Some saw it

Dear Editor:

In your editorial, “All the signs were there,” Nov. 20, you asked the question, “When we consider the current, global economic meltdown … a complete answer is likely missing. But do you ask yourself and others, ‘Who could have seen this coming?’”

In its Oct. 11 edition, The Rocky Mountain News published an article by M. E. Sprengelmyer entitled, “Hefley one of few to vote no in 1999 on financial bill: measure now seen as catalyst for today’s crisis.” The bill was the “Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999,” also known as “Gramm-Leach-Bliley” for its sponsors. The RMN article points out that the centerpiece of the bill was eliminating so-called “Glass-Steagall” restrictions first enacted during the Great Depression to prevent commercial banks from getting involved in a riskier set of businesses.

Congressman Joel Hefley of Colorado Springs (District 5) remembered the congressional tinkering with regulations and real estate tax laws that set the stage for a collapse of the savings and loan industry in the early 1990s. That debacle, including the collapse of hundreds of S&Ls, left taxpayers on the hook for a $124 billion bailout. “‘What I saw was a step toward doing this with other institutions, and we could have a disastrous outcome like we had with S&Ls, said Hefley.’” According to the RMN article, Hefley was the only Colorado lawmaker — and one of only five Republicans in the House – to vote no. Only a few others saw the danger.

‘This is the wrong kind of modernization because it fails to put in place adequate regulatory safeguards for these new financial giants, the failure of which could jeopardize the entire economy,’ argued the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, a Minnesota Democrat who died in a plane crash just before the 2002 election. “It’s the wrong kind of modernization because taxpayers could be stuck with the bill if these conglomerates become too big to fail.’”

The RMN article states that Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-S.D., warned that the bill raised the likelihood of future massive taxpayer bailouts. “He said the Glass-Steagall restrictions were put in place for a good reason after the run on banks during the Great Depression, in order to separate basic banking from risk. ‘If the Glass-Steagall restrictions were eliminated,’ Dorgan argued before the vote in November 1999, ‘We will in 10 years’ time look back and say: we should not have done that because we forgot the lessons of the past.’”

The bill passed 90-8 in the Senate, supported by Colorado Republican Sens. Ben Nighthorse Campbell and Wayne Allard. It passed 362-57 in the House, backed by Democratic Reps. Diana DeGette and Mark Udall, and Republican Reps. Bob Schaffer and Tom Tancredo. Then-Rep. Scott McInnis did not vote.

Your question, “Didn’t you notice the proliferation of new, arcane financial instruments?” caused me to question my understanding of the meaning of the word “arcane.”  My dictionary confirmed that you chose the right adjective. “Arcane: 1. hidden or secret; 2. understood by only a few; esoteric.”

 Earle Beasley

Majestic gift

Dear Editor:

I am grateful to the owners of the Alpine Cascade Ranch for their amazing generosity and to J.R. Ford and the Southwest Land Alliance staff for doing the hard work required to finalize the Alpine Cascade Ranch Conservation Easement. Negotiating a conservation easement that includes nearly seven miles of San Juan River riparian habitat is a big deal, and an example of what results from some of the highest of human intentions. In these times fraught with personal and corporate greed and persistent assumptions of scarcity it is so inspiring to know there are folks who care enough about conservation to work so hard and to offer such a tremendous and majestic gift to the community. There is grace here.

I wonder if perhaps some of the same players involved in this great work might be willing to help our community find its way to completing our small yet superb Pagosa Riverwalk system with all of its benefits to local tourism, wildlife, and recreation?


Barr Bentley

Absolute necessity?

Dear Editor:

The most recent move by our county commissioners to again misappropriate and redirect funds to an “absolute necessity” pet project should be questioned.

A large amount of money has already been spent in the preparation of a Parks, Recreation, Open Space and Trails (PROST) master plan that has been in process for nearly six years. This has been a subject of several county surveys (2004, 2006 and 2007). In the process to secure funding for the PROST project, I find it interesting that no mention of this has ever included an indoor riding arena as an “absolute necessity.”

In addition, what does multi-use facility really mean? Will the dirt be removed to reveal a public pool hidden beneath, or a hardwood floor for other indoor needs? Explain to me please, what the idea of this type of multi-use facility means to the county as a whole and how it will benefit me as a member of the community.

If this type of facility is wanted and needed, then use your efforts to properly plan and fund an arena, without wasting the efforts by many people and funds over several years for a project that has been highlighted over and over again as an important addition to the county and its people.

Jeff Blackwell


Dear Editor:

I disagree with Commissioners Moomaw and Zaday; of course, I have ever since they became commissioners. With the county 10 years behind in road repair and construction, I say that it would be irresponsible to spend that kind of money on an arena to benefit a few when the roads would benefit many and raise the property values of most.

I do agree with PROST member Michael Whiting completely! We could spend 100 percent of the 1A funds on the roads for several years and still not bring them back into the condition they were in 10 years ago. What happened to all of the road projects in this year’s budget for roads in Pagosa Lakes that were planned for this year; e.g. Park Ave., Handicap Ave. and Holiday Ave. People are tearing up their vehicles on these roads as well as at least 10 other roads I could name.

Our roads are a disgrace and it ruins the reputation of the whole county. The lack of a specialty arena hurts no one. Circumventing advisory boards has become a way of life for the BoCC, ask anyone connected with the Airport Advisory Commission and our ex-county manager.

Richard Broom

Potential reality

Dear Editor:

Enclosed is a Christmas letter from an old time Pagosan who reflects back to the tough economic times of the Great Depression. It should speak clearly to most of us as to what life might be like as we slip deeper into our current recession. Not a pleasant thought, but perhaps a potential reality?

