Massive bond measures that could go to Denver voters this fall offer a chance to improve neighborhoods by adding a new recreation center, retrofitting streets such as Broadway with bike and transit lane upgrades, or even building a pedestrian bridge over railroad tracks to help children in Elyria-Swansea get to school safely.
But a cold reality has set in as five groups asked to help cull through projects built their priority lists in the last few weeks.
Competing with projects that would address neighborhood needs or help the city to take a stride forward is a massive backlog of long-deferred city maintenance — a list of projects that adds up to $789 million. Those include fixing crumbling bridges, pocked pavement, city buildings and other neglected needs that city officials see as just as important to address in this fall’s ballot measures.
State Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins, and Rep. Lori Saine, R-Firestone, are initiating a set of summer “energy summits to address oil and gas pipeline safety,” Marble announced in a news release this morning.
Both lawmakers represent the Firestone area, where a house explosion last month killed two people. Investigators have concluded the explosion was caused by gas that entered the basement through a cut flow line near the home.
Marble, whose Senate District extends through southwest Weld County into Broomfield, and Saine, whose Colorado House district includes Mead, Frederick, Dacono and the Weld County portions of Longmont and Erie, plan to “allow for broad stakeholder involvement with citizen groups,” according to Marble’s news release.
The perennial teacher shortage that bedevils many Colorado school districts, especially in rural communities, prompted legislation this year to study the problem in depth in the hope it will yield a solution at some point. That bill is now on its way to the governor.
Bob Schaffer thinks he could have saved lawmakers the trouble with this simple advice: Cut regulations, instead. Particularly, the requirement for licensing teachers in the state’s public schools.
The conservative Republican and longtime education-reform advocate once was a state lawmaker himself. He also was a lot more — a three-term congressman from Colorado’s 4th Congressional District; a member of the State Board of Education, and a leading strategist of the state’s school-choice movement. He is now the principal at Fort Collins’s vaunted Liberty Common High School, a charter school that is regularly among the state’s top academic performers. And in his spare moments, he pens a column for hometown paper The Coloradoan.