Bernard A. Gagne: Colorado discriminates against seniors

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— I recently moved here from Massachusetts, and I feel that as a senior citizen, the state of Colorado is discriminating against me. Back in Massachusetts, I was given a fishing license for free, and Colorado is supposed to do the same. But the Division of Wildlife here says I have to be a resident for six months to qualify. Doesn’t sound right to me — I could be dead in six months.

Seniors should be seniors no matter what state they’re in. I just spent $3,000 to $4,000 of my Social Security income to get here. Funds are very tight, and still, Colorado wants to charge me $56 to throw a worm or lure in the water.

Because discrimination is a federal offense, how about it, my new congressman, what can you and will you do about this illegal situation? Or do I have to continue fishing illegally so I can be put in jail for my final years?

Comments

OnceLivedHere 3 years, 9 months ago

Taxachucettes is found in a North Easterly direction. I'm sure you loved it there so much that you found it a burden to come to Colorado. Hopefully you can find your way back. The last words I want to hear from any transplant from either coast is this isn't how we did it there. That is exactly what has screwed up Colorado.

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1999 3 years, 9 months ago

it has nothing to do with discrimination...

how excatly is it illegal???

please explain.

and btw...tha tfishing licence is also an insurance policy...is that the same in mass?

golly what else does colorado do differently than mass?? is it all illegal?

please explain how it is illegal.

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Sara Gleason 3 years, 9 months ago

Hey Bernie-any of us could be dead in six months. Does that mean you don't pay your bills, insure your car, or cover your a** in any other way? And so you lived in MA for all your working years and moved here to CO. Just what have you put into the CO system that you think you deserve to be treated differently than anyone else who moves here? It's not discrimination, and evidently entitlement does not just belong among younger people.

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bandmama 3 years, 9 months ago

Well put Sara! And just wondering, with the funds so tight, you moved to Ski Town USA????? Most of us work a few jobs just to keep our heads above water to live in this community and raise our families. Yes, with revenues from those pesky little licences helping to keep this beautiful state beautiful. On the flip side, you can always ask for a locals discount at most area bussinesses to go along with that Sr discount and I bet you will make up the cost of that tag within a year.And oh yeah, you really admitted, that you come here and break the law and will continue to do so?....and signed your name?????? WOW. (or DOW?)

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Ken Reed 3 years, 9 months ago

Seeuski, that's funny. Do you know what you call a basement full of senior citizens?

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

For over 30 years I watched yankees come to my home town from "up north". Almost without exception they started bitchin about my home town, my people, our way of doing things, etc. If I had not been liberating a fair bit their "petty cash" I would have told them to get the h**l out and go back to yankee-land if they did not like it.

Come to think of it I did tell a few of them. I ended up with a slogan that went something like this..."I don't care how you did it up north".

All the things they wanted to change were the things they changed up north and screwed it all up.

Leave yankee-land in New England. We don't want it here.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Geez, look at all the nasties. Did he say he moved to SB? Maybe since he shares a similar name as Oak Creek Town Board Member Bernie Gagne then it might be possible that he moved to Oak Creek where housing is quite a bit cheaper than SB.

Also, I note that the person submitting the letter does title the letter. The title fundamentally puts a wrong spin on his letter. He did not say he was being discriminated because of age. The letter is a complaint that a senior has to establish 6 months of residency prior to qualifying for a senior citizen's discount. Which is far more stringent requirements that is needed to vote or take any other number of actions as a Colorado resident.

It looks to me that the SB Pilot owes Mr Gagne an apology for a horribly misleading headline above his letter.

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Sara Gleason 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, actually, his letter says he "recently" moved here from MA. If Colorado were to immediately extend benefits such as a residential fishing license, would we also be obligated to immediately extend unemployment, medicaid, etc.? He wants a free fishing license, and is angry that he can't have it right here right now. Colorado isn't going to deny him the fishing license, just the fishing license for free. If nothing else, he can get an out-of-state license to fish as he pleases, within the same laws the rest of us do. Also, if a person submitting a letter does title their own letter, as you state, then why would the Pilot owe him an apology for, as you put it, "a horribly misleading headline?"

