I am writing to support Kelly Evans in her quest to be elected to the office of Archuleta County Treasurer on November 4, 2008.
In their letters in The SUN Oct. 9, Chris Chavez “Respect” and Bob and Jan Clinkenbeard “Support” make many excellent points in their strong support of Kelly’s election. I agree with them.
Chris challenges the wisdom of the Republican vacancy committee’s decision to nominate Betty Diller as the Republican Party’s candidate instead of Kelly Evans. It is my understanding from conversations with committee members that they thought Diller would be a stronger candidate for election than Evans, rather than Diller’s being better qualified for the office. The Democrats didn’t nominate anyone; so we have only one name on the ballot: Betty Diller.
The only option left for Kelly Evans, the interim treasurer, to be elected to the regular two-year term beginning the second Tuesday in January, 2009 was as a write-in candidate. Her name cannot appear on the printed ballot.
Both Diller and Evans are Republicans, if that matters to anyone. Evans was appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to fill the vacancy resulting from the resignation of the former treasurer, Lois Baker. Subsequently, Diller was nominated by the Republican vacancy committee as the party’s candidate in the upcoming election. Evans’ term as interim treasurer will end the second Tuesday of January 2009, 1-12-209 CRS, “Terms of persons filling vacancies.” On that date the two-year regular term of the winner of the November 4, 2008 election begins.
Chris Chavez and the Clinkenbeards strongly emphasize Kelly Evans’ experience and performance as interim treasurer and many years tenure as deputy treasurer and other duties. I agree with them. She is a known quantity and doing her job well. That is an advantage over Betty Diller that outweighs any other qualifications by which the two might be compared. The point is stated best by the Pack in their ad on page A17, The SUN Oct. 9.
Finally, the ballot has the name Betty Diller preceded by an oval, and below that another oval followed by a long line underscored by the words “Write-in.” The voters must fill in that oval and write Kelly Evans on that line.
Write-in candidates are disadvantaged in that the voter must remember the name as well as fill in the oval.
Let’s all do ourselves and the county government a big favor by making a special effort to vote, and vote for Kelly Evans.
Presidential campaigning, as usual, has resorted to personal attacks, distortions of facts and outright lies. Now, this might play well to the base, and I mean base, of both major parties, but I doubt that it is well received by an intelligent, moderate electorate and “swing” voters, especially when we are facing such a financial crisis.
Last week at a public meeting, in response to remarks made by his audience, McCain said about Obama, that he is not an Arab, that he is a decent, family man, that he admires Obama, respects him and that we should not fear an Obama presidency. He was booed by his audience. It had become clear that the use of the Obama middle name, the references of his “associations” with terrorists and the like at McCain and Palin rallies, had produced real venom in their audiences.
Cries of “traitor,” “terrorist,” “bomb Obama,” “kill Obama” came from those who had been fired up by the character assassinations they had heard. This had become counterproductive to the McCain/Palin campaign.
In the Letters columns of The SUN last week, one letter started: “In view of the fact that all of Obama’s character references are Marxists, Communists and militant anarchist...” and went on “he was against the war; therefore, he is in favor of the terrorists...” and “he is not interested in the presidency of the United States, but instead, has the ulterior agenda herein proven.” Now, I am not an Obama supporter, but does anyone but a narrow-minded bigot really believe such putrid nonsense?
I am sure that your newspaper receives a great many letters about the current political debate, but I would like to ask the editor why this particular letter and others like it continue to be published? This letter says nothing new, such views have been apparent for some time, but perhaps you believe such views contain something of merit? For my part I am sad to see my local newspaper lend itself to such extremism that does nothing to further genuine political discourse.
Should we have a president who cannot qualify for a top military security clearance?
As president, Obama would have access to every U.S. military secret.
His associations with the terrorist and anti-war activists, William Ayers; his mentor, the Chicago Communist, Frank Marshall Davis; the convicted felon, Tony Rezko (who now awaits sentencing), and his admitted use of cocaine, would have disqualified him, on the basis of his illegal drug use alone, for a military security clearance.
He would have been forbidden a security clearance by the rules under which I lived for over 20 years.
Have they loosened the rules?
