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Letters to Editor

Road and Bridge

Dear Editor:

First off, I would like to thank The SUN for printing a positive article about the Archuleta County Road and Bridge and the snow removal process.

As the wife of a Road and Bridge employee, I’d like to point out a couple of things to all the naysayers out there. Do you realize that these guys have to brave the bad weather and roads just to get to the county shop to get the maintainers so your drive is safer in the morning? Some of these guys live quite a distance from work. Do you worry about their safety or just the berm in the driveway? Not only are these guys going in at two in the morning and working 15 hours or more, but they also have to go home and shovel their driveways, too. Please understand that they do not have as many employees as in past years, but still the same amount of roads to plow.

The next time you decide to flip the bird, cuss or throw something at these guys, remember they are only doing their jobs. You wouldn’t cuss or throw your keys at a police officer who pulls you over for speeding, would you? No, because they are only doing their job. Remember, you live in Colorado where we are fortunate to experience all four seasons, including winter and all it has to bring. If snow removal causes you to forget your manners and have a tantrum, then maybe the glorious Rocky Mountains are not for you. Maybe you are more suited for a tropical climate.

Thanks,

Trish Archuleta

‘Road Show’

Dear Editor:

Just a follow up to the Archuleta County Planning Department’s “Road Show” that was held Jan. 28 in Arboles. As I have promised, I plan on attending every “show” in each area to observe what the residents want for their area. A friend and myself made the white-knuckled drive on unplowed Colo. 151 through snow and ice to attend the first meeting. I was proud of the public attendance on such a horrible night. Most planning commissioners attended, the county attorney and Clifford Lucero, county commissioner (John Ranson was out of town); not sure why Mr. Moomaw was not in attendance. The meeting was presented by head planner Cindy Schultz.

Ms. Schultz reminded everyone that they were only dealing with planning matters, not roads or other county department issues. This was a very interesting meeting that I felt the local residents were very clear to the planning staff of what they want in Arboles and what they don’t want. I am reserving my opinion about what I observed for the time being.

One thing is still clear to me or maybe not so clear that we all are missing, if you live in an older subdivision and your covenants and restrictions have not been kept in legal compliance by homeowners voting and meeting at certain times, then it is my understanding that the county overrides your land use with their “existing” land use codes that were adopted in 05-06. For instance, I live in the Lower Blanco Subdivision Cabin Sites Unit I; our covenants and restrictions that I believe we have lived under for over 25 years are nonexistent and the new county regulations will override my land use. Unless are we grandfathered in I am very confused about what we can do with our land. I guess I will ask when they come to our area.

The next meeting is Feb. 25 in Aspen Springs, at their metro district building, 216 Metro Place, at 6 p.m. Aspen Springs is another subdivision that has no covenants or restrictions, and no property owners association (they have a metro road district). See you there … if this is your area, please attend!

As promised, we have established an e-mail contact, concernedcitizensarco@hotmail.com. We cannot promise immediate responses, but if you have any questions or would like to be put on an e-mail update list, just contact the above address and we will get back to you.

Sincerely,

Debra Brown

Education

Dear Editor:

At last night’s school board meeting I was just thinking about how PERA made their adjustments — all participants shared in the solution. Everybody had to do their part and make their sacrifices — for the common good. So to the community, staff, administration, parents and even kids should all be part of the process and share in the burden of solving this budget crisis.

I think we need much better exposure in the paper — when times are good and when times are bad. I think the SUN should have a dedicated page for many educational topics and not just athletic news. Someone may have said this last night, but Pagosa does need to reclaim what I think it’s lost in the last few years ... its commitment to education and the children of this community. The town and county fathers need to let people know that we do value education if they ever hope to attract families to Pagosa again. A newspaper page might start to pave the way for that.

That news story on the last week’s front page about the leaks was way overdue. I (sic) bet the community at large had no idea, and they should have. There were many losses, accidents and grave inconveniences that were suffered for years due to the condition of the roof. Many educational facts need to be understood by our community

Did you know Colorado ranks:

• 40th in per pupil funding adjusted for cost-of-living (Ed Week/Quality Counts 2009)

• 38th in student-teacher ratios. (Education Week/Quality Counts 2008)

• 40th in technology in our schools. (Education Week/Technology Counts 2008)

• 42nd in the gap between school-lunch-eligible and non-eligible children (“achievement gap”) on 4th grade NAEP tests. (Education Week/Quality Counts 2008)

• 43rd in teacher salaries as a percent of pay in comparable professions. (Education Week, Quality Counts 2008)

• 46th in achievement gap (see above) on 8th grade NAEP tests. (Education Week/Quality Counts 2008)

• 48th in funding for higher education per full-time student. (Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation, 2008)

• 49th in state and local support for higher ed per capita. (National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, 2007)

It is incredible to think that Super Bowl, Hollywood and corporate bonuses talk those sums of money and education has to suffer still more budget cuts.

