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Letters to Editor 3-18-10


Dear Editor:

On March 25, there will be a Road Show for the Chromo area, and southeastern Archuleta County. In my last letter to the editor I said that I did not hear the first part of the Aspen Springs meeting. I did not worry for I thought that these meetings were being recorded by the planning staff. In Arboles I thought I heard an announcement that the planning staff was recording the meeting. Guess I imagined that statement, for the planning staff has now informed us that these meetings are not being recorded, nor are there any minutes taken. In Aspen Springs I noticed a couple of people taping the meeting. If they could please contact us at so I could listen to their copy and hear the whole meeting. In the meantime we are trying to find out how the planning staff will be summarizing each meeting. We will be recording all of the future meetings.

See you in Chromo!


Debra Brown

People Speak

Dear Editor:

Assumptions, assumptions, and the Sawicki beat goes on. Allow me to offer a different opinion regarding the Tea Party movement and Scott Brown’s election as Massachusetts Senator.

In looking at a Boston Tea Party Web site ( I found that group passed resolutions asking for the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops on foreign soil and opposing the $850 billion bailout package passed by the Republican Congress and later signed by President Bush. These are hardly positions attacking a “liberal agenda.”

I doubt the Tea Party will effect much lasting change. As a grass roots movement its direction will fragment among the many factions existing across our wide, diverse country. Both Republican and non-incumbent Democrat candidates will tap into the Tea Party anger and energy saying they are the ones to bring change to Washington.

The Tea Party movement is a continuum of this nation’s revolutionary, frontier mentality that seeks maximum freedom and control for the individual while caring for those genuinely in need.

Voter activism fueled by outrage against the national government is not new, and certainly will last beyond the Tea Party movement just as it outlasted Ross Perot’s Reform Party in 1996.

The people in Massachusetts elected a Republican Senator, Scott Brown, who ran a strong campaign of ideas and ideals. The odds given for his election were low, but the Democrat Martha Coakley ran a lackluster campaign confident that the tradition of electing Democrats would carry the day for her. The people spoke in Massachusetts just as they did in the 2008 national elections — we vote for people who articulate our concerns and propose reasonable solutions.

Scott Brown ran against the Massachusetts “machine” and the non-partisan national effort to pass health care reform in which too many of the 60 Senators favoring passage were holding out for special interest benefits for their state or constituency. Even liberal Massachusetts voters (who had passed health care reform in their own state) believed that was the wrong approach for health change, and Scott Brown promised to scuttle the effort in Washington.

The Democratic machine remains alive and well in Massachusetts just as the Republican machine is alive and well in Archuleta County. I believe that despite the political machinery, good men and women with positive ideas for addressing specific problems will — in general —prevail in our elections. Where the problems are murky or the solutions uncertain, then we’ll revert to electing folks anointed by the dominant political party. It’s just easier that way, and political solutions are fraught with fear and uncertainty.

I’m happy that Jim’s heart is lighter given the Tea Party successes and Scott Brown’s election. These are examples of our freedoms in action — something that Jim and others fought to preserve throughout the course of our nation.

Jay Davison


Dear Editor:

My name is David Gregory and I would like to apologize to Jenna, Dalton, the Town of Pagosa Springs, the high school wrestling team, coaches, friends and family. I did everything wrong that a man can do. I’m sorry for letting everyone down. Not living up to what our daddies taught us men were. I’ll try my hardest to fix the problem. Me.

I would also like to say thank you to Jenna; you’re the only one who could have opened my eyes. Thank you, Hammy family, Close family, all the wrestlers, coaches and friends that have helped prop up our family in our time of pain. A pain that was caused 100 percent by me alone. I love my wife and son.

David Gregory


Dear Editor:

A “remarkable” community is characterized by “remarkable” relationships.

It’s very popular to blame local elected officials when things fall apart. Or the media. Or a special district board. Or blame the disinterested public.

The “blame game” is very popular, but doesn’t get us what we really want.

I used to live in San Francisco, with 800,000 people. There are times each year when the big city has a far greater sense of “community” than I ever feel here in Pagosa Springs.

While I have not been above finger pointing at others to say “they” are the problem, a more careful analysis shows that it is my pointing that is the source of the separation and division. My pointing at “them,” by definition, claims that there is an “us.” My pointing finger is the source of a community conversation called “us versus them.”

This year, there are more wars and weapons across the planet than at any other time in history. Our way of relating to each other in town, and on the planet, just isn’t working.

It is not true that this is just “the way that it is.” More deeply honest would be that this is just “the way that I choose” to be.

Our political silos are merely symptomatic of the walls each of us place around our individual hearts. Our inability to communicate as a community is rooted in our inability to love and encourage the diversity of others. We can’t get what we want, but at least we know who is to blame.

Our downtown core, the economic engine that truly is the gold beneath our feet can not possibly be fired up as long as we all continue to engage in the community war of us versus them. Our economic abundance or the continued slide deep into poverty depends wholly on the ability of our entire community to rally around a vibrant downtown core.

A must-see destination downtown is not going to be built unless everyone comes together throughout the larger community to build it. Just take a look around downtown today.

Somebody has got to stop pointing the finger and continuing the divisive talk of us versus them. Somebody has got to stop creating war.

Somebody has got to figure out a way to begin the healing of our small town, unified community.

“If it is meant to be, then it is up to me.”

If we continue to think and speak the same, then we will get precisely the same results over the next four years that we got the past four.

If you meet resistance with resistance then you end up with everybody stuck. But not the result that you really want.

Next time that somebody says to you, “I’m right and you are wrong,” then try saying authentically, “You are right, you are right.” Not sarcastically, but mean it. Then watch how all of a sudden their legs almost go out from underneath them and the energy of resistance dissipates.

Teddy Herzog


Dear Editor:

After reading your article about Mark Weiler resigning his position on the town board and the concern that few are stepping up to the plate to run for office, I have a suggestion. Allan and I own commercial property within the town but reside in Pagosa Lakes. It has always been a great source of frustration that we have no voice whatsoever in decisions made about our property, yet commercial property owners are paying the lion’s share of the property taxes to the town — taxation without representation. I would like to suggest that all property owners within the town limits be allowed to vote, as well as hold office on the town board. I feel certain that this would end the problem of lack of interest in running for office, and would also create a better balance when voting on the issues.

Lois Higgins

Real pitfalls

Dear Editor:

I appreciate that a many locals support the notion of developing Alberta Park because they see it as an economic boom, for an economically starved area. But, booms have too often become busts. Big dreams and blind optimism, which ignores real pitfalls, often leads to wrecks.

Isn’t a little healthy skepticism warranted before we support Mr. McCombs irrevocably tearing up that biologically productive source waters to the Rio Grande that is Alberta Park?

Announcing a new Web site dedicated to the notion that all parties, especially Colorado Congressman Salazar, need to become better informed about the health risks to people overnighting at that elevation. Also to the health risks to wildlife and the source waters of the Rio Grand. Also, to the very questionable business feasibility considering the leaner 2010s we are entering.

“No - Village at Wolf Creek.blogspot” is a collection of essays and important information links (


Peter Miesler



Dear Editor:

OK, Mr. Witkowski, you got me! I did exactly what I accused you of — making an assertion without citing the source, in this case that Glenn Beck accepts global warming. This came from an interview with Mr. Beck in Time Magazine a few months ago. However, I can’t find that issue anymore. I will do some Web research on the Time Web site and include the specific reference in a future letter. In the meantime, consider the assertion retracted. I’ll try to do better in the future.

That said, I’d like to examine Mr. Witkowski’s “sources” again. Specifically, I had questioned two stories that he included in recent letters, one relating to the lack of private sector experience among President Obama’s Cabinet and the other about a supposed Executive Order issued by the President giving Brazil taxpayer funds for offshore oil exploration. Both of these stories are inaccurate. In response, his recent letter indicated that his sources are “television news, issue-oriented publications, and various national Internet news services.” This vague list is not really very helpful in determining where specific stories come from to establish the genuine facts. This is like saying, “I read it somewhere and I believe it, so, trust me, it must be true.” I am sure that if anyone selectively reads the right publications, surfs the right Web sites, and watches the right TV broadcasts, eventually, any opinion can be “confirmed.” Facts, of course, are another matter.

