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Letters to Editor

Facts, please

Dear Editor:

Jim Sawicki offers another opinion piece comprised of generalities and unsubstantiated gossip. I would ask Jim to measure his invectives against the Thomas Paine quote he invoked, “To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”

Jim, I’m calling you out. You chose to become a public person by your public writings; thus, in the spirit of Thomas Paine, himself a radical, I question you just as you did of public figures at the Tea Party meeting.

You opine our president “apologizes for the U.S. on every foreign trip.” Give us an apology you believe was improper, or tell us why you believe the U.S. should not hold itself accountable for its transgressions.

You opine our president “believes this country has been immoral and unjust since its birth.” Give us an example of speech or other behavior demonstrating that belief.

You opine our president is “dismantling our nuclear arsenal.” Tell us how the current arms reduction treaties or U.S. unilateral actions amount to dismantling that component of our national defense.

You opine our president is “a genuine radical.” Support that label with specific speech, writing or behavior. Surely you have reasons beyond guilt by association or one’s holding differing political views.

As for me, the last time I remember clapping “like a seal at Sea World on crack” was at the performance of “High School Musical” a few weeks ago. I did exhibit a lot of exuberance, Jim, but the talent of those young people went over the top and I just couldn’t help myself.

I’m pleased this paper provides an outlet for Jim. The First Amendment protects free speech no matter how foolish or repugnant. It’s not Jim I oppose; rather, it’s his propaganda and calls for action intended to polarize our country’s citizens into feuding camps. We see enough of that in our Congress.

I can’t even say I dispute Jim’s opinions. It may be I don’t understand them simply because his writings lack facts or specifics for one to ponder. Perhaps my opposition to Jim’s writings is best summed up by a quotation attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crises. The great point is to bring them the real facts.”

Jay Davison


Dear Editor:

Archuleta County recently went through a long and arduous zoning process for purposes of determining the future uses of property in the county. Untold hours and expense went into identifying and designating specific uses in specific areas. The Development Services Department, the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners are now considering an application that, if approved, will make a mockery of that process.

La Plata Electric Association has applied for a conditional use permit to place an electrical substation on property designated by the county zoning process as “Agricultural/Ranching” and “Agricultural/Estate.” Approval of the substation will essentially allow for an industrial-type use in what has been designated as an agricultural setting. Ramifications of allowing that project may be more far reaching than one large and unattractive substation at the west entrance to our town. Precedent may be established to allow for further non-conforming uses in all areas of the county. If you have a problem with that, please plan on joining us in making your feelings known at the Archuleta County Planning Commission meeting on May 13 at 6 p.m. in the meeting room at the Archuleta County courthouse.


Chris Dollar

Luke Hoffman

LaVerna Phillips


Dear Editor:

Hypocrisy is defined as “The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; or falseness.” It may occur in many different areas: personal (do as I say, not as I do); religious (all life is sacred, except for those killed in a “just war” or by the death penalty); historical (we brought civilization and religion to the indigenous savages, making them much better off); and political (politicians frequently reverse positions they have taken, while publicly denying they are doing so).

The price we are paying for this rampant hypocrisy is our pervasive cynicism about democracy, our leaders and our government, along with a seeming epidemic of apathy among our citizenry (only half of our population care enough even to vote!). Many young people seem to have lost respect for some of the basic tenets of our culture: honesty, the acceptance of hard work, a sense of responsibility, dependability, and even civility. But when parents, legislators, leaders and role models don’t care, why should they?

This is all pretty discouraging. Is there any hope? Well, there is one new element in all this which might possibly open up some entirely different approaches to government, politics, the work force, lifestyles and, hopefully, even values: the Internet.

No longer does the mainstream media exclusively set the agenda for news and opinion. We’ve got blogs, twitters and tweets, chat rooms, web pages and many other features I don’t even know about — or begin to understand. Who knows what this technology (which is, of course, subject to abuse) might discover — and uncover?

Along with this technology, and maybe partially because of it, we must somehow develop a values-oriented society, with positive, compassionate role models. We need concerned, involved parents who set examples by the lives they lead, not the things they say; legislators who serve, represent and truthfully respond to all the people, not just to special interests and contributors; and a diversified media which gives the truth a chance to stand out amