LETTERS – 3-3-22

Climate change – the evidence is irrefutable

I have to respond to Joondeph’s op-ed “The end of snow?”  The gist of his argument is that climate change is not happening.  He says he knows because one winter the back bowls of Vail opened Thanksgiving weekend and another year the front side was not open by Christmas.  He fails to acknowledge that the latter was unheard of until recently.  That’s why the ski industry is so worried about our changing climate. 

But all of this is beside the point.  The anecdotal evidence cited in the op-ed flies in the face of thousands of scientific studies.  As stated on the NASA Global Climate Change website, 97% of publishing climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming and climate change.  Dr. Joondeph’s experience with Vail reminds me of the time when Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), the senior member of the Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works, threw a snowball onto the Senate floor to prove climate change is a hoax.

Joondeph then cites an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change working group report which allegedly said that long term prediction of climate states is not possible.  He apparently got this one sentence from a meme going around instead of reading the full 2001 report which rebuts his position.  He should have read the more recent IPCC report, Climate Change 2021 The Physical Science Basis.  UN Secretary-General António Guterres described the report as “a code red for humanity. The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable.”

This is serious.  It’s time we start paying attention to the science instead of misinformation from the internet.

Robert Steiert
Cherry Hills Village 

Most parents are seeking partnership

Dear Mr. Mazenko, I am writing with regards to your recent OP-ED in the February 17th edition of The Villager.

I am a K-12 graduate of the Cherry Creek School District.  I am a parent of four children in the district and an active volunteer, as well as a former teacher.  I pay close attention to what is going on in our schools and keep informed by attending district meetings weekly.  While I certainly agree with you that parents were “inadvertently invited into the classroom” due to remote learning, I took offense to the negative connotation, “Now…some of them don’t want to leave.”  

I think we can all agree most parents want what is best for their children.  As a teacher, I always welcomed parental involvement and support.  A good relationship with my students’ families ensured we were on the same page and working towards the same goals.  If one of my students was struggling, I knew I could call home and discuss how we could work together, both at school and at home, to make improvements.  I always appreciated when parents wanted to volunteer, whether it was helping me with remedial tasks such as cutting or filing, or more importantly when they visited the  class to share a special skill or story with the students.  We were a “family” of sorts, and we all wanted to be successful together.  

In our classroom, we learned how to get along, care for one another, appreciate our differences and celebrate our many heritages. I don’t ever recall a time when I told a family that “I knew best” or to “leave it to me.”  Students begin and end everyday with their families.  Learning can be continuous when the classroom is connected to the home. Parents can offer support and make life easier for educators.  Not every home life is the same, and there are students who don’t have the much-needed love and support that every child wants and deserves.  

As a bilingual teacher who worked in a Title I School, I understand firsthand the hardships students face when there are difficulties at home.  However, in all my years of teaching and working with kids, one thing has always been consistent….children want their families to be involved. They need love and support.  They need their parents.

Unfortunately, over the past 2 years, we have seen division in our schools.  Our teachers feel unappreciated, while parents feel anxious and unheard.  I believe this is due to the influence of politics and personal agendas infiltrating our schools, which has very little to do with the home or the classroom.  Teachers’ unions and politicians have taken our schools hostage, and they are using our children as pawns. These groups have unilaterally decided what curriculum will be used and have systematically placed individuals, who agree to push their agendas, in positions of power. 

Recently, the Cherry Creek Education Association (CCEA)) proudly touted its Social Justice Council on the homepage of its website, featuring pictures of teachers promoting controversial issues.  The CCEA was also responsible for distributing unvetted materials and lesson plans to members to share with K-12 students, while also secretly organizing to wear matching t-shirts in elementary, middle and high school classrooms to promote activism from a  controversial 3rd party organization, Black Lives Matter.  Even our youngest students are being bombarded with classroom activism and indoctrination.  

Parents are alarmed by what they see as dogmatic classroom activism and outright discrimination in the name of diversity, equity and inclusion. This new educational mission does not align with basic American values, and it puts at risk our kids’ happiness and their ability to succeed in life.

While we continue to see poor reading and math scores in our district, our schools are spending absorbent amounts of money and time confusing and shaming students with developmentally inappropriate material. The current obsession with identity politics has made its way into our classrooms, and it is being approved by our state and local boards. Our schools are teaching our children, beginning at a very young age, race essentialism,  reducing them to identity groups, and labeling them as “oppressor” and “oppressed”. This is causing division,  and it’s often inflicting emotional and psychological harm on our kids. 

