Public education benefits all

Whenever public education is in flux, I feel the need to speak about vouchers.

Permit me some hypotheticals. Imagine I don’t use the public rec center and instead ask for my share of the recreation budget to join a health club. Or, perhaps I don’t use the library so I would like my share of the library budget to choose my own books. Or, I won’t be using the new I-25 Crystal Valley Park Parkway exit so please send me my share of that cost.

These hypotheticals are nonsense, of course. Why? Because tax money is gathered to provide a service to the community as a whole. There is no individual share of the recreation, library, transportation or any other budget.

Public education is no different. My education tax dollars do not directly pay for my child’s education. If that were true, a family without children in the school system would pay no education tax, and a family with four schoolchildren would pay four times more. The notion of an individual’s “share” of the education budget is no different than my other hypotheticals. The concept is contradictory.

Public services like education exist to benefit the entire community, and it is each taxpayer’s choice whether to use them or not, as it always has been. Any money taken away from public education hurts all of our kids. In a society where so many seem to be concerned about people receiving government handouts, I find it ironic that some of those same people want to put their hands out.

Use public education or don’t, but choosing not to does not entitle you to a government handout.

David Dole, Castle Rock

Support for school board majority

I would like to thank the voters of Douglas County for voting in our four new conservative Douglas County School Board members last November. I support their first formal action of eliminating the mask mandate for schoolchildren and leaving it to the parents to decide whether to have their children masked or not. Freedom of choice is a critical element to a democratic republic. I also support their agenda to refocus on academic basics and empower parents to have a say about what their children are taught. If that required the firing of the superintendent, so be it. Supporting these new board members prior to their election was necessary, but it is very important that we don’t become complacent and not continue to support them going forward. Keep up the good work.

Cheryl Matthews, Larkspur

Thomas perfect for sheriff job

Lora Thomas is a perfect candidate to run for Douglas County sheriff. She has the education, past experience, fiscal sense and best of all is not an insider of the present sheriff’s office. She does not have “baggage” to bring to the position.

I have watched Lora’s career path as she became coroner, and then commissioner. She has a good head on her shoulders and high standards.

I am happy to campaign for her.

Barbara Chapman, Highlands Ranch

Look to natural gas, nuclear

Natural gas supplies are tight. Consumers in our area recently paid the highest prices for electricity and natural gas seen over the past 20-plus years.

I have 21 years of data for our home natural gas and electricity costs. Although monthly costs have backed off from the 21-year high we saw this fall, and are back very close to the 21-year average, consumer concern for prices continuing to trend higher is an

occurrence that need not be happening.

The $550 million in 2021 extra gas costs, the $1.7 billion Power Pathways transmission line project and the $7 billion alternative energy electric resource plan are just a few examples of what to expect from the rush to alternative energy in conjunction with the regulatory and legal stranglehold placed on bringing new supplies of natural gas into current generation platforms and the short-sighted, immature fear of nuclear energy. By comparison, per recent published estimates, a combined-cycle gas plant can be brought online for approximately $150 million.

Nuclear generation is a tried and true, safe, reliable and affordable source of power generation. Unfortunately, radical alarmist environmental groups, fossil fuel interests and the alternative energy industry continue to stand in the way of nuclear’s promise primarily for industry sector self-enrichment to the detriment of rate payers everywhere.

Rather than take advantage of nuclear and our vast supply of fossil fuels to bring more generation capacity on line, Xcel, due to regulatory mandates and legal requirements, is expanding the use of expensive alternative energy generation while at the same time asking customers to be unnecessarily restrictive in electricity usage. If capacity stagnates, smart meters may be Xcel’s go-to to involuntarily reduce customer demand.

While natural gas and nuclear are not currently fashionable, or popular these two power sources have the proven potential to provide bountiful planetary power while alternative energy’s dual problems of low power density and consistent intermittency are being addressed.

Fossil fuel generation is now an incredibly clean source of power generation. Per the EPA, between 2005 and 2019, greenhouse gas emissions decreased by 11.7% and overall emissions by 33.1%. Current technology has reduced poisonous pollutants to almost zero.

In response to the quote from the Office of Utility Consumer Advocate that the transition to alternative energy is going to be expensive, I can only concur by saying, we ain’t seen nothing yet.

Douglass Croot, Highlands Ranch

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