Saturday, April 23, 2022 Open Forum Letters to the Editor

Carrie Dalton: Property Rights: Big and Powerful Ditch Companies

“Am I in Oz? »

Like the Wizard of Oz, Ditch Companies seem “the great and mighty” ethereal entity that hides behind a curtain.

My husband and I purchased a home in unincorporated Boulder County nine years ago. We didn’t know much about the ambiguous and vague laws regarding the rights of landowners, or lack thereof, regarding a ditch that might cross their property.

Our title company has said that they can access these laws. These laws, which I have not found in print, other than the ditch company attorney, appear outdated and independent of all government agencies. I called county and state and got nowhere – no one wants to touch it.

Our moat has remained untouched for over 35 years (other than a mattress thrown on our property 10 years ago).

Last fall, a man came to our property out of the blue and said he was going to clean up 35 years of dead trees (yay!) but…we had to get rid of the debris. All.

Estimated cost to us? $15,000…and he wanted to start this week. Oh yes, and he was going to dig up some trees that we had just planted. Oh yeah, and he had rights up to 50 feet.

The ditch company can throw whatever they want on your property for you to dispose of, while they get the right to cross your property and make money doing it.

Even two reps from said company have said they should split the moving costs – do whatever it takes – but that concept seems unimaginable for “Oz.”

I understand this is a David and Goliath situation. I also understand that Colorado’s ditch companies seem invulnerable and unaccountable…but isn’t it time to challenge those archaic “handshake” laws?

Carrie Dalton


Paul Culnan: Environment: The Climate Bell Rings

Until the 1930s, in any town or city, a person in a central location would ring the fire bell to tell people to drop what they were doing and come help fight the fire. They understood that the threat posed by fire was real and immediate and that time was running out.

Now the climate bell is ringing! Scientists and activists are ringing the bell as loudly as they can, but it’s drowning out the cacophony of our daily lives. Many people don’t realize that climate change is a real and immediate threat to our well-being, and that time is running out.

It is essential to act quickly because greenhouse gas emissions are cumulative, which means that the number of days, months and years during which we continue to release GHGs into the atmosphere is at least as important than the rate at which we are currently emitting GHGs.

Just like before, we should let go of what we are doing and take action to help fight climate change. Professional fire departments have mostly replaced volunteer crews (although there are some fairly professional volunteer fire departments), and insurance mostly replaces self-help.

Likewise, we need to address climate change institutionally. Unfortunately, our current institutions, especially governments – local state and national – seem to be better at reacting to the damage than preemptively addressing the root cause, which is the burning of fossil fuels.

Tell your elected officials at all levels to buy electric vehicles rather than gas guzzlers. We need to replace gas furnaces with heat pumps. Think discounts and zero percent loans.

And our power companies must stop burning fossil fuels absolutely as fast as solar and wind power can be built to replace them.

Paul Culnan


Caroline Goosman: Reproductive Rights: Colorado is a Safe Haven

By signing the Reproductive Health Equity Act, Colorado Governor Jared Polis enshrined the right to abortion care in the state of Colorado, which the U.S. Supreme Court overrules or strikes down Roe v. Wade.

Now more than ever, Colorado is a haven for abortion care.

By the end of 2021, 108 abortion restrictions had been enacted in 19 states. In September, Texas passed SB8, a law banning abortion once a fetal heartbeat has been detected, which is usually around six weeks gestation.

In December 2021, the Supreme Court heard arguments about a Mississippi law that would restrict abortion access after 15 weeks. The court appears to be leaning towards allowing states to decide their own abortion policies despite Roe being established law.

Denying access to abortion care has an even greater negative impact for low-income people and people of color.

And in 26 states, “trigger laws” that ban abortion will likely go into effect the moment Roe is overthrown. People seeking care will face increased travel distances (and costs) to get to the nearest clinic. 90% of counties in the United States do not have an abortion clinic as it exists today.

We must prepare for an influx of patients seeking such medical care. Your local, independent, nonprofit reproductive clinic, Boulder Valley Women’s Health Center, was the first clinic in Colorado to offer abortion care when Roe was decided.

Now we are preparing to support those who are not fortunate enough to live in a state where such health care is enshrined in law.

You can help support our efforts. Join us with local and national speakers to discuss the future of abortion care during our virtual panel discussion for Champions of Choice on Wednesday, April 27 at 6 p.m. Details and registration at

Caroline Goosman


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