in the early 1860s; we didn’t run when times got tough over the last 150 years and I don’t plan on changing the game plan now.

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David Moore 7 months, 4 weeks ago

Can't wait for the berating I will take for this post but I can't hold it in anymore. First off, great post Marilynn, was getting worried there for a bit but you prove that some people in Craig still do have their heads aligned in the forward position. I am anxiously awaiting for the next stellar idea, you just can't make some of this stuff up....mandatory gun ownership...unless you don't want to (still laughing at that one). Red Rocks size amphitheater out at Loudy, already spoke my piece on that one. Now, we want the citizens of Moffat to stamp our feet, cross our arms and stick out our bottom lip at the State of Colorado. Perfect. What happens when the state sticks up the middle finger at us and tell us that if we don't like it, fine, we are on our own? Then what? Does someone want to explain how we oficially become a "state" with other counties hundreds of miles away? Where is the funding to improve and flourish in our new state going to come from? The other counties in the NE corner are going to offer what as revenue resources? What do we have to offer them? How about the coal mines, power plant and other business enterprises, are they in favor of this idea? Common sense would probably point to no, they are not interested. This area will be a ghost town and will dry up and blow away without state support, and you can bet the federal level will laugh this one all the way out the door. 51st state, hahahaha, my sides are starting to hurt....please stop.....

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Nadja Rider 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Marilynn, H.B. 10-1365 was passed in 2010 when Bill Ritter was governor - he was a Democrat - not a Republican. He had the final say on that bill and signed it. Moffat and Routt counties were opposed to the bill, since that bill as well as the recent Senate Bill 252 will cause job losses. Those bills will seriously and negatively impact this community as well as Routt County. And yes... I do view all the recent state legislation as a liberal agenda.

About the majority voicing their opinion – I’ll rephrase - the majority that vote will have their say. I can't help it if residents here don't exercise their right and in my opinion their duty to vote. Voting is the most democratic way to find out where people stand on controversial issues.

It’s unfair to compare Moffat and Routt counties. The demographics are completely different for both counties. It is possible to get a very good education here. I have two sons, both graduated from universities, one with a Masters degree in Chemical Engineering from Colorado School of Mines and the other with a Bachelor’s degree in Business & Economics from UNC. Both went to school K-12 here in Moffat County. Not sure where the blame should be placed if kids don’t succeed. Maybe parents need to be more involved in their kids’ education?

We’ve lived in Craig 34+ years now. So I’ve seen large amounts of our tax dollars spent on various consultants and economic studies, and nothing has changed in all those years. Moffat County is primarily a mining and ranching community with hunting thrown in during the fall months. Our physical location so far away from an interstate, is a detriment to attracting new industries. We’ll also never be a tourist destination like Steamboat. I’ve been in business for almost all the years we’ve lived here. Currently 95% of my business comes from outside Craig/Moffat County and a large percentage from outside of Colorado. So it is possible to run a successful business here, if you’re resourceful and able to run a business long distance.

I still believe that placing secession on the ballot is a good idea.

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Marilynn Hill 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Nadja, you are absolutely correct, governor Ritter was a democrat, I apologize and stand corrected.

Would you mind expanding on the liberal agenda statement? I don't want to make an assumption as to what you mean.

Congrats on beginning business here for almost the entire time you have lived in Moffat County. You are correct in being away from a major highway is detrimental, but it is only one factor in the economic success of this county and one that can be overcome.

One of the many challenges we face are self imposed and can be overcome with out of the box thinking. The secession talk is nothing new here, but in my opinion is old and worn out. At what point do we stop wasting our time on plans which have little or no chance of succeeding? At what point do we have community meetings sans political rhetoric that culminates in forward progress for all residents? At what point do we put together a plan to truly move beyond the argument of this is all we have ever been and this is all we can ever be statement?

The USDA SET Program will have their readouts in a couple months; will our community snub the readouts, or take a real look at the changes needed?

In the meantime, vote away at secession, it will be another attempt to undermine what democracy has attempted to accomplish for a couple of centuries and that is representation of the people through majority rule. Draw the line in the proverbial sand; what is the intended outcome and what if that outcome does not come to fruition? The challenges we all face are how many times are we going to draw and redraw voting districts to favor one political party over another, thus undermining the idea of one vote does make a difference. Allowing corporations to have rights like the people which is completely against the combined 13th and 14th Amendments has changed the voting landscape in ways we don't yet truly understand. How long are we going to ignore disenfranchised voters due to economic, socio, race, sex, religious or any other thing we find different than ourselves?

Times change who we are and new generations thank goodness accept one another more openly than past generations. Reverend Bernice King said it well today, "when does standing your ground become more important than finding common ground?" Have a good night.

