We will be meeting at 9:30 on Monday June 8, 2020 (our usual time) via Zoom. The first hour will be focused on an update of the past week’s legislative activities and plans for the week of June 8. We’ll provide a look at the bill list, too.

At 10:30, we will be joined by Elizabeth Garner, the Colorado State Demographer, and Michelle Kobayashi, the expert on Colorado’s Assessment Survey of Older Adults. The purpose is to drill down further into our topic of the “value of older Coloradans” to our economy, society, and overall stability. There will be some time for questions. Be sure they are indeed questions and keep them on point so that we have time for as many as possible. You may also submit written questions to me in advance of the meeting.

More information follows on other topics.

There has been a lot of new activity from the Governor’s office regarding COVID responsesspecifically revisions to safer at home and the gradual reopening schedules. Most recently CSL, and other aging-related organizations, have taken great exception to laying a lion’s share of the responsibility for social distancing in the laps of those of us over the age of 65. View Order – CLICK HER

  • A. You may wish to focus on two key parts: page 2, item 4, and page 16, item P. More on this in the June newsletter; in the meantime, know that we have asked that arbitrary age numbers not be used in any way. Rather, we feel the root causes of hospitalizations and deaths should be better addressed.
  • B. Additionally, you may view this presentation (CLICK HERE) to see the reasoning behind the use of age 65. A key area of disagreement with this is the fact that congregant living facilities (nursing homes, assisted living and so on) account for over 50% of the COVID deaths in Colorado and by including those in the data, it skews the results and therefore the data used to arrive at age 65 as being “vulnerable”. We and our partner organizations will continue to work on this.

Last week, Kelly Roberts gave a short briefing on the 2020 Census. She sent this link along for those interested in keeping up with the progress. You can help by reminding everyone you know to complete their census. Our state, along with all 49 others, is bleeding revenue. The importance of every citizen of Colorado being counted cannot be understated. Federal dollars come based on population – we are competing with all those other states for Federal monies; it’s really important to finish near the top of census survey completions (it took me five minutes to complete mine).
View Response Rates by State – CLICK HERE
Fill out your Census Form if you have not done so already – CLICK HERE

This is an excellent – and brief explanation of our 2020/2021 State Budget situation – please do read:
“Colorado’s $30.3 billion coronavirus-sickened state budget explained in 10 numbers” – CLICK HERE

Colorado Sun, John Frank, May 29, 2020
Website: https://coloradosun.com/

CSL Bill Tracking – The COVID-19 pandemic has left CSL in an awkward place with bill tracking. In the Member Resource section of our website, under the June 8, 2020 LCM meeting we have posted the list of bills we WERE following along with their current status. Note that we are also watching for new Bills that are being introduced. If we take any positions on any new bills, you will hear about it from LCM committee members since we aren’t going to the Capital.
Link to 2020 Member Resources – CLICK HERE
If you forgot your password send us an email – CLICK HERE

New Bills to discuss on Monday, June 8, 2020
HB 20-1410: COVID-19-related Housing Assistance
HB 20-1411: COVID-19 Funds Allocation For Behavioral Health
HB 20-1412: COVID-19 Utility Bill Payment-related Assistance
SB 20-205: Sick Leave For Employees (employees can take time off to care for family members)
SB 20-212: Reimbursement For Telehealth Services
SB 20-217: Enhance Law Enforcement Integrity (many organizations whose missions don’t appear to be connected to this issue have realized this issue is connected to every organization and its mission. We even have addressed it in the email that will go out. And, with the video of the 75 year old man being assaulted by Buffalo police, it takes one even more relevance for CSL. This bill is a first step to “where the rubber hits the road”.)

We are all well-aware of the awareness-raising demonstrations of exhaustion and frustration faced daily by people of color that have taken place all over the country since the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Following is an excellent essay on the underlying issues that keep these demonstrations alive and what happens when some in those crowds turn into vandals and looters. It is written by Paul Kashman, a Denver City Councilman. He says it well; one of the best I have read.

As I read the first couple of paragraphs, I am reminded of my own upbringing in a small town in Indiana. Not a lot different than what Paul describes.

Folks in our little town could not even spell DIVERSITY; most of us only saw people of color on the TV news (which was in black and white). We were almost all middle-class economically; far from either wealth, or poverty. And yet, my parents taught me and my siblings not to hate or be afraid of people just because they were different than us in skin color, religion, how and where they lived – a wonderful gift for any child. And then adulthood came; I moved far away from small town Indiana and learned the real value of that lesson deep in southern Arkansas in the early 70’s. It was a cultural shock I will never forget and I fully realized, then, how very fortunate – privileged – I was to be born white, in America.

Paul is better at this than I. Please read on. — Bob Brocker

June 1, 2020
By Paul Kashmann
Rest in peace, George Floyd.
I grew up as a white male in the years following World War II. My family was middle class. Not “upper” middle class – just middle. We had our needs met, and a few simple luxuries along the way. There were wants and wishes that went unmet, but never was I told that the chances that “more” or “better” would come my way were slim-to-none because of who I was, what I looked like, or from whom or where I was born. The key to my success, I was told, was simply to put in my best effort at work and school and – following that credo – the sky was the limit.

I traveled freely about my community and neighboring towns, never concerned that the color of my skin might subject me to citizen or police intervention that could lead to unwarranted charges or physical assault resulting not from what I had done, but simply how I looked. I have lived at the “top of the food chain”, never being part of a line on a chart that showed I was hired less frequently or paid less than others doing the same work I was doing because of my race, gender or other arbitrary life situation.

I have often wondered how disheartening and debilitating it must be to constantly be told that you are less appreciated, less worthy and less capable than others, not because of a failing of capability, but purely because of the chance of your birth and the attributes of your physical being. I have imagined how infuriating it must be to watch others move on to better schools, better jobs and better salaries when your grades and your talents were obviously on equal footing, if not superior. To know your family deserves better than you are able to provide.

How frightening it must be to go through daily life, wondering not if, but when the next time would crop up that you, or someone you love, would be subjected to vile insults or personal attacks that threaten life and limb. When you, or they, would need to stand firm against all odds to maintain simple self-respect.

And, above all, I have wondered at what remarkable strength of character it must take people of color, with all those daunting uncertainties – and certainties – stacked against you, to get up every morning and take on the challenge of becoming the best “you” you can be, for yourself and your family. How does rage not overcome your best efforts every single day for the burden you have to carry from which so many others are spared?

While I was horrified and heartbroken as I saw the news reports, I cannot really imagine what black Americans, and those of other communities of color felt watching George Floyd murdered so heinously, so heartlessly and so publicly in broad daylight on the street in Minneapolis. To hear him beg for the simple right to breathe. I cannot imagine the sadness and rage.

I am impressed that all reports, from Denver at least, say that the bulk of those who have been out on our downtown streets protesting Floyd’s murder, and demonstrating for justice for all, have been loud and passionate, but lawful. Whenever large crowds assemble it is inevitable that among those gathered will be some with agendas that lose sight of the purpose for which the event was called, and havoc often ensues. Smaller numbers can make a lot of noise and create a lot of damage.

History has shown that such protest events, without guard rails in place, frequently lead to all manner of carnage and injury. To limit the lawlessness, police officers in uniforms unfortunately similar to those worn by the men who took the life of George Floyd – and others before him – are called in to maintain whatever semblance of peace they are able to preserve. The tension between those protesting abuse by law enforcement and the law enforcement officers sent to keep things from spiraling out of control is always a volatile situation that can become explosive at any time. As stated above, it is my experience that at most large demonstrations, a majority of protestors are civil and a minority break the law in conflict with the purpose of the gathering. It is similarly my experience that while many do their job properly and with restraint, some in law enforcement lose sight of their charge and use force inappropriately in a manner not reflective of their training or stated purpose. Charges of excessive use of force and targeting of journalists are concerning to say the least.

While we salute those who protest our society’s failings and those who lawfully protect their right to protest in good faith, the abuses cannot be tolerated. Lawlessness does not create justice. Violence does not beget peace. Abuse of power does not bring respect for it. We must demand that those who disrupt the peace, as well as those charged with preserving it, stand on higher ground. Those convicted of destroying property or other chargeable offenses should be prosecuted as the law allows. As Chairman of City Council’s Safety Committee, I have requested the leadership of our safety agencies attend a future committee meeting to discuss use of force in crowd control situations. I expect that to take place later this month or early July. I also think it important that our Office of the Independent Monitor, charged with oversight of our safety agencies, has a more comprehensive look at the events in question to give the public confidence that we are fully exercising our oversight responsibility in preservation of the public wellbeing.

First and foremost, as a community, as a society, we must finally root out racism wherever it hides, and create the context that allows all who would live here to fully embrace the American promise regardless of race, color, creed or any other category that some would use to separate. Until that is done, there will be more senseless deaths and more civil unrest. We are on a precipice. We must move forward together.

Rest in peace, George Floyd