Letters to Editor

‘John Wayne’

Dear Editor:

Regarding Eugene Witkowski’s letter of last week, I thought I’d throw in my own wisdom and experience. First of all, I did not vote for President Obama. I did, however, hold my nose while voting for McCain/Palin. I am a registered Republican and a 100-percent combat disabled veteran of Vietnam and Cambodia.

Military action is fragile and fraught with “armchair quarterbacks.” The current Commander-in-Chief must get accurate intel, know world political thoughts, and make the tough call that involves the lives of many Americans. Regardless of Obama’s”call,” he will be praised by the?”hacks” on the left and reviled by the “hacks” on the right. Should Obama have stepped in like John Wayne; guns blazing in an attempt to immediately rescue Captain Phillips? That would certainly have put Captain Phillips’ life in greater jeopardy along with the lives of countless American military personnel.

The bottom line; Obama chose restraint and?Captain Phillips was rescued without harm. Sometimes it is wise to act quickly with deadly certainty. Other times it is best to be patient, see the bigger picture, and make a differing call.

Under President Ford?the military was called in for much the same reason — a merchant ship was hijacked by Cambodian forces and the crew taken captive. The response by the Pentagon was the best overall for victory and protection of American life. But somehow a “John Wayne” mentality surfaced; the operation was moved up long before my ship, the guided missile destroyer USS Henry B. Wilson (DDG-7), could arrive on-station to provide serious firepower for the marines hitting the hostile beach. Without our ship being on-station?the marines took a bloody beating. Sure, regardless of Ford’s change of plans, the ship and crew were rescued — the battle made the cover of national magazines in America. Our crew and the surviving marines were greeted in the Philippines as heroes. But what a horrible cost of American lives, all because someone wanted to enter the fray with guns blazing rather than sticking to a rational military plan of rescue.

I still remember that battle as though it was yesterday. A victory well-reported in the papers, but with mangled and burned marine bodies left on a beach unable to be recovered for burial. Under Obama a ship’s captain is safe. Under Ford many of us, who fought our guts out, cannot forget the massacre of American lives under a differing decision. Sometimes a “John Wayne” approach is a complete winner; sometimes it is an unnecessary loss of American lives.


Stan F. Counsell


Dear Editor:

On May 18-24, the U.S. National Whitewater Rafting Teams will be traveling to Bosnia for the World Rafting Championships. Competing on the National Men’s team will be local paddler Seth Kurt-Mason. His wife, Jessica, will also be racing at Worlds as the paddle guide for the U.S. National Woman’s Team. Many people and businesses in Pagosa have joined in supporting these teams by contributing generously to a “Vacation in Pagosa” package that was auctioned off at a team fund-raiser.

The highest bidders for the Pagosa package will be treated to a five-day stay at Lynne Killey’s beautiful A Place on the Lake. In the mornings, they will be able to enjoy delicious breakfasts courtesy of the Pagosa Baking Company and endless cups of latté from Higher Grounds. After they have been well fed, the winners can pick the adventure of their choice from Wilderness Journeys. In the evening, they can relive their adventures over hand-crafted beers at the Pagosa Brewing Company and dinner at Eddie’s Uptown Grille. The lucky winners will also be able to raft through magnificent Mesa Canyon with Pagosa Outside followed by a visit to Kip’s for drinks with the locals. After private Pilates sessions with Cindy Houston, the winners can relax on JJ’s riverside deck and turn in their gift card for beverages to sooth their tired muscles. On days that they want quieter pursuits, they can use their gift certificates to shop at Treasures of the Rockies and Switchback, fueling their efforts with some of Farrago’s delicious food. Of course, no visit to Pagosa would be complete without a soak at the Overlook Mineral Springs and Spa. From the rooftop pool, the winners of the “Vacation in Pagosa” package will have a perfect view of a very generous town.

With gratitude,

Lindsey and Mary Kurt-Mason

Seth and Jessica Kurt-Mason

The Men’s and Women’s National Whitewater Rafting Teams

Chosen ones

Dear Editor:

After months of reading of all the Ponzi schemes and book cooking, I have to wonder what brought it all on.

