Letters to the Editor

Vail Daily letter: Allow competition

May 3, 2016 — 

Dear Madame Secretary Penny Pritzker,

As a billionaire, current commerce secretary and regular speaker at the Aspen Institute, you stated recently on NPR that President Barak Obama wants the feds to encourage “competition.”

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Vail Daily letter: Complaint mishandled

May 2, 2016 — 

Dear Robert Ticer, chief of the Avon Police Department,

First, I would like to say that I have always been and still am a supporter of police officers. I truly appreciate the men and women who put their lives on the line every day for me and others.

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Vail Daily letter: Gonzales for Eagle-Vail

May 2, 2016 — 

I have lived in Eagle-Vail for 3 1/2 years. During that time, I have gotten to know Moses Gonzales and his wife, Cindy. Moses and Cindy are both longtime residents of Eagle-Vail and the valley. Moses is a selfless individual who puts the needs of others above his own. He has a passion for serving this community. He worked many years with the Vail Police Department. throughout the years, he has organized and served on many community service and charity events. This past winter, he and Cindy both volunteered their time with the Vail tourist information board. I believe his passion for the community and his desire to serve selflessly will make Moses Gonzales an excellent representative to the Eagle-Vail Metro Board.

Peter Herbig

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Vail Daily letter: Eagle-Vail exposed

May 2, 2016 — 

As I predicted, the old Eagle-Vail cronies, the tax and spend 5A proponents, will say anything to try to keep me from representing you on the Metro District board. They credit me, and a few others, for the defeat of 5A. They know that I will protect taxpayers and voters. I have, and will continue, to challenge illegal or improper actions by the Metro District or the Property Owners’ Association. My priority is to protect individuals. These attacks, their fear of me, are a great compliment and my best endorsement.

I must, again, set the record straight about Eagle-Vail. Only two-thirds of the properties within Eagle-Vail belong to the Property Owners’ Association. There are homes, right in the middle of the neighborhood, that are not members of the Property Owners’ Association and don’t pay dues. These homes are some of our best-looking and most valuable properties.

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' for police in Avon

May 2, 2016 — 

Vote “yes” for police in Avon. The existing police facilities are undersized and outdated. The new public safety facility will house both police and fire at a more convenient location at the intersection between Buck Creek and Swift Gulch roads, behind the new medical office building. This collaboration between the town and Eagle River Fire Protection District will save both entities money and the police portion will be built without raising taxes. For more information, please visit avon.org. Ballots are due by Tuesday and they can be mailed (all envelopes have postage paid) or dropped off at Town Hall. Vote “yes” and help secure a safer future for the town of Avon!

Jennie Fancher

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Vail Daily letter: Re-evaluate Avon leash law

May 2, 2016 — 

I have a very sweet 5-year-old cocker spaniel poodle mix who loves one thing, playing fetch. I also have a very rambunctious 4-year-old who loves playing at the park. So, on one of the first few nice and warm days we’ve had, I take my pup and daughter to our neighborhood Nottingham Park to stretch my dog’s winter legs playing fetch in the soccer field while my daughter plays with the other children on the playground. While we were there, another family had the same idea with their children and dog, who was easily the size of a small bear (also off a leash) walking around the playground playing with the children. As I am throwing the stick to my persistent, never tiring dog, cheering on my daughter as she slides down the slide and picking up trash around the playground, multi-tasking as moms do, I am approached by two Avon policemen. The first asks me if I was aware of the leash law and that my dog is not allowed to “run at large.” I laughed a little and said, “I think she is only running after the stick, but no, I don’t have a leash and was not really aware although I had heard mutterings of such a law.”

The leash law — I’ve lived in Avon and have been coming to Nottingham Park countless times over the last three years. I’ve seen people walking their dogs on leashes, I’ve seen people walking with their dogs off the leash but under voice command, I’ve seen people playing fetch and Frisbee with their dogs on the same field I was on playing with my dog and I’ve seen people swimming with their dogs in the lake. We have worked with our dog on commands since she was a pup and so well that she has a hard time grasping the concept of the leash when we do have to use it. She is always close to my side unless I let her know it’s time to fetch. Never once have I ever seen any issues arise at the park because, well, we are all adults and know whether or not our dogs can control themselves off the leash or if they are better suited for restraint.

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Vail Daily letter: Connolly for Vail Recreation board

May 2, 2016 — 

I have known Steve Connolly for a number of years and have been impressed with his interest and concern for the town and his willingness to listen to people before making a decision. He is also a strong proponent of transparency. I feel these are important qualities and ones that will serve him well on the Vail Recreation District Board.

