Letters

Love ’em

Dear Editor:

Why I love Republicans: 36 hours after saying U.S. financial fundamentals are sound, McCain suspended his presidential campaign due to the financial crisis in America. But it took him 22 hours to go from NYC to Washington by private jet?  On arrival, it was announced the “deal” had fallen apart due to Republican resistance.  Later Rep. Jeb Hensarling said, “some folks say we are looking at financial catastrophe on the one hand, but we may be looking at national bankruptcy and the road to socialism on the other … Once you lose your freedom to fail, you also lose your freedom to succeed and you cease to be a free society … so we will continue to look at other alternatives.”

Doesn’t that makes sense, isn’t that good news? Keep in mind this comes after Bush, Treasury secretary and former Goldman Sachs chief executive Henry Paulson, and Fed chairman Ben Bernanke (eminently wise wealthy Republicans all), warned of imminent economic collapse and another Great Depression if their three-page non-specific blank check rescue plan isn’t passed immediately.

No way. Surely George wouldn’t conspire to lie to us, again. But could this be true?  ”It’s more hype than real risk,” said James K. Galbraith, a University of Texas economist and son of the late economic historian John Kenneth Galbraith. “A nasty recession is possible, but the bailout will not cure that. So it’s mainly relevant to the financial industry.”  The Paulson plan will get some bad assets off the balance sheets of troubled Wall Street institutions and commercial banks. That may help thaw the lending (credit) freeze.

What George didn’t tell us: AIG (one of the key overleveraged organizations) turned down two private capital offers since they thought the government deal was richer and laxer in obligations.  And did you know AIG previously moved its holding company to Bermuda to minimize U.S. taxation or that their largest profit line is life insurance sold in Asia with the next being aircraft leasing? Or that Lehman (in bankruptcy) is paying execs nearly two billion in bonuses. At best, our current Republican White House administration is full of “Alice in Wonderland” nitwits whose sympathies lie on Wall Street, with associates who drove the entire mess with greed, made possible with McCain’s eager support of deregulation legislation (1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act).  In the recent debate, McCain said he’d punish those responsible for this mess. Lest we forget, McCain was neck deep with his lobbyist supporters in the last financial crisis — the “Keating Five.”

But wait, they’re not done entertaining us. Coming out of the White House last Thursday, the ranking Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, Alabama’s Richard Shelby, held up what he said was a five-page list of economists opposing the rescue plan.  “This is not me. This is economists at Harvard, Yale, MIT, University of Chicago, our leading universities,” an exasperated Shelby told reporters. He called the administration plan “flawed from the beginning.”

Republicans: ya gotta love ‘em. Vote carefully in the coming election.

Dave Blake  

Can be done

Dear Editor:

“What’s in it for me?”  That’s a question everybody asks.  And more than 600 registered voters sign petitions to place Home Rule on the ballot and choose an 11-member charter writing commission in order to find out.  Regrettably, not enough of those people or anyone else who claims to have an interest in good local government agreed step up to the plate and be a part of the game.

Also regrettable is that so many of us, “good citizens,” look upon democracy and good government as a spectator sport.  Paying our taxes is like buying the ticket that gives  us to the right to watch from the stands, boo at the blunders, jeer the umpire, and hope the next time will be better.  And we call that participation.

That’s how Home Rule lost.  Not enough people, even those who said they had an interest, really wanted to play in the actual game. 

Perhaps a few minds, at least, are changing.  As we hear commissioner candidates talk about the population of the county exploding to figures like 30,000 or more and realize that under the statutes we are held to only three commissioners to work everything out until the population reaches 70,000, life in Archuleta County may not be all we’d like to see.  When we begin to understand that the candidates for office need to meet only one requirement, that is to be a registered voter themselves, that the players don’t have to be skillful enough to hit the ball, or catch it and throw it when it comes their way, some are beginning to have second thoughts about Home Rule.

Although the Home Rule proposition was taken off the ballot for lack of participation, the opportunity to bring it back in hope of making it a better game is not dead.  The County Commissioners can pass a resolution to call for an election to put the subject to the voters.

However, this will only happen if the citizens get themselves out of their seats in the stands and query the candidates in public where they stand, do they support Home Rule, if elected will they vote to give the public the opportunity to pursue this proposition for more effective, efficient and economical management of the county’s affairs. 

It can be done.

