Letters to Editor 6-18-09

High costs

Dear Editor:

Biting the hands that feed us.

Isn’t that what Pagosa is doing? And isn’t it ironic that the articles about the tax evaluations and our declining population are on the same page of the same newspaper? Costs are getting so ridiculously high that builders can’t afford to build, homeowners can’t afford to stay, local businesses and residents can’t survive, not to mention afford to have fun.

We are hurting ourselves. The fewer people, the fewer sales, fewer taxes, fewer businesses, and on and on … we’re headed in the direction of becoming a ghost town. Our community pride is being victimized as well. Ten dollars a person to attend a rodeo? There were very few spectators in the stands last week, for good reason. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial both for our community spirit and from the financial aspect to charge less and have more people there to support our summertime Pagosa events?

The all-around predicament is sad. We are not only biting the hands that feed us, but our own.

Patty Brown

Legal vs. good

Dear Editor:

I want to apologize that I didn’t write my letter to The SUN two weeks ago clearly enough that some people seem to have misinterpreted what I was trying to express. Mr. Huffman presented an excellent case in The SUN last week which proves, very logically, why it is legally “all right” for America to torture and imprison people with or without stating any charges against them as long as those doing the dirty work say they really don‘t intend to hurt. The Congress has defined torture. The Justice Department has rendered an opinion. It must be so.

Adolf Hitler was a legalist, too. While he ruled by decree, he kept the Reichstag for show. Like Stalin’s Supreme Soviet, they’d confirm everything. I don’t know of any German official ever charged under Nazi German law for cruelty to anyone in a concentration camp. The gas they used was humane, quick and painless as the methods we use on dogs in our humane societies, and the Germans were scrupulous in assuring that all those who were simply lined up and shot in front of the trenches they’d just dug for themselves were unable to feel pain before the dirt was shoveled back over them.

According to their law they did what was legal. But I always thought Nuremburg changed that. Thus the connection to John Demjanjuk’s extradition. I’m not arguing for his imprisonment or execution like a Barbie, Eichman or Mengele for what they did, but just to prevent him from being able to laugh on his deathbed that he got away with it.

My real concern in the letter, probably not expressed well enough, was not to compare one side with another. It has more to do with what psychiatrists sometimes find themselves confronted with in patients called the loss of the soul. As our GIs return from Iraq and Afghanistan we register an increase in belligerence, domestic violence, family breakups, and suicides. We call it PTSD and say they’ll get over it if they’ll stay calm.

What is it they re fighting inside of themselves that they can’t come to terms with? Have they lost a sense of moral purpose and meaning for their lives from what they‘ve seen or had to do? Is it remorse they’ve been conditioned to suppress, that they’ll be ridiculed as weaklings or cowards if they don‘t keep it to themselves?

And is it unreasonable to think that like Demjanjuk they may find themselves on the run the rest of their lives from incitements from Baghdad, Kabul or The Hague?

After all, what we’re doing is legal. Therefore, it must be correct, even good.

Henry Buslepp


Dear Editor:

We strongly oppose the PLPOA’s request in the recent newsletter to allow the board to spend more than the $100,000 limit as required by the bylaws without homeowner approval. The ballot wording does not say specifically what we are getting for our money and our votes. They want carte blanche to spend whatever they want for recreation and paths. Please vote no on both of these issues for the following reasons.

Because of the clubhouse debacle in the late 1990s, the property owners revolted and insisted on the $100,000 limit on projects unless property owners voted their permission. PLPOA has a history of not spending our money wisely on large projects. No matter who was on the PLPOA board, they have been consistent in choosing poor contractors, engineers, and providing substandard or no supervision. Those poor choices have been common practice in the 13 years we’ve lived here.

Those of us who were here when the clubhouse was built can remember the giant jacks holding up the roof because the trusses, which were built on site, failed due to bad engineering and construction. We remember the concrete sidewalks that had to be ripped out and replaced because our staff did not build them correctly. The roof design causes ice, making the sidewalks dangerous. The lighting in the building is substandard.