Please ask as many formerly cleared, or knowledgeable individuals as you can. I would like to know the answer.
A letter in The SUN the week before last intimated that a vote for Obama would be a vote for socialism and that would lead directly to loss of freedom in America. Workers would become lazy, the letter said, and production (i.e., wealth) would decline.
Nothing could be further from the truth. The writer stated that he had lived in Czechoslovakia during the communist years and that’s how it had been there. However, a vote for Obama is not a vote for socialism and socialism is not communism. The facts show that socialism and democracy work very well together, produce high standards of living and, in the case of the Scandinavian and western European Union nations, greater upward mobility in society (aka the American Dream) than in the United States. Granted, because of socialism, the level of poverty in the EU is not as deep as in the USA, but a person born there in poverty has a far better chance of achieving higher education, home ownership and financial independence than in “the greatest nation in the world.”
The reason for this is that fascism, or more politely called corporatism, has been collared there and barriers to social and economic advancement lowered. In his book, The European Dream, Jeremy Rifkin (Wharton School, Univ. of Pennsylvania) describes how the socialist democracies of the EU are outpacing the “best workers in the world” and have more job security, leisure time, home ownership, health benefits and educational and cultural opportunities for their people.
Two other worthwhile references are available on the Internet. Simply Google in the word “fascism,” and find “What is Fascism?” by Laura Dawn Lewis and ”Eternal Fascism: Fourteen Ways of Looking at a Blackshirt,” by Prof. Umberto Eco of the Univ. of Bologna (Italy). Perhaps after reading these two short, clear articles you may begin to realize how the melding of government, corporations and religion to maintain a status quo in the American workplace and society is depriving this nation of the advancements and prosperity already enjoyed under European democratic socialism.
Words like Communism and socialism have long been used to create anxiety and fear in Americans. Now, linking them with “change,” the same thing is happening in this political contest.
The American people already use and enjoy many socialistic programs. Public education, Medicare, Medicaid, Interstate Highways, national parks and Social Security are but a few obvious examples. Some people contend that even these are too much, some ought to be privatized and that we ought not (they usually say we can’t afford) to add more. After reading those two articles you may also be able to identify those people and why they believe the way they do. And for them, why any thought of change may be so devastating.
Connect the dots
It’s usually entertaining when guys like John Feazel and Duane Branson emerge from their bunkers and fire off a few clips at random, and their recent efforts (letters, Oct. 9, 2008) are no exception. Feazel begins by informing us that “all of Obama’s character references are Marxists, Communists and militant anarchists.” After some head scratching, I figure that the head Marxist must be the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and the man most observers consider to be the most astute investor of our times, Warren Buffet. The head communist undoubtedly is Paul Volker, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve under Carter and Reagan, and the man who stopped inflation in the early ’80s. That leaves the chief militant anarchist to be Robert Rubin, Secretary of the Treasury under Clinton and executor of financial policies that brought wide prosperity to the American people. Yes, with sordid revolutionaries such as these serving as Obama’s character references, it’s truly amazing that he’s gotten any traction at all with the electorate.
Branson, who in previous letters has held secure to his belief in the Bush presidency, notes that Venezuela is playing footsie with the Russians and the Chinese, and suggests that the national guard is being required to shoulder a huge share of our military burden because our regular military is being stretched to the breaking point by wars in the Middle East. Having acknowledged these legitimate concerns, Branson fails to connect the dots. It’s his guy, Bush, who got our military mired down in an unnecessary, expensive, and misguided war in Iraq. And it’s the failed economic policies of his guy, Bush, that have weakened our ability to project both hard and soft power, which in turn has emboldened big players like China and Russia to push back and try to flank us, and have emboldened bit players like Chavez to thumb their noses at us. To suggest that we need more of the same, as Branson does even with the evidence of these shortcomings before him, in his own letter, no less, is to be at one with the guy who recently wrote an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal saying that Obama’s economic policies would lead us into a recession. He opined this without apparent irony, even as the Bush economy was falling to pieces all around him.
Measure of wealth
The Washington politicians tell us we are in a financial crisis, of their own making, I might add. Their solution to this crisis is to print money and give it to the Wall Street thieves, as well as to the Arab and Chinese thieves.
