Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

Jim Sawicki’s latest opinion piece was one more vitriolic diatribe against liberals, the left, the media and others holding views differing from his. His unsupported defamations of entire groups of people are plain fear mongering. While they are repugnant, they are protected speech under our Constitution.

Jim crosses a line, however, when his speech incites our young people and law enforcement officers to commit illegal acts (such as torture). I know from Jim’s previous writings that he took an oath to defend our Constitution, and I wish he would either honor that oath or renounce it. I could respect either decision, but the hypocrisy of citing his military service while at the same time urging us to abandon our Constitutional protections harms our republic.

I find Jim’s latest ranting personally dangerous as my son-in-law is due to deploy in two weeks for his second tour in the Iraqi theater. My son-in-law puts his life on the line believing he is defending a nation that stands for freedom and individual rights protected by the rule of law. He is a good man leaving a family behind, and I will not stand idly by while Jim seeks to turn our nation into a terrorist state not unlike the enemy we fight.

Should we have a terrorist incident in Archuleta County I would urge the sheriff or police chief to employ their training and knowledge to gain actionable information through proven interrogation techniques that are legal. Torture makes people talk, but it takes too long and produces misinformation more often than not. If my family suffers as a result, it will be because of evildoing and not because law enforcement failed to employ effective methods.

By your own writings, Jim, I am your enemy. I don’t like it, but you have declared it and I must accept that reality. If you would like to discuss your concerns, just get in touch with me and let’s have a dialogue rather than a public shouting match that serves little good. If you cannot contact me, don’t worry, for I will find you now that you have declared me your enemy.

I’ll be your enemy whenever you exhort our citizens to commit illegal acts. I’ll be your enemy whenever you defame entire groups of our citizens. In short, I’ll be your enemy any time you seek to subvert our republic by denying citizen rights and protections. Know this, however, even as your enemy I will employ only legal means of thwarting your subversion.

Jay Davison


Dear Editor:

I am honored that Mr. Jim Sawicki promoted me from troglodyte to antediluvian. To show my appreciation, on a warm summer afternoon, I plan to go up and get Jim and let him run my log splitter for a few hours. Should Jim suffer a heat stroke, I will not waterboard him, even though this is his wish, as I am not familiar with this modern technology. Instead, I’ll just take him out in the middle of the lake and throw him overboard. Jim will enjoy this, as I have been told Navy guys are good swimmers.

What Jim will not enjoy is the fact that the liberal TV installer set the parental lockout on my TV so that the only Fox program that I can watch is The Simpsons, which is fine with me, as this is my favorite TV show. I especially enjoyed the episode where the doctors took the crayon out of Homer’s brain and his IQ jumped up to 107. Homer’s newfound intelligence caused him so much grief that he had Moe put the crayon back in.

I hope they never take the crayon out of Rush Limbaugh’s brain. Should Rush’s IQ jump up to 107, 20 million Ditto Heads will become hopelessly confused when Rush strings three words together into a coherent sentence. No doubt, removing the crayon from Rush’s brain would result in the demise of the Republican Party we know so well. The party with a two-word vocabulary, namely, Hell No!

Bob Dungan


PLPOA election

Dear Editor:

All I want in the upcoming PLPOA election is an informed, free, open, transparent, legal process. That does not appear to be the case. I hope the problems I’ve discovered will prompt property owners to vote for Board members who will represent you and not people who treat their office as a personal power base. Please attend the annual meeting.

There are eight people are running for four seats. I called the PLPOA manager over a week ago and asked when the candidate forum was going to be held. She didn’t know about any forum, but would look into it.

I called some of the candidates on June 22, to find out their feelings about a forum and asked them some questions. All the ones I was able to reach were interested except one candidate who is an interim board appointee, John Meyer. He told me he wouldn’t attend a forum. When I asked if he would answer questions by phone from voters, he said an unequivocal, “No!”

On June 23, Gary Gray, president of PLPOA board, called me and said that he decided there would be no forum. He was concerned that maybe some candidates might not be able to come due to prior obligations. Of course, the e-mail asking the candidates about a forum only went out 20 hours prior to his phone call. Mr. Gray was not interested in the property owners’ rights and tradition to question the candidates in an open forum. Of course, the general manager did tell me on the 22nd that she would be happy to forward any questions I might have to the candidates. What would happen if 250 voters forwarded her questions to send to the candidates.

If you are interested in a property owner sponsored forum, please call me at 731-9610 before July 4, and we will try to set one up without board input.

I asked who would be counting the ballots. Mr. Gray told me a “disinterested property owner” was doing the counting of the ballots as they come in. In all elections, the ballots are sealed and counted by several people with observers at the close of the election. The PLPOA election method does not meet the standards of open, secret ballot elections. Will the status of the vote be shared with anyone prior to the election on July 25? And, what constitutes “one disinterested property owner?” The candidates were not notified that they could have observers during the ballot count.

