Boulder County, Columnists, Governor Polis, Jon Caldara, Marshall Fire, Superior, Uncategorized

Caldara: Our ‘affordability’ governor adds insult to fire victims’ injury

This is the story of one man dropping a well-placed F-bomb and potentially saving victims of the Marshall fires from months and months of delays and cost overruns as they struggle to rebuild.

And when our “affordability” governor sends his minions into a ravaged town to jack up home rebuilding costs, well, that deserves a “what the f*ck.”

The small town of Superior was the hardest hit of the Marshall fires, losing some 400 homes. Almost all of those homeowners (like all of us) lack the full insurance needed to rebuild, particularly given recent inflation. Most of them are already $100,000 to $400,000 underwater; and that’s just to rebuild their homes back to how they were a few weeks ago.

Their city council’s virtue signaling now means many Louisville fire victims can’t afford to rebuild. I’m hearing stories of folks who can’t even get contractors to bid on rebuilds because of the new codes. Some community members, including building professionals, say the new codes will cost up to and additional $100,000 per home.

Many of these Louisville homeowners will be forced to sell their burnt-out properties at a massive loss just to cut their losses and get out of Dodge. Well done enviro warriors!

The town of Superior was going to follow suit and vote for those same insane electrification codes, but before they did their community was destroyed by fire. Consider it Murphy’s Law, but in reverse.

In January the town council agreed to indefinitely postpone the new codes so victims might rebuild — common sense.

But Gov. Jared Polis, teaming up with the greedy Xcel Energy, had to come back to add insult to injury, which brings us to Superior’s last town council meeting.

What a study in contrasts! During public comment dozens of working-class property owners pleaded with the town trustees not to adopt the new codes so they could try to rebuild their homes and lives. Then the elites came.

Will Toor, the director of Polis’s Energy Office, who doesn’t live in Superior, flanked by Xcel “experts,” who I don’t think live in Superior, descended via Zoom, and started their sticky-sweet happy talk.

Immediately I was reminded of Reagan’s truism, “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government, and I’m here to help.”

Before lobbying the trustees to adapt these new, lavish electrification codes they had the gall to say (verbatim), “we want to help you any way we can.”

They then tried to sell a scheme where if the trustees signed on the dotted line, Xcel, out of the kindness of their souls (and at the cost of their captive customers), would give homeowners $7,500 rebates to help with the expense.

What a deal, especially since their out-of-state experts trumpeted the cost to electrify a home would be less than $5,000. (In 2004 Will Toor said RTD’s fairytale train to Boulder would be on time and on budget. Just saying).

The town trustees, now more concerned about rebuilding their town than signaling their enviro virtue, were smart enough to ask questions. I’ll boil down the answers.

No, the $7,500 rebate isn’t guaranteed.

Yes, it would first have to be approved by the Public Utilities Commission.

No, that approval wouldn’t be fast.

Yes, it could take nine-and-a-half months for approval.

No, Will Toor’s offers of money wasn’t guaranteed.

Yes, that money would have to be approved by the state legislature.

No, the $7,500 rebate wouldn’t be available to cash-strapped fire victims before they rebuild.

Yes, fire victims would have to submit paperwork and inspections after all the rebuilding was done to maybe get the rebate.

The normally reserved council trustee Neil Shah stated the plainly obvious. “We’re not solving anything here,” the homeowners are telling us that the problem is “all this f*cking uncertainty.”

The “affordability governor” parachuting his eco-brownshirts into this devastated town to make fire victims even poorer delivered that moment of childlike clarity.

I remember when building codes were about safety, not social engineering and corporate profit.

F*ck indeed.

Jon Caldara is president of the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.


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