An 8th Congressional District is good for Metro North

Cross Currents: A column by Bill Christopher
Special to Colorado Community Media
Posted 7/12/21

Let’s hear it for the newly proposed 8th Congressional District! The initial unveiling of the congressional districts map by the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission really …

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An 8th Congressional District is good for Metro North

Posted

Let’s hear it for the newly proposed 8th Congressional District!

The initial unveiling of the congressional districts map by the Colorado Independent Congressional Redistricting Commission really didn’t have very many surprises. Given Colorado’s fast growth during the past decade and 745,000 additional folks has caused the need for an eighth district.

Under the proposed boundaries, the 8th District would include the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Broomfield, Brighton, Commerce City, Firestone, Federal Heights and Arvada. While more detail is needed to see exactly where the eighth boundaries would fall, it would seem that Firestone -- and Arvada to some degree -- would be better aligned with adjacent cities in their immediate areas.

This initial configuration is bound to be modified along the process. However, the composition of northern suburban cities produces a solid community of interest which is one of the key criteria when drawing congressional and state legislative district boundaries. It will be a benefit for the northern metro area cities to be clustered together.

Opportunity to give input on district maps

As previously reported in the Window and Sentinel, the redistricting commission will be holding public meetings throughout Colorado, ending Aug. 28 to gain public input. If you have an opinion or suggested change or tweak to the maps, you should attend one of the meetings.

The ones closest to our area include Denver (July 27), Aurora (July 28), Golden (Aug. 4), Commerce City (Aug. 24) and Brighton (Aug. 25).

Jan. 6 insurrection will be investigated

American democracy will have its day in court, so to speak, after all!

In spite of Republican U.S. senators blocking the creation of an independent commission which would have been split evenly between the two parties to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection, the U.S. House of Representatives is moving forward with its own investigation. While only two House Republicans voted for the special committee to investigate the violent attack on Capitol police and the attempt to disrupt the confirmation of the electoral count for president, Democrats carried the day in a 222-190 vote.

This despicable event, an actual attack on the people’s House, cannot and should not be swept under the congressional carpet. American citizens have a right to know what all happened, who all was involved in the planning and execution of the attack and who were the leaders.

What role did former President Trump play in the insurrection? While Republican congressional members would love to wish the whole event away, it isn’t going away. Their party, their followers, their president all must face the facts and the ensuing consequences.

The Jan. 6 insurrection was a direct attack on American democracy, and it must be defended.

Northglenn has its eye on its new
recreation center

There is much excitement gathering as the city of Northglenn heads into the final months of construction to complete its new recreation center, senior center and theater.

The 87,887-square-foot facility is slated to open in early October. The new building is behind City Hall just south of the existing recreation center. The new center includes a swimming pool, fitness areas, gymnasium, events and performances, preschool and arts and culture programming.

This is the second of three new facilities to be built under their previous master plan. A new police and municipal court building was completed in the first phase, and a new City Hall is envisioned at some point, part of a proposed third phase. City leaders are to be congratulated for their progressive vision and efforts.

State legislatures impacting minority voters’ voting rights

Over the past few months, we have seen a growing trend of anti-minority voting restrictions being enacted by Republican-controlled state legislatures. This is coming as a deliberate strategy by the GOP to thwart people of color from being able to vote in the upcoming elections, i.e. 2022 mi-term and 2024 presidential elections.

As a part of his continuing theme that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him due to fraud, former President Donald Trump is stoking the flames to tear apart the historic 1965 Federal Voting Act. He and his followers in state legislatures don’t give a damn about African-Americans or Latino/Latina voters being maneuvered away from the ballot box or polling place.

They simply see them as the “enemy” or “opposition” and throw out any commitment to “equal opportunity” or “all men are created equally.” It’s vindictive, unethical and unfair to deny people a full measure of their voting rights. Plus, there has not been any fraud of any degree for Trump and the GOP to point to among their conspiracy theories. It’s a gun that isn’t and won’t be smoking!

Supremes decision impacts minority voting rights

At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision in the Arizona voting rights case at the end of its session. While the two specific provisions of the Arizona law which were upheld by the high court are not fatal blows to minority voting rights, the message with this decision is quite concerning.

The two provisions pertain to discarding ballots cast in the wrong precinct and disallowing ballot harvesting or collecting and returning a number of ballots.

The bigger concern is Justice (Samuel) Alito’s statement of “where a state provides multiple ways to vote, any burden imposed on voters who choose one of the available options cannot be evaluated without also taking into account the other available means.”

Upholding the Arizona case, the high court imposes a chilling effect on either the Department of Justice or state Democratic Party organizations attempting to knock down tighter Republican voting rights legislation. In turn, that puts more pressure on the Democrats in Congress to attempt to pass national voting rights laws.

Without doing away with the filibuster in the Senate, the Democrats aren’t able to muster 60 votes or more to pass such legislation. It looks pretty bleak at least in the short run to turn these anti-minority voting restrictions around.

Bill Christopher is a former Westminster city manager and RTD board member. His opinions are not necessarily those of Colorado Community Media. You can contact him at bcjayhawk68@gmail.com.

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