Mark Christie

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Vail Daily letter: Kindness in Lake Creek

May 2, 2016 — 

Sunday, April 17, I was hiking with my dog, Cowboy (a 9-month-old golden retriever), and my dear friend in West Lake Creek. After an unfortunate series of events involving a skier on the trail, Cowboy became spooked and took off bolting toward the trailhead. Immediately following after him, my friend, the skier and I spent the next several hours searching the West Lake Creek area for Cowboy. My world was turning upside down as the realization was hitting me that my best friend, Cowboy, was lost. No longer was this search a hide-and-seek situation, but my puppy was lost and not coming when we were snowshoeing, hiking and driving yelling his name to come home.

What happened next was the start of a remarkable act of kindness — the Lake Creek community saw my struggle and my sadness and joined forces to help me find Cowboy. They notified neighbors, hiked in the cold calling his name and even turned on their headlamps to continue searching through the night. Even though Cowboy was not found that night, the Lake Creek community’s passion only got larger and stronger. I was receiving late night phone calls full of hope and inspiration. These beautiful people uplifted me, and I was confident that Cowboy would be found. Early the next morning after another unsuccessful hike and search for Cowboy, popular local Mark Ruark contacted all of his connections in the Lake Creek area.

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Vail Daily letter: Seeking your vote

April 29, 2016 — 

My name is Christopher Pryor and I’m reaching out to you for support in the upcoming Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District (WECMRD) board of directors election on Tuesday. For those of you who may not know me directly, I live in Edwards with my wife, Kristen, and our three children, Jack (9), Brady (5), and Peyton (6 months). We have lived in the Vail Valley for just short of a decade and are very active with youth sports, volunteering and enjoying the mountain lifestyle we love.

Growing up in Colorado, I spent my high school years working for the YMCA managing facilities and running youth programs in southwest Denver. Years later while in graduate school, I worked for the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets managing their sports marketing programs and events. I then spent the last 15 years working in the marketing and business development fields for a national trade association and other event related companies. During these periods of my life, I gained valuable experience and exposure with the management and marketing of programs, facilities and events, along with how successful organizations manage and operate on a day-to-day basis.

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Vail Daily letter: 'No' on Edwards sales tax

April 29, 2016 — 

The Edwards Metro District is asking for a 1 percent sales tax increase to improve traffic conditions in Edwards. The argument is that shoppers should pay for these improvements, because they cause the congestion. But the improvements mentioned in the supporting documents seem short-term in nature, while the tax lasts until 2040. Riverwalk businesses already charge an additional “fee” of 0.5 percent, which many fraudulently report as “tax” on your receipt. Who should pay for these improvements? Since much of the congestion is caused by new housing, why not have builders of new homes pay a “congestion fee?” We already pay tap fees when we build new houses to acknowledge the cost of water infrastructure. And won’t those businesses in Edwards benefit the most from these improvements? They’ll do more business, and with fixed costs covered, it will go right to the bottom line. Finally, many Edwards residents, such as those in Singletree, aren’t even eligible to vote on this tax increase. So a small group of voters has the power to raise taxes for a much larger group. If they do, I will be shopping there a lot less.

Chris Hynes

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Vail Daily letter: My choices for Eagle-Vail

April 29, 2016 — 

I am baffled by the political turmoil happening in Eagle-Vail right now. I have lived here with my family since 1998, and have served on the Design Review Board since 2010. I am currently chairman of the board. While I have been very involved with design review, I have not been involved with the joint boards. I have however observed that any changes I’ve seen have been very positive. The improvements to the Pavilion, the new pool, the community garden, the new signage, improvements to parks, the Eagle-Vail Trail, the beautiful golf course, and all the other small changes have been great for our community.

It seems that the failure to pass 5A started a firestorm that has built steadily since. While I am in agreement that the ballot issue could have been better communicated, and it’s possible that the golf course clubhouse could have been built more economically, the work done by the committees does not constitute fraud, treachery or lies. It seems the candidates who would like to oust the old regime are fear mongering and inflating the issues, while not offering any solid better solutions. I understand there may be a contingent of homeowners, and especially second-home owners who do not want to pay for amenities because they don’t use them. But I hope all will consider that having great amenities increases property values — something that I think we all appreciate.

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Vail Daily letter: Vote 'yes' for a new board

April 29, 2016 — 

The Eagle-Vail Metro District Board claims that the current group of candidates do not have the type of experience necessary to manage the Metro District in the same fashion they have. Let’s hope they are right. The new board members can do so much better.