 Henry Buslepp

The Village

Dear Editor:

The Rio Grande National Forest is holding an open house Oct. 9 at the community center in Pagosa Springs concerning the large development called “The Village at Wolf Creek.” Public scoping comments are due by Oct. 31. The Forest Service has not provided any information as to the size of the revised project that was first proposed in 2004.  In the developer’s amended Forest Service application, he describes his project as a “world class mountain resort and village” designed to be the “premier ski and recreation resort in America.” The project was originally proposed as a city of up to 10,000 people at the top of Wolf Creek Pass.

Because there is no detailed information, the public is being asked to comment blindly on a proposal that we have no basis for analyzing or understanding. We do not know the size, scope or the pace of development. The public cannot make meaningful, informed comments without comprehensive information on the details of this revised project development. The public deserves much more time to consider the consequences that this project may have on our town and the surrounding area.  The public scoping process should be postponed until this information has been made readily available to the public.

When the public does have comprehensive development information, a full set of public hearings should be held on the project — not just open houses. A project of this magnitude demands public hearings where the public can become well educated on the details of the project, ask questions, hear the comments and concerns of others and voice their own. The public should also be given a full 45 day scoping comment period once detailed information about the development has been made available. Horseback Riders for a Wild San Juan Mountains has written the Forest Service asking for these public hearings and an extended comment period.

Your attendance at this open house is critical for letting the Rio Grande National Forest staff know that the proposal is extremely important to the residents of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County. A large attendance is essential for having any positive effect on this development. The impacts of the construction process alone will greatly effect and change the character of our town and of the Wolf Creek Ski Area. We also need to consider the impacts of the potential large scale natural gas drilling that may happen at the same time and what that will do to the quality of our lives here. For more information concerning the Wolf Creek Pass development see www.friendsofwolfcreek.org and www.fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande/projects/forcomment/village/index.shtml.

 Beverly Compton

Bicycle dangers

Dear Editor:

Before any of us have the right to operate our vehicles on public roadways, we pay fees to get our vehicles registered, get licensed, and buy insurance.

A portion of these fees are used to maintain public highways and roadways.

If an individual hauls equipment, fees are paid on the equipment as well as the truck hauling the equipment. Bicyclists do not pay such fees, yet they demand equal access to the roadways.

There is a Colorado statute that reads that public roadways are not to be used for recreational purposes. Bicycling is a recreational activity. Colorado law does not allow ATVs on public roadways and highways any more than it allows your kid’s three-wheeler on the roadway. Why? Because it is not safe. Furthermore, impeding traffic is against the law. Bicyclists impede traffic.

You know what else is unsafe? Bicyclists who insist on the right to ride on roads such as U.S. 160, Piedra Road and North and South Pagosa Boulevard — roads designed for motor vehicle use. Some of these roadways are narrow with one lane per direction, some double yellow lined. Most have no shoulders and all carry heavy motorized traffic. And you want to ride your recreational bicycle on these roads? Do bicyclists realize how difficult it is for a vehicle, more so for heavy equipment, to come to a stop behind a discourteous bicyclist impeding traffic — to sway out into oncoming traffic to avoid a bicyclist out for recreation on a busy work road? That bicyclist is asking us and heavy equipment truck and trailer drivers to endanger our and their lives, and endanger oncoming traffic so they can maintain the right to impede traffic.

Ponder this: riding your bicycle on walking trails and sidewalks is prohibited. Why? Because it is unsafe for pedestrians. If that is deemed unsafe, how much more unsafe is it for bicyclists pitted against a one-, two- or 20-ton vehicle?

Please do not make me a party to an unsafe situation. Don’t ask me to risk my life, your life and other drivers’ lives by forcing me to cross over a solid yellow line in my lane or a double yellow, meeting oncoming traffic, to avoid a bicycle on a narrow road. Don’t ask me to stop behind you so you can practice the discourtesy of impeding traffic. Use of busy public roadways is not a recreational right.

Certainly, bicyclists feel they have been granted such a privilege. So use your privilege, but don’t abuse it, or my safety. Your safety is in jeopardy too, and in an accident situation, you will lose — horribly.

On a further note, it is perturbing that Archuleta County Road and Bridge or CDOT would be a party to such an unsafe and misguided practice, providing their share of the unsafe road propaganda. What are they thinking? Or are they? They should know a dangerous situation is created by a blatant disregard for safety concerning the roads and bicycles here better than anyone.