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Nadja Rider 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Do you really need me to explain liberal agenda? How about we start with the new laws and decisions made by front range politicians over the past year. Moffat County and most of rural Colorado, has been totally disenfranchised by the new anti-gun laws and doubling down on the green energy initiative. I not only wrote and called many Colorado legislators, but I also watched streaming live video of testimony before the new laws were signed into law. I was appalled at the arrogance of our Democrat legislators. If we (Republicans) didn’t agree with their agenda, we were told to sit down and shut up. The responses I received to my letters from the Democrats were basically a “pat on the head” – we know you don’t like what we’re doing, but trust us it’s best for you. I don’t need a nanny state or be patted on the head, or told what’s best for me or my community.

Now Hickenlooper wants to open discussions?? Where was he and all the liberal legislators BEFORE they passed and literally shoved the new laws down our throats. All this talk of coming together and finding common ground is too late in my opinion. They’ve done a lot of damage with the new laws, and we in Moffat County will pay the price, from hunters boycotting the state to higher electric rates. We have a power plant literally in our backyard, and yet we’re going to be forced to use alternative energy. How much sense does that make? And this war on coal will cost us how many jobs? Mines will shut down – and yes that has a trickle down affect and will cause hardship not just for miners, but for all businesses in Craig and Moffat County. So unless the Democrats are willing to undo the damage they’ve done – I don’t see how discussing further will solve the mess they’ve created. It’s the Democrats that “stood their ground” and did not try to find common ground on these issues.

You want our leaders to have a plan to improve our county, I for one believe that separating from front range liberals is a good first step! Let’s take rural Colorado back and let the liberals have Denver & Boulder! Everyone is worried about how we would fare without the front range cities, I personally believe they stand to lose a lot more without rural Colorado supporting them.

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Neal Harkner 7 months, 3 weeks ago

And herein lies another rub I have with this ridiculous secessionist movement - it's a purely partisan ploy. I'd venture that a VAST majority of the people screaming for secession would be dancing a jig if the shoe were on the other foot and Republicans controlled the governor's mansion and the state capitol. For the record, I'm unaffiliated because I enjoy watching members of both parties make complete fools of themselves.

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Mark Jacobson 7 months, 3 weeks ago

Personally, I really don't see why this has to have a Republican vs Democrat slant. Many of the issues we're dealing with in a lack of representation or consideration by Denver has been put in motion or signed off by Republicans in the general assembly alongside Democrats. I'd like to draw attention to the well written editorial by Frank Moe, particularly where many people are invited to see for themselves the effects of our energy industry on the land and the manner in which our resources are extracted and utilized. The political leadership in Denver has made their decisions without seriously considering what many of us have testified in our state capitol.

One of the many challenges I see for our industry is simply a lack of public education as to the operations here. Many people assume that when we mine coal we destroy the soil and leave a wasteland behind. In reality we have very robust land reclamation projects for the coal mines. The power plant here also has a very in depth environmental operating procedure that goes above and beyond the EPA, state, and federal safety requirements. Not only has Tri-State complied with the law, but they've acted in the spirit of what the rules and regs intend.

It is issues such as this, where despite our willingness to find common ground and tread lightly with our environment, Denver simply disregards what many hard working people in Moffat County have been doing. I don't see this as a partisan political issue, but rather acting in our interests. It isn't about a political hardline, for me. The simple fact of the matter is that the state capitol is making rash decisions without giving consideration to our testimonies or bothering to ratify the claims of oppositional pressures against us that, quite frankly, wouldn't exist to the extent it does if people were more well informed in the state and across the nation.

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Brian Kotowski 7 months, 3 weeks ago

It's framed as GOP v Dem & Lib v Conservative because it is, and it's nothing new. I'm originally from Washington state where there's a very similar paradigm. The densely populated western part of the state (Seattle metro) v the more sparsely populated and rural eastern Washington. Dense urban areas tend to be politically liberal; the more rural & sparsely populated regions less so. Since the bulk of political fundraising success is generated where the people are, those of us outside those areas often feel we've been left out in the cold. Because we have been.

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Griffin Pickren 6 months, 3 weeks ago

Lloyd Rollins: Don’t divide the county!!!!!!!!!!! We are already devided. Almost 90% of the population of Colorado reside on the Front range which is predominately Liberal Progressives i.e Democrates and Rhinos. Although they only make up 10% of the states area they control the voting in the state. 90% of the state is rural country made up of conservative working class people that don't want the Front range making their decisions for them. Devided we stand. United we fall. Ironic isn't it. If secession were allowed we would have the capabilites of having representatives that actually stood for local voices not of those on the Front Range. That is a republic. What we have now is progressive anarchy diluting the Bill of Rights. Constitutional Conservaties do not have a voice in Colorado. What is the point of residing in a state that constantly takes your civil liberties. Seccesion, while not practile, is a great start to a new State of civill liberties. Reaching across the isle is for those who live in Never Land. The Isle doesn't exist in 2013 in Colorado.

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