Dear Editor:

It is with utter disbelief and dismay that I read last week’s SUN article regarding the dismissal of the entire planning commission. This was one of the most intelligent, deliberate, professional and generous spirited groups of volunteers this town has ever had. I do not understand why the new board of county commissioners (BoCC) would act in such a reckless and defamatory manner. Perhaps it would behoove the BoCC to demonstrate ethical professionalism by reinstating all members immediately and issue both a clarification and a sincere public apology.

Anna Jester

Rewarding incompetence

Dear Editor:

Two of the largest banks in the United States are bankrupt — Citi Group and Bank of America. Greed and incompetence on the part of these banks have put them where they are now. Well, guess what? They are coming hat-in-hand to the United States Treasury asking for more money — another bailout. The head of Citi Group, Robert Rubin, says he didn’t see this problem coming. For all of his lack of insight, he was awarded $107 million dollars as a thank you for his efforts. If the United States government is stupid enough to bail these parasites out, and to reward these criminals who are stealing taxpayer money for themselves and their kin, some action is necessary on the part of the citizenry. This is not capitalism, this is not communism: these are crooks absconding with your wealth, and they’re laughing all the way to the appropriate banks in the Cayman Islands.

We need to let bad banks fail; I don’t care how big they are. We need to let bad businesses fail. A case in point, in 1998, idiot Alan Greenspan bailed out a company called Long Term Capital Management, another black-box barf hedge fund leveraged out the arse. He said they were too big to fail, had he let them go bankrupt, we wouldn’t have all of the toxic debt and leverage in our banking system. And we wouldn’t be in the midst of another great depression.

Marty Margulies

Don’t talk and drive

Dear Editor:

Finally, Colorado is considering cell phone use while driving — hand-held or not. National study finds hand-held or not is equal distraction and equal to alcohol levels not allowed to drive, i.e., concentration levels.

For years, I have been and still am against cell phone use while driving. Think about it: driving a car can be a deadly weapon; add cell phone use and driving can become a greater risk.

If you agree, let your representatives know — they need our input now. For one, contact Rep. John Salazar, 1531 Longworth House Office Bldg., Washington, D.C. 20515; www.house.gov/salazar; or (202) 225-4761.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow


Dear Editor:

I was very disappointed in the article on “Tips for a healthier lifestyle” (Jan. 29, 2009), which purportedly gave advice on cancer prevention. The author does not claim that the information is factual or correct, only that he is passing along information sent to him by a friend. Because of the prevalence and seriousness of cancer, there are many who will read this article and follow the suggestions, thinking that they have taken steps to prevent cancer. It is, therefore, important that the information be correct.

We should be very skeptical when information is presented by someone who is not expert in the field himself and has not given any evidence that the information is based on scientific fact. In this article, some information may be correct, but much of it is merely hearsay, and many comments are incorrect.

For example, the author states that meats are acidic. Meats are primarily protein and proteins are actually buffers, preventing solutions from being either highly acidic or basic. Other foods, such as lemons, grapefruit and tomatoes are acidic, but not considered carcinogenic.

The comments about a link between cancer and freezing water in plastic bottles and dioxins leaking from plastics in microwave ovens are stories that have been on the Internet for several years, and have been refuted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the US Food and Drug Administration. (See Hoax-slayer.com or Truthorfiction.com. Also Google: plastics, dioxins, cancer.) A search using PubMed.gov, the National Institutes of Health online source of published scientific literature in health and medicine, showed no publications in this field by Dr. Edward Fujimoto.

Dissemination of incorrect information and repetition of rumors and hoaxes are a disservice to readers of The SUN. It would be so much more valuable if articles on medicine, health and science were either written by someone with considerable expertise in the area or taken from established literature in the field.

Jean B. Smith, Ph.D.

Former professor of Foods and Nutrition, Purdue University

Commission speaks

Dear Editor:

This is an open letter to the community concerning the forced resignations of the Archuleta County Planning Commission. This action by Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) merits further investigation and should be cause for concern by anyone who cares about the future of this county.

According to statements in The SUN and by the BoCC, lack of attendance, improper qualifications and imbalance in regard to land use issues were the primary reasons for removal of the planning commission. A staff report to this effect was issued to the BoCC. The issues in the report were never discussed with the planning commission by staff, nor were the planning commissioners ever made aware of this report until publication of the recent article in The SUN. The reasons given by the staff and BoCC for the dismissal of this commission are inaccurate and false.

While the article states that three commissioners failed to meet the required attendance requirements, it neglects to mention that for the past year the planning commissioners voluntarily met every single week (as opposed to the required bi-weekly meetings) in order to compensate for staff and funding deficiencies brought on by the county’s financial crisis and to keep the county planning process from freezing altogether. The record will also show that with only two exceptions this commission consistently met quorum.

The staff report, according to The SUN, also states that the commission “violated its own bylaws in regard to guidelines for technical knowledge and professional qualifications needed to serve on the advisory board.” This is an entirely misleading statement. The planning commission is not self-selecting. Appointments are made by the BoCC based on the best available applicants.

The planning staff and the BoCC appear to have misread the bylaw in question, possibly on account of a typo. The language is intended to read “Members should represent a diversity of interests and occupations that may include but are not necessarily limited to architects, landscape architects, planners or developers.”

The assertion that specific technical skills and expertise are required to fill seats on the commission will certainly deter the vast majority of qualified applicants and will limit the commission to a very narrow set of special interest group representatives. This is an ill-advised and dangerous situation for our community.

The APA Smart Growth guidebook and the actual bylaws emphasize the importance of diversity on the planning commission. The outgoing members of the planning commission have extensive experience in a variety of fields including, planning, land management, ranching, wildlife, environmental preservation, historic preservation, real estate, development, construction, law enforcement and corporate business.

The report cited “lack of balance” in opposing views on land use. A look at the public voting record of this commission easily refutes that assertion.

We encourage the community to look closely at this decision and the way in which it was enacted. We sincerely hope this first major action by the new BoCC was merely a one-time blunder and not an indication of things to come.

Lesli Allison, Cary Brown, Ron Chacey, Larry Garcia, Chrissy Karas, Judith Reilly