Carmen Ferguson

Vigilant

Dear Editor:

Approximately 1,600 households voted in the La Plata Electric Association board election. I want to thank everyone who participated in the election. It was great to have multiple candidates running for an important position. I especially want to thank those households who cast their vote for me. We need to be vigilant and continue to monitor our local electric co-op. They are not a member of the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, instead they self regulate and can raise rates by merely posting an ad in the paper and then waiting for consumers to respond. I encourage all customers to remain vigilant and speak out to keep our rates affordable.

Rich Goebel

Weed control

Dear Editor:

The county’s money worries are over!

On Sept. 24, my husband and myself were enjoying an afternoon of our beautiful fall Pagosa weather driving up on the far reaches of Piedra Road which was actually Forest Road 631.

Suddenly we were surprised to see an Archuleta County Weed Control truck. We were happy to know that our county problems were over and the county was now drowning in a wealth of extra money. Why else would an Archuleta County vehicle be six miles above Poma Ranch on a forest road … and 14 miles into Hinsdale County? And that the county worker driving the truck be allowed to also partake in the beauty of the afternoon at 1:30 p.m?

Is this a county perk that none of us are aware of? To drive a county truck, using county fuel, and pay a county employee to cruise the forest roads 14 miles outside of the county you work in, on a road that only dead ends at wilderness area.

And if you have any doubts … the license number on the truck is Co-420 AVJ. If any of you also see this happening … it’s time for more of us to do some whistle-blowing. If not, the good ole boy mentality of Archuleta County, and their blowing of our tax money will never stop. This county employee either must not care if he is seen out goofing around on county time, or knows that there are no repercussions for doing so. Which is it, Archuleta County?

Lynette Hudson

Editor’s note: Archuleta County has an agreement to provide weed control services in both Hinsdale and Mineral counties, on lands on this side of the Divide. This service is paid for by Hinsdale and Mineral counties. A similar arrangement exists between Archuleta County and the Forest Service and BLM. On the day noted in the letter, work was being done per the contract with the Forest Service.

 Painful

Dear Editor:

America is facing huge challenges, both economical and social, dangers from the outside and also from within. It is painful for me to see and hear some Americans bashing their own homeland. America is the greatest country in the world, even with all its shortcomings.

 I am a refugee from socialism-communism and an American by choice. I realize, that it’s hard for people to truly understand, without experiencing it, what life is like in socialism. Which brings me to our presidential elections, Barak Obama and his change for America — change that sounds a lot like socialism. And from socialism, there is only a small step to communism. As of now, Americans are rated as the most productive work force in the western world. Under Obama’s rule, all that would change. With his tax and social programs, our economy would suffer drastically, even worse than now. People would lose their incentive to work hard, since their efforts would be awarded by government taking away the fruits of their labor and redistributing it to the “less fortunate.” The system produces dependency on government and encourages laziness. You don’t create prosperity by taking the fish from the fishermen and giving it to the ones who don’t want to fish or don’t know how. Pretty soon the fishermen will lose their incentive to fish and everyone goes hungry. I have experienced that in Czechoslovakia (country of  my birth) — big government ruling people’s lives. It was not pretty ... 

And what about the radicals, America haters and other questionable associations lurking in Obama’s background? As much as the media is trying to convince us that these associations do not matter, I think they  do. As the old saying goes — The birds of the feather flock together. It points to his belief system and character. People should check more into what did he actually study (see Saul Alinsky and his “Rules for Radicals”) and what exactly was he organizing against? To vote for a candidate, just because he “looks presidential” and can deliver lofty speeches and slogans, is very dangerous. Especially when there is a high probability of all three branches of government being controlled by liberal democratic party. We would slowly lose our most precious thing — our freedom. And if people think, that cannot happen here, just take a look at some other democratic elections: Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Once they were elected to lead their countries, both proceeded to take steps toward total control and staying in power forever, even tried to change the constitutions of their countries. 

 In these tough times we need a president that is honest, experienced and will do his best to deliver the real change America needs.

 Hana Kukla

Jump start 

Dear Editor:

Over the last 60 years we’ve grievously undermined two key industries that have powered our economy for the past hundred years — petroleum and automobiles. Awakened by the emerging energy crisis, we’re mired so deeply in politics that we are paralyzed to act in our own self-interest.