For the past eight years, the current board turned a deaf ear to looming financial issues Eagle-Vail is now facing. The focus has been on pet projects, including the Urban Land Institute study, the first 5A bond issue, the proposed new community clubhouse, engineering studies, land use studies, flood studies, parks studies, as well as numerous task forces to evaluate these studies. Although the first 5A gave us golf course improvements and a nice new pool, they have added little, if any, additional monies to our general fund. The current board is long on spending and short on revenue generation.

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Vail Daily letter: My choices for Eagle-Vail

April 28, 2016 — 

Do you love Eagle-Vail like I do? If you live in Eagle-Vail, I hope you will cast your ballot for new board members in the Eagle-Vail Metropolitan District election. There are eight people who volunteered for three open board seats. All would make good board members. The primary role of the Eagle-Vail Metro District Board is to care for the recreation and park amenities in Eagle-Vail. Board members have a significant role in decisions affecting these amenities, our home values and community financial burdens. Ballots must be returned via mail or personal delivery to the Eagle-Vail office by Tuesday.

Over the last year, I have heard from a number of residents who are concerned with decision-making by the two governing boards in Eagle-Vail. Concerns include wasteful spending, the ill-fated 5A referendum and the lack of following the wishes and interests of all property owners.

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' to Eagle River, Gypsum

April 28, 2016 — 

When someone has an emergency and calls 911 they need help immediately. Callers expect the phone will be answered and help is on its way. But what happens when the expected help doesn’t come or is delayed? Emergency responders and planners position fire stations to best serve the community. But as a community grows, the volume and complexity of calls rises; and sometimes that happens disproportionally. It is important for those in charge of that planning to anticipate the growth and stay ahead of those needs.

Upvalley, the Eagle River Fire Protection District is attempting to be ready for that growth. In Avon alone, there are 2,500 single-family homes and over 800,000 square feet of commercial space already in the works. It is extremely important that the emergency personnel are in a position to be able to respond to the increased demand. The current Avon station is surrounded by hotels, bus stops, child care centers, and events in the park that can completely shut down the road used by responding emergency apparatus.

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Vail Daily letter: Hollow assertions

April 28, 2016 — 

Let’s correct the record regarding several assertions made in Mike Kieler’s letter to the editor (Thursday’s Vail Daily). The essence of his comments were “Carl Luppens’ comments not true.” These hollow assertions, without factual support, should be ignored by the residents of Eagle-Vail. Readers that are interested in the truth can easily verify the following:

• Has significant financial information been withheld from the community?

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Vail Daily letter: Asking for your vote

April 28, 2016 — 

My name is Elizabeth Jones and I am running for a four year term on the WECMRD board this Tuesday. My family has been involved with WECMRD for 11 years and I know that the WECMRD facilities are by far some of the greatest assets of our valley. As a parent of three great kids that grew up in WECMRD programs and as a taxpayer, I feel compelled to offer my service as a public administration professional to the WECMRD organization. My career began in the military where I learned to be straightforward and direct; I’ve worked for a wide variety of companies since, from big corporations to small family-owned businesses and I’ve owned businesses as well. I have a degree in public administration, work with a variety of budgets and am currently serving on four boards.

In the next five years, transparency, accountability and a shared vision for the future needs of the valley are critical to WECMRD’s success. As our population is expected to continue to grow, and the needs and desires related to organized sports programs, field use, and the overall services WECMRD offers grow, the organization must be poised to respond to higher expectations for quality programs and facilities available to everyone.

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Vail Daily letter: Fresh perspective, open mind

April 28, 2016 — 

My name is Patti Sills, and I’m running for a seat on the Eagle-Vail Metro District Board. I’m eager to bring a fresh perspective and open mind to the key issues facing our community. The most important element I can offer is honesty and a determination for broad community input and open processes.

We, as a community, expect our money to be spent prudently and carefully, and I don’t believe that’s always been the case. Even though we have a substantial budget in terms of taxes, user fees and member dues, we still have over $20 million in neglected deferred maintenance for amenities that we cherish. Had we not avoided last year’s 5A referendum, the $23 million additional debt, and related new projects and expenses, would have crippled our financial strength to address the needs to maintain our amenities.

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Vail Daily letter: Is that transparency?