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Sara Gleason 3 years, 9 months ago

Also, Scott, I would draw your attention to the first sentence of the letter. Where the writer states, "I feel that as a senior citizen, the state of Colorado is discriminating against me." Perhaps this is one of many instances where YOU own the Pilot an apology?

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jk 3 years, 9 months ago

A non-resident annual fishing license costs $56 (age 16 and older) That is without the habitat stamp and S&R fees. Once Mr. Gagne becomes a resident it will cost him $1 I hope he doesn't complain about that too.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Sara, Where is he claiming age discrimination as suggested in the headline?

The sentence you cite is not a complaint about age discrimination, but is describing his situation as a recent resident of Colorado that he does not qualify for benefits of longer term residents. The benefit is the senior citizen discount. The reason it is being denied is not because of age, but because of having to be a Colorado resident for six months. So he is not complaining about being mistreated based upon age, but because of being a Colorado resident of less than 6 months. This is made even more clear with the start of his second sentence "Seniors should be seniors no matter what state they’re in" which emphasizes that his issue is not with age itself, but that as a resident of less than 6 months that Colorado does not consider him equal to Colorado seniors of more than 6 months.

So yes, the headline over the article is flat out wrong and wrong in the worst way because it states something controversial that is not part of the letter.

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Jeff Kibler 3 years, 9 months ago

The AARP entitlement mentality - you gotta love it. Some friends that recently turned 50, got together and burned their AARP cards in protest.

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seeuski 3 years, 9 months ago

@kenreed8, yea!

A DNC meeting of the newly unemployed on November 3rd.

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weststmbtres 3 years, 9 months ago

If they changed the law and allowed discounted fishing licenses after only a short period of time, then every non-resident second homeowner who lives in Colorado part time (less than 6 months of the year) could make a claim of residency shortly after showing up for their extended stay at their retirement home and get a free or discounted $1 license.

The cost of this plan would then have to be redistributed among those of us who are still too young and have to pay for licenses either resident or non-resident

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jk 3 years, 9 months ago

You are reaching with that argument there Scott.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Becoming a resident means doing things like switching vehicle registration, getting a Colorado driver's license and switching voter registration. It is hardly worth doing all that to save a few dollars on a fishing license.

It is sort of odd that a senior could move here, become a resident, vote in local elections, even be elected to office and not be enough of a Colorado resident (six months) to qualify for the discounted fishing license offered to Colorado seniors. I wouldn't guess that is illegal, but if the point of the law is to give Colorado seniors a discounted fishing license then it does not make a lot sense to say the senior is enough of a Colorado resident to be Governor, but not enough of a Colorado resident to get a discounted fishing license.

And I'll repeat that in no way is his letter talking about age discrimination. The only place age enters the discussion is because there is a benefit given to Colorado seniors that is being denied him because he is a new Colorado senior. Thus, the paper did Mr Gagne a great disservice by that headline over his letter. That headline is not what he argued in his letter and plus it is inflammatory.

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 9 months ago

ScottW- On the age discrimination portion you mentioned in your convo with Sara, while Gagne's letter, he doesn't directly say Age Discrimination. He does talk about being a senior in CO & MA and how it's discriminatory to be charged here and not there. So, he alluded to it, at the very least. I believe Sara was correct when she pointed out the one line, "...and I feel that as a senior citizen, the state of Colorado is discriminating against me."

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Matt, But if you take a moment to think at what he is saying, it makes no sense to read that sentence as age discrimination because he never suggests there is anything being denied to him because of his age. I read that sentence as meaning that as a senior he is being denied a benefit given to other Colorado seniors. So he and those he'd like to join are all seniors so there is no discrimination regarding age and thus no suggestion of age discrimination.

