The Home Front: A district attorney in Colorado is dismissing cases because of ‘what he terms the chronic underfunding of his office’

“As he pledged to do, Henry Solano is lightening his office’s workload in light of what he terms the chronic underfunding of his office,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Solano, the Trinidad-based district attorney for the 3rd Judicial District, told The Pueblo Chieftain that to date, his office has dismissed 11 felony cases — the majority being possession of a controlled substance possession with intent to distribute along with an attempted manslaughter — and 45 misdemeanors and traffic cases, with more likely to follow. Solano contends that the Las Animas County board of commissioners is purposely withholding voter-approved public safety funds, thereby hampering his office’s ability to successfully prosecute a growing cache of cases.”

“Greeley-Evans School District 6 officials told a group of about 20 parents, children and community members Wednesday night that Extraction Oil and Gas doesn’t plan to drill at its site behind Bella Romero Academy 4-8 campus during the school year,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The site is 1,350 feet from the school and has sparked several protests and a lawsuit. Deirdre Pilch, superintendent for District 6, told those gathered at Bella Romero Academy on Wednesday the district and its board of education have been clear about their concerns about the facility, and their primary focus is the safety of students. John Gates, the safety and security chief for the district and the mayor of Greeley, said Extraction told both him and Pilch this week production will be stopped at the site through the school year and will begin again next summer.”

“Boulder County will pay about $1.87 million to buy two farming properties west of Longmont and preserve them as open space,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “In separate actions on Tuesday, commissioners voted to spend $1.4 million to acquire 40 acres of property at 6412 Hygiene Road, and $469,800 to purchase 29 acres of dryland agricultural lands west of 13407 N. 75th St. The Hygiene Road property — which the county staff said the Zapf family bought in 1944 and whose family members have lived there since — was homesteaded in 1861 by George Washington Webster, credited with bringing apple trees to the Longmont area. There once was a stagecoach stop near the southwest corner of the property. There still is a small orchard on the property in which a variety of types of apples are grown, according to a memo to commissioners from Parks and Open Space Department land officer Mel Stonebraker.”

“Voters will be asked to approve a $13.8 million mill levy override and a $149 million bond for the Thompson School District — questions the school board unanimously approved Wednesday,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The measures will pay for backlogged maintenance, additions onto Ivy Stockwell and Berthoud Elementary schools, a new school east of Interstate 25, increased salaries, new books and curriculum and safety measures, according to the ballot issues approved at a meeting Wednesday.”

“A steady breeze blows a couple hundred feet up the valley floor over the tawny, undulating terrain,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “To the north, the view unfurls into verdant grapevines and orchards — a stark contrast to the surrounding biscuit-hued hills dotted with scant vegetation. Farther north, at the base of the Bookcliffs, vehicles that look like ants pass each other along Interstate 70. Several dozen residents have made a home in this rugged area of Horse Mountain between 38 and 39 roads, drawn by the views, the wildlife and off-the-grid living only a few minutes south of Palisade.”

“Fleming’s Town Board will hold a public hearing on zoning changes at its Sept. 11 meeting,” reports The Sterling Journal-Advocate. “The issue of zoning in areas on the edges of the town came up last month when Trustee Stefan Betley pointed out that there are parcels within the town limits that aren’t zoned. During discussion Mayor Sue Einspahr said she agreed all property within the town should be zoned, but she wanted to make sure there was as little disruption as possible in the updating. Einspahr was especially concerned about landowners who, for instance, were actually farming on property inside the town limits because that property abutted farmland. She said it would be unfair to suddenly zone that property in a way that would make farming it suddenly impossible. The solution, as revealed at Tuesday night’s regular meeting, was to zone those parcels “Transitional,” meaning the current use could be continued at least until the property changed hands or the current use was no longer feasible.”

“From an economic perspective, the silver lining in Smartwool’s move to Denver is that the company is staying in Colorado,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “VF Corporation, the company that owns Smartwool, is splitting into two publicly traded companies. VF will continue to operate its outdoor, active wear and work wear brands. A new company will be formed to operate VF’s jeans wear, which includes Lee and Wrangler jeans. This change left VF with no brand ties to the company’s headquarters in North Carolina. The company began to seek a new location for its outdoor brands, Smartwool, Altra, The North Face, Eagle Creek and JanSport.”

