As the Fort Collins Coloradoan's Erin Udell reports:
Northern Colorado residents spoke both in support and opposition of a proposed split between Weld County and the state of Colorado Wednesday night — wrapping up a series of public meetings held by the Weld County commissioners to gather citizen input on the possibility of a 51st state.
About 90 people gathered at Ault-Pierce Fire Station 1 to express their opinions, commend the commissioners and offer up alternative solutions at the fourth and final meeting. The previous three took place in Evans, Fort Lupton and Longmont late last week and early this week…
Mike Danielson, a third-generation farmer from Eaton, instead of showing support, said he thinks the whole idea of a split is “nonsense.” Danielson echoed his wife Beth’s thoughts. Earlier in the meeting Beth Danielson spoke out to oppose the proposed secession, calling it an “inane and arrogant plan” adding that “not everyone in rural Weld County agrees with you.”
We've seen a steady stream of news stories on the "North Colorado" secession movement this summer, primarily the brainchild of members of the Weld County Commission but at least paid lip service to by other elected officials in rural Colorado counties. The tone of these stories is generally the same, admitting the "unlikely" success of a movement to secede from the state of Colorado but playing up the "disconnect" between rural areas and the major population center of the urbanized Front Range. Republican politicians like new House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso point to the secessionists as a sign that Coloradans are ready for a "change in direction." Rural desires to secede from the tyrannical rule of that evil remote place known as Denver are supposed to be "taken seriously," insofar as they underscore the "frustration" the people of rural Colorado are feeling.
It's time to call this what it is: a steaming pile of embarrassing nonsense. The "plight" of rural Coloradans, the "tyranny" imposed by a few modest gun safety bills–or, heaven forbid, in increase from 10% to 20% of the mix of renewable energy in their electricity–sounds objectively ridiculous once it's explained. Rural elected officials feel like they carry "less weight" in Denver compared to counties with one hundred times the population, apparently ignorant of the fact that that's the way it should be. The proposed "alternative" solution to secession, electing legislators by county instead of by population, in addition to being unconstitutional, gets to the ugly heart of the matter: these people think rural citizens should count for more than urban citizens.
Conflicts between urban and rural areas of the state are nothing new. The new development here is irresponsibility from rural elected officials in addressing that conflict. Whether they are caught up in a reactionary craze, or exploiting it out of political ambition, the elected officials pushing these nonsensical, unworkable secession proposals are doing both their constituents and their stated goals a profound disservice.
As entertaining as it all may be, this really needs to be noted for the record.