In his 1992 nomination acceptance speech, Bill Clinton proclaimed, “I have news for the forces of greed and defenders of the status-quo, your time has come and gone. It’s time for change in America.” And change it he did.

He proceeded to fertilize the seeds Jimmy Carter planted in 1977 with his Community Investment Act, which pushed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into lending practices that defied all logic and led to the current mortgage mess and recession.

Hillary even got in on the act, telling the Washington Post, “The 1980s were about acquiring, acquiring wealth, power, privilege.” No doubt, her avoidance of the question of where the down payment on their home came from, if answered, would have revealed her commodities profits. And the reason their 1979 tax returns remain undisclosed.

Regarding Jim Sawicki’s letter (4-23-09 SUN) concerning Napolitano’s remarks about returning American servicemen. The following words belong to I know not who, but fit the occasion. “We should build our triumphal arches of brick. So they may be more easily torn down and flung at our heroes.”

In the same issue, Eugene Witkowski mentions the failure of socialism in England, Germany, Scandinavia, Russia and Canada, true without a doubt. But, Eugene, this is America where everything is possible. We Americans can ignore the lessons of history, as we are the chosen ones, or so we think. But, then again, I can’t be sure if it’s ignoring the lessons, or if it’s ignorance of history.

Leo Landon

Farmington, N.M.

Cap and Trade

Dear Editor:

The U.S. Congress will soon begin consideration of “Cap and Trade” legislation to limit CO2 emissions. The arguments against this initiative are too many to cover here, but the most basic one is that it is almost without doubt unnecessary. Despite what Al Gore has convinced many people, the science of global warming is not settled or proven, and contrary evidence continues to accumulate.

• “Unstoppable,” by Fred Singer and Denis T. Avery presents very convincing historical evidence that the Earth has always experienced warming and cooling cycles of about 1,250 years’ duration. They also point out that the warmest periods in the past have been the most prosperous for mankind.

• “Cool It,” by Bjorn Lomborg (a former global warming proponent) raises many interesting questions about the problem. His conclusion is that attempting to cap carbon emissions would be astronomically expensive and have extremely minor effect on warming — measured in tenths of degrees over decades.

• The last three years have seen a mild but measurable decline in temperatures worldwide. In the last year or so, 30,000 U.S. scientists from various disciplines have signed a letter declaring that they do not believe global warming is man-caused.

I could go on extensively, but the point is that it would be grossly irresponsible to allow the environmentalist lobby to push through legislation of questionable utility, that would absolutely transform our already struggling economy. The LPEA recently issued a letter to all customers warning of possibly large increases in electricity rates. Cap and Trade would effectively politicize the entire economy and increase the cost of everything by requiring every producer to go to the government to beg for authority to emit a certain amount of carbon — the potential for fraud and abuse is unimaginable. And soon the EPA will control what we can drive; say goodbye to your SUV or truck.

Please contact our representatives and tell them you are adamantly opposed to this economy wrecking and unnecessary legislation.

Don MacNamee

Write your rep

Dear Editor:

Having received a letter from our La Plata Electric Association asking folks to write to our representatives regarding the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, I am writing to ask all of you to please do so — why, well as the La Plata Electric letter mentions, the CO2 regulations could raise electric bills $700-$2,200 per year per household. We need our representatives to explain to us where monies would be going and in a clear understanding for all of us. Also, we need to know what this would mean in regard to electric rate changes.

Please let your representatives hear from you now and ask them questions so they know you are interested and concerned.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

Growing government

Dear Editor:

Why in the world would Archuleta County want to initiate a county dog license ordinance? They already have a “dog at large” or “leash law” ordinance, which is widely unenforced. All I can see that this license requirement would accomplish is to place an unwarranted financial burden on dog owners in this time of local, state and national financial crisis. It certainly would not make the irresponsible dog owner more responsible; it would pour money into the coffers of the Humane Society, but would it reduce the Archuleta County Animal Control Program portion of the city, and county government budgets,or that of PLPOA? I have serious doubts that it would. Looks to me like a “lets grow government” scheme.

