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Letters to Editor

Vision

Dear Editor:

This letter is to all the people of Pagosa Springs —the rich, the middle class, the working class and, especially, to the city planners and influential voices who represent us all.

The only thing certain in life is the inevitability of change. Embrace it! Your choice to allow or not allow change does not exist — change is inevitable.

Pagosa is sitting in an enviable position of embryonic development. First, recognize the position; clearly define the objective and design a path to obtain the objective. The question you ask yourselves is this: “What do we want this town to look like in five years, ten years and twenty years?”

The problem here is visionary. Stop looking at the situation through such a small and limiting pinhole. Broaden the scope of vision and enable yourselves to see the big picture.

Big Box retail development does not have to translate into the demise of other local retail development. Recognize what has happened here in the last 15 years. Middle class happened here. Pagosa offered a place where middle class families (making less than $250,000 annually) could come and enjoy what “the big boys” had. Embrace that phenomenon! We didn’t go to Vail for a reason. We couldn’t afford it!

Middle class changed the landscape of Pagosa. But middle class is not the villainous culprit here; poor choices were made by the steering committees of Pagosa Springs. While chasing illusive financial benefits, the building boom clearly got out of control and the greater vision (if there ever was one) was lost. You want financial stability? Look to the middle class. If the government doesn’t obliterate us through health care and taxation, we have a proven record for being a rock solid investment. Ask Sam Walton.

Retail stores, similar to Wal-Mart, do not prevent growth of a community like Pagosa Springs unless there is no vision of the future Pagosa. Pagosa needs jobs to create a strong financial base. How do you obtain that? Middle class needs affordable everyday items offered at Wal-Mart, true; but we do not buy most of our shoes there, we do not buy our furniture there, we do not get our hair cut there, we do not buy our bedding there, and so forth. We can’t support prices similar to what was offered at some retail establishments, but we can afford, and require, a better quality than much of merchandise offered at Wal-Mart.

Where is the regionally reflective merchandise for tourists and residents alike that want to embrace the uniqueness of the beautiful mountain motif? Wal-Mart can only offer what is marketed nationally. It does not have the ability to tailor the merchandise to the community it serves — local businesses can. That’s how they flourish.

The problem is simple. Develop a vision (maintaining visual integrity, including aesthetically pleasing and environmentally green citywide architectural design). Clearly define the objective. Design a path to obtain it. Stop fighting amongst yourselves like school children. Pagosa has something awesome and unique to offer the “average middle class American.” Grow up and make the changes result in an even more enviable, marketable and financially solvent Pagosa Springs. Create a middle class utopia. Free enterprise, not taxation and fees levied on the middle class, is the key to proven community financial success.

Jana Aikman

Fort Worth, Texas

Noise

Dear Editor:

I thought I would pose a question to drive the Pagosa Springs area residents mad with thought. What is the source of the constant low frequency noise heard from Kenny Flats all the way to Juanita and beyond? The noise can be heard by most people in their vehicles when the engine is turned off. Using a low-frequency noise meter, as I used, the noise will show a constant 56 decibels in the C range. Not all people can hear low frequency, but an example of low-frequency noise is the common home generator that is used throughout the county. Yet, I believe this is not the source of the noise in the Coyote Park region. The noise I’m referring to is only heard by about 60 percent of the public and those with bad hearing are blessed from hearing this constant, inescapable noise. Low-frequency noise caused by gas well compressors stations such as is found at Fawcett Gulch on Colo. 151 can be heard for many miles and will drive people out of their homes. In the right conditions, such as in desert environments, low-frequency noise produced by these compressors carries for 20 miles. This noise is the EPA’s number-one complaint.

Low frequency is also produced by tunneling machines. This is what I believe is the source of the noise throughout the southern region of Archuleta County. If you doubt the noise exists, go listen for yourself, for I doubt it has gone away. I think the government is building huge underground complexes in the sandstone bedrock or even under Archuleta Mesa. The noise is 24/7. If you’re a reporter, go ask the local ranchers of the area and residents if they hear the noise. It’s a great mystery worth investigating.

Ron Alexander

Gypsum, Kans.

Why Af/Pak?

Dear Editor:

As our president receives related advice from all parties, I’ve been wondering why the AfPak (Afghanistan/Pakistan) war is more important than our economy.

The original position was it’s a “just war.” OK, but most of al Qaeda’s leadership that hatched the 9/11 plot have been killed or caught (exception bin Laden) and all agree the remainder moved next door to Pakistan. Isn’t that an Afghan victory? And if it were “the” just war, why Iraq, that we can all agree cost us immeasurably to essentially remove one dictator.

In addition, the AfPak war is said to be “good and necessary” because we’re preventing al Qaeda from having training bases for future attacks against the U.S. Well, aren’t there are several other similar countries that would provide them training bases? The latest political position is that we need to train up the Afghan army and police. That’s an amazing statement as, unlike Iraq, this country for hundreds of years hasn’t had a national identity beyond tribal summit meetings; and no one including our military brass believe it’s possible to “nation build” nor do they say we can actually defeat the local tribal Taliban. Keep in mind while a brutal horrible suppressing religious force, the Taliban isn’t al Qaeda and wasn’t involved in 9/11.

