October 20, 2000

Letters: Investment rebuilt the Oregon economy

Editor:

To fully understand the hypocrisy of Amendment 24 and the tactics employed by its proponents, consider the economic reality in Oregon.

Beginning in the 1970s, the Sierra Club and other radical environmentalists effectively shut down the timber industry, which provided the highest-paying and greatest number of jobs. The ruin of that sector had enormous impact throughout Oregon’s economy and wrought financial ruin on countless workers and their families.

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Legislators worked very diligently to address the situation by instituting a significant incentive program that encouraged new and existing businesses to retrain displaced workers, shift the economic focus to high-tech industries and invest in capital improvements. The Strategic Investment Program was tremendously successful in creating a vibrant economy and was recently phased out after accomplishing its mission.

Proponents of Amendment 24 don’t want you to know these facts. They would prefer that you believe growth management saved Oregon from itself. In the document “Sprawl Costs Us All” investment incentives to business are demonized as the primary cause of growth, therefore sprawl. Yet Oregon’s success has been used over and over again as the reason we should support this ill-conceived growth-management strategy. Proponents are less concerned with factual presentation of their arguments than with painting a Utopian vision with faulty logic.

The ideal of Amendment 24 is not to create sensible growth. If so, interests outside the environmental community would have been involved in the process. This initiative is simply designed to thwart the prosperity we all enjoy and force people reliant upon stable employment to reconsider Colorado as their home. Vote no on Amendment 24!

David Sitzman

Fort Collins

24 a “baseball bat” approach

Editor:

Colorado citizens put growth as their No. 1 concern. “Growth” connotes nearly every societal ill – frustration with traffic on Interstate 25, long lines at the grocery checkout, the fast-paced economic climate and the ever-increasing struggle for affordable housing.

Obviously it is difficult to articulate specific concerns and even more difficult to seek specific solutions. Proponents say Amendment 24 is necessary because the state “refused” to act. In fact, legislators gave serious consideration to a number of bills, including those offered by the Colorado Municipal League and Colorado Counties. Apparently none were worthy of Statewide support. The proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 24 was born of frustration, certainly not a sound basis of public policy.

Successful issue resolution must acknowledge the disparity of views and needs within the state and perhaps offer a more subtle and incremental incentive approach. Unlike legislation subject to public debate and scrutiny, this constitutional amendment is an untested attempt to force a statewide solution.

This baseball-bat approach, with its ill-defined but far-reaching language, does nothing to resolve growth impacts, traffic or housing problems in any community.

There are no deadlines for the required growth-area maps. Public improvements are required to be built and paid for within 10 years. Water- and sewer-treatment plants, schools, bridges, libraries, fire stations are typically funded over 20 years. A 10-year funding requirement is dangerous and damaging to public finance. It’s like asking you to pay for your home in 10 years or your car in six months. It doesn’t make sense.

The amendment is confusing. I recently debated Amendment 24 with Ramon Ajero of the Sierra Club and Andy Schulte, an author of the amendment. When asked directly, “Can Glacier View property owners build homes on their existing lots?” Their answers were, simultaneously, “yes” – and “no.” Well, if the well-practiced proponents can’t agree on the amendment’s meaning, then we should agree that Amendment 24 is terribly flawed. Vote no on Amendment 24.

Linda Hopkins

Fort Collins

24 threatens rural lands

I’m writing to encourage all voters to vote no on Amendment 24, the so-called Citizen’s Growth Initiative.

If passed, this amendment will have devastating results on the Colorado economy, private-property rights, taxpayer expenses and affordable housing.

In particular, the groups that have drafted and promoted this measure do not understand its effects on rural Colorado and the agriculture industry. The measure is aimed at controlling urban growth and sprawl, but has far-reaching effects on all private-property owners in the affected areas.

The problems with this measure are:

” It is a constitutional amendment. This is a dangerous way to make land-use law because it cannot be adjusted without another election.

” It is an unfunded mandate to local government. The measure would require local counties and municipalities to develop growth-area maps and hold elections to affirm them.

” It is micro-management of a very complicated issue by the general electorate. We need to elect like-minded officials or run for office to create the kind of growth we want for our communities. Responsible growth controlled locally is always best.

” It severely restricts a farmer’s ability to change land use or carve off a smaller parcel of his land for a family member or for sale. Many agriculturists have had to sell small portions of their land merely to survive. The farmer is not participating in this current booming economy and should not be further penalized.

” The inevitable lawsuits will tie up appropriate growth and projects and cost taxpayers millions in legal fees to sort out this very vague measure.

Local governments, including Weld County, the city of Greeley and surrounding Northern Colorado communities are already hard at work developing and implementing appropriate, community-based growth-control measures. A one-size-fits-all law would impair these efforts and take away local control.

Please encourage all registered voters to defeat Amendment 24 at the polls in November.

Kirk Goble

Greeley

Editor:

To fully understand the hypocrisy of Amendment 24 and the tactics employed by its proponents, consider the economic reality in Oregon.

Beginning in the 1970s, the Sierra Club and other radical environmentalists effectively shut down the timber industry, which provided the highest-paying and greatest number of jobs. The ruin of that sector had enormous impact throughout Oregon’s economy and wrought financial ruin on countless workers and their families.

Legislators worked very diligently to address the situation by instituting a significant incentive program that encouraged new and existing businesses to retrain displaced workers, shift the economic focus to high-tech industries and invest in…

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