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Letters to Editor

Much to fear

Dear Editor:

Normally, I agree wholeheartedly with your editorials, but recently you wrote one about “fear” which I’m afraid I have to take issue with.

I think you quoted Franklin Roosevelt’s famous comment that “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.”

Well, we have much to fear today. Recently I wrote our representative Salazar asking him to vote against the monstrous health care bill in congress. His reply, and I quote, was that the health care bill was “one of the biggest deficit reduction bills in the history of congress.”

I was appalled; does he really believe that I am stupid enough to believe a preposterous claim like that? His response shows how out of touch he and the rest of congress is with reality. I have served our great country in three wars, participated in twelve months of front line combat in one of them, but never in my 82 years have I been so discouraged and fearful for the future of our country as I am today. Congress is dysfunctional.

My fear is that our grandchildren are going to inherit the bankrupt shell of a once great nation.

Larry Bartlett

Decline

Dear Editor:

The Pagosa SUN’s editor recently appealed for reasoned moderation, thought and community effort with civility in all things. The response to the editorial came from those who seemingly relish shouting, hate mongering, demeaning name calling and blatant unverified rumors. Well, nothing positive to say regarding the response.

The most basic test of democracy is not what people do when they win; it is what they do when they lose — respecting the temporary outcome of a democratic process is a definition of personal and political maturity.

The losing side in the Health Care Act has questioned the legitimacy of a democratic outcome by abusing, demeaning and attempting to silence their opponents — it is a sign of democratic decline. From the Roman republic to Weimar Germany to the Russian revolution, these attitudes have been a prelude to thuggery. Thugs come with clubs, bullhorns and death ... not reduced taxes. Suffice it to say, that state nullification of federal law is the first step to civil war!

It is not a coincidence that the party in power is invariably the defender of decorum. The current syllogism goes: Those who oppose health care reform seem prone to extremism; therefore anyone who opposes health care reform is promoting extremism. To have free speech, one must accept civil dissenting views without labeling them as promoting anti-Americanism. What this opposition has forgotten is Civics 101.

Following members of Congress after their most recent return home, town meeting after town meeting, opposition to health care is routinely expressed as “I’m afraid my Medicare benefits might be reduced or my costs might go up.” I didn’t hear a single preface/thought about sharing to improve the lot of our fellow citizens, just a basic short-term attitude of “s___w them, I got something and to heck with those that don’t” ... or any recognition of the looming disaster posed by non-addressed health care costs.

Have the children of the “Greatest Generation” forgotten that no state/community can exist and function without common sacrifice and contribution for mutual success? Shouldn’t we return to valuing community, ability and independence rather than ideology?

Dave Blake

Wisdom

Dear Editor:

Jim Sawicki arises again, this time offering only (his) anger and prejudice. He opines that a conservative cavalry will arrive to save the day. I have news for you, Jim. The cavalry has already arrived, and it is us.

The 2010 campaign season is under way in Pagosa Country, and we have an opportunity to continue the positive momentum started with the 2008 election. All we really have to do is practice the kind of responsibility and good citizenship we teach our children — listen with attention, discuss with respect, and decide using our good sense.

We may be battered by our economic stresses, but we are not beaten. We may be tired from our travails, but we are not weak. We may make a mistake when evaluating candidates, but we are not stupid as Jim would have us believe.

Interested in better road maintenance? Then let’s listen to candidate positions and ask for more detail than platitudes like, “I’m for better roads.” For those candidates having a road plan, we can examine their experience with road maintenance to evaluate whether they can transform their promises into effective action.

Interested in effective financial controls or cooperation with other governmental agencies? Let’s apply the same process of looking at candidate platforms for specifics backed up by experience in establishing budgets, understanding financial reports, and practicing fiscal responsibility, particularly in the public sector.

Concerned about economic improvement? No need to await the cavalry. We can listen for specific ideas proposed by the candidates and evaluate their relative experience with building businesses, creating jobs, and promoting conditions that encourage new businesses to locate here and hire our people.

Tired of infighting among our various county agencies? We can look at candidate experience and past successes in reaching across jurisdictional boundaries to seek both compromise and cooperation for the common good.

Exercising such citizenship will require effort to listen, discuss and evaluate. Too much work? Then we can always fall back on voting for candidates from our political party trusting that party delegates represented our interests when they selected their slate of candidates.

Don’t trust your political party leaders to select qualified candidates? Then stay home election day and accept whatever government your fellow citizens select. Not the best solution, but you’ll be in good company.

Jim will rant and curse no matter the outcome; so, ignore his unsubstantiated defamations and prejudiced judgments. If he had the courage of his convictions, he would place himself and his ideas on the political stage rather than being content to shout epithets and gossip from the wings.

I look forward to the coming political season, and have a strong belief in the collective wisdom of our citizens to understand the issues, reach reasonable conclusions and vote in the best interests of our community.

Jay Davison

Basketball

Dear Editor:

Congratulations Lady Pirates and Coach Wes Lewis.

I have followed the Lady Pirate season with interest, in the SUN. It takes a lot of team work to reach this end. Wes Lewis deserves a big hand for his efforts in leading the team to such success,

Lots of family support behind the coach and the team helped make a great basketball season. We are proud of all of you !

Dolly Dillinger

Unique

Dear Editor:

First of all, one of my favorite sayings is “grey hair has its privileges.”