I’m at an age where I can remember when an ice cream cone was a nickel and one could go to a movie on Saturday afternoon for a dime. Of course, seldom did I have this kind of money. My dad could hire a good man to pitch hay for a dollar a day, plus room and board.
I have seen the value of a dollar decrease in value to roughly a dime. The national debt has doubled in the last eight years to about 11 trillion dollars and rising like a kite in a tornado. It is the plan of the Washington politicians to pay off the national debt with dollars worth a penny. To those who know no history, this seems like a brilliant idea. But it has been tried hundreds of times before, always with disastrous results. I cite but two examples: the Confederacy during our Civil War, and Germany after the first World War. The only value of the money in these cases was for toilet paper. As for paper stock, I learned about this when my dad wallpapered our outhouse with stock he had bought during the 1920s.
I left the farm, got an “education,” made some money, bought some paper stock. But when I went home and bragged to my dad and uncles, they were unimpressed; they only measured wealth in terms of number of acres and stock on the hoof. But what did these ignorant farmers know? Maybe a lot more than us “educated” folks?
We have a choice between two candidates for County Commissioner in District 1: John Ranson, a local businessman and real estate developer (according to dictionary.com: a person who invests in and develops the urban or suburban potentialities of real estate), and Ron Chacey, another local businessman, providing custom engraving and inlay for guitar and banjo companies in Japan and the USA.
According to the state Constitution, Article XXVIII (Amendment 27) Section 1: “…large campaign contributions to political candidates create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption; that large campaign contributions made to influence election outcomes allow wealthy individuals, corporations, and special interest groups to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process; that the rising costs of campaigning for political office prevent qualified citizens from running for political office; that because of the use of early voting in Colorado timely notice of independent expenditures is essential for informing the electorate…” therefore, a public financial report available at the County Clerk’s Office is required for all candidates.
So what do campaign contributions reported through 9/6/08 say about the candidates?
Count of contributors: Chacey 80, Ranson 44.
Average individual contribution: Chacey $89, Ranson $380.
Largest single contribution: Chacey $500, Ranson $2,300.
Contributions from people involved in investment, real estate and development: Chacey $100 (1 percent), Ranson $4,400 (26 percent).
Contributions from people out-of state (rest are local); Chacey, $275 (4 percent), Ranson $5,000 (30 percent).
Contribution from those who hold green jobs: Chacey $650 (9 percent), Ranson $0.
Contributions from the local retired: Chacey $3,255 (46 percent), Ranson $2,190 (13 percent).
Contributions from local self-employed not involved in investment, real estate and development: Chacey $1,545 (22 percent), Ranson $3,150 (19 percent).
Other miscellaneous contributions: Chacey $1,270 (18 percent), Ranson $2,000 (12 percent).
Total itemized contributions: Chacey $7,095, Ranson 16,740.
Note that 56 percent of John Ranson’s contributions come from people involved in investment, real estate and development and from out-of-staters. What’s more, $3,000 of out-of state contributions and $2,000 of the local contributions were made by folks associated with Parelli Natural Horsemanship — a total of 30 percent of Ranson’s total contributions. Interesting. On the other hand, 95 percent of Ron Chacey’s come from locals that don’t represent big business interests and, more importantly, Ron Chacey has a history of volunteering to help the county plan for the future — to preserve our heritage and scenic beauty.
As you consider your vote, pause for a moment to think about the choice. What types of growth should we promote? How does growth support a sustainable local economy without the current boom and bust cycles? How do we attract the right kind of growth that will add back to our community? How do we preserve what makes our community and surroundings unique and beautiful, rather than a roadside rest stop for travelers headed to other destinations? How do we get growth to pay its own way so that the good citizens of Archuleta County don’t end up paying for it?
Whom do you trust to make these decisions? A developer or a planner?
Editor’s note: Ms. Eason is listed in campaign finance documents in the county clerk’s office as the Ron Chacey campaign treasurer.