The issue he is talking about is being a Colorado senior not equal to other Colorado seniors because he is newer here.

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott- I think this is where you and I understand that this particular situation truly isn't about age discrimination due to exactly what you said. I just agree with Sara on this because of the way Gagne has worded his letter. He used Senior a few times in his comparison, so it's easy to think that this was indeed his beef. Truly, his beef is about his age as it pertains to being a resident- he's "newborn" Coloradoan. It's very easy to misconstrue his point just because of that. He may have meant it one way, but he didn't make that part the crux of the letter.

Hey- this is hard to agree with Sara, when I just read another post where she states that somedays, Rush Limbaugh is just too liberal for her. Statements like that scare the bejeezus out of me! Limbaugh...too liberal. That's like saying Hitler wasn't cruel enough. (In context- I'm comparing the extremity of their personal beliefs, not that Limbaugh is akin to Hitler or that their beliefs are the same...at least, not that I know of. Just thought we should qualify that for the people who can't read properly.waaaaaiiiiit for it)

I honestly never thought I'd hear ANYONE ever say that about Limbaugh, even the most Far-Extreme-Rightist. I'd would expect one very particular forum poster to say that, but I'd usually laugh it off. Sara is more intelligent & coherent than that person, so I take it more seriously.

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Matt, My issue is with the paper. They put "age discrimination" into the headline and a competent reading of his letter makes no such claim. Sure, it was written in a way that could make that confusing, but the paper is supposed to have editors that read the letters and it is pretty bad that they included a letter which they failed to sufficiently understand and so they put a wrong headline on the letter.

And from the initial comments, this letter was a bit of a joke which is really unfair because it was their headline that made the joke.

If they didn't understand the letter or thought it was confusing then they should not have printed it.

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jk 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott, I think anyway you look at that letter it's a joke!

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pitpoodle 3 years, 9 months ago

Personally, I was offended by this letter. Just because he is a senior he thinks he should have preferential treatment. Being a senior myself, I don't ask for freebies why should Colorado residents pony up for him? He didn't mention ever contributing to Colorado's economy yet he thinks he is entitled. Maybe that is where we are headed with Obama policies - everyone feels entitled to have everything paid for by their neighbors through government programs. I don't agree. Money spent on fishing and hunting licenses helps to keep Colorado beautiful and stocked with fish etc.. If he can't understand that, maybe he should go back to Mass. That would be fine with me.

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Brian Kotowski 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Gagne writes: "I recently moved here from Massachusetts, and I feel that as a senior citizen, the state of Colorado is discriminating against me."

There is nothing in the least bit misleading about the headline; it precisely reflects Mr. Gagne's complaint.

What's next - arguing over the meaning of "is"?

Ye gods.

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 9 months ago

Scott- I can agree with your assessment, but whomever put the title may have gone with what the letter spoke more about instead of what was probably meant by Gagne. In a way, I think that's proper since the editor didn't try to intrepret what he thought the writer meant.

Sep- Ye gods?? "You watch your phraseology!!"

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Scott Wedel 3 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, I completely support the idea of making fun of seniors especially when they have written a somewhat confusing letter. It is so funny when seniors are having a bad day and aren't as articulate as they want to be and so on with all of the other funny physical and mental issues of aging.

Matt, Well, if we agree that the letter was confusing on exactly what was basis of the claimed discrimination, then why did they print it? A compassionate editor would have called Mr Gagne, expressed his concerns and asked Mr Gagne to submit a clearer letter regarding his concerns.

But it was probably so much more fun to print a misleading headline over a confusing letter.

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trump_suit 3 years, 9 months ago

A. I do not think the Mr/ Gagne's letter was confusing. He clearly called the colorado laws discriminatory.

B. Mr. Gagne shows a disregard for the laws of the state that he now lives in by threatening to "fish without a license"

C. When caught fishing without said license, I hope they throw the book at him. he clearly understands the law and has chosen to ignore it based on his final paragraph.