But it’s like the individuals at the meeting last night said ... the fact that the state is cutting our budget further does not mean we cannot look elsewhere. And for those who don’t think they can afford one more tax hike, book fee or a pay-to-play program to help support the schools that our state is not supporting — think again. You cannot afford not to. The children are your future. How better to spend your money?

With that said, all the money in the world will not cover for the lack of support and encouragement to kids by parents and their community. Let us all get involved in any way we can.

Muriel Buckley

Gay threat?

Dear Editor:

California’s Proposition 8 is under court challenge. Defense Secretary Gates has “Don’t ask-don’t tell” under termination review. State legislatures and courts are considering same-gender marriage.

These events generate fears and passions about a “homosexual agenda,” but I fail to see any basis for the predicted dangers.

Gays and lesbians have long served honorably in our military. They teach our children in our schools, worship beside us in our churches, provide leadership in our businesses, and render professional services as physicians, attorneys and accountants.

Is extending civil rights to homosexual people the same as promoting or embracing their lifestyle? No more than extending civil rights to blacks, women, immigrants or Republicans means adopting their particular orientation, life style, or political views.

Granting civil rights still allows straight individuals to discriminate in their personal dealings. It still allows private groups to refuse membership and services as long as they also refuse accepting taxpayer money.

What about the threat to good order and discipline in the military? Do you want a gay man in your foxhole? My experience is soldiers are more concerned about whether that man shoots straight while standing fast in the face of the enemy.

We heard similar military discipline fears about blacks and women until their sacrifices brought them home in body bags. Individuals from both groups proved themselves worthy on the field of battle, and we should judge those individuals on their behavior rather than through a race or gender bias.

Gays and lesbians should have similar consideration. When homosexual friends visit in my home I feel no more compulsion to adopt their sexual orientation than to adopt their religious or political orientations. Homosexuality is neither contagious nor an affliction needing cure.

What about the threat to traditional marriage between a man and a woman? Again, I don’t see any evidence supporting this fear. Instead, I see the major threat to marriage coming from heterosexual spouses engaging in destructive behavior. Rather than spend energy sustaining homophobic biases, how about spending that energy upholding marital vows, behaving with fidelity, supporting spouses emotionally, and overcoming addictions?

What about children? Welfare studies and state supreme courts agree that children raised by homosexual parents are just as well adjusted or no more likely to be homosexual than those raised by straight parents.

So, I’ll stand in the church to witness the marriage of my gay or lesbian friends. If the church refuses, I’ll accompany them to the courthouse. If the judge refuses, I’ll help them lobby the legislature to overturn civil discrimination. If the legislature won’t listen, then I’ll help fund a legal challenge in the state’s courts.

That’s what I would do for any group oppressed merely for who they are, what they look like or where they came from. It’s behavior that should define one’s character, legal protections and civil rights — not one’s orientation toward life or love.

Jay Davison

Health care

Dear Editor:

Interesting that Mr. Blake wrote about Singapore, one of the “Asian Tigers,” (The Republic of South Korea, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the city states of Hong Kong and Singapore). It is well known that China and India are making phenomenal economic progress, but how about Thailand? In this month’s Scientific American, there is a 20-page advertising section devoted to Thailand. The article states that Thailand’s ultimate goal is to become a knowledge-based society. Quoting from the article, “One of the fastest-rising sections in recent years is medical tourism, with foreigners visiting Thailand to take advantage of Thailand’s world class and extremely affordable health care system. In 2008 some 1.4 million foreigners sought treatment in Thailand.”

The American health care system is terminal with no hope of recovery, as proven by the most recent debacle. Americans spend about 2.5 trillion dollars per year, roughly $20,000 per person on health care. Assuming a conservative 10-percent inflation rate for health care, the cost per person will double in seven years to $40,000 and quadruple to $80,000 in about 15 years. (For those of you who have forgotten how to calculate compound interest, just divide the interest rate into 72 to obtain a good estimate of the doubling rate. Even better, if you own a side rule, just multiply 20,000 by 1.1 seven times.) One reason for choosing a 10-percent inflation rate is that it is in line with the historical record. Another reason is the population is aging. The Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age and the lifespan of Americans has increased to almost 80 years. Additionally, ever more expensive treatments and drugs are being introduced on a daily basis.

I am bemused by all this talk about balancing the budget. There are three major components to the federal budget — military spending, Social Security and Medicare. The rest is just pocket change. More precisely, 447 billion out of the 3.5 trillion dollar federal budget. To put these huge numbers in perspective, it is well to note that 3.3 trillion dollars (the equivalent to the 2010 federal budget) are traded every day in the foreign exchange markets.

Unless the soaring health care costs are brought under control, any hope of balancing the budget is a pipe dream. Can’t America do better than Thailand?

Bob Dungan

Arboles

Fruitful

Dear Editor:

Having gustatorily experienced a four-day school week, I recall the buoyancy of students, faculty and administrators. The day began at eight and was over at four, with a 15-minute break after fourth period to grapple homework or the junior class concession stand in the all-purpose room. Grammar school children had a midmorning break hosted by chirpy cafeteria cooks.