April 28, 2016 — 

So many people in Eagle-Vail seem to want to be outraged by governance issues these days but are being shielded from an issue that should cause them legitimate pause. The recently reconstructed Property Owners’ Association board has agreed to settle a matter regarding the non-payment of dues by a community member that has lasted for close to 10 years. This community member has argued during that time that a “defect” in the declarations document filed in 1992 with the county left his property off the list of properties that were included in the Property Owners’ Association — hence his rationale that he did not have to pay dues to the Property Owners’ Association. Never mind that every other property around him was included in the list and that the defect — which has since been rectified — was clearly a clerical error. When approached about this matter in the past, this community member responded each and every time with threats to sue the Property Owners’ Association on the grounds that he believed the declarations were not filed properly. The time and energy of elected officials and community staff has been spent on this matter over the years, as well as legal fees paid out of the Property Owners’ Association’s coffers — property owners’ dues monies.

Why should this outrage anyone? The recently elected members of the Property Owners’ Association board have voted to approve a settlement with this community member to close this matter. Kudos for bringing it to resolution. But in doing so they agreed to terms in the settlement that do not allow the details of the agreement to be known to us as residents. A settlement in general implies that the Property Owners’ Association accepted something less than what was owed in past dues, penalties and accumulated legal fees — fine, that’s how matters like this often get handled. But for a group of people who ran a collective campaign for seats on the Property Owners’ Association by touting their desire to improve the transparency of local governance and to unite the neighborhood, how does sealing such a settlement live up to that promise?

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Vail Daily letter: Selfish reasoning

April 28, 2016 — 

I am a very selfish person.

Presently, the fire station in Avon is located about a block away from the building in which I live. Moving it to the frontage road, next to Northside Kitchen near the Interstate 70 roundabout, will mean that it will be much closer to the Wildridge area, much closer to the building on Nottingham Road that burned down a few years ago, and will allow fire personnel to access Edwards to Minturn much quicker by being able to access Interstate 70 quicker.

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Vail Daily letter: Ignoring the facts

April 27, 2016 — 

In response to Carl Luppens’ Monday letter to the editor, perhaps it would be helpful for the good folks of Eagle-Vail to get the truth. Mr. Luppens’ desperate attempts to try and convince the voters that he is a worthy candidate for a board seat on the Eagle-Vail Metro District is really beneath any of us, including him. Mr. Luppens starts his letter out factually: “It takes complete honesty and full disclosure” to manage a $1 billion enterprise. He goes straight downhill from there.

So, let’s start with honesty and full disclosure both of which Mr. Luppens blatantly and conveniently chooses to ignore.

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Vail Daily letter: Thanks for correction

April 27, 2016 — 

In the April 19 edition of the Vail Daily, you ran an article announcing me as the new campus administrator for Castle Peak Senior Life & Rehabilitation in Eagle Ranch. I had stated that “I am proud to be part of an exciting new chapter in Eagle history by providing the first senior living community in the area.” A couple of days later, in a letter to the editor, Lucy Crandall rightly corrected me, as I should have said, “ … the first senior care community in the area.”

I’d like to thank Ms. Crandall for recognizing the Golden Eagle Apartments and Seniors on Broadway for decades of service to Eagle County. I am very much looking forward to working with the Golden Eagle and Seniors on Broadway as partners in helping older adults age in place in Eagle County.

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' for Edwards proposal

April 27, 2016 — 

If you are a qualified voter in the Edwards Metro District, I urge you to vote “yes” on Ballot Initiative 5A. The increased sales tax will help fund much-needed improvements to our area infrastructure, providing better access for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists. This is a great way to leverage local resources (10 percent of cost) with Colorado Department of Transportation funding (80 percent) and support from Eagle County (10 percent). If we pass up this opportunity, it may not come around again for many years. The relatively minor sales tax increase will still leave current tax rates lower than most areas of Eagle County, and the improvements will positively impact the community for the foreseeable future.

Steve Lindstrom

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' to the public safety facility

April 27, 2016 — 

Please vote “yes” on the ballot initiatives for the Avon Police Department and the Eagle River Fire District. Not only will the construction of the proposed joint public safety facility ensure better police and fire service for our community, it will also free up land by Nottingham Park for better uses for everyone who lives in and visits Avon.

We can expand Nottingham Park, add a pocket park by the library, or provide space for the creative arts and artists. With the relocation of the fire department, police and other town staff, there are amazing opportunities for this land with incredible views, next to our greatest amenities — the lake and the park.

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' to Avon public safety facility

April 26, 2016 — 

In safe towns like Avon, we don’t give much thought to police.

We may give them more attention when we’re pushing the speed limit or driving home after a drink, but 74 percent of the people who participated in the 2015 Avon community survey expressed satisfaction with police services, and 93 percent said they feel safe in their neighborhood.

