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Letters 12-24-09


Dear Editor:

Jim Sawicki says when the Republicans return to power that his reflection will be smiling and mine will be painful (Ref: Smiling, 12/17/09). Speak for yourself, Jim, for my reflection is not dependent upon the political party in power.

If the current political initiatives on the wars, economics and healthcare are successful then I would expect our citizens to re-elect the current Democratic administration. If the initiatives fail, then I would expect our citizens to return a Republican administration to power.

I hope my country will successfully end combat military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and my son-in-law comes home safely. I hope we continue our economic recovery from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. I hope that more of our citizens will gain access to quality healthcare.

Jim, you use words like “recession” and “depression” in a frivolous manner as platitudes plagiarized from your favorite talk show host. To me, recession and depression mean anxiety for business owners and employees trying to hang on to their livelihoods and homes. Those words mean increased hunger, suffering and sickness as people are forced to make choices among food, shelter and healthcare.

In short, Jim, to me recession and depression are calls to action for all our citizens to do what each can to recover our economic health. Different political philosophies proffer differing ideas about how best to deal with the issues at hand, and those differences are being debated with heat and passion. That debate, however, should not be allowed to degenerate into subversions and tirades serving only to prolong our citizens’ difficulties.

For Jim, “recovery” is when the current administration is removed from office. For me, recovery is when my fellow citizens — regardless of political affiliation — have full employment and the food, shelter and hope such employment provides.

I call on you, Jim, to help defend our country rather than just wait for the glee you expect from its failure. Spend some energy helping one of our locals heat their home. Find an outlet for your previous passion of helping animals during these times of increased abandonment. Walk into a local church and ask how you could contribute to someone in need or support Pagosa Outreach Connection.

You can do more, Jim, than sit on your imaginary throne issuing defamations all the while cashing checks sent by the very administration you despise. Get some exercise in ways other than jumping to conclusions, running down others and hurling dispersions on all who dare to see the world differently than you.

As the year ends, I thank the many Archuleta County citizens who have endured and commented on the seemingly endless debate between Jim and me. I wish you all, including Jim, a very Merry Christmas without regard to your spiritual orientation.

“Do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with your God.”

Jay Davison


Dear Editor:

I attended the BoCC meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 15. I was appalled by the action of the board. I wonder if these men even heard what was said by individuals who were not just talking to be heard. The credentials represented were way out there and the opinions expressed were given after much thought. I attended the previous meeting and felt that Clint Jones’ presentation was very slick and we were only told what they wanted us to hear.

Is it any wonder that we cannot get citizens to vote? There was a room full of people, most of whom were of the same opinion, made their points and were totally ignored when the final decision was announced. Why vote, which is a type of personal expression, if you are going to be totally ignored?

Why did I feel that the question was settled before the meeting even began?

Cindy Gustafson

Hats off

Dear Editor:

Just want to say “hats off” to the Forest Service and the Nordic Club for all of the groomed cross country ski trails they are providing us with. I was out on Coyote Hill ski track the other day when the forest service men were grooming and setting up the markers — they were working very hard, doing a great job and were very happy to be giving to the community in this way. As a fellow Nordic skier said to me this morning, “We have our work cut our for us — now we have to explore all of these new trails!” So, a big thanks; you have made me, as well as many other outdoor enthusiasts, very happy.

Paulette Heber


Dear Editor:

Betrayal at the courthouse.

Everyone in Pagosa Country has been exposed to the proposed Village at Wolf Creek for the past several years. A dominant and overriding characterization of the developers’ proposal has been the deliberative brazen effort to avoid an open and transparent public review process. Bypass measures have been pursued whenever the developers could devise the opportunity. This has been a tremendous injustice to all citizens who desire that our rights be judiciously protected regarding our national parks and forests.

This judicious protectionism should be exercised by our local elected officials as well. To the contrary, the majority of the Archuleta BoCC constituents oppose the village. A more disturbing fact is that the BoCC has, once again, succumbed to unprofessional tactics. They have dealt with this issue with open bias in the following ways (maybe more):

1. The BoCC sponsored a public meeting held at the Extension Building a few weeks ago. It was felt by most people attending that they would have the opportunity to voice opinions for the benefit of Rep. Salazar in his decision to sponsor or not to sponsor a legislative land exchange. The public was betrayed. The meeting was formatted strictly for the benefit of the developers who told attendees they had a choice of their original plan or a new, scaled-down plan with the granting of a land swap. The developers’ request would, for numerous reasons, be at high detrimental costs to the public. Subsequent to this meeting, the BoCC was requested to hold “real” public hearings on the issue.