Educating motorists was the reason for our first letter. Obviously, from Carmen Ferguson’s response to the letter, this is an important issue that needs to be addressed further. Cyclists do not “demand equal access to” or “insist on the right to ride on roads.” It is the law that we have the right to use the roads just as a driver of any vehicle does. “Every person riding a bicycle shall have all of the rights and duties applicable to the driver of any other vehicle (Colorado Statute 42-4-1412). “… a bicycle is not a toy but a viable means of transportation — often the only means of transportation for many people.” (Educating Motorists — www.bicyclinginfo.org.)
When we ride on the roads, we are not endangering the lives of people in vehicles. If a vehicle is going across yellow lines into oncoming traffic to get around a cyclist (as apparently Carmen Ferguson does), those drivers are putting other vehicles and people in danger. You have to slow down and wait until it is safe to pass, no matter what kind of road you are on or whether you’re passing a truck, pedestrian or a bike. When you get your driver’s license, you are granted the privilege to drive. There are many laws and rules of the road one is expected to know before driving, one of which is “A ‘share the road’ attitude is the best policy to promote safe highways in Colorado” (Colorado Driver Handbook — 12.4 Bicycles and Motorcycles). “Sharing the road is important not only for your safety and the safety of others, it is the law” (Colorado Driver Handbook — 12.5 Careless/Reckless Driving). The “unsafe rod propaganda” Carmen spoke of is the “Share the Road” signs that are now up on U.S.. 160. The signs are not “propaganda,” they are intended to remind drivers that cyclists are on the roads and to be watchful and respectful of them. These signs are in towns all over Colorado and the nation. They are here to stay, and so are we.
I agree with Carmen on one point: “… a dangerous situation is created by a blatant disregard for safety concerning the roads and bicycles,” but it is not “misguided practice” or “unsafe” practices from Archuleta County Road and Bridge or CDOT — it is from people like her.
Leadership. That’s what this country needs. Leadership really is the issue of our age. Leaders from all sectors of government are needed to raise this country out of the mess it is in. Leaders may not be the ones with all the answers, but instead are those who can rally those around them and together develop plans and strategies to complex issues and problems. Leaders need to be free of partisan baggage or special interest strings that only result in predictable compromise. The media needs to respect those who aspire to lead and not barrage them with petty and insignificant issues that heighten by them sells their press.
The best and most succinct plans or solutions to current issues such as foreign policy, healthcare, education, taxation, or on issues closer to home in everyone’s hometown, will get nowhere without competent leaders who are able to provide clear and concise direction and gain the much needed trust of their constituents and the public. Leaders will be able to see where compromise is needed in order to keep a worthy effort alive while respecting and understanding all issues and concerns from all sides or points of view and in the end make decisions that are founded on core values that are transparent and just.
Americans need to seek out the leaders that meet their criteria, demand it from those serving or get rid of them. I don’t want leaders who purport to be free of flaws or who can pass sterility tests. Instead I want leaders who have fallen down a time or two or ventured down an awkward path, been to the edge, played with fire, cried without concern, comprehends their own virtue and values others, and from these experiences and traits have gained a better understanding of themselves, learned how to best deal with what life conjures up, and will take responsibility for their actions, past, present and in the future. I don’t want leaders who are perfect in the conservative sense or ones that are on the other extreme either. Instead I want leaders who are genuine, have lived life with appreciation and have an ability that few have and that is to lead.
Leadership is and should be a thankless job if done right. Rewards (not necessarily in a monetary sense) and gratification from a job well done should suffice, and if a leader’s efforts are deemed great or worthy, then someday they will be memorialized in recognition of their true commitment to lead. Time is of the essence and hopefully Americans will comprehend what is at stake and the consequences of bad leadership. Leadership really is the issue of our age and hopefully current and future leaders will rise to the occasion.
Letter regarding cyclist rights; I am a cyclist also, I ride to and from work each day. I am glad others are writing about our rights. I’ve had several near misses. The worst and most recent, I was run off the road by a truck driver on N. Pagosa Blvd. The driver “shot me the bird” then cut me off forcing me into a deep ditch. It was a big red gravel belly dump; you know who you are. If you are reading this, I am constantly looking for you and when I spot you again I am pressing charges. Think how you would feel if someone tried to run one of your kids or family members off the road. I pay taxes and have the right to ride these roads, I am sorry that bikes slow motorists down, but think what would happen if you run over and kill one of us: is a couple of extra minutes out of your day more important than a cyclist life? You are obviously a very impatient person, you and your attitude have no business behind the wheel. Be watching for me, I will always ride my bike until some jerk like you runs over and kills me.