I wonder why the county has made no effort to enforce their county wide junk ordinance. Is this just another unenforced ordinance?

Also, I was never aware that you could “Lease Purchase” cash at a bank as the county commissioners propose in their “Roads to Recovery” program by putting the courthouse up as collateral. I wonder if the State Division of Local Affairs or Douglas Bruce is aware of that. Sounds to me more like a mortgage. Seems to me that you just have to use the word “recovery” to make increased indebtedness more palatable. Too bad the word “recovery” was not used in the junk ordinance.

The Board of County Commissioners wants to act as the board for San Juan Basin Health, I wonder why they have not spoken out about, or given the residents of the county any guidance on the “Swine Flu?”

Leroy Oldham

Tea Party

Dear Editor:

Last week’s letter to the editor from Bob Dungan requires a response. He states he wishes he had come by our Tax Day Tea Party. It is too bad he did not do so. Had he stopped for tea and cookies, he would have found a diverse group of concerned local citizens as well as learning what this quite spontaneous response was about. Their concern was not with eliminating taxes but with responsibly applying them within a framework that can be supported for our country’s economy and growth.

It is tempting to go through the issues he mentioned but this would serve no purpose. However, it is??anticipated a follow-up gathering will be held and a special invitation is extended to Mr. Dungan in order that he may become informed and knowledgeable about the purpose of the Tea Parties and the love and concern for our country which were expressed there.

Barbara Rawlings

Downtown projects

Dear Editor:

I want to thank the town of Pagosa Springs and everybody involved for moving forward with the river restoration project and more specifically the white water feature that was built in front of the Chamber of Commerce. All of the boaters and spectators I have spoken with are impressed with the feature and are a bit more optimistic about the direction the town is going with the river improvements. I’m already seeing many new faces on the river and more are sure to come as word gets out to the boating community.

I hope that those in charge of recreational improvements such as this will now realize the value in seeing the projects through to completion (though only a part of the river project is complete). Progressive recreational opportunities will always be a way to ensure the vitality of any community. With this being said I encourage the town of Pagosa Springs and the entire community to support the completion of this river restoration project, ?the river walk and the proposed skate park.

Jon Reed

Tin cup

Dear Editor:

My, oh my! So you mean to tell me that electing a man with a different color skin will not solve all our problems! Well, I’ll be!

You mean all those millions of people who decided their (and my) entire futures by way of color coordination might have invested in the wrong criteria? You mean Oprah’s advice was based on shallow evidence? Why, I’m just shocked and amazed. This is simply not what thousands of advertisements told me. They said all I had to do was “hope for change” that I can believe in.

Well, now I don’t believe any of that BS! I’ve been hoping, but this is just not workin’ like I was told it would. This is not the “hope” I had. Almost everywhere you look in the Obama administration, you can find appointees whose beliefs are clearly outside the mainstream. Thankfully, a lot of folks are now aware that liberalism plus socialism equals mental disorder equals a recipe for suicide. Oh my, what have we done?

So now: What are all those senior folks that have been saving for their golden years going to do? They’ve lost most of their retirement money due to the criminals on Wall Street and in government. Now they will have to work an extra ten years if they can find someone to hire a couple of old coots. I guess they’ll just have to stand on a street corner with the rest of their about-to-retire friends rattlin’ a tin cup.

However, we all subscribe to these words from Thomas Paine (Dec. 19, 1776): “If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace.”

Maybe I’ll just head down to my friend Bob Dungan’s cave in Arboles and drink some of the “trog’s” Kool-Aid. Why, he might even share the wealth on a couple racks o’ firewood to keep my old butt warm this winter … brownouts are tough!

My vote’s fer Maggie Watkins to immediately replace “Botox” Pelosi as speaker of the house!

Jim Sawicki

Health department

Dear Editor:

As I see the aspects of SB 194 unfold, I am perplexed as to the methodology, usefulness, and necessity of some of its requirements. Being a former member of the board of health, I hope some basic premises and common sense along with history will teach us a lesson. My parents always told me, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” My life experiences have also taught me to read between the lines and further assume, “If it needs repair, maintain it.”