Federally protected in 1960, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) consists of 19 million acres of barren tundra. Intelligently, Area 10-02, a mere 2,200 acres, was set aside by Congress for future oil and gas exploration. This acreage will yield an estimated 15 billion barrels of oil, trillions of cubic feet of natural gas, and create over 250,000 new jobs. Zero-tolerance environmentalism no longer applies, as today’s Arctic technology allows us to drill in an environmentally responsible manner, on a small footprint. In 1990, also in the name of environmental preservation, President George H.W. Bush banned offshore drilling in 90 percent of U.S. waters. U.S. Department of the Interior estimates the potential outer continental shelf yield to be 86 billion barrels of oil, 420 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, and hundreds of thousands of new jobs. These decisions were made when foreign petroleum provided the U.S. with cheap, affordable oil. Times and conditions have changed. Exploiting these invaluable resources is now safe and sensible.

America’s love affair with cars and trucks continues. We make up only 4 percent of the world’s population, but consume 25 percent of the world’s oil production. About 70 percent of U.S. oil consumption fuels our vehicles, and together, the two industries drive our economy. Unfortunately, decades ago, the Japanese and other imports learned that the key to success was satisfying the American consumer, whom Detroit had long abandoned. Detroit’s mismanagement has severely eroded its market share and driven American Motors, Plymouth and Oldsmobile to extinction. Their business cycles now include the panic of going out of business every decade or so, forcing them to right-size and reinvent themselves. This is devastating to employees, suppliers, and the perception of their customers. Can there be a more destructive approach to a corporation’s long-term success? The Japanese facilitate the success of their corporations by providing long-term, low interest loans. Not so we Americans, who are so quick to appease our stockholders. After dividend payouts and employee healthcare and retirement costs, less is available to reinvest in product. Our domestic auto-makers are asking our government to resuscitate them with low interest loans. Maybe that will be the key to Detroit’s ultimate success. To their credit, the domestics have come a long way, and there is hope that GM’s and Ford’s restructures will return them to profitability. As Americans, we desperately need them to succeed.

It is imperative that we act quickly to loosen our self-imposed constraints and jump-start our economy with new products and jobs — and stop the $700 billion annual transfer of wealth to our “friends” in the Middle East, Venezuela and Russia.

Dave Linfoot

Gladwyne, Pa.

Future welfare

Dear Editor:

As you know Red McCombs has reengaged his drive to build a resort-housing complex at the top of Wolf Creek Pass. In the middle of an incredible expanse of undisturbed Fens (biological resource areas that are build, that is grown up of organic material only — no soil). They are integral to this watershed area because of their vast water-holding and purifying abilities. They are home to a host of small but important creatures — the health of these creatures is of importance and should not be ignored.

All downstream stakeholders and even the Rio Grande River would be adversely affected, should McCombs’ project be allowed to plow up and concrete up that pristine resource.

Today decision makers must look beyond the myopic dreams of self-interested developers and take the growing body of scientific information and our greater future welfare into consideration.

All indications seem to be warning that the Southwest will become drier in the next decades, possibly much drier. Can we really continue to be plowing up unparalleled upland watersheds, for vacation homes? Where will the water come to feed that proposed town when current allocations are already fully contested?

Economically, all indication are that the future will become much leaner. The politico/media chorus that current economic trends can somehow return to better normal days is pure delusion.

Extravagances like a 10,000-resident town being plopped in the middle of the Rockies highlands, in an area that receives some of the highest snow fall in the nation — are no longer tenable. To allow McCombs to start a doomed project would be unforgivable. That wetlands resource cannot be plowed up and backfilled, and all’s well again. Any damage inflicted is long term, we can no longer afford such self-conceited folly.

Another point, that land was ill gotten to begin with but the statute of limitations stands between McCombs and a full accounting of those acquisition proceedings. McCombs has moral justification to his conceit that he’s got the right to do whatever he wants with it.

I for one believe the land should be returned unmolested to the National Trust.

Please do all you can to oppose The Village at Wolf Creek in its entirety.

Sincerely,

Peter Miesler

Durango

Vision

Dear Editor:

As a thirty-year resident of Pagosa Springs, I had the opportunity the other night to join some of my neighbors in a discussion with Ron Chacey. Ron tells us that he represents vision, integrity and accountability, but what you won’t read in his printed material is the plain honest fact that Ron Chacey is one of the few people “who really gets it.” Seldom have I met an individual who can take his incredible knowledge and concern for Pagosa Springs and vocalize our needs and solutions with a plan of how we can get there.