So why are we there? Our “critical local ally” Pakistan is acting more like the real enemy, as they created the Taliban (as a wedge against India), are giving them safe harbor, provided training, have funded their activities (now that’s changed a bit as the Taliban’s Afghan heroin is quite profitable) and thus are supporting Taliban’s fight against our forces. Maybe our “ally” is so since they have multiple nuclear missiles that could fall in the hands of Muslim extremists. Isn’t that the same problem with Iran?

And yes, there is a raging “energy war” in central Asia that also includes Russia and China. But the outcome of this “war” is largely determined as Russia has the pipeline, supply/commitments and physical plant to deliver natural gas to the EU and China. Whereas, the western competition has none of the above nor even agreement among it’s multiple partners, so energy isn’t the primary culprit.

So why the AfPak war. My best guess is it isn’t a specific national security issue but, rather, the past nine years limited war has created a “moral obligation” that ties to a representation of America to the world’s governments to preserve future credible power or negotiation positions with a token level of security to the Afghans. So I think we’re going to spend another trillion dollars (talk about new taxes), send the 40,000 additional troops and leave in a few years.

Dave Blake

Apology

Dear Editor:

If you are a witness to an accident, please be sure you are giving out correct information.

Imagine my surprise Tuesday when on my return home from a shopping trip, I found a message on my phone recorder from a police officer saying that I had been named as the driver of a hit-and-run accident by a witness.

Many hours later, when the officer came to my house to inspect my car, he said it was obvious that I had not been involved in an accident, so cleared me and my car. When I asked him what color the so-called witness had said my car was, he said the witness was unable to give the car color. So, if the witness couldn’t tell the color of the car involved, how come they didn’t hesitate to give the officer my name as the driver. Whomever that witness is, he or she doesn’t really know me. My friends can tell you I would never leave the scene of an accident, whether it was my fault or not.

Someone owes me an apology. Will I get it? Probably not in this lifetime.

Bobbie Carruth

Land swap

Dear Editor:

In James Robinson’s article on the current proposal for the Village at Wolf Creek, he states that “… Village land use decisions … are ultimately the purview of Mineral County.”? These decisions are the purview of Mineral County only after the National Forest land is transferred to private ownership as a result of the proposed land swap. Prior to this point, these decisions are the purview of the federal government. The purview of Mineral County is also governed by the scope of the land use defined in any Environmental Assessment (EA) and any mitigation requirements or conditions, such as a scenic easement,? that are part the findings of the EA for the proposed land swap.

An EA will be required if the proposed land swap is managed through the Forest Service. The developer claims that the alternative congressional exchange would also go through an open and public process, but I am not aware of any legal requirement for such a process.

I believe that ultimately something will “happen up there” and that it can be a positive change for our community. I also believe that the change needs to be properly managed so that it is a positive change.

Remember, this land is our land.

Lal Echterhoff

Wind power

Dear Editor:

Just a reminder, or eye opener, once again another note to sign up with La Plata Electric for a slot of wind power. Didn’t know there is that option? Yes, it’s actually less cost vs. two years ago. $1.25/100 KH vs. $2.25. If enough folks sign on, there may be no extra charge. It’s a help with all that we are reading/hearing about carbon footprints. Just in case you haven’t read about the wind power signup program in your Colorado Country Life, this is something to consider, especially since Colorado is highly fueled by coal. Yes, a few birds and hawks can be in trouble with wind power suppliers, but is there really one sound answer for all of us?

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

Spirit needs help

Dear Editor:

To me, the most disturbing part of the current health care debate has been the revelation of how many Americans lack empathy for others so unfortunate as to become sick without reliable access to health care. I am especially disappointed in the reaction of many in a group I am about to join — the Medicare-covered population. These are the secure “havens” in today’s health care arena because even those of us with private health insurance know we can lose it at the whim of an insurer or have it become unaffordable. Yet in the current debate, many of the Medicare-covered seem interested only in “protecting” their generous, government-provided benefits from even modest changes proposed to contain costs and make the system more affordable for future generations.

Though few actually contributed enough to the Medicare system during their working lives to cover the cost of the care they receive today, Medicare recipients accepted the expansion of the Medicare program in 2004 to cover prescription drugs. That expansion is now estimated to add more than $700 billion to the Federal deficit over 10 years and will be paid for by our children and grandchildren.

Now, in the face of opinions from most health care experts, many health care providers and the AARP showing that they will not be harmed by the health care proposals being debated in Congress, it appears that many of the Medicare-covered oppose reforms that will make the rest of us more secure. They may pretend to believe the “death panel” myth or that the uninsured are negligent or undeserving. I actually heard one benighted soul on the radio stating that if the uninsured had only exercised and stopped smoking they wouldn’t be having any health care problems. Sadly, I think it is obvious that the real basis of their opposition is more callous. Let’s just say that, because of their good Medicare deal, their body may be healthy but their spirit definitely needs some help.

Sincerely,

Margaret S. Pickett