Letters to Editor

Electric fence

Dear Editor:

Forty-eight of 50 governors and untold mayors have endorsed the recent stimulus act.  Think of the stimulus act as a gunless revolution. Isn’t that why we have elections?  We voted: the election is over.

So Republicans: get past the ideological nation-abusing BS and accept the fact at the current time (hopefully not forever) the federal government is the center of all driving economic activity; U.S. industry (small and large) awaits the next federal action plan.  We’ve already “nationalized” 14 banks with the recent FDIC guarantees.  So, what about the larger national banks? (By the way Alan Greenspan and George Will support this move.)  Ahhh, there’s that “let ’em fail” tape again: let Citibank fail. What happens to the majority of our major corps where Citibank is the lead or major participant in their credit revolvers.  Republicans are being dysfunctional, by two.

Probably the best response to those hardwired troglodyte critics of the new stimulus bill is to look at Times’ Feb. 23 issue list of people to blame “For the Economic Mess We’re In.”  Of the 25 individuals listed, one is a Democrat (Clinton) and one came from a working class background.  The rest were all certainly multiple millionaires except, notably, the generic “American consumer,” who borrowed up to 130 percent of his income or maybe a Standard & Poors CEO who rated risky pools of loans as AAA.  So, the group are Republicans. Do you really think they made their decisions based on their founding party members’ fiscal purity, ideals, values or morals?

Now that the Republican motive is so front and center, let’s compare the “stimulus” effect of George’s past tax relief funds that effectively benefited 1 percent of the nation — less than .20 cents on the dollar (Heritage Institute is still compiling data) versus a multiplier of over 100 percent generally for federal fund expenditures.  Regardless of political persuasion, it’s a truism that most funds move from the majority to the hands of a few; but today those few can’t drive demand or supply, but the other 99 percent of our citizens can and will create demand.  So putting funds with a more effective multiplier into their hands probably has a better chance of stimulating the economy.

My gosh, isn’t that socialism? So what was the $750 billion into Wall Street — a moral hazard rewarding the banks’ bad behavior?  And, yes, before we gave tax cuts that helped with the relocation of a significant number of our production facilities abroad (not to mention corp HQs), the idea of “self interest” had some basis as an economic theory for stimulating an economy; much too late, Greenspan admitted he grossly misjudged it as an economic “regulator.” I guess he never saw an animal migration on National Geographic.

Or maybe a better response is look back at two quotes by Will Rogers: “Always drink upstream from the herd,” and, “There are three kinds of men: the ones that learn by reading, the few who learn by observation, the rest of them have to pee on the electric fence.”

Dave Blake

Leadership

Dear Editor:

Calvin Coolidge once quipped that if the government disappeared tomorrow, nobody would notice it for months.

Herbert Hoover was quite an activist for that day when he introduced “trickle down,” thinking wealthy spenders would spend it to create jobs for the unemployed during the Great Depression. When that didn’t work, he followed Coolidge’s do-nothing example and sat back and waited from November to March for FDR to be inaugurated and do something.

James Buchanan likewise idly waited as the nation self-destructed for Lincoln to take the helm.

Some call that “leadership.”

The election of Ronald Reagan ended the line of humanitarian activists in the White House and his famous remark, ”Government is the problem,” set the ideological tone for 28 years. Free market economy and deregulation became the bywords of prosperity. The plan was to get the government off the backs of private business, cut out the interference, and the market would bring changes hardly imaginable.

And, in a way, it did. In the poultry industry, in North Carolina the nation’s largest processor of chicken and turkey gave America its first ever epidemic of salmonella. Next we had recalls of beef tainted with e-coli. The latest is the peanut scare. And so on, all because there are so few inspectors, they could hit a food processor about once every four years, if that often.

Unfettering private monopoly gave Californians outrageous electric bills. Pressuring the privatization of water treatment to Haliburton in El Salvador should have been a lesson, too. In the phony war in Iraq, the ideologues distributed huge no-bid contracts and hired an immune private army spawned strictly for profit.

A Treasury surplus was considered a bad thing. It was money lying around that liberals might spend. And so eight years ago the Treasury was drained to give each taxpayer $300. It expanded the private sector’s wealth and also forced the government to reduce its ability to respond to disasters at home. In theory, time and the market always work those things out. Reagan’s other remark, that the homeless are homeless by their own choice, leaves as bitter taste today as if Coolidge or Hoover would have said it seventy-five years ago. Some day will we see another Douglas MacArthur raid the camp of homeless veterans protesting that the market doesn’t respond to poverty?

It takes courage to break away from an ideology, especially a false ideology. Imagine, if you can, what nightmares former Treasury Secretary Paulson must suffer! The former head of Goldman Sachs, ardent promoter of Reaganesque deregulation, free market and “trickle down” economics saw everything he’d worked for throughout his career sweeping the nation down the tubes, and to realize his role in hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs, homes, incomes. It took courage for him to make a hundred and eighty degree turnaround and not sit back to wait for ideology to prove itself one way or another. That’s leadership.

Where was W?

Henry Buslepp

Steps backward

Dear Editor:

I am a local contractor, father of three boys and resident of Pagosa for over 15 years.