The decision to pass a resolution to retain the San Juan Basin Health Department as the district public health agency by the BoCC was a smart decision. I also submit that trying to act, even temporarily, as the board of health would be a short sighted decision not in the best interest of public health for political, financial, and administrative reasons. The plates of the BoCC are currently overflowing with many other pressing issues which require their full attention.

SB 194 authorizes that the BoCC may declare vacancies on the board of health and permit the vacancies to be filled by the city councils or boards of trustees of municipal corporations within its boundaries. I fail to see the wisdom in replacement of a very qualified board of health with well intentioned but new members possibly not versed in the many critically important aspects of public health. This would be an action that is redundant to what has occurred for the past several decades. In these days where joint services under one roof governed by boards that have one main focus, like fire authorities, and other special districts, the business and passion of public health in La Plata and Archuleta counties would be much better served by retaining the governing structure as it currently exists.

With the H1N1 flu virus now in Colorado and the never ending demands on the always under funded public health, I think the extremely competent staff, administration, and board of the San Juan Basin Health Department has served us well for more than 60 years and will continue to do so in the future. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, maintain it.” I hope that the BoCC will ponder their future decisions and the ramifications thereof with great forethought. A health department should not make decisions with the influences of political bias, and this will occur either intentionally or unintentionally with the BoCC acting as the board of health. The future of public health in southwest Colorado should be independent, void of unnecessary levels of bureaucracy and focused on one mission, protecting and promoting health, and assurance of the provision of the essential public health services in southwest Colorado, nothing less, and more importantly, nothing more!

Very sincerely,

Gene Tautges

Tea Party 2

Dear Editor:

I would like to respond to Mr. Dungan’s commentary about the recent Tea Party. I, too, was delighted to see that the little town of Pagosa Springs had a Tea Party. It is encouraging that Americans are taking an interest in their government. I attended two Tea Parties. Both were great successes and made up of hardworking Democrats, Independents and Republicans. Unfortunately, Mr. Dungan seems to be grossly misinformed about the Tea Party objectives. Perhaps that is due to his obsession with referencing a vulgar, homosexual act. The Tea Partiers celebrated the promotion of free market principles, tax cuts and the elimination of wasteful government spending.

As does Mr. Dungan, I enjoy tea, coffee and beer. However, I don’t enjoy paying taxes for pig manure research, tri-state peanut research, a plug-in hybrid vehicle demo program in Las Vegas, or for the Royal Mausoleum, the final resting place for most of Hawaiian royalty, to name a few of the wasteful projects. Obviously, Mr. Dungan has a death grip on his government teat, like our Congress. The Tea Partiers, on the other hand, feel it is time to wean the freeloaders and the congressional parasites.

Mr. Dungan would also do well to embrace his friend’s principle of rugged individualism — where people rely on their own devices and only turn to the government as a last resort. Although, Mr. Dungan appears to believe that Big Brother can run his life better than he can. Additionally, I’m glad Mr. Dungan has been afforded Social Security, as my mother has had hers temporarily cut off for making too much money. Now that it is time for it to be reinstated, Social Security has failed to do so after many phone calls, emails and letters. Keep in mind, my mother is retired from that high paying profession of school teacher! Unfazed and turning to her own rugged individualism, she has utilized her bachelor and master degrees, which she obtained while working and raising 4 children, to get another teaching job to supplement her retirement. I also wish Mr. Dungan well in trying to collect from Medicare. My dad spent the last year of his life, while battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, trying to get Medicare to pay part of his treatment. Mind you, he only worked and paid into Medicare for 29+ years. The moral of the story is that hardworking citizens only fund these ill-run, government programs and freeloaders reap the benefits. My advice to the youth of this nation is to not rely on Big Brother, less they are a non-contributing lout.

Tea Partiers do support Mr. Dungan’s belief in a need for defense. That is one government program that we support! Mr. Dungan is also spot on in nominating Rush Limbaugh for president in 2012. It would be refreshing to have a president who supports capitalism, is knowledgeable, able to speak without the need for a prompter and has true moral clarity.

Maggie Watkins

Fort Worth, Texas