Our community is the sum of its parts — all of its natural resources combined with the ever-changing body of human resources. We, the people, are the variables that have made the sum what it is today and what it will be in the future. As individuals, our contributions and subtractions vary based on our wants, needs, abilities and motivations. This concept comes into focus when candidates for public office often declare their desire to be a “servant” for fellow citizens. I have met all the candidates running for Archuleta County commissioner and have had conversations causing me to conclude that they all seem to be good people with good intentions. However, they appear to have differing viewpoints as to the importance of supporting one another in a direct way to create “community” in the county.
A person’s past is a good indicator of his or her future performance; therefore, I feel confident that you and I will receive a good return on the past personal investment of time and energy by Ron Chacey into Archuleta County as a great “community builder.” Specifically, I’m aware of Ron’s active participation (officeholder/leadership/volunteer) in the following programs: Loaves and Fishes, Gray Wolf Ski Club, Mountain High Garden Club, Southwest Land Alliance, Archuleta County Planning Commission, Pagosa Springs Advisory Commission, Archuleta County Citizens Task Force, Archuleta County Vision Committee, Archuleta County Community Plan Steering Committee, Archuleta County Citizens Forum and Music in the Mountains.
I am enthusiastic about supporting someone with a rich past of investing in our county and look forward to his service as one of our next county commissioners. Your vote for Ron Chacey will also be a good investment for our community.
Up is down
The Republicans have become so desperate that they are bending reality, trying to convince us the up is down and one and one make three, to wit:
The newest McCain ads portray liberal Democrats as opposing regulation. Huh? Isn’t this the Republican Party that has long accused Democrats of over regulating and has nominated a candidate who has repeated and proudly described himself as anti-regulation.
We are supposed to believe that a candidate who has spent a quarter century in Washington and has voted with President Bush 90 percent of the time is a “maverick” who will bring “change.”
How about a vice-presidential candidate who happily admits, more than once, that her foreign policy credentials come from governing a state that borders Russia and Canada and over which Russian President Putin may fly and seems truly proud that she has only made one trip outside North America? And this after Senator McCain promised he would pick the best qualified running mate for our Nation, proving that he is just another politician willing to pander to any group to get elected. Oh, and he says we can’t afford on-the-job training for a President (or Vice-President?)!
And how about a man who cheats on his first wife, disfigured in a car accident, with a rich woman, but yet insists he has “character?” Yet, a family man without a hint of scandal is “dangerous” or “untrustworthy.”
Finally, the new “Troopergate” report shows that Governor Palin had broken ethics rules, amounting to abuse of her office. Yet, she crows that the report exonerated her completely. Did she even read the report? Or does she not know what “abuse of power” means?
Up is down!
Also, the Republicans have started resorting to vicious, and largely untrue, character assassination in a sad attempt to bolster their sagging fortunes. The latest is Ms. Palin’s comment that Senator Obama “pals around” with terrorist, meaning Professor Bill Ayers. In truth, the two have had only a passing acquaintance. As has been noted, Ayers’ Weather Underground was active when Senator Obama was less than 10 years old. By the time, the two met, Ayers was a professor and family man, hardly the image of a terrorist. Also, the charity board on which they served together was not some radical liberal fringe group, as the Republican spin machine would have you believe. No, it was actually a highly reputable educational foundation founded and funded by the Annenburgs, Republicans of long standing (and supporters of Senator McCain today).
Insanity has been defined as doing the exact same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Less than 10 percent of Americans believe the nation is headed in the right direction and President Bush’s’ approval rating hovers around 25 percent, the lowest in 50 years. Yet, some people want to elect a president who votes with this president 90 percent of the time?
Up is down!
Letters in last week’s paper show a very disturbing trend in this election. John McCain’s campaign leaders have said if he talks about the economy he will lose the election. So he and his surrogates have to attack Barack Obama personally with untrue Internet claims and outright distortions.