I was shocked to learn that the town was considering taking back property given for the proposed skate park. It should be pointed out that the town was the original community supporter of the skate park. They suggested this property, started the whole process moving forward. The town also helped locals fund site-specific skate park plans, soil tests and surveying. All at a price of over $20,000, that will be thrown in the trash if the park is moved.

This property is at the new sports complex. This complex is about to become one of the best-used parks in our community.

I attended the BoCC meeting when overwhelming support from locals and the BoCC was expressed. Only one person expressed concern for the new park, for fear it might promote crime. I’m not sure what prompted this concern, but I believe this is the reason the town council is considering revoking the property.

Last summer, I took my three boys to the existing skate park probably once a week. We had nothing but good experiences. I never saw crime, or the person who alleges crime is taking place. The truth is these kids are incredible athletes. No one could exhibit their amazing balance, endurance and gymnastic dexterity while high on drugs.

It saddens me that these kids are being stereotyped as drug users. If the skate park is suspended because of this concern, what’s next? Should we get rid of baseball fields for fear that they promote steroid use? I feel we should fear the kids not having someplace to go. Thank goodness for common sense comments from our ex-chief of police, who doesn’t share this concern.

My family has been to several skate parks and we have a great time, every time. A lot of skaters have skated for 20-plus years, have kids of their own and skate together as a family. When created, this park will become a family park, not just for teens. My family will use this park, as will many others.

The Skaters Coalition for Concrete should be commended for their efforts. Instead, the town is choosing to take steps backwards and deliver the coalition a punch to the gut. Here we are, come full circle, and the ones who started this process are now trying to jump out of the game. They should be ashamed.

Hoping common sense prevails.

Brian Fulbright

Skate park

Dear Editor:

To the Town of Pagosa Springs: Why do you want to restart this whole thing? It is stupid that you waste over $20,000 on the property after you did this thing already. I think you should keep the property you already have. Think about it: all of the skaters were hoping that they could have a skate park soon. Did you fail them or did you not? Do you want to have a skate park sooner or later? Think about it for a while.

Sincerely,

Alec Fulbright

Support

Dear Editor:

Friends, family and neighbors of Archuleta County and Pagosa Springs:

I feel very fortunate to live in a place of uncompromising natural beauty, a place where people generally care for each other and stick up for one another.

In the past year-and-a-half, my family and I have had the pleasure of participating in three very well attended (especially for Pagosa) skate park fund-raisers. As a long time resident and mother of three young boys, I was greatly encouraged by the progress the Skaters’ Coalition for Concrete was making toward the construction of a facility unlike any other in a 60-mile radius. A property near the new soccer and softball fields had been located, and the Town of Pagosa Springs had plans drawn (and re-drawn) to fit the specific property.

About three months ago, my husband, Brian, and I were told that donations of time and materials (in-kind donations) would not only count as cash toward the required community match for the GOCO (lottery funds) grant, but would also indicate community support. My first inclination was with all of the economic uncertainty, who would be willing and able to put forth of their own precious time and resources? However, as we are in construction, and this is a construction project, we dug in and contacted a list of folks and businesses that could possibly assist in this endeavor.

To my awe and gratitude, people began stepping up like mad. For the county commissioners’ meeting on Feb. 17, we had written commitments for donated time and for material to the tone of $41K! Upon seeing this, and on unanimous recommendation by PROST, the BoCC approved $50K of 1A funds to be dedicated to the completion of the park. The final formalities to be dealt with before the GOCO grant application was with the Town of Pagosa Springs, the very entity that had supplied a site and initial funding. After that, it is reputed that GOCO funds 85-90 percent of skate park grant applications — what a bright spot in an otherwise dark and dismal economic situation!

Much to the dismay of not only the skaters’ coalition, but to all of the people of the community that support the project, the town council failed to complete the formalities necessary in order to make the GOCO application. It appears that the concern is for surveillance on the property that the town initially indicated and had plans drawn for in the first place.

As a retired police chief and current town council member, Don Volger stated, “ … money well spent that gives the kids something to do …” There is really no place for Pagosa’s youth to go. As a part of the population that has no say, the youth of Pagosa Springs deserve unconditionally the support of their adults.

Now it is time for the government of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County to go forth with support for the citizens that cannot speak for themselves — our youth.

Thank you for your time.

Holly Fulbright

Airport

Dear Editor:

Reference Pagosa SUN, Feb. 12, Airport in line for grant funding, runway work.

Pagosa airport possibly getting a piece of the pie. Congress passed stimulus package of Feb. 13. Please, how many pieces of this pie will go for what?

Airport runway, paving, painting, expansion. I don’t think this will help the people that need help. This airport has taken and taken, more and more monies for a very select few.

The last paragraph of the article reads, airport manager McKown mentions stimulus package now stumbling its way through Congress. Should that become reality, manager claims to have a couple of “shovel ready” projects in mind.

Please contact your commissioners and let them know how important or not the airport is to you: County Commissioners, P.O. Box 1507, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147, 264-8300.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

Potholes

Dear Editor:

I don’t know who is responsible for the street which runs from Talisman through the Pagosa Lakes shopping center to North Pagosa, but there are several huge potholes in it that threaten to gobble some hapless pedestrian ... or subcompact.

I know the town collects the sales taxes from the neighboring establishments, but in this bifurcated political area, it might be the county that “owns” the roadway.

In any case, it really needs attention. Perhaps by spring?

Bob Winners