I believe most educators and elected leaders have good intentions, but lines have been crossed and continue to be crossed each and every day in our classrooms, often without parents being informed of practices, such as identity politics surveys, special guest speakers, segregation activities, etc.   

Most parents are seeking partnership. We want straightforward curriculums.  We want to feel confident that when we send our kids to school, they are safe, they are challenged, and they have room to grow.  

If you want parents to take a back seat when it comes to education, then you are missing one of the key components to educational success.  If the goal is to improve test scores, engagee students, and close achievement gaps, then invite parents to ride along side of you.  You’ll get a lot further.  If you leave us on the curb, you’ll find yourself alone teaching to a class of either empty seats or checked-out minds. 

Molly Lamar 

Pro-criminal legislation

In State Representative Meg Froelich’s recent op-ed entitled “Fact-based solutions to crime”, she defends the legislature’s soft on crime measures claiming that crime is not reduced by arresting criminals and incarcerating them, but rather by “instability in society” which she proposes to remedy by affordable housing and behavioral health care. 

To support her position, she contends that Greenwood Village spends more than other municipalities on police protection but has greater crime suggesting that policing is not the answer to catching criminals.  Even assuming these numbers are true, they are based on the number of crimes, police, and money spent per GV resident.  We are a small town of 15,000 which is visited by 40,000 people who work here every day.  We do not live on an island.  The crime is not being committed by our residents, but by criminals in the metropolitan area coming to Greenwood Village to ply their trade.  

What has increased crime in Colorado is not the instability of society but rather the legislature’s pro-criminal policies that have over the last few years reduced the severity of punishment for crimes, emptied the jails, tied the hands of our police, and have demoralized good police officers who are leaving the profession in droves.  Denver is approximately 170 officers and Aurora 140 officers short of authorized staffing levels.  The result is that criminals know that the chances of being caught are less, and if caught, the consequences are light.

We can arrest a person in the morning for stealing a car and take them to jail where they are released and then arrest them again in the afternoon only to have them get out of jail immediately after that.  Shoplifters can load up their carts and walk right out the door while store owners and criminals both know that if arrested, there will be no meaningful consequences.  As a result, car theft and shoplifting increase.

Two examples of recent pro-criminal legislative action emphasize this point.  We recently learned of 5 individuals in Commerce City dying of a fentanyl overdose.  In 2019, in order to reduce the consequences on drug users, the legislature reduced the penalty for possession of hard drugs from a felony to a misdemeanor, a ticket.  The fentanyl limit for “possession” is 4 grams which is enough to kill 2000 people. Do we really believe that possessing enough fentanyl to kill 2000 people is for personal use?  

In another example, brought to our attention by John Kellner, our Arapahoe County DA and candidate for Attorney General, once a person is convicted of a felony, that person is prohibited from possessing firearms.  All that changes on March 1 when SB-271 passed by the Democrat majority and hyped as “criminal justice reform” goes into effect. The new law limits the prior law to only “felons convicted of Victims’ Rights Act offenses” from carrying guns, now opening the door for all other felons to carry guns without consequence.  In balancing rights of criminals and victims, why would we want to leave more firearms in the possession of felons?  Law after law is passed where the only result is to lessen the consequences of criminal behavior thereby resulting in more crime.  When the interests of the criminals are weighed against the interests of the victims and potential victims, the majority in the legislature, including Ms. Froelich, have routinely favored those who would do us harm.

In Greenwood Village, our police have apprehended criminals only to be required to give them a ticket before releasing them into the community.  How many crimes must an individual commit before there are severe consequences?  When a crime is committed against another citizen, it is not just the loss of money that can be replaced.  It is a violation of their person, their property, eroding their sense of safety where they live.  There never has been a policy to “lock everyone up”, nor do we reject rehabilitation, but we must have consequences where the punishment fits the crime such that criminals are deterred from causing harm to the community.  The legislature needs to stop its pro-criminal agenda and begin to side with victims and potential victims so that we do not have to live in fear. 

In Greenwood Village, we would love to work with our legislators to come up with real-world, common-sense solutions to criminal issues impacting our residents.  However, when our legislators propose and pass laws that will only benefit those who would hurt us and steal from us, we have an independent duty to resist; to defend and protect our residents so they can have a safe place to live where their lives and property will be secure. 

David W. Kerber
Mayor Pro Tem
Greenwood Village