Fact check organizations have proved Obama did not “pal around with terrorists.” He was on a committee with William Ayers, as were a number of Republicans. On the committee board was Walter Annenberg who was a close friend of Ronald Reagan and Nixon. Mrs. Annenberg is a McCain contributor.
That’s only one of the wild accusations being spread for one reason — to scare you. Their goal is to make you afraid of Barack Obama and therefore vote for McCain.
Obama is not going to shrink the military and he is not backed by communists. Anyone who has paid attention to the campaign and debates, and not to the Internet garbage machine, knows this.
This is nothing new. In 1992, Republicans spread lies saying Bill Clinton secretly went to Russia and became a member of the communist party. They will do anything to scare voters, using false ads and letters in newspapers.
The Republicans fought for Reagan deregulation and Phil Gramm, McCain’s chief economic advisor, enabled the Wall Street collapse we’re seeing. Spinning this to blame everyone else and spread fear is their game.
McCain’s campaign is spoon-feeding these lies to their base at their rallies and people in the base are calling for Obama to be killed. Remember what happened to a presidential candidate in Pakistan just a short time ago? Can’t happen here? Look back just a few years and it did happen here.
McCain’s weak call to not do this followed by his turning right around and repeating the same claims doesn’t show leadership. It shows the lowest form of political slime.
We need a leader who can inspire us to be our best. That leader is Barack Obama. We do not need a leader who, during a monumental financial crisis, says the economy is fundamentally strong and then erratically throws plan after plan against the wall to see if anything will stick. Then his campaign says he can’t talk about the economy.
We need a leader whose judgment calms our fears. That leader is Barack Obama. We don’t want leader whose tired, old, erratic behavior tries to make us afraid, but has no answers to lead us.
Even leading Republican conservatives have now said McCain’s VP pick is unqualified and a mistake. If you want something that will really scare you, think about her and the “First Dude” running the White House.
Don’t cast your vote for the worst that they have to offer. Vote for the best, Barack Obama.
The USA financial crisis started with Lyndon B. Johnson and his Great Society. He not only escalated the war in Vietnam but he also started Medicare and other programs like head start. These programs almost broke the country and we fought double digit inflation through the Nixon, Ford and Carter years. The only reason these social programs received approval was due to the death of John F. Kennedy. President Kennedy was a very conservative president that would never have initiated the legislation that was started by President Lyndon (Brainless) Johnson. The point to remember here is that the giant government fiasco Medicare was started and the responsibility for paying doctors and medical facilities was shifted from each individual who was paying the medical bill to the doctors and insurance companies that had a government dictator telling them what the doctors could charge and what the insurance companies could pay.
The next step in a brief history of time was President Nixon. He took us off the gold standard. This allowed the Federal Reserve to print money at will.
Another problem is Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Fannie Mae was actually the creation of President Roosevelt, but was privatized by President Johnson with special privileges, it paid no income tax, did not have to compete, and was actually funded by the U.S. taxpayers. Freddie Mac was created in 1970. The Carter and Clinton administrations dictated rates and qualifications for Fannie and Freddie that were well below the standard allowed by other lending intuitions which resulted in structures being built for millions who could not pay their mortgages. This was first tried in England after WW II when the Parliament tried to build a house for everyone in England and it was a total economic failure.
If our legislators really want to work for the American people they would make the unpopular hard decisions that have to be made.
The first thing that has to happen is to eliminate Freddie and Fannie. Let the assets that these institutions hold be sold to the public and never sanction a business like this again.
The next thing would be to eliminate Medicare. It took 60 years to break the country and we should phase out Medicare over the next 25 years. This could be done by eliminating what Medicare pays for each year.
Government programs like FEMA need to go away. People need to start taking responsibility for where they live. The people that live in California know that earthquakes are a threat. People that live in New Orleans know a category 5 hurricane will hit and people in the mountains know that forest fires happen all the time. The government can no longer bail these people out.
Thomas Jefferson was right; the government should remain small and should never be allowed to engage in commercial endeavors. TVA was a mistake, Medicare was a mistake, Freddie and Fannie was a mistake, and the Federal Reserve was a mistake. Only the U.S. government has the authority to coin money. President Jefferson knew this and tried to control the fat cat bankers, but our U.S. government let him down.
We need some real leaders who will do the right thing. (Fat chance.)