Editor’s note: Because of the recent increase in the volume of letters to the editor, more approved letters will be published during the week on the Boomerang’s opinion page.
Laramie voter guideThe Laramie Boomerang has published the League of Women Voters (LWV) of Laramie’s Voter Guide as a pullout section today’s edition of the Boomerang.
The LWV encourages you to read the voters’ guide and to contact candidates regarding their positions on issues. The voters’ guide provides candidate responses to questions posed by the LWV and provides contact information for the candidates. Once you are done with the guide, please pass it along to others or drop it off where others may find it such as a restaurant or laundromat.
In addition to the voters’ guide, the league has conducted virtual candidate forums for candidates running for election in Albany County. These forums are posted on https://www.youtube.com/user/WYLWV.
You can also find out more information about the presidential, federal and state candidates at Vote411.org.
Vote411 is a nonpartisan project begun by the national League of Women Voters in 2012. The site now offers candidate and ballot initiative information in English and Spanish to help us all make educated decisions.
Take the time to become informed about your candidates, make your educated decision regarding whom to vote for, complete and return your ballot by Election Day, Nov. 3.
Nancy Lockwood and Lynne Ipina
League of Women Voters of Laramie co-presidents
Judges surveys postedAs a member of Laramie League of Women Voters, I’m taking this opportunity to let voters know that the Wyoming Bar Association has posted the results of the survey of judges that they carry out every election year.
There are three judicial retention questions on Albany County ballots this year — two members of the Wyoming Supreme Court and a Circuit Court Judge in Carbon County.
Attorneys were asked to rate those judges before whom they have appeared on questions covering knowledge of the law as well as courtroom demeanor. Those responses are compiled for the survey results.
To see the survey, go to https://www.wyomingbar.org/wp-content/uploads/JudicialPoll-Report-2020-Final.pdf. Previous years’ surveys are also available; be sure to find the 2020 survey.
National Coming Out DayFirst celebrated in the United States in 1988, today’s National Coming Out Day is observed annually to celebrate coming out and to raise awareness of the LGBTQ+ community and civil rights movement. PFLAG Laramie is a chapter of the national PFLAG organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) people, their parents and families, and allies.
With more than 400 chapters and 200,000 members and supporters from generations of families in urban centers, small cities, and rural areas across America, PFLAG is committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued and affirmed.
PFLAG looks forward to celebrating National Coming Out Day alongside all of the amazing LGBTQ+ people in queer history, in our networks, and across the nation, who have had the strength and support to come out and live their truths.
We also understand that coming out is an intensely personal decision, and for some, coming out isn’t possible due to personal safety concerns, potential family rejection or job loss. However, we believe everyone should have the opportunity to define their own lives and their own truths within the communities they choose. PFLAG strives to be here for everyone, however and wherever they find themselves on that journey. PFLAG Laramie meets at 6:30 p.m. the second Thursday of the month, currently via Zoom due to COVID. You can email email@example.com, or visit our PFLAG Laramie Facebook page to find out how to join.
There are also Wyoming PFLAG chapters in Casper, Gillette and Jackson Hole. The PFLAG national webpage has free publications and many other resources for LGBTQ+ individuals, families and allies. Other resources can be found at the Mathew Shepard Foundation, Wyoming Equality and The Trevor Project for youth.
Support for Coney BarrettThere is legitimate controversy about Republican tactics regarding the Supreme Court, notably their refusal to hold hearings on President Obama’s nomination of Merrick Garland to the court in March 2016, 10 months before the end of Obama’s term.
President Trump has nominated Judge Amy Coney Barrett to fill the Supreme Court justice seat vacated by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Judge Barrett is outstanding in the qualities we should seek in a justice, a first-rate legal mind (tops in her class at Notre Dame), relevant experience (including clerking for Justice Scalia), a clear legal philosophy of following the Constitution, complete personal integrity, and a personal life filled with faith and empathy, notably as the mother of seven children.
The unfortunate and Pavlovian reaction of Democrats to every federal judicial nomination of the last several decades has been to focus on the 1973 Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which conjured into existence a limited “right” to abortion that exists nowhere in the Constitution. That decision was legally questionable then and still is. Interrogations of Republican judicial nominees by Democratic senators always defend the precedent of Roe v. Wade. In law precedent is important but not inviolate. If precedent were inviolate then schools would still be racially segregated per the Supreme Court’s 1896 decision in Plessy v. Ferguson. The Supreme Court chose truth and the Constitution when it overturned that racist decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Any reasonable reading of the Constitution finds no right to abortion therein. Democrats should stop demanding that court nominees embrace a wrong and morally questionable precedent. If an honest reading of the Constitution and the law, by Justice Barrett and her fellow justices, overturns Roe v. Wade, then the abortion issue returns to where it should have remained, Congress and state legislatures.