The Village Drive pathway project was overspent and undersupervised. PLPOA chose poor contractors and engineers on the project that took over a year to complete.

Lake Forest Estates received monies from the Fairfield Settlement and voted to have paths built. Boards sat on that money for five years. Originally, they could have built approximately 5,000 feet of paths. The five-year delay resulted in about 1,000 feet of paths being built in Lake Forest Estates.

PLPOA boards have a history of building what they want without property owner input. In Vista they built a playground for children. But didn’t bother to consult with the homeowners. They said they had tried to contact 800 people, but were unsuccessful.

On Lake Forest Circle, the board insisted that they build a very expensive concrete pathway over the dam which is not in Lake Forest Estates. The board ignored the wishes of the homeowners as to where the Lake Forest Estates paths should go.

It is interesting that nowhere on the ballot is specific language that spells out in detail exactly to what we are agreeing. Instead it just says, “Pathway Extension Project.” The next item is “By-law Amendment, Article VII and Interest Community Property-Section,” again no details. Their explanations on two separate pages of the newsletter tell us what they want. The ballot as written is vague because they don’t specifically outline in the ballot what we are getting for your money. Since the ballot gives no specifics, they are not bound by what they wrote in the articles in the newsletters, they are only legally bound by their vague language on the ballot. If the board cannot write a proper Ballot By-Law change, why should we trust them to spend our money wisely?

George and Judy Esterly

Your duty

Dear Editor:

Whoa! Everyone take a deep breath. What everyone, and I mean everyone, needs to realize is that mass appraisal is a tool used to appraise property. It involves quantifying property characteristics and location into numbers and multipliers, and spitting out an end result. It’s a good place to start,?but mass appraisal does not dictate market value. Hopefully it reflects it, with a few tweaks here and there.

It is the law, and it is the assessor’s intent to determine the market value for our property during the valuation period of 1-1-07 through 6-30-08.

Market value is definedas what a willing buyer pays a willing seller for a property on the open market. The assessor has collected qualified, comparable sales for the valuation period. Foreclosures don’t qualify (not exactly a willing seller).

If you are absolutely positive that your property would not have sold between 1-1-07 and 6-30-08 for the amount in the valuation letter you just received, then you need to protest your valuation. It is your duty, for it will help make the mass appraisal model more accurate the next time around.

Make sure the assessor has accurate characteristics data on your home. If not,correct it. Then gather as much evidence as you can, specifically comp sales, to support your opinion of value vs. their opinion of value. Get it to the assesssor by June 30.

Cynda Green

Former appraiser for San Diego County Assessor


Dear Editor:

I am back and have lots to write about. This little community should be so proud of the wonderful week that the Wounded Warriors spent here. It was incredible how the businesses, individuals and service organizations worked together to provide such a perfect week for those special people.

We attended the bluegrass festival on the hill and it went so smoothly and no rain — even though it had been forecast. Thanks to Dan and Crista and their wonderful crew of volunteers.

The flowers are just gorgeous around the library, due to the Thin Air Landscaping Company. On the driveway side, there is an English garden with all sorts of blooming going on.

So many of us are living here because we want to.

Cindy Gustafson

Up With People

Dear Editor:

It amazes me how summer comes and goes. As I approach my deadline to leave with Up with People, July 10, I become a little more anxious and scared. Nonetheless, we have some fun events coming up this weekend to help ease the tension of raising funds. This Friday, June 19, we will have a Friday Fry bread stand at the downtown City Market starting at 11a.m. This Saturday, June 20, NV Entertainment brings DJ Nesty Vato and Jesse John to Rusty’s bar located on Piedra. The dance starts at 8 p.m. Come dance to a variety of music, hip-hop, Spanish, country and much more. Hope to see you soon! Thank you to all who have inspired and helped me through this time.

Much love,

Naquita Rae Rivas.