Fridays meant the occasional schmooze with a colleague over a cafe au lait and croissant, tutelage for unaccelerated students — a chance to turn an extra buck —a head start on grading papers, bulletin boards and lesson plans, completion of domestic duties, volunteer time at senior and preschool centers and trips to medical offices which were closed weekends. Everyone made big plans for the extended weekend, guaranteeing jaunty steps back to school the following Monday — no joke.

Of course, the most fruitful facet of the Monday-through-Thursday school week was the academic climate, which is every teacher’s dream.

Arlene Marcus

Wild-eyed

Dear Editor:

Today, Big Government isn’t just back — it’s back with a vengeance. It’s not even enough to call it Big Government anymore; call it Berserk Government instead. Obama, Pelosi, and Harry Reid are the wild-eyed maniacs driving this runaway train through one constitutional barrier after another and straight off a fiscal cliff.

Let’s not kid ourselves; the Obamacrats are working overtime to destroy our financial independence. Ultimately, they want to make us all permanently dependent on Big Government while they are placing the country on a collision course with financial catastrophe.

The Obumbler’s spending spree in effect is stealing from our children’s future and bequeathing to them a far less prosperous life. If we don’t begin to address our fiscal challenges soon, it’s only a matter of time before the consequences begin to show up; most likely starting with higher interest rates. As things get worse, our children will slowly see their living standards decline.

Obamunism cannot manufacture wealth. It only sucks the lifeblood from productive people. Want a glimpse of what a country is like when it’s citizens depend on the government for everything? Take a good hard look at Haiti.

It’s time we go back to our original Constitution with it’s decentralized government via “states rights.” We need to get rid of all incumbents in Washington D.C. and start over, making sure we don’t allow any Progressive’s back in office. Its time to fire those lazy do nothing bloated pigs!

The Obonehead Administration has displayed an incredible lack of economic knowledge and history by repealing the mistakes of the New Deal. They have even attempted to circumvent federal laws establishing TARP by attempting to direct TARP funds to other projects rather than paying down debt as required by TARP. Debt is the greatest enemy this country has and increasing it or refusing to pay it down is a threat to our national security.

Let me pose a question: If you owed someone several billion (conservatively) dollars, and they opposed a course of action that you desired to take, can you oppose them? Not on yer life. They control your financial destiny, which in our case is on the road to ruin. As a kid I can remember my Dad saying, “Come the revolution,” well, I think it may be here … let it begin.

Simple solution: Bury Bob Dungan’s troglodyte “slide rule” back in his Arboles cave and quickly eliminate every Federal Agency that is not listed in the Enumerated Powers Section of the Constitution and/or violates the Bill of Rights. That should be at least 90 percent of Washington … and smile!

However: The sun came out today and deranged liberals are still in control; that must be George Bush’s fault.

Jim Sawicki

Injustice

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in response to the request by Lando Spur Ross to have his name removed from the sex offender list. I find it very offensive that this man has so little remorse about what he did that all he can think about is how his life is affected. He seems to have forgotten that there is a now 13-year-old little girl out there that he raped several times. My daughter still has issues that she deals with as a result of the thoughtless actions of Mr. Ross. She started junior high this year and as a result is expected to change in a locker room during gym class. When she found out about this, she cried for two days and was so terrified about it that she did not even want to go to school. This is a girl that loves school and gets all A’s. She is starting puberty now and with that normally exciting time in a young ladies life is coming the manifestation of the fear and trauma associated with the severe abuse that she went through.

I understand that Mr. Ross would like to erase all of the evidence that he is a Sex Offender and that he has preyed on little girls, and little boys. I would like to erase the constant concern I have about how and when my daughter’s past abuse will manifest next.

There are some other things that I would like to erase also. I would like to erase the fact that I left a thriving business and property unsold to move away from Pagosa Springs because my daughter had nightmares about Mr. Ross coming after her because she “told on him.” I would like to erase the two miscarriages that my wife had because of the stress of the courts and what our family went through. I would like to erase the invasive and painful vaginal exam and STD screening that my then 5-year-old daughter had because she was raped.

The town of Pagosa Springs would suffer an injustice if Mr. Ross was able to wonder the streets and live and work in a community that had no access to the knowledge of what he has done to children there. I have talked to several of the people there and they are outraged at the thought of Mr. Ross not being registered as a sex offender.

Mr. Ross should remain registered for the safety of the community and for the respect of the victims whose lives have been forever changed.

Name of author withheld to protect the identity of the victim.

Editor’s note:

This must be added, for clarity’s sake.

The offenses in question were committed when the perpetrator (now an adult) was a juvenile and, in fact, the issue of removal of the name from the list will be decided by a juvenile court.

State statute determines when an offender who has satisfied court orders may petition the court to discontinue registration; the time limits are set relative to the class of offense.