D. I have no problem with a 6 month waiting period to define "Colorado Citizenship" It seems a small enough price that is paid equally by all age groups.

Finally, I find it enlightening that some of our most adamant Tea Party/Small Goverment advocates actually support this piece of legislation. It seems that when asked specific questions outside the context of "Taxes", some of them acutally support the Goverments role in regulating the activities of it's citizens.

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aichempty 3 years, 9 months ago

Lots of states give things like free drivers licenses, hunting and fishing licenses for veterans. Are they discriminating against everybody else?

The sense of entitlement here is astounding. Since when does discrimination mean, "I'm not getting something of value for free?"

I am surprised by the six month requirement, however. Seems like if you have a Colorado drivers license, vehicle registration, voter registration and a telephone or electric bill you should be able to walk in and get the license just like any other resident. Maybe he skipped the other steps and wanted to start with the fishing license, eh?

I think you are required to get a new drivers license, register your car and have insurance within 30 days of moving into the state. If you've done those things, then Colorado ought to treat you like a "resident" because you have just satisfied the residency requirements.

Has anybody bothered to look up the law and see what it actually says? That might be a great place to start.

Having lived in Rhode Island for a few years, and had a lot of contact with Massachusetts and New Englanders in general while I was there, the attitude portrayed in the letter is pretty much the same as a lot of others up there. It's a different culture. It's "what can I get?" instead of "what do I have to do to get it?"

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kathy foos 3 years, 9 months ago

Anyway....Welcome to the neighborhood Mr. Gagne! As you can tell,this is this place to get ugly when needed,usually when you vent here you dont end up ...how ever it is that you have ended up.Scott that is nice of you to speak up,I mostly tend to agree with you,but we both know that headlines are not one of the pilots specialtys,but it wasnt that far off.Before this story I was not unaware that new residents couldnt just purchase one sooner,it is sad for him.Just please, enjoy your fishing this year,there is lots of it left,thats the best part about being here anyway.

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Chris Peters 3 years, 9 months ago

Bernard, Which was it $3000 or $4000 to move out here? You are complaining about $56 seems like a mole hill compared to the $1000 that was misplaced or mispent in your move. Residency should take some time to establish, in my case it was two years before I could move from out of state tuition to in-state rates. was I discriminated against because I wanted to move to a new stae and wanted to use the services provided? I hope you don't "die" (in your words) while out fishing, you think $56 is expensive wait until your family gets the bill for the extraction of your old bones from the wilderness by our beloved search and rescue! Or are you going to pass that cost onto my generation also, you already burned some of "my" social security moving out here. Massachusetts called they are missing an old koot!

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sledneck 3 years, 9 months ago

Aich, A redneck like me agreeing with a Rhode Islander? I must be starting to give bigoted southern rednecks a bad name.

Not getting something you did not pay for is discrimination???? What a truly American concept!

Pathetic.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

I am surprised, (although I probably should not be) at the level of vitriol displayed herein toward immigrants to this state and Massachusetts in particular.

I am sure that few of the contributors have not come from other states.

Aichempty has it right that if one is required to make specific steps toward residency within a certain time frame, then at that point one becomes fully a "Citizen of Colorado" with all the rights and responsibilities that entails.

To Mr. Gagne, rest assured you will not encounter this in public. Very few would risk the shame of letting such comments be heard when their identities could be known.

Welcome to Colorado, thank you for bringing this issue to the public's attention. By this action alone you have demonstrated that our state will benefit from your presence.

.

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mmjPatient22 3 years, 9 months ago

I'm with Sled on this one. It's absolutely entertaining to witness some people's sense of entitlement when it comes to getting freebies or handouts. I've had the opportunity to live in beautiful places like Washington state and the not-so-beautiful but plenty hot state of Texas. I'm a native of this state but I don't come back to it and start demanding that Colorado abolish its income tax to be more like Washington and Texas. It sure would be nice to not have that chunk come out of my checks but I guess I'll just have to cope with it. The fact that the Pilot feels that this geriatric whiner is worthy of publishing is evidence enough of just how reliably unhelpful certain "news" outlets can be from time to time.