Dear Editor:

Social scientists measure a community’s worth by how it takes care of its most vulnerable members and Southwest Colorado would receive high marks on that score. John Gamble has been a living example of this dictum. As the first Southwest Colorado Director of Volunteers of America, John planned and established the Southwest Women’s Safehouse, the Durango Community Shelter, VOA Thrift Store, and assistance programs which have served thousands of men, women and children with professional care and dignity. John’s dedication and hard work has made our community proud of the way it supports our members in crisis. John has also served his community as city councilman and mayor, member of Kiwanis, board member and mentor to other nonprofit organizations.

John Gamble is retiring at the end of June, as he puts it, with a heavy heart. He had hoped that by the time he retired there would be no need for the shelters and he could have closed them down. Instead, as his last major task he raised the required funds and carried out expansion of both facilities leaving an even larger legacy of service. ?

On behalf of the VOA Advisory Council of Southwest Colorado, I would like to invite everyone to join us on June 18, at the Durango Art Center, 4-9 p.m. to celebrate John’s 25 years of extraordinary work and service to the community.

Ali Sabeti,

VOA Southwest Colorado Advisory Council


Dear Editor:

I was shocked as were many others in our county when they received their property valuation. It gives a new meaning to not having any connection with reality (or smoking something that is not legal).

Were prices going up over the past two years then there might be an argument for an increase in valuation, but they have not. It seems that a number of professionals in the property area seem to think the assessor is off base as well.

In a subdivision where I own a piece of property there have been no sales since mid 2007 and yet my property was increased in valuation. There haven’t been any properties sold because they are not worth the asking price, which is way below the valuation that has been placed upon it by the assessor. If her hands are tied by state law as to how to value property then the Colorado Legislature needs to get moving and change the law, and do it immediately.

I don’t believe that is true, if it were, then protests would be without meaning. We elected the assessor to serve us in Archuleta County. In an economy that has been contracting at a pace not seen since the Great Depression and has been doing so for some time now, it appears that the good of the people of the county who have elected her is not of great concern. If it was a concern to her then she would be on the phone to Denver demanding a change for relief of the people of this county.

This change in valuation will result in dramatic tax increases for most of us unless our local officials are willing to cut the tax rate and tighten their belts. We can not afford this. I have dramatically cut back my expenses and do a lot more Internet shopping, and traveling to Farmington to cut expenses. This is not good for Pagosa, but we have no choice. What is the answer? Since tar and feathers have become politically incorrect, then recall of all of those who increase our taxes in any way is the only option, be they the assessor, county commisioners, school board etc. Our freedom demands it.

Steve Sanderson

The bucket

Dear Editor:

Ya know, it is remarkable that “liberals” are so obsessed with water boarding while this country remains in grave danger from the inside and outside. Libtard obsession is like rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic. They wouldn’t pour some water on someone if it would save American lives.

I wonder if Henry Buslepp would use some genuine authentic torture beyond water boarding to save his family from some nuts who were out to do them grotesque harm? If, in fact, water boarding was a good faith effort to protect my family, it becomes clear to me that anyone who would stop that effort is not to be trusted with the safety of those that I hold most dear, and is, in fact — my enemy.

This country is currently sliding head first into a socialist moat because of the left’s refusal to be tough with those who are sworn to destroy us and assure our demise. The enemy has no such weakness and would torture, rape and kill your children while you are forced to watch.

I see that the murderer of the Army recruiter in Arkansas recently implied that more killings are being planned. Maybe we should absolutely submit him to water boarding in order to prevent future terrorism?

I really don’t care whether water boarding is defined as torture or not. The only thing that I care about is the fact that it worked. We are at war. Give me the bucket!

Oh my gosh! Please forgive me! I kinda jist had me another “senior moment.” I completely forgot that the current administration doesn’t hold with that whole terrorist thingy anymore. It’s called a “domestic contingency operation.” I really must remember to use correct terminology or else one of Obama’s newly created “Czars” will cap my military retired stipend. Then I wouldn’t be able to pay my grossly elevated property taxes next year. I’d have ta move!

The antediluvian in Arboles, Bob Dungan, would surely miss my jackanapes rhetoric — so he’s stated. Can’t let that happen!

Jim Sawicki