I absolutely hate egos, politics gone astray and jealousies. At this time, these items are showing up internationally, nationally, at the state level, in our county and our wonderful little town (more like a village).

Why do we have to become “big” or “industrious?” Why can’t we make what we have successful? After all, our unique town has charm and some of us are here because that is what we found when we were looking and we settled here. I wonder what we, and perhaps others, would have decided if we found a “big box” here.

Cindy Gustafson

Drift

Dear Editor:

In the past, we have focused on what we “don’t want.”

Didn’t want the rich guy driving up real estate prices. Didn’t want old buildings getting torn down.

Didn’t want three story houses. Didn’t want a “big box” super store. Didn’t want the extra “big box” regulations.

Don’t want more taxes. Don’t want to be broke.

Got it. Now, what is it that we do want?

Nobody today has any better chance to “Keep Pagosa, Pagosa” than the native tribes did 150 years ago. Change happens. Just take a look in the mirror.

A time-lapsed satellite video of our town over the past 30 years would be instructive. I suspect we’d see a distinct shift of the commercial heart slowly growing and spreading westward up to and past the uptown City Market.

The changes in land use and “the drift” of commerce out of downtown has occurred by “default,” unconsciously. It appears as if there is no active plan to create a remarkable downtown. But nobody intended to just let downtown implode.

In life you either end up with the results that you want or the reasons why not. (Hat tip to the new Springs hotel.)

The unconscious “drift” of our town is that of typical highway sprawl. It’s typical because it is the path of least resistance. When you don’t have a solid land use plan in place and an aggressive commitment to a must-see downtown, then what you get — all over America — is “the drift” towards sprawl along the highway.

Left unchecked, Pagosa Springs will turn out just like Farmington or Cortez. But not in a good way. There is no heart and soul to either Farmington or Cortez. Those two towns just allowed their future to “drift” along without leadership towards an inspired vision. There is no “there” there. There is no “remarkable” downtown there.

“The drift” in Pagosa Springs will lead us to the same land use “plan” as Farmington and Cortez. That is where we are headed. Ancient proverb — “If we don’t change our direction, we will end up where we are headed.”

We can drive our change or just wait to see where we end up. Where are we headed to?

Conscious or not, our seven miles of commercial sprawl is the direct result of our actions. We built it just like it is.

“The drift” can only be altered intentionally and aggressively.

Personally, I’m optimistic about the future of Pagosa Springs. We are still mostly a “blank canvas” that has not been ruined, yet.

I am optimistic about our current Town Council. I see a body of citizens committed to an economically vibrant future. And the only way that we can get there is to focus on a “must see” destination downtown with cutting edge reasons for young entrepreneurial families to move here.

I look forward to our “future worth living for” and to our aggressive shift away from “the drift” of heartless sprawl. All in favor, please stand up.

Teddy Herzog

It is America

Dear Editor:

Wow. Where does all this hatred toward the Obama administration come from? I’m pretty sure Barack Obama had nothing to do with the good old USA tea-tering on the edge of our golden pedestal. We’ve been heading in the wrong direction for a long time — maybe since the beginning. Consider the moral and ethical atrocities committed to arrive at our current state, and if you need help, think about the Native Americans, slavery, the environment, etc.. Maybe we finally have somebody in office that understands this and is willing to take lessons learned and apply them to progressive decisions not based on imperialism and greed.

Part of the genius of what our founding fathers did was allow our constitution and country to evolve and that is exactly what we need to continue doing. We, the people, are given the right to vote (though half of us bother to) and choose who works for us in the government, and in turn we must all work together to attain our common goals.

Absolute opposition to everything Obama does is ridiculous. Of course Obama has at times changed his mind on issues, but haven’t we all done so as new information comes to light and circumstances change? Of course, he will make mistakes, however, relieving greedy corporate America of some of its power, enforcing environmental laws, health care reform and education reform are all steps in the right direction.

In a completely free market with little government oversight, would things eventually “work themselves out?” Maybe — after suffering through a few more dark ages. Let’s work together and make sure our government and our tax dollars work for all of us. We’ve already got the best health care providers in the world, now let’s give the people of America the best health care system in the world. What we have going on now is embarrassing. Reform that was just passed is far from perfect, but it allows us to move in a positive direction and given a chance, could be a model for the rest of the world. Who thinks now that the civil rights laws passed in ’60s were a bad idea? At the time, close to half the country opposed reform and when it did pass, it was a watered-down version that required years to grant equal rights to minority Americans.

Debt, you say? Debt will be the least of our concerns if we allow health care costs to continue spiraling out of control and our education system continues to fall apart because we cannot agree on how to make our collective taxes help everybody — yes, that includes you. Let’s all invest in our future, and productivity will erase our debt.

If you don’t like how things are being done in Washington, go out onto a street corner, in the poorest part of town, and try to rally the people — Barack Obama did it in Chicago before anybody knew who he was — you can do it as well. It is America, after all.

Jon Reed

Great job

Dear Editor:

I want to give the Archuleta County Road and Bridge crew my strong compliments and appreciation for the current excellent condition of the county roads that I drive.

The past extreme winter has been one for the records. I have only experienced five or six winters of this magnitude, and have never seen the gravel roads come through the spring breakup in such good condition. In the past, I have taken a tractor with terrace blade as far as Bennett Hill to drain water off the road into the barrow ditches, and usually have used my pickup to create drain ditches along the road margins to help the center dry up.

Again, great job with a tough winter’s roadwork.

John J. Taylor