Brenner represents Western slope
A few days ago, I had an opportunity to spend a couple of hours with Ken Brenner, a Democrat who is running to become our Colorado state senator for District 8. I was very impressed with this fourth-generation Coloradan, who has spent many years in public service in Steamboat Springs and Routt County, in particular working on the county master plan and land conservation issues. I am writing this letter because I believe Ken is the kind of person we need in our state legislature to bring about some long-term planning, to meet these objectives so important to our future needs. Here are some of the important issues that Ken focused on that require constant and determined attention in our state and national legislatures.
Water: Protect our Western Slope water and bring about statewide conservation and planning for the future.
Energy: Protect public health and the environment, and be involved in Colorado’s new energy economy.
Education: Colorado must become a national leader in innovative educational plans. (As a former school board member, this one is near to my heart, especially with regard to teacher compensation and training.)
Health care: Create quality, affordable and accessible health care for everyone in Colorado.
Environment: Guarantee the long-term opportunity to enjoy our outdoor lifestyle.
During his years on the Steamboat Springs City Council, Ken became an expert on the critical use of water. This will become one of our major challenges, considering population growth, climate change and agricultural and recreational needs.
I urge you to consider these thoughts when you vote in this primary election on Aug. 12, 2008.
Once again the Town of Vail and the Colorado Department of Transportation have given East Vail the short end of the stick. They ended the “quiet” I-70 paving job just as they got to our area, where the vehicle noise is the worst in all of Vail, not only from the pavement, but also from trucks “jake braking” as they come down the hill to the East Vail exit.
CDOT, with its usual wisdom, put a sign at the top of the hill telling the trucks to resume speed. All those signs that say engine mufflers required are a joke and a waste of money. The police department’s method of enforcement is to wave hello to the truckers.
Restoring trust, building community, step 3:
Keeping our longest-term taxpayers in Eagle County is not just a government issue, this is a community issue. The senior members of the founding families of Eagle County are forced to move to a healthcare facility outside of Eagle County when they are no longer able to care for themselves.
As our county grows and ages, senior care is a more pressing issue. To build a sustainable community for all our families’ members, we need to move senior care up on our priority list.
To build community, we must work together as a community to expand the spectrum of health care facilities and services that will keep our family and friends close us.
In the ideal situation, aging seniors live with caring family members or friends. I spent 20 years as a long-term health care administrator and I know that this is not always possible, despite good intentions of family and friends. Some seniors need more medical care and assistance than a family member or friend is able to provide at home.
In my view, government is usually less efficient, less qualified and a more costly provider of these basic services than the private sector. Increases in property taxes squeeze our fixed income seniors the hardest, so solutions should not add that additional burden. The community issue is how to provide the widest spectrum of services, in the most productive and efficient manner. As with child care, the operation and ownership of these facilities should be kept in the more efficient private or nonprofit sector.
A non-partisan committee of concerned citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds have been meeting and working on the issue of bringing more senior health services to Eagle County. Seniors, senior caregivers, health care providers, hospitals, nonprofit foundations, developers and other people who are passionate about this issue want to work with the county to come up with a community solution.
It is no surprise that one of the biggest barriers is the cost of the land for a senior health care facility. Eagle County must be a partner in working with the community to acquire the land needed to build these facilities. This can be done through a number of vehicles that are available to the government but not to the private sector. For example, a land owner may be willing to grant some land for this use in exchange for increasing development rights on a different parcel. This is just one example of a solution that will be a win-win for the future of our community without increasing our tax burden.
If you missed the first two points of my 10-point plan for restoring trust and building community, you can find it on my Web site at http://www.electdebbiebuckley.com.
Debbie Buckley, Avon
County commissioner candidate
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