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' to Eagle River Fire

April 26, 2016 — 

Chances are you haven’t needed your cat removed from a tree lately, or a fire in your house extinguished, or CPR administered to you or a loved one. If you have, chances are you can stop reading this, as you’re most likely already in support of the upcoming ballot initiative to improve the infrastructure for Eagle River Fire Protection District.

Fortunately we don’t all need the fire department to help us on a regular basis, but if we do it’s quite possibly on one of the worst days of our lives, and we’ll most likely need the best trained firefighters responding as quickly as possible. In the medical world, the difference between CPR that gets blood and oxygen to the brain and saves a life and CPR that doesn’t can be seconds. When a fire is burning in a building or in the wilderness the same applies to a fire that is caught in the incipient stages and a fire that tears through a building leaving nothing salvageable in its path. The infrastructure improvements this initiative will provide will definitively improve response times to emergencies throughout Eagle County. The proposed training facility will allow firefighters to master their craft in a controlled setting so they’re better prepared when they find themselves in a burning building that doesn’t have much for room for error.

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' to Gypsum fire

April 26, 2016 — 

Firefighters are not firefighters because they need to be. They do it because they want to help people, and make someone’s day a little brighter than it may be at that point. But it’s not always as cool as some people make it sound. It takes hard work and dedication beyond compare. They put their lives at risk to help you, and they do it willingly. But the fact is, they cannot do it without your support.

My father, Scott Benson, is a volunteer at Gypsum Fire Protection District. One day last month, a call came in at around noon. There was a wildland fire with 20-foot flames, coming close to a new housing development in Cotton Ranch. Had we not had enough people listening to their radios that day, the flames could have easily engulfed the houses. Luckily, we were. So Dad and I hopped in the truck, and literally sped over to the station, so he could respond. He wasn’t on shift, but he responded anyway. He nearly missed the hockey game that followed, which benefited the fire departments of Eagle County. It is not required that they do this. Firefighters are very brave people, who do it for you.

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' to Gypsum fire

April 25, 2016 — 

The fire service has relied on volunteers to staff the fire engines and respond to calls for over a hundred years. Unfortunately, those days are rapidly coming to an end. Those volunteers are now either too busy to break away at a moment’s notice or, more likely, they are working far outside of their hometown and are unable to respond in a timely manner. In addition to the time commitment is the required training in order to maintain their certifications. Gone are the days of just being able to grab some bunker gear and jump on a truck as it leaves the station. The fire service as a whole is moving away from the “good ol’ boy” volunteer aspect in favor of professional firefighters. In addition to the things mentioned above, the entire aspect of fighting fire is changing. The building construction of today combined with the new materials used is making fires more dangerous. Buildings that used to last up to an hour in fire conditions are now deemed unsafe in a matter of minutes.

Unfortunately, those districts that previously relied on the generosity of the town members to volunteer are now faced with some serious manpower shortages. And those budgets that relied on that “free labor” are faced with some tremendous budget shortfalls. The firefighters in Gypsum are no exception.

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Vail Daily letter: Thanks for hospitality

April 25, 2016 — 

On April 22, United Way of Eagle River Valley hosted the Harlem Ambassadors professional comedy basketball team for a night of high-flying slam dunks, hilarious comedy, and feel-good family entertainment.

The Harlem Ambassadors would like to extend a special thank you to event organizers Zane Gearhart and Rebecca Kanaly, who planned and promoted the event. The Eagle Valley All-Stars were energetic and enthusiastic opponents and we thank all of the players for their good sportsmanship.

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Vail Daily letter: Being mortal

April 22, 2016 — 

Every human being is brought into this world against their will, kicking and screaming, in pain, oblivious to our environment, quickly jammed into a diaper, helpless and totally dependent on others for at least the first year of life.

At birth, there is absolutely no guarantee how long we will live, as every human being, even those fortunate to dwell in the (so-called) civilized world, is faced with the possibility of being exposed to some horrible disease or illness, an accident, a random act of violence or some other terminal misfortune.

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Vail Daily letter: 'Yes' to public safety facility

April 22, 2016 — 

We have both voted “yes” for both the proposed financing of the new Avon Police Station and the funding of the new facilities ​for ​our Fire Department. The facilities have a proven need, and investing in protecting our towns and neighborhoods has the highest importance to us.

We have visited the current facilities and they are in dire need of upgrading. We need to keep and hire the best and brightest first responders to protect us​. That will be difficult without a plan to make their working lives better. Asking those who protect us to continue working and living in these substandard facilities is wrong.

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