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Letters to the Editor

Compiled by Vail Daily staff
Vail, Colorado CO

‘Certainly’ bizarre

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, says that global warming is “very likely” manmade.

In laymen’s terms, (assuming “very likely” is a precise and scientifically accurate term of art of climate change science), this means that there is a “more than 90 percent certainty that man causes global warming,” which means that the Climate Panel now has it nailed, according to “top” U.S. climate scientist, Jerry Mahlman, who originated the percentage system.



This is a considerable advance on the Panel’s last report in 2001, which said that warming was only “likely” caused by human activity. No number was provided, but let’s assume 80 percent certainty, so that we poor laymen can be kept in the loop.

If all this strikes you as a bit bizarre, not to say unscientific, be grateful, because it could have been worse. There had been speculation that the participants might try to up the ante to “virtually certain” man causes global warming, which, for all you ignorant laymen out there who don’t understand the scientific terms “very likely,” “likely” and “virtually certain,” translates to a 99 percent chance.



Neither Mr. Mahlman nor the IPCC thought to tell us what caused the last episode of global warming, many thousands of years before there were enough humans industrializing the earth to be blamed for the phenomenon.

Some of us might think dinosaur flatulence could have been responsible last time, but the Panel, comprising the world’s leading climate scientists, will not be drawn into unscientific speculation.

D. Farrell Cordes



Vail

Home rule survey

The Eagle County Home Rule Charter Commission, an 11-member committee elected by the citizens, has commissioned a survey of the November voters.

This post-election survey is a little out of the ordinary, but the state statute that delineates how home-rule elections are handled is also a little out of the ordinary.

This statute is the only one that actually anticipates the potential need for revision of a ballot question and provides the opportunity to hold a second election.

So, out of respect for the voters, the Charter Commission decided to do the research to see what was objectionable about the charter and if revisions and/or more information would justify sending the question back to the voters in May of 2007.

A second run should be researched for the following reasons:

– The statutes specify that a second election may be justified.

– Out of 13,263 voters in November, 11 percent did not even vote on the question. That is a substantial number. Did the Commission fail to provide enough information so that voters could decide if they were for or against this question?

– The ballot in November was long and complex. The issue of home rule may have gotten lost in the shuffle.

– Opponents had a very visible and negative campaign. The proponents took an educational approach, which may not have concisely expressed the positive aspects of the charter or reached the voters effectively.

– If the small amount of money spent on the survey determines that a revised charter should be brought back to voters in May it will be far less expensive than reintroducing the entire charter again after a one- year waiting period. If the survey determines that a revised charter will not be looked upon favorably by the voters, a minimal amount of funds will have been expended to determine that.

Home rule was created as a way for local county government to have some level of independence from the state.

It lets individual communities have greater authority over their own future and how their government will function.

It provides citizens with additional rights to participate in their own democracy.

It may cost slightly more to have five commissioners, but the growth in Eagle County that justifies more staffing, more equipment and more improvements also justifies better representation and oversight.

The additional cost is fractional for creating a more responsive government with more local control.

This is about common sense and creating the best possible government for Eagle County.

Jacque Whitsitt

Basalt


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