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Jeff Kibler 3 years, 9 months ago

Colorado Fees: http://wildlife.state.co.us/Fishing/SeasonDatesAndFees/

Massachusetts Fees: http://www.mass.gov/dfwele/dfw/recreation/licensing/license_fees.htm

MA: "Resident Citizen Fishing (Age 70 or over, or paraplegic, blind, mentally retarded)
FREE"

CO: Senior Annual (64 years and older) Free + $1* Colorado residents only

MA has the same six month residency requirement for a "fresh water" license. It appears that CO is a bit more generous to Seniors.

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ybul 3 years, 9 months ago

The college tuition argument is a good one. If it takes several years of residency for someone to get a discounted education, why should it not be the same for fishing which costs the state money to provide?

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

It ought not to take several years to qualify for resident tuition.

We ought to try to attract the best and brightest to our schools. and hope that reasonable residency requirements will be among the factors that persuade them to stay and contribute their life's work to the betterment of our communities.

.

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kathy foos 3 years, 9 months ago

One more thing Mr. Gagne,If you start a petition on Change.Org about it,you might be able to change the law,you never know untill you try,anyone can start a petition about their cause,Im sure you could get support for the action there.That goes for anyone else that has a cause that they want to have support for from like minded people from all over the world.

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ybul 3 years, 9 months ago

John, just because we attract the best to our schools does not mean they are going to stay in this state. We can not simply give away the farm for every good thing in life we feel the need to. I think that someone being in state for two years and paying taxes either their parents of themselves is a reasonable requirement for in state tuition, as the state pays a small percentage of the bill.

Though in the future CU and CSu may elect to go private and only have one tuition schedule as they get so little funding from the state as it is. Though then the professors may have to lose their lucrative pensions.

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Sara Gleason 3 years, 9 months ago

Mr. Stoddard-thanks for your public respect of my opinion-some politics makes for strange bedfellows, huh? I really appreciate you listening to what I said before just tossing it aside as garbage. It does seem that common ground can be found, and I respect your involvement and knowledge about Steamboat, and am happy to stand on your side of the river, for once!

Sun and Scott-I guess that my understanding of becoming a citizen of another state includes the acceptance of the laws of that state. And Scott, if you could defend that Bernie isn't alleging discrimination by the state of Colorado, you really should be defending OJ....

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

ybul, we would only need to retain a small percentage of the graduates to more than compensate for any who chose to become residents then left, and we would very likely retain a large percentage. The support of successful alumni is also vital to a schools future, even if they no longer reside in that state. You have given another example of predicting failure where success is at least as good a possibility.

Sarah. one of the most important responsibilities of a citizen is to not accept the laws, but to demand that their validity be continually demonstrated by those entrusted to make them.

In every generation since the Revolution we have been warned about usurpations of power and incremental loss of Liberty.

Our representatives have violated their sacred trust to limit government and have instead given into the pleas of their constituents and special interest supporters by adding burdensome regulations and taxes designed to benefit those groups at the expense of others and in disregard of the intent of the Constitution.

We the people hold the ultimate authority and have the mandate to oppose such abuses, first by every peaceful means including disobedience.

If such means fail, we will have failed, and will have earned the terrible fate of living in subjugation or of resort to force of arms.

.

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Matthew Stoddard 3 years, 9 months ago

Sara- Much appreciated! While I may not subscribe to some of the political beliefs you have, I don't look at you as I do some who have those same beliefs. I'm much more willing to listen to somebody who can be clear and concise with their opinions.

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John Fielding 3 years, 9 months ago

.

A valuable lesson Mr. Stoddard, that people with very different beliefs can respect each other.

And that the basis for this is the attitude, not the message.

May it come to pass that we can help many others to recognize this as well, by our attitudes.

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