I favor keeping most abortions legal, but do not favor misinterpreting our Constitution as a means to that end. Trump has been wrong about many things. In his choice of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court, President Trump is very right.
Martin L. Buchanan
Support for StantonI am writing in support of Emily Siegel Stanton for Albany County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees.
I have known Stanton since 2011, when she moved to Laramie and opened her psychotherapy practice here, and I believe she is an ideal choice to serve on our school board.
Stanton has a keen intellect and a striking willingness to learn. In the years that I worked closely with her, she was constantly updating her skills: attending trainings, studying new treatment approaches, and using the best available science to help guide her clinical practice. I know that same commitment to educating herself and staying up-to-date on the issues will be of great service to the school board.
Stanton is also a deeply ethical person who conducts both her personal and professional life with tremendous integrity. I know the school board will benefit from her honesty and transparency, and from her capacity to think through morally complex decisions with an eye toward how they will affect every member of our community.
She is an excellent collaborator, able to listen deeply and understand opposing viewpoints. Although she does not shy from conflict, she addresses differences calmly and with deep respect for other people. I can’t imagine a better mindset for our school board, especially given all the added stress created by the unusual financial and public-health challenges currently facing our schools.
Finally, I want to note that Stanton moved here from New York after honing her psychotherapy skills treating firefighters and other first responders coping with the aftermath of 9/11. She has always cared about those who serve their community, and she has always done her part to support them so that they can excel in their jobs. I know that, as a school board member, she will do the same for our staff, faculty, and administrators.
I hope you will cast your vote for Stanton. Her service will be an asset to our community.
More support for StantonI strongly urge Laramie residents to vote for Emily Siegel Stanton for Albany County School District No. 1 Board of Trustees.
A thoughtful and intelligent person, Stanton would bring the unique perspective of a compassionate mental health professional to the board, which is critical during these uncertain and unprecedented times. She is a fierce advocate for social justice and a natural problem-solver who will work collaboratively to find and implement innovative solutions to the challenges our district is facing.
The number of COVID-19 cases in our community is surging and University of Wyoming has been deemed a “hotspot” in the state. As such, ACSD No. 1 needs people on the school board who are willing to listen to the recommendations of public health experts. This is not a time to push policies that only serve one’s own political agenda.
Stanton believes in the importance of science and evidence-based decision making. She will prioritize measures that keep students, staff and faculty safe, while also seeking creative ways to ensure that every child continues to receive an excellent education.
Because my husband is a teacher in the district, I particularly appreciate Stanton’s commitment to staff and faculty, whose voices and needs are often left out of the conversation, even though their health is also at risk. I am also keenly aware of just how much Stanton cares about the children in our community. Our 4-year-olds were in the same daycare together until just recently and will both be entering the K-12 school system next year. Stanton is intimately familiar with the anxiety and the struggles that parents are suffering as a result of the pandemic.
We all know that the district is facing tough decisions due to impending major budget reductions. Our district needs board members who will genuinely listen to their constituents, who are committed to equity and who are courageous enough to fight for an approach that saves jobs as well as the programs that are essential for student learning and well-being.
If you want a bright future for all children, vote for Stanton.
Protecting the waterWhen monitoring water protection issues, there are times when things are disappointing, and times they are praiseworthy. The last Laramie Board of Adjustment meeting had some of each.
The Laramie Board of Adjustment is responsible for approving (or not) variances to the city’s zoning. At their last meeting, we learned that the conditions attached to the aquifer protection variance granted to the former owner of the Ford dealership had not been enforced. These conditions relied on an engineering solution (an oil/water separator) to permit expansion of the outdoor vehicle display area. The separator was installed, but not maintained properly, the required reporting was not done, and the city failed to inspect for compliance.
As the dealership sits over a vulnerable area of the aquifer and in the immediate neighborhood of a city well, this was a particularly egregious failure — a dramatic demonstration that technology is only as good as the people using and monitoring it!
The new owner, Tyrrell Ford, needed to renew the variance to repair the outdoor display area. The new owner seemed shocked to discover the operation was potentially so problematic. The members of the Board of Adjustment seemed equally shocked to discover that the conditions they had imposed on this location had been disregarded and that the city had not enforced them.
There was every reason to rescind the variance, but the Board of Adjustment recognized the failure on all sides and allowed that with a demonstration of good faith, the repairs could be made. However, the Board imposed a specific schedule of inspections and reporting, to be provided by Aug. 1 each year.
Albany County Clean Water Advocates have urged that activities potentially threatening of our water supply be moved out of the Aquifer Protection Overlay Zone, but we realize that businesses were there before the APOZ was established. While this story shows the risks of their remaining, it also shows that engaged civic leaders can take steps to enforce the rules and reduce the risks. We thank the Board of Adjustment for doing so.
Martin M. Greller
Albany County Clean Water Advocates