The endless repetition of partisan exaggerations or outright falsehoods without any critical examination is poisoning the Nation’s political dialogue. Repeat a lie often enough and it takes on a thin veneer of legitimacy. This is certainly not the exclusive territory of the right wing. However, I do believe that the right wing has been much more vociferous and spiteful, perhaps because of the celebrity and unrestrained bias of Beck, O’Reilly, Limbaugh, Hannity, Coulter, et al. The Tea Partiers are particularly guilty of this. I did not call Tea Partiers “stupid,” as Mr. Witkowski asserts. However, as I said in my last letter, I do believe that they have embraced and loudly proclaim simplistic slogans to promote their partisan views, rather than engage in any intellectual exchange of ideas. This is not how Democracy should be conducted!

John W. Porco


Dear Editor:

Vision. A picture in our minds of what we would like the future to be. With such an image, we can plan how to reach the desired future. An Olympic athlete wins the gold medal by first envisioning him- or herself on that winner’s podium, listening to the National Anthem, and then putting a rigorous training program into practice. Upon what podium does this community want to stand?

Our community (Archuleta County and the Town of Pagosa Springs) has yet to establish a vision for itself. In spite of years of planning, meeting, gathering, talking, creating, discussing and developing community plans, master plans, guidelines for development and land use codes, we still have no idea what we want to be, or where we want to be in the next three, five, or ten years. The only vision our community seems to have embraced is to “Keep Pagosa, Pagosa.” Well unfortunately, we have. But keep in mind, we fail only when we stop trying.

About a year ago, a group of concerned and passionate citizens began meeting to create a vision for our community. Led by Patsy Lindblad, the Vision4Archuleta Community Work Group includes: Rick Bellis, Thaddeus Cano, Paula Craig, Autumn Daily, Larry Fisher, Leanne Goebel, Eric Hagman, Karin Kohake, Morgan Murri, Wen Saunders, Cindy Schultz and Bill Weiland.

The Vision Team to date has produced a report based on an evaluation of nine years of research, reports, strategies, and plans that we paid consultants hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars to undertake. The Team has created a presentation revealing their findings, including a set of core “vision elements” that can serve as a foundation for any community’s vision. They also created a one-page planning tool that can be used immediately for priority decision-making. Now they are evaluating the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats which exist for our community.

The results of that effort will set the stage for the team’s next step — structured creative brainstorming — to take Archuleta toward a set of vision scenarios. Their plan calls for a subsequent fine-tuning by our citizenry. The work group wants to produce a solid vision that guides our future direction — a direction that results in a unique community, not just “Any Town USA.” A direction that defines and upholds what our community is all about — vibrant beauty, a connection with nature, healing, water, outdoor recreation and adventure, the arts, and more. A vision that everyone can use in developing their own plans, be they government entities, economic-development or tourism-related groups, public/private associations, businesses, nonprofits, and more. When we have that vision directing us, all our energies will become aligned, working toward the same goals — just like an Olympic team.

The Board of County Commissioners has expressed its support for this team’s efforts on numerous occasions and is anxiously awaiting the output of their next endeavor. But the team is looking for a few additional volunteers to continue the process — people with an open mind, not just complaints, with a willingness and ability to devote the time and energy it takes for a grass-roots organization to get things done. Those who can make such a commitment — to go for the gold — are encouraged to contact Ms. Lindblad at 799-4342.

Members of the Vision4Archuleta Community Work Group

Big Box

Dear Editor:

In his recent article, “Town Election Features Mayoral Race, Referendum,” Jim McQuiggin noted that those who favor repealing the town’s big-box regulations believe such action is necessary to promote economic growth in Pagosa Springs. Indulge me a few moments though, and I’ll explain why repealing the big-box regulations is the absolute last thing this town’s suffering economy needs.