The PLPOA dues were raised over 33 percent in recent years, and the board can raise it even more. It’s time the property owners take over the board by participating in the election and especially voicing their opinions at the annual meeting. If you are happy with what PLPOA is doing, do nothing. If not, hand deliver your ballots the day of the election, if possible. It’s time to speak up and speak out.

This PLPOA election is getting stranger and stranger.

George R. Esterly


Dear Editor:

I would like to remind vacation property owners (rental condos and houses) that there is a group of young men “visiting” these properties when they suspect the unit is vacant.

Please change your keycodes often and keep track of all keys. Someone tried to enter my unit at 10:30 p.m. this past week and awakened my guest from a deep sleep. He was a teen boy who came to the front door alone, and was startled to see her come to the door. He said, “Oh, I was just checking to see if anyone was in here.” She said of course someone was. He handed her the keys, which he had taken from a keysafe, apologized and left. He joined a couple of other young guys at the edge of the parking lot, and together they left.

My renter described the young man as follows: He had brown hair, just below his ears, was of medium height, maybe 5’5 or so, wearing jeans and a hoodie, of course. If you are this young man, or the parent of any young person roaming the streets of Pagosa Springs at night, please advise him that my unit now has 24-hour security and very alert neighbors and he’s very fortunate that his polite demeanor avoided him a trip to the Sheriff’s office — or worse. The woman’s husband was upstairs and Colorado has a “Make My Day” law.


Kate Goldsworthy


Dear Editor:

I was sitting at the bar at the Bear Creek, watching hockey about ten days ago when, wham!, Lightning struck the lightning rod on the cupola on the roof of a building across the street. I had the privilege of watching our firefighters (many volunteers) fight and put out the fire in a very proficient way. You can hardly tell that there has been a fire when you see the building from the outside. Great work!

On filling out my calendar for coming events, I found Arts in the Garden and the duck race are both on Aug. 15, and so far they are the only August activities on Saturday — how absolutely frustrating when you would like to support both of these activities. I guess just buy tickets for each. I might suggest that the first and last weekends of some months have the lightest schedule, but the middle always seem to be busy.

Cindy Gustafson

Different worlds

Dear Editor,

It is interesting that in the middle of his latest posting Mr. Buslepp says that his concern “was not to compare” the two sides when he had just finished, again, comparing activities of America in the Global War on Terror (GWOT) with those of Hitler’s Third Reich, even adding Stalin’s Russia into the mix. I do not understand his fascination with Nazi Germany when there are so many more contemporary regimes of a similar nature with which he could compare America’s legal system — Iran, Myanmar, and pre-9/11 Afghanistan come immediately to mind. The problem with his “apples and oranges” type comparison is that, in the overall continuum of political systems from anarchy on one extreme to total government control on the other, all of these regimes are totalitarian systems that are not comparable to America in any way.

We do live under a “legal” system in America, and the results are not always what one side or the other might consider “good” or “moral.” Hence, a murderer might get off because the police failed to give him an adequate Miranda warning even though his confession was entirely voluntary and not coerced in any way; Dr. Tiller could continue to murder thousands of fetuses in their ninth month; and a child rapist in Oklahoma can get off with a one-year sentence. Things also happen in war that we might not like or with which we do not agree. For example, in June/July 1944 during the Normandy campaign 70,000 French civilians were killed by allied bombing in support of ground operations — a “legal” tactic under the Laws of War.

Our young men and women join the military for a variety of reasons; patriotism, a desire to serve, a willingness to sacrifice, etc. Most, if not all of them, join without any true understanding of the realities of war and the impact it will have on them. There is no “rear-area” in the GWOT and, once deployed, all are in the battle zone. It is likely they will see, experience, and do things that are contrary to the Judeo-Christian principles of the legal system under which they grew up — war is not a video game. They will see greater suffering than most Americans at home can even imagine. They may see their friends killed or maimed, or innocent women and children murdered, by IEDs or Islamo-facist suicide bombers; they may see civilians killed as “collateral damage” to American operations; or they may kill someone. They may carry feelings of guilt for having killed, or for having survived when their friends did not. Lawful or not, they will carry the images of all of these things with them the rest of their lives. There is a mental toll taken by this that few, if any, of their friends or family back here can understand. Only their comrades who have the same kinds of experiences really know what they are going through. All of us react to, adjust to, and cope with this psychological stress in different ways. This is not a new problem, but it is one that has been increasingly recognized and understood since WWII, Korea, and Vietnam. Their recovery is not helped by the left’s statements of pseudo-concern evidenced by the “we support the troops, but not the war” type statements that devalue their service and sacrifice. Saying that they have lost their sense of moral purpose or implying that they suffer from a fear of future prosecution for the crimes they must have participated in or committed further discredits their service and sacrifice, and reflects Mr. Buslepp’s view of the world more than the reality of our soldiers’ mental situation.