“Suzanne Ely is sick of the trains causing excessive delays in the middle of Brush and is looking for answers,” reports The Fort Morgan Times. “On Saturday, Ely and her husband were trying to get from one side of Brush to another when they were stopped by a train for more than two hours. Ely has been a resident of the area for 20 years and noticed that the train delays don’t maintain a specific schedule. After her outrage on Saturday, she tried reaching out to the train company, Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Company (BNSF), and received no reply. “One phone call isn’t going to do anything,” said Ely. “I’m trying to get everyone to call.” She explained that she also tried reaching out to local government agencies to address the train situation, but to no avail. According to Ely, the train got halfway across the road on Main Street and allowed for a single lane of traffic to move through, but it was still a sizable delay.”

“Local businesses seem ready for Vail’s stages of the Colorado Classic on Thursday, Aug. 16, and Friday Aug. 17,” reports Vail Daily. “But this effort to bring big-time cycle racing to Vail will have some challenges. The biggest challenge will be getting into and out of town. Thursday’s circuit race through town will close much of Vail on the south side of Interstate 70 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Through the bulk of the day, no vehicles will be allowed on any town streets between the Vail Golf Club and the Matterhorn neighborhood. Only emergency vehicles will be allowed on the streets.”

“The Bull Draw fire near the western border grew about 1,180 acres in the last day and continues to climb the list of the largest wildfires in Colorado’s history,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The fire, about 12 miles northwest of Nucla, covered 26,370 acres on Wednesday morning, making it the 17th largest fire in state hsitory. Five of the 20 largest fires ignited this year. Winds are expected to help push the fire up Deep Canyon in the afternoon. The fire was ignited by lightning on July 29. Crews continue to mop up scattered pockets of heat around the Campbell Point homes, where fires are creeping up through the vegetation below the houses. A 17-mile section of a Forest Service road called Divide Road remains closed.”

“The dissolution of a public-private partnership is putting a planned Boulder Junction project at the former Pollard Motors site in jeopardy,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Facing a tight deadline and uncertain funding, the city and its remaining partner are unsure if the deal can be pulled off in time to save 179 affordable homes and cost-limited retail space meant to boost local small businesses. A joint development agreement between the city and Denver-based Zocalo Community Development has been abandoned “following (a) mutual decision,” according to both parties. Zocalo felt the ambitious project — which includes 119 affordable rentals, 48 co-op rooms and 12 affordable and 153 market-rate townhomes for purchase, plus commercial space — could not make it through Boulder’s planning process in time to qualify for $4 million in federal funding.”

“Tolls on the planned Interstate 25 “Gap” Express Lanes between Monument and Castle Rock could be the lowest in the state and among the cheapest in the country, the Colorado Department of Transportation said on Wednesday,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “A traffic and revenue study commissioned by the agency’s High-Performance Transportation Enterprise recommended a rate of about 15 cents per mile — around $2.25 per one-way trip. That is expected to cover the cost of operating and maintaining the lanes, maximize the number of drivers using the toll lane and reduce traffic in all lanes. Maximum per-mile toll rates vary widely on Express Lanes across the country. Drivers can pay up to $4 per mile on I-66 in the Washington, D.C., area. On Utah’s I-15 Express Lanes in the Salt Lake City area, the maximum is just 10 cents a mile.”

“The Colorado River is so strained amid population growth and a climate shift to hotter, drier conditions that federal water managers may declare an unprecedented ‘shortage’ and cut releases from reservoirs,” reports The Denver Post. “The feds are imploring Western states to do more now to cut water use. A U.S. Bureau of Reclamation forecast issued Wednesday for water in the Colorado River — an over-subscribed lifeline for 40 million people — anticipates declaration of a shortage in September 2019 that would trigger the reduced water releases from federal reservoirs in “lower basin” states including Nevada and Arizona. Colorado and other “upper basin” states Utah, Wyoming and New Mexico would face increased scrutiny of flows from headwaters into the Lake Powell reservoir. On Wednesday, Lake Powell measured 49 percent full and Lake Mead measured 38 percent full.”

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.