Dean Cox

Dear Dean and Karen:

Christmas is here again. I am so thankful I’m still in good health, still driving my 1985 stick shift Honda, taking art and singing classes in Adult School and traveling when I can. I took a tour to Death Valley in the spring and went to Branson in the fall. I’m so grateful to my large and caring family. Thank God I have two daughters who take care of me in my “old age.”

This year I’m reminded of the beginning of the depression, the 1929 crash. I was twelve and turned thirteen that year. The banks closed because people panicked and everyone wanted their money. Pop (Joe) had about $1,000 in savings in the bank. How he ever managed to save that much on a monthly salary of $100 and having raised six kids I can’t imagine. Mark, Babe and Edna had left home by then and married. They all lived in Pagosa Springs. Betty, Bob and I were still home finishing school. Pop kept his job as a mechanic at the Ford garage during the depression. He worked six days a week, nine hours a day. In order to keep him working they cut his salary to $90 a month. When I was older he told me of charging at the general store, always paying off every month and there were times when his bill was more than his monthly salary. Mom and Pop were very thrifty. They owned a fourth of a block (in Cortez). One half was pasture where they kept the cow and we had milk most of the year. Mom made cottage cheese and butter. A couple of years they raised a steer for beef. They always had laying hens. They had a huge garden every summer. Mom canned fruits, tomatoes and made pickles. She baked bread every week and on special occasions she made cinnamon rolls, pies and donuts. They had a root cellar where they stored apples and potatoes. We were so fortunate to live off the land as much as we did. People in the cities suffered the most. There was no such thing as welfare or social security. Pop deserved a medal for his years of dedication to his adopted family. He helped the older kids whenever he could. I remember him driving to Pagosa with two hundred pounds of potatoes and beans for Mark and Babe’s families. I hope he knew how grateful we all were.

I miss you all and enjoy staying in touch. Maybe we’ll cross paths in 2009. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Love, Aunt Jessie Rae, Mom and second cousin

Editor’s Note: Jessie Rae Lynch was married to Larry Lynch (deceased), brother of pharmacist Ben K. Lynch and uncle to pharmacist Ben Larry Lynch. She was also the granddaughter of Brice Patterson, owner of the Arlington Hotel/Los Banos Hotel (present day Adobe Building), mayor of Pagosa, and state representative for Archuleta, Mineral and Hinsdale counties.

Help the animals

Dear Editor:

There are those called to help children, those raised up to feed the homeless, others to battle evil on behalf of victims, and those called to speak on behalf of the ones who can’t speak for themselves; the animals we share this planet with. We need them, and God knows they need us.

We haven’t been very good “managers.” I’m speaking a word for large animals, mostly horses. With the economy, people are abandoning, starving and as evidenced by the news last week, trying to shoot them in the head … six times. The mare, now called “Miracle,” stumbled two miles to a house to “ask” for help. At this time of year when we celebrate an infant King who chose to be born in a manger … among animals. I ask for some help for them. A righteous man cares for his animals. I’m talking about LASSO, large animal rescue. Our very own chapter here in Archuleta County could use and appreciate any donation (no donation is too small) to help feed the orphans they already have. Even $5 can help buy a bale of hay. Horses served us to settle this country, and these noble creatures need our help, too.

Please send any donation to LASSO, P.O. Box 2291, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147.

Thank you.

Peg Ellis

No income tax

 Dear Editor:

With all the bailouts going to corporate entities, it is about time the general public had a bailout of its own, one which is long overdue.  It is called getting rid of the income tax.  Here’s why:  It is unconstitutionally being applied, there is no IRS code making most Americans liable for income tax, no IR Code definition for “income,” and, believe it or not, “income” is not your wages, salary or compensation for service.  We are being ripped off and have been since 1913.  Prove it yourself if you dare.  Just Google “income tax unconstitutional” and wade through all the propaganda to get to the actual court case and constitutional law and facts ... or keep supporting this fraud and go broke.  Just say no to income taxes!

 Jeff Maehr

Out of touch

Dear Editor:

Your 12/11/2008 headline “BoCC earmarks $400,000 for indoor arena”  shows just how out of touch with reality (better known as stupid) the current BoCC is, that money would be better spent elsewhere in the county and if a better place cannot be found, then it should be  refunded to the taxpayers. I wonder how the laid off county workers feel, knowing that a riding arena takes precedence over their well being? Perhaps the incoming board will correct the situation. I suspect the BoCC has not been listening to the latest national financial news or perhaps they are looking for a bailout.

 Leroy Oldham

Don’t back out

Dear Editor:

It seems to me that our town and county leaders don’t realize that they have ignored the needs of many of Pagosa’s at-risk youth. For many young people, skateboarding and BMX are an outlet for pent-up energy and aggression. Many at-risk youth gravitate towards skateboarding and BMX because they allow individuals to express their own personal style, and let them stand out from the conformity perceived in team sports. Many of these kids are rebellious in nature, and if their energy is not channeled into positive athletic activities, it leaves a lot of time and opportunity for mischief.

The failure of the town and county to fund the skatepark shows the disregard of our leaders towards the efforts of many local people to raise private donations, and provide input into the design and construction of a much needed facility. Why do they designate public funds for redundant bridges and covered horse riding arenas, but not live up to their promise to pay a small percentage of the cost of a new skatepark? The current skatepark gets a lot of use, but it is little more than a couple of ramps on a tennis court. Let’s not allow our politicians to back out of their commitment to the skate park.

Jason Werby