I hope the electorate does let this man get away. We need a room full of this kind of talent.

Alan L. Powdermaker

Close your eyes

Dear Editor:

I am sick at heart having finally come to the understanding that there are still many people who will not vote for a black man for president of the United States, even though he is a superior human being with the intelligence to surround himself with advisors as devoted to a return to a government of the people, by the people and for the people as he is.

Quoting Bill Moyers from his book, Moyers on Democracy, “It would certainly help if at least as many people who believe that God sent George W. Bush to the White House also know that the top one percent of households now has more wealth than the bottom 90 percent combined.” Rich white men have brought our country down to where it is now with their greed, yet people will still vote for yet another rich white man (how many homes does he have …?), rather than vote for a brown man raised in the middle class who understands and cares about those of us who are one paycheck, one illness away from disaster. Obama earned his money.

Bush and his biddies have lined their pockets with gold, and look where the rest of us are. McCain is more of the same “Fight, fight, fight,” they chant with McCain during McCain’s acceptance speech. Haven’t we had enough fighting and killing? “Drill, drill, drill,” they chant. That two or three years worth of oil, by the way, will go to the highest bidder, not necessarily to the U.S. which is now in debt past understanding. China can most likely afford it more so than we. And the oil companies (along with drug companies, health insurance companies, etc.) go on pillaging the American people with our government’s blessing.

I think it may be true that a person can only see what he or she is programmed to see. Some cannot see past Obama’s skin color to his brilliance, his honesty, his wisdom and basic goodness of heart. Jesus was a man of color. Jesus was a Jew — a brown man despite the blond haired, blue-eyed imposter the white people have promoted through the years.

There is a saying that when a pickpocket sees a saint, all he sees is pockets. When a fearful white person sees a person of color, all he sees is color no matter how superior a human being that person of color may be.

Listen to the debates. Close your eyes and listen with an open heart and mind. Listen closely, and let’s put a friend of the common people back into the White House. It has been such a long time since we have had one.

Bonnie Runyan

Abomination

Dear Editor:

The turnout in front of the cluster mailboxes at the corner of Backswing and Golf is in terrible condition.

In fact, all of the mail turnouts in the Lakes area are in wonderful shape in comparison.

The surface is well below the grade of the adjacent roadway and very uneven. The edge of the asphalt road surface continuously breaks off. I wrote the public works department about the need for repair over a year ago. I received no reply. Winter again approaches. When can the residents on Golf expect this abomination will be repaired?

Bob Winners

Contradiction

Dear Editor:

As an amen and postscript to letters written by Father Alvarez and others (SUN 9/25/08), I urge readers to join the ongoing ecumenical “Forty Days For Life” movement until election day. One prays daily for the end to abortions and of the culture of death in this country, and for the election of candidates who respect life at all levels.

Sometimes an aborted baby, thrown into a garbage can for disposal, survives, is found by a nurse, and nourished to full health and life. Recently, Obama voted against a bill which would legally require saving those babies who happened to survive abortion. So, Obama favors killing babies before birth, during birth (partial birth abortion), and, now, after birth. If the United States wants to continue chastising countries with histories of human rights violations and promote the culture of life, we cannot elect to the presidency one who would be the greatest violator of human rights and promoter of the culture of death. Please vote NObama. Parenthetically, another very important reason not to vote for Obama is that the terrorists’ TV network, Al Jazeera, wants him elected.

Pro-choice people claim they are entitled to their opinions as are pro-life people, who, unfortunately, sometimes accede the point. However, what do pro-choice people choose? They choose death of an unborn, partially born, and even the already born and discarded babies. Pro-life people are also pro-choice in the sense that they choose a person’s right to live at every stage from conception to natural death.

I never engage in opinions. Why? Opinions are defined as statements made in the absence of evidence, facts or truth. You have the truth relative to abortion. When you have the truth, therefore, you cannot opine because truth is unique (one) and disallows contradictory statements which cannot both be true. Sure, one can reject the truth, but then must somehow account for the contradictory opinions, and cannot claim value equal to the truth.

Concerning abortion, overwhelming evidence, facts and truth prove that life begins at conception from God’s revealed word in Scripture, history, medicine, science and church authority. Therefore, to opine otherwise is a contradiction, and to claim a “right” (based on what?) to choose abortion is a violation of truth and answerable to God, the author of truth.

Eugene Witkowski