Colorado state Democrats are destroying the Electoral College

Colorado lawmakers are sparring over a plan to bypass the Electoral College. Here’s what’s at stake.

I don’t know what’s more appalling: that this is being done at the state legislature, or that no one really seems to be covering it all that much. I’m not a fan of knee-jerk, reactive legislation to begin with, but no amount of state laws that you pass will put Hillary in the White House. To make the Electoral College a petty partisan issue betrays the republic and displays a level of partisan toxicity that further erodes our societal foundation.

The irony is that proponents are pushing for making every vote count, but the reality is that laws like this will all but nullify the constituency of anyone not living in an urban setting. All you have to do is look at a population density map to see the disparity between the major cities in our country, and everywhere else.

Any area that starts to look green can simply be ignored by any presidential candidate. For every 1 person you reach in the 20-to-88 zone, you can reach 200x the amount of people by just staying in the cities. Why would you go there to campaign? What would stop a presidential candidate from pandering only to those people? Does your vote even count anymore?

Go look at this list of states by population density, and you’ll find that electoral power would be concentrated into 14 states, with Colorado falling to #21 on that list. Our ballots would now become blank checks to these populous states.

What’s worse is that voters aren’t even getting a voice. This isn’t being part of some national dialog, but rather is being rammed through, state by state, at the legislature level. If our state representatives really cared about voters rights, they’d let the voters actually make the decision.

To those who aren’t fans of President Trump (and I’m one of them), the lesson from 2016 should not be to abolish the Electoral College, but rather that we should avoid elevating the office of the Presidency as a de-facto king of our country. Rather than using our state legislatures to cry “sour grapes”, we should be pushing for our national legislatures to take back their constitutional power. Instead, we seem content to do irreperable harm to our state and country.

Reflections on attending the DQSH Protest

Last Saturday I attended the Clearview Library Drag Queen Story Hour as a counter-protester. This was my first time ever making a political sign and exercising my First Amendment rights in this way, and was quite an interesting experience.

The story hour itself was a registration-required event, and had filled up in the prior week. Apparently there was a 200 person waiting list (the largest room in the library had a max occupancy of 80). Outside were about 100 people in the designated “free speech zone” – an area 30 feet from the entrance to permit library patrons and story hour participants to arrive. Of the 100, it was about a 1/3 to 2/3 split between protesters against the event and supporters/counter-protesters.

Protesters seemed to fall into two large camps: people protesting on religious/moral grounds, with signs citing biblical verses and various religious and moral messages about corrupting children, as well as conservatives there that were “fighting the Left”. It was questionable as to whether some of the protesters were part of the Alt-Right, but some of the protesters seemed to be part of some larger conservative-based movement.

As for the supporters, there were also 2 segments: those drawing attention to the LGBTQ issues, counter-protesting the intolerance, as well as those generally supporting the library, freedom of speech, and general opposition to the protesters. I would count myself among the latter group, but my nuanced position seemed to confuse people on both sides at some point.

When I got there at 9:45, it wasn’t clear where people were standing, so I just stood on the corner and held up my signs. A lot of people who would later stand with the “against” protesters told me they liked my signs and were conversing with me. Apparently, some event supporters yelled obscenities at me as well, but I didn’t hear them. Then when the lines became apparent and I saw someone I knew, I went and stood next to her, at which point I had a bunch of supporters come up and apologize to me. A lot of the protesters suddenly had problems with my signs. As the morning progressed, a few supporters from the back came up to me and said they liked my signs.

The protests were mostly civil, both sides chanting back and forth. There were a few minor confrontations, but the police did an excellent job making their presence known without interfering or infringing the free speech rights of everyone. Truth be told, I think both sides had some chants and actions that were bad looks. Protests are a blunt instrument, and when you remove nuance, you give way to stereotypes to take hold. You could see the protesters demonize the supporters as religious heretics that were enabling child endangerment, while the supporters generalized the protesters as religious nuts and Alt-Right hate groups.

I didn’t take part in any of the chants and mainly stood silently unless someone directly yelled at me about my sign, at which point I would engage back with them. One of the protesters that engaged with me finally said he couldn’t disagree with my points, so that was kinda cool. At the end of the event when the supporters disbanded, I walked back to my car past the police chief who shook my hand, then by a few of the “Don’t tread on me” protesters. I told them to have a good day and they said: “you too”.

In the end, I think this was a worthwhile event for our community. Diverse programming was offered at the library unimpeded, and there was a lively conversation about culture, morals, and freedom outside of the library. I realize that people may feel uncomfortable about social disruption, but protests (and counter protests) and demonstration are integral parts of our American heritage. Just because conversations don’t happen in the public square doesn’t mean that they’re not taking place, these events just enable communities to bring these views into the light for all to see.

Replace the Budweiser Events Center??

It’s absolutely shameful that the Colorado Eagles ownership is emailing fans encouraging them to build them a new taxpayer-funded arena to replace the Budweiser Events Center, an arena that just turned FIFTEEN YEARS OLD last fall.

The total hypocrisy is that the owners openly campaigned against building a new library here in Windsor, funding oppo-diggers, emailing their country club friends and couldn’t even get their facts straight, all under the banner of keeping taxes low. Apparently, Eagles ownership doesn’t have a problem with higher taxes when it involves lining their pockets. The library can’t talk about building for future generations, but growth becomes an urgent need when we talk about minor league hockey.

