YES on 1B – If Only for the Critters

dsc01569.JPGThere are seven projects included within what is generally called the, “Health and Human Services,” proposed bond issue, 1B. Those projects are:

Denver Municipal Animal Shelter: $18,180,000
Lowry child care and child development center: $91,000
Neighborhood House and Westside child care and child development centers: $743,000
Westwood child care and child development center: $3,526,000
Edna Oliver and Northside child care and child development centers: $743,000
Eastside Human Services facilities: $19,500,000
Denver Health and Hospital Building (fifth floor): $5,800,000

For a grand total of: $48,583,000

It grates as fingernails against a chalkboard, that the Denver Municipal Animal Shelter is included in this “Health and Human Services,” proposed bond issue. The shelter is snuggled in there amongst altruistic entitlement programs and a renovation of Denver Health and Hospitals (which shouldn’t be there at all). But, given that the Shelter operates under the auspices of the Department of Environmental Health, including it in the “Health and Human Services” proposed bond issue is, apparently, legally sound, given the one subject requirement for ballot issues. Wish it were a stand-alone item.

First, why is Denver including a renovation to Denver Health and Hospitals (fifth floor) in this bond issue? Denver Health and Hospitals is an independent authority, established by state statute–25-29-101 et. seq.–and has the ability to issue bonds and borrow money on its own. But, here we have the city including this $5,800,000 item in this bond issue, thus imposing upon Denver’s Charter restricted indebtedness. One thought, here, is that Denver Health and Hospitals–in spite of the rosy picture they (Patty Gabow) constantly paints with regard to the financial viability of the same–is maybe not so rosy after all. Denver’s General Fund (you and me as taxpayers) is already on the hook for about $42 million in support of “health services” to Denver…services for which, methinks, the patient(s) themselves don’t pay and, indeed, are, in many cases, not even citizens of Denver, much less in this country legally. I know: racist, xenophobic, etc. etc. etc. The point survives the ignoble, specious, knee-jerk rhetoric. Blood from a turnip, as they say. Sure, those without the financial means to pay, still need health services. Such is the stuff of a “compassionate” society. But, renovation of the Health Authorities infrastructure? That shouldn’t be encompassed within this bond issue.

As an aside, with the exit of the University of Colorado Health Center and St. Anthony’s hospital from the City and County of Denver, it is reasonable to assume that Denver Health will–if it hasn’t already–see a significant influx of “emergency room” visits for which Denver taxpayers will pay. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Denver Health mosey on over to the City and County Building in the not too distant future and demand more taxpayer dollars for “health services to Denver.” Where will that money come from?

Then there’s the unending spending on “child care and development.” Okay, so I’m from a generation where mom and pop were responsible for child care and development. Times have changed. Pretty much with Lyndon Johnson’s “Great Society,” came the redefinition of “essential” city services. But, of course, way back when the “Great Society” was fueled with copious amounts of federal monies. Not today. Wonder if those who utilize the city’s child care and development facilities pay for the same? Don’t know. I suspect they don’t. After all, altruism abounds amongst our city mamas and papas–the mayor, city council.

I don’t have children of the two-legged variety. My kids have always been four-legged. Sure, I love my nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews unconditionally. But–crazy, I know–those two-legged blood relations have never relied upon the state (the city), for the wherewithal to undertake their care and development. Go figure!

So, yes, as most folks, my particular self-interest will be accompanying me at the dining room table as I mark my mail-in ballot. And, my self-interest on 1B will urge a “yes” vote, solely on the prospect that those innocent four-legged creatures who find themselves lost and alone, abandoned or neglected in Denver’s neighborhoods or on Denver’s streets, will have a better place to go, a more humane environment in which to await an adoption, or, sadly, to while their days until death (euthanasia) ensues.

I balance this “yes” vote on 1B, with the prospect that 1H–the new construction for cultural facilities–will be defeated. Improved acoustics for Boettcher Concert Hall at $40 million versus a new facility for the Denver Animal Shelter at $18 million. Yeah, I think my priorities are in the right place.

“We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals. Remote from universal nature, and living by complicated artifice, man in civilization surveys the creature through the glass of his knowledge and sees thereby a feather magnified and the whole image in distortion. We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err, and greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendour and travail of the earth.”

Henry Beston, The Outmost House

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