Before the Town Council adopted the big-box regulations in 2006, it hired experts to study the scenario of unregulated development in Pagosa Springs. Those experts determined that a 100,000 sq. ft. merchandise/grocery superstore, left unchecked, would: 1) Poach 40 percent of sales away from smaller retail stores; 2) Lower the average wage among retail employees by more than $1 per hour; and 3) Reduce tourism. Other experts who studied the matter on a national scale also determined that the new jobs the big-box created would be almost entirely offset by the loss of jobs resulting from the closure of competing businesses. Sobering statistics, none of which sound as if they’re too good for promoting economic growth.

And now, in the name of growth, people want to repeal the big-box regulations which were subsequently adopted to prevent the economy-shrinking consequences noted above. It’s as if they’ve either forgotten the experts’ dire predictions, or are simply willing to accept the long-term financial hangover a monopoly would cause our town in return for the short-term euphoria associated with a new-store opening.

We definitely need economic expansion in Pagosa Springs. But repealing the big-box regulations is no way to go about achieving it. They are the only guard we have standing at the gate protecting our fragile economy from a reduction in competition, a reduction in wages, and a reduction in tourism. Yes, the big-box regulations will cause some incompatible business developments to be rejected. But who would really want them here anyway? By definition, they’re incompatible! What we need are new businesses that fit our Town and our lives, making both better, not worse. And the big-box regulations are the only tool we have to accomplish that goal. They are our best path to smart growth in the future. And on April 6, I pray voters will decide to keep them.


Matthew H. Roane


Dear Editor:

Robert Dungan’s information about global warming and glacial melting (SUN 3/11/10) is confusing in light of scientific facts for two reasons. The ICECA Project verifies, despite increases in CO2 emissions, global cooling, not warming, is occurring. Too, Dr. Murari Lal, the scientist behind the claim of glacial melting, admits to subterfuge in the U.N. report (IPCC) and the lack of support of “peer-review scientific research,” to “encourage politicians to take some concrete action” (The Great Cooldown, Newsmax 3-10).

Other scientific facts reported in this major article are:

1. Professor Donald Esterbrook of Western Washington University says that scientists suggest a greater chance of global cooling than warming “for the next two or three decades,” with two cycles of warming and cooling having occurred in the last century. Cycles are normal.

2. The now famous emails exchanged between American and British Scientists (at the prestigious University of East Anglia in Norwich) “showed a conspiracy among academics to overstate the case for human-caused global warming … hiding scientific data.”

3. Senator James Inhofe, citing “the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people,” reports “more than 700 ‘skeptical scientists’ have taken up the cause in an effort to wrest their profession back from warming ideologues.”

4. Richard S. Lindzen, meteorology professor at MIT in Cambridge, states: a) “A doubling of CO2 will produce a change of only about 1 degree Celsius at maximum;” b) “There have been periods much warmer than the present with little evidence of significantly higher carbon dioxide;” c) “Arctic ice has been measured by satellite for only 30 years … ice pack peaking in 1979 … and notoriously variable;” d) “Temperatures in Greenland haven’t varied more than normal;” e) “Antarctic ice shelf is breaking up and reconstructing itself all the time … the 2009 extent … an increase compared with the media extent.”

5. Temperature spikes are due to peaks in sunspot activity and the El Nino effect. “The sun may be entering a new period of minimal sunspot activity which will cool the earth significantly” (Esterbrook). Another factor explaining cooling is the Pacific decadal oscillation.

6. Esterbrook ( continues to say that current cooling temperatures will delay anticipated warming for decades and humans can’t pump enough CO2 into the atmosphere to bring about all the speculated cataclysmic effects.

7. The IPCC projection over 10 years for sea level rise is only 1.26 inches, not the 200 feet that alarmists warn about … not really distinguishable from the change that has been occurring since the end of the last ice age” (Lindzen).

8. Professor Mojib Latif, a world-leading climate modeler, predicts, “this past winter could be just the beginning of a decades-long freeze and the beginning of a mini ice age” due to “changes in ocean currents known as the North Atlantic oscillation.”

Sixty seven percent of the American public no longer believes in global warming because they have learned, as the article says, that “the news media continues to favor ideological purity over intellectual honesty.”

Eugene Witkowski