1 COMMENT

  1. In regards to VF Corp’s locating to Colorado, here’s the rest of the story:

    VF Corporation’s move was helped by the State providing $27 million in incentives.
    VF’s revenue was US$12.3 billion (in 2014).
    The valuation of VF is $36.8 billion, yet they’re receiving state subsidized help.

    The largest institutional shareholders of VF include:
    Vanguard
    BlackRock
    State Street
    Wellington Management
    Capital World
    Wellington Management
    And other of the largest money-management firms in the world, whom operate collaboratively, forming virtual monopolies amongst the largest corporations in every single industry.
    https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/VFC/holders/

    The largest institutional shareholders are also among the largest institutional shareholders of the largest “competing” hospitals, insurance companies, and pharmaceutical companies; the largest “competing” home improvement stores (including both Lowes AND Home Depot); the largest “competing” Defense Contractors (including Lockheed, Boeing, Raytheon, Northrop, General Dynamics, and others); the largest “competing” retailers (like Amazon, Walmart, Kroger, CostCo, and others); the largest “competing” tech companies (like Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Amazon, and others); the largest “competing” telecom companies (including BOTH AT&T & Verizon); the six largest “competing” U.S. airlines; the six largest “competing” banks; over 95 percent of the media (both “left” and “right”); and so on, and so on, and so on………

    • Corporations held by these largest institutional shareholders are amongst the LARGEST corporations receiving the MOST in state and federal subsidies.
    • Corporations held by these largest institutional shareholders are amongst the LARGEST political campaign contributors.
    NOTICING A TREND HERE?
    Campaign donations result in tremendous corporate ROI’s.

    The average annual wage of $185,721 promised by the company in securing the $27 million incentive includes a salary to President & CEO Steven Rendle of over $3.5 million.
    https://www1.salary.com/VF-CORP-Executive-Salaries.html

    An “AVERAGE” annual wage was used in their presentation due to the relatively high pay of their Executives. When using “AVERAGES”, as most of us know, the extremely large numbers bring up the average of the remaining lower numbers.

    If you have 10 employees, with a President/CEO making $3.5 million, and the rest making $60,000, you have an “AVERAGE” wage of $372,727.00.

    This is how people manipulate numbers/stats to give a good, but misleading presentation

    These firms are the true architects of the “economic recovery”.
    • By creating virtual monopolies, they have captured most of the revenue.
    • By owning such large swaths of shares of the largest public companies, they can ensure share pricing stability by preventing mass sell-offs (or initiate mass sell-offs for Boards & Executives whom refuse their directives).
    • They can similarly manipulate share pricing by controlling share availability (supply/demand), buying excess, thereby creating low inventory, creating higher share prices.

    In the article “These Three Firms Own Corporate America”, the journal The Conversation highlights the power of just the three largest money-management firms:
    “Together, BlackRock, Vanguard and State Street have nearly US$11 trillion in assets
    under management. That’s more than all sovereign wealth funds combined and over three times the global hedge fund industry.
    In a recently published paper, our CORPNET research project comprehensively mapped the ownership of the Big Three. We found that the Big Three, taken together, have become the largest shareholder in 40% of all publicly listed firms in the United States.”
    Further:
    “In the S&P 500 – the benchmark index of America’s largest corporations – the situation is even more extreme. Together, the Big Three are the largest single shareholder in almost 90% of S&P 500 firms, including Apple, Microsoft, ExxonMobil, General Electric and Coca-Cola. This is the index in which most people invest.”
    Plus:
    “These companies have, in fact, publicly declared that they seek to exert influence. William McNabb, chairman and CEO of Vanguard, said in 2015 that, “In the past, some have mistakenly assumed that our predominantly passive management style suggests a passive attitude with respect to corporate governance. Nothing could be further from the truth.”

    By controlling such large swaths of shares of the largest “competing” corporations in every single industry, these firms can exert tremendous control over Boards and Executive Management, thereby controlling corporate governance and operations in general.
    They can thereby control wages, consumer pricing, benefits, inventory, etc.

    They truly control Corporate America, and as such, most of EVERYONE in America.
    These are the true neo-feudal Lords.

    This is the new American “Planned Market Economy”, that is, capitalism only for a select few, via a centrally planned corporate controlled economy.

    Bow down to your corporate Lords.

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