2. Two county commissioners have for several weeks taken the position that “something is going to happen” regarding the proposed village and therefore appear to assume the developers’ two options are the only choices we have. Many believe they only want to consider those two options as opposed to considering and working for other options the public at large want to be considered. The BoCC spent scarce county funds to hire a consultant to advise them when there already was considerable information at their disposal to make a rational decision. Following the receipt of the consultant’s report, the BoCC unethically claimed “lawyer-client privilege” in not making it public prior to the Dec. 15 afternoon meeting when public input was to be given. A brief summary of the consultant’s report was given. (An evening meeting would have been much more considerate, as some working people wanted to give input.) Commissioners implied they would receive this input to help in their decision as to what they would recommend to Rep. Salazar. The public input at this meeting was overwhelmingly opposed to a legislative land exchange compared to only two respondents favoring such a move. However, following the public hearing, commissioners read motions which they appeared to be reading from statements prepared prior to hearing public comments at this meeting. Many left asking one another why they came.

Betrayed again!

Don Jacobs

Act together

Dear Editor:

Last week’s editorial by Karl Isberg in the Pagosa SUN was spot on accurate in my opinion. Due to short sighted financial decisions at the state and national level our schools in Pagosa Springs are in dire straits. We, as a community cannot stand by and allow our children to be short changed by our “leaders” in Denver and Washington. This is not an issue where partisan politics should play any role. Indeed, now is the time to act together as a community to ensure a quality education for our children.

Here are some suggestions. First off, for the long term, as Mr. Isberg suggested, we need to raise the mill levy in the next election cycle to a point where we can sustain a quality educational system for our children without being at the whims of far off politicians. No one likes to pay taxes. However, it is essential that as a community we have our priorities straight. Putting our children first! Next, many areas have started what are commonly called Educational Enrichment Foundations, or EEF’s. These are non-profit volunteer run organizations that raise money for the important educational opportunities that are usually the first to get cut. Things like field trips, science and technology equipment, and the fine arts are often eliminated when budgets get tight. EEF’s can hold fund raisers to defray the costs of these kinds of valuable learning experiences for our children. A simple application process filled out by our teachers allows the money to go where it can be best spent in a timely fashion.

Finally, here are two recent examples of why this is the most important issue in our community right now. My wife and I were at a holiday party this last weekend hosted by a couple with a 4 year-old. All of their guests, with the exception of my wife and I, were well educated professionals with young children ages six months to seven years. All of them moved to Pagosa Springs to raise their families because of the beautiful area and wholesome small town atmosphere. Likewise, all of them will almost surely leave if they do not feel their children are going to get a quality education. The next example is of good friends of ours with a son in the local junior high. These are folks that have lived in Pagosa twenty years, built a successful business and are raising their son here. They are seriously considering moving to another town to ensure that their son gets a quality education, one that offers a wide variety of learning experiences and prepares him for the future.

As a community we cannot afford to allow ourselves to become a “second home retirement village.” We need to do all we can to keep our young families here. That is the only way that Pagosa Springs can grow and prosper in the future.

Most sincerely,

Donovan Porterfield


Dear Editor:

On behalf of all the Pagosa Springs artists, I want to thank Donna Merchant-Crooks for her letter, “Buy Original Art” (Dec. 17, 2009). As an emerging artists’ community, Pagosa Springs has an ever-increasing number of artists who live here and display their art in one of the many galleries in town. The talent represented in Pagosa Springs is astounding, and I invite everyone to become familiar with our work by visiting the galleries and local shops that sell artists’ work and by joining the Pagosa Springs Arts Council (PSAC), which supports and promotes the area’s many artists.

Indeed, buying original art can be more expensive than purchasing mass produced items. The price of original art reflects the artist’s cost for materials, which can be from 1/3 to 1/2 of the price of the item. In addition, the artist includes in the price the cost of the artist’s vision and talent. The bulk of the purchase price, though, constitutes the time it takes to produce the artwork.

What is priceless when buying original work is the fact that you are purchasing a one-of-a kind piece of art — something that no one else in the world will own. This is not the case when purchasing mass produced items. How many times have you seen a necklace you purchased being worn by someone else? This will never happen when buying original art.

Handmade gifts (even if you are purchasing it for yourself), especially in a small town like Pagosa Springs, can have the added value of actually knowing the artist. There are ample opportunities for getting to know the area’s artists through the many gallery openings and receptions, art festivals, and PSAC’s annual artists’ tour. Most of the artists also work in the gallery in which their art is displayed and sold. Stop by and visit with us. Learn about our art and the inspiration behind our work. Take one of our workshops (through PSAC and the galleries), and learn our trades. Understand the time it takes to produce our art and the techniques we use. Discover the passion we hold for the arts and the heart and soul that goes into every piece we make.

By supporting the Pagosa Springs Arts Council through your membership and donations and purchasing art from local shops and galleries, you are ensuring the survival of Pagosa Springs’ artist community as well as acquiring a valuable piece of art that appreciates in value over time. It is money well spent.

Carol Schneider