I love that in the letter there’s a veiled threat of raising ticket prices as the only new revenue opportunity if they’re forced to upgrade the current arena. You don’t think they’re going to raise prices when they open a new building? You’re kidding yourself.

I hope Larimer County and Northern Colorado residents have enough wisdom to stop subsidizing rich owners in building stadiums and arenas. Make your opinion known and fill out the county’s community survey.

An open letter to John Vazquez

Re: John Vazquez: To the taxpayers of Clearview Library District

Dear Mr. Vazquez,

I was disheartened in reading your opinion piece in the Greeley Tribune regarding Clearview Library District 6C, not because you oppose the measure – of course, every private citizen is entitled their stance – but because you base your assertions on premises that are not accurate.

You stated that this ballot initiative appears again unmodified but perhaps didn’t realize that the request is an 8% reduction from the previous year, reducing the mill request by 0.515 or 17%.  Years ago, in a cost-cutting measure, my company cut employee pay by 5% and I can personally attest to hard decisions that even a single digit reduction prompts on a budget. Like you, I support school districts, which is why I understand why Greeley District 6 tried 3 times before their Mill Levy increased. The need persists, despite ignoring warning signs.

The new location is more central to residents of Severance and West Greeley (who are also part of the Windsor RE-4 school district), on a roadway more convenient for all residents. I was also surprised that as the former mayor, you are not aware of the Windsor Lake Trail that already has an exit to the proposed library site. This trail unlocks safe access for residents north of Main Street while adding connections for those south of Main Street through stop lights and crosswalks. My 5-year-old just rode to the new proposed site from the current library last weekend, which can be viewed at http://bit.ly/CLDCycling

The proposed temporary Mill Levy in 6C (6.131) is still 1.5 mills lower than the Fire District mill and bond, still lower than what residents pay for Aims Community College. These services, each with their own missions are all equally important, preserving and enhancing the quality of life in our town. The increased amount will drop 75% after the building is paid off, to a point that’s three mills below the current Fire District.

Your assertion that 5% of community library use is simply not true. 69% of Windsor residents have a library card, and in 2017, the library logged over 247,000 visits into the building using a door-counter sensor. I’d invite you and all residents to view a timelapse of a video I took of the library entrance just last Wednesday: http://bit.ly/CLDTimeLapse

As for what services will be offered that aren’t offered now? Visit the Clearview Library website and see that the dedicated maker space, dedicated children and teen sections that isolate noise from the rest of the library, a computer lab, and meeting rooms for groups of all sizes are all part of the new location that aren’t available at the 3rd Street location.

I know this is a big decision for all of our residents, and respect that we all may not arrive at the same conclusion, but as a former public official, I’m sure you can appreciate the need for accurate information when basing important decisions.

Your neighbor,

Jeromey Balderrama

Balderrama Beach Bums 2018

We just wrapped up a most memorable week in beautiful Surf City, North Carolina, with the Balderrama Beach Bums (BBB 2018).

We had been on the search for a perfect spot to spend a week at the beach that started with Hawaii, but after looking at costs and travel times, we decided to stay within the mainland. The search started with Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, then kept moving up towards the north and finding the best value – and I think we found it on Topsail Island and Surf City.

We stayed at a beautiful house that was right on the beach, which was the main reason for choosing Surf City. With traveling with 4 kids 6 & under, I was worried about packing everything up for a day at the beach, then having one of the kids get sick of it after 30 minutes and want to go back.  For a reasonable price, we couldn’t beat this level of access and the flexibility to work around nap times and taking breaks from being in the sun.

The beach itself was beautiful, with soft, fine sand and ocean water that felt like a warm bath. I was a bit fearful about the level of humidity we’d get in North Carolina in July, but it was definitely at a bearable level for us Colorado wimps. One of the best aspects of this beach was the fact that that it was not crowded. Most of the people there were occupants in the house, and while there were public access points, it still seemed very low-key, giving the illusion of seclusion.

Surf City itself is a very charming town that was very welcoming to guests, embracing the interest and growth. Every business and local we encountered seemed genuinely glad to have the people there, unlike some other destination towns that seem resentful of the tourists.  What also made Surf City ideal was that there were not many temptations away from the beach.  We had little outings that we went to each afternoon to get out of the sun, but the beach remained the main focus and felt timeless as if we were living in a Corona commercial.

While there seemed to be a lot of dining options, we found our favorites pretty quickly and went back a few times. Some places that we loved:

Surf Dog Bits and Brews – they were so friendly and accommodating. The food and beer were a great casual options, and they were really awesome with our kids.

Salty Turtle Beer Company – a new craft brewery that opened up and was a relaxing way to beat the heat. I was a big fan of La Surfeza (a cool play on words with Cerveza – Spanish for “beer”).

Topsail Steamer – a cool concept that’s basically a “take & bake” for steaming seafood. They give you everything – including the bucket – to steam everything and have a cajun boil at home.

However a ProTip: don’t drink the broth. It made Wednesday night a really bad one for me and also took me out of commission on Thursday.

Overall this turned out to be a really relaxing trip, with absolutely no regrets.  If you are looking for a beach vacation, we couldn’t recommend Surf City enough.