A Civilized Conversation: News Miner 39
Discussion with a progressive, the "assault" gun bill, the bag ban, Denver housing, and more.
Chat with a Progressive
ICYMI: Over at Self in Society, I released a podcast episode with progressive activist Ian Silverii, whose wife Brittany Pettersen recently won a Congressional seat. We discuss Colorado politics, the meltdown of the GOP, the drug war, and the welfare state, among other topics. Check out the show page, or here’s the video:
The “Assault” Gun Bill
Complete Colorado published my new article, “‘Abolitionist’ state rep. pushes for police war on gun owners.” It begins:
Today’s leftist progressive “liberals” often take decidedly illiberal stands against the Second Amendment and the fundamental human right of self-defense.
I was especially surprised when Representative Elisabeth Epps, the famed “abolitionist” who supposedly wants to work toward the elimination of police and prisons, agreed to cosponsor a drafted bill that would subject Colorado’s gun owners to abusive policing. . . .
The bill as originally drafted pertains to so-called “assault weapons,” including handguns, an arbitrary category that targets select semi-automatic guns that are functionally identical to other semi-automatics.
Read the entire piece.
I’ll mention here that Republican Party in this state is such a basket case that it’s really in no position to threaten overreaching Democrats with electoral losses. That’s a problem!
See also my related pieces over at Self in Society: “A Swiss Cheese Approach to Curbing Gun Violence” and “Gun Policy after Uvalde.” And see my podcast episode from last year, “Dave Kopel on Guns and Tyranny.”
Natelson on the Bag Ban
Now Coloradans are forced to pay a ten cent tax (“fee”) per bag at “point of sale” in grocery stores. Soon plastic bags will be banned in that context. I wrote about that issue earlier this month. Now former law professor Rob Natelson has written a two-part article on the topic.
In “Cynical partisan politics behind Colorado’s plastic bag law,” Natelson describes some of the many absurdities of the bill:
The law’s official findings all relate to plastic. There are no legislative findings about paper. Then why is the measure targeted at paper bags as well as plastic? . . .
The law bans even a reusable bag if it is manufactured from “corn or other plant sources.” But it permits bags made from hemp. Why does the law favor hemp farmers over other farmers? . . .
The bill has a “safety clause”—a statement that “this act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety.” How can a 2021 law be for “immediate preservation” if it doesn’t come into any effect until 2023 and not into full effect until 2024?
The 10-cent-per-bag charge imposed for 2023 is labeled a “fee.” But “fee” means an amount proportionate to the benefit you receive—like the fee for entering a state park. But here the “fee” is unrelated to any real cost.
See also Natelson’s second piece, “Colorado’s plastic bag law proponents on a political power trip.”
Developer Westside Investment Partners’ years-long attempt to develop the 155-acre Park Hill Golf Course got a big step closer to reality Monday night.
City Council approved several items related to the development, including referring to voters the question of whether to lift a contended conservation easement at the center of the ongoing fight to develop the land in Northeast Denver.
Not everyone is happy with redevelopment plans. Mayoral candidate Lisa Calderón Tweeted (and “Democratic Socialist” city councilor Candi CdeBaca Retweeted):
We're already at a deficit of recommended parkland per capita in Denver. This is why we can’t give developers our precious land. Disenfranchised communities have heard these flashy and empty promises before. This project will exacerbate the gentrification that’s already happening.
Look, do we want people living in parks or living in housing? It seems to me that Calderón is grasping. If you pull up the affected area on a map, you find that it’s a block away from the large Axum Park (where my kid has played), a couple thousand feet away from a couple of smaller parks, and a few thousand feet away from the huge City Park (where I have walked many times).
The leftist journalist Chase Woodruff Tweeted:
I've tried pretty hard to understand the progressive opposition to this, but you watch a meeting like last night’s and it’s very, very clear that the driving force of the opposition is (largely white) old homeowners playing the NIMBY greatest hits collection. Weird coalition!
I Tweeted: “Seems to me Denver’s anti-social ‘socialists’ would rather people live in tents on sidewalks than see anyone make a profit in housing.”
Population: Colorado has seen “years of declining birth rates,” affecting school attendance and funding, notes the Colorado Sun. We need market-oriented housing reforms to make the state inviting to more people from other states and countries.
Preschool: “State officials expect about 30,000 children to opt into the universal preschool program in its first year,” reports the Colorado Sun.
Domestic Violence: “Deaths in domestic violence incidents surged in Colorado in 2021, with at least 91 people killed statewide as either the intended target, the perpetrator, or as an additional victim in 61 separate incidents,” reports CPR.
Traffic Deaths: “Colorado's nearly 750 traffic deaths in 2022 are the most recorded since 1981, new state data shows,” Axios reports.