The one thing of which I am certain — I am glad I do not live in the America that Mr. Buslepp apparently believes he lives in.

Jim Huffman

Change the rules

Dear Editor:

Let’s get our ire over the recent valuations directed properly. As has been repeatedly pointed out the assessor is bound by state law, even if we do think the results questionable as in my personal case that a professional local appraiser found a value 20 percent lower than the assessor’s during the appraisal period. However I do believe that people are not as upset that their net worth has increased on paper as they are about the effect this has on their tax bill, not their taxes since we all know that the taxes are frozen, but on the tax bill.

So who’s responsible for this tax bill? Absolutely no one in the county government; well, not exactly. The responsible people are the ones who believed the politicians in 2006. In the election in 2006 there were 9,377 registered voters. Of those 4,481 voted on Ballot Issue 1A, 4,896 chose not to vote. Of the 4,481, 2,582 voted in favor of the issue and 1,899 opposed. So when you become upset that your tax bill is going up 30 percent and more, again, since the 2006 election, direct your anger where it belongs, toward the 2,582 that supported and the 4,896 that ignored. Not at the assessor following state law. There is a law in place to prevent these large tax bill hikes, but we, the voters of Archuleta County, decided to suspend that law. We are now reaping the benefits.

To the 2,582, quit whining. To the 4,896, quit whining. To those of you who bought property since the election, you should have done your homework and been prepared. To those of you who reside outside the county but own property, thank you for paying for my services. You chose to disenfranchise yourselves by purchasing where you have no vote. Just the price you have to pay for us allowing you to own a piece of paradise. To the other 1,898, raise your voices, change the rules, it’s easy to do here.

Doyle Qualls

Up With People

Dear Editor:

I leave to tour with a group called Up with People in 14 days. I understand there are many ways to raise money. Some great suggestions have been made such as asking the entire community for a dollar from each person. Although getting 15,000 envelopes in my mailbox sounds fun, I was hoping there would be a more sensible way. Another suggestion was to put out milk jars all around town asking for donations. This could bring in quite a bit of money, but with only 14 days left I fear there is not time. Some may be asking, “Why did this girl wait till the last minute to raise this money?” Truth is, life seeps through the cracks, plans don’t always work out.

In case you don’t know me or my family, let me catch you up a bit. My great-grandmother, Amanda Stollsteimer, will be 92 July 4 and is the reason why our big and beautiful family lives here and loves Pagosa Springs. My father, Tony Rivas, has been part of a local band, Variety Express, for over 25 years. My mother, June Marquez, raised in Arboles, continues to share her beautiful voice with our community whenever she can. My best friend and brother, Marcus Allen, is also a part of Variety Express. My little brother, Eli, is now a sophomore in high school and is a hard worker. This is my family. This is my home town. I love Pagosa Springs and plan on coming home to make a difference here, because this is where my heart is.

I know this tour with Up with People will change my life. I am taking Pagosa with me, and representing our community.

Anything is possible! Here is the math of it all. If anyone would like to send me a dollar for this trip, feel free to fill up my mail box — P.O. Box 2833, Pagosa Springs, CO 81147 I have figured if 185 people send me $77, this would sponsor each day of my tour. In return, I will send you an international cookbook, which will be completed upon my return. If you can’t afford to help but still want to support this effort you can visit with me at my fund-raisers. This Saturday, June 27, I will have a garage sale at 346 Morro Circle, Hatcher Lake. Sunday June 28, a carwash and a fry bread stand at Carquest Next Friday, July 3, Variety Express will be playing at Rusty’s on Piedra Road, where I will have a bake sale. If you would like to donate any baked goods or need more information, contact me at 903-9498. Thank you, beautiful Pagosa Springs, for all your support and encouragement.

Much love,

Naquita Rivas

Mill levy

Dear Editor:

We desperately need some help from our county commissioners.

A lot of people are upset about our skyrocketing tax valuations. It is unfathomable how average residential values could have increased 23 percent in this county in just two years. Mine was up 47 percent, even though I had an independent, professional appraisal during that same period for much less.

Something is wrong.

I’m not blaming the assessor when there are subdivisions like mine where not a single property has sold in the last two years due to the poor real estate market. But these bizarre increases have come at the worst time.

Now we can only hope that the county commissioners will do what’s right. I hope that they will not happily accept a huge windfall in property tax revenue based on this abnormal spike in valuations and run out and spend it.

When the mill levy is set, the important number is total revenue — not at an aberration in the valuations. County residents desperately need the BoCC to make an adjustment in the mill levy to bring the total revenue number back in line.

If they do that but reserve the right to boost the rate back in two years if valuations retreat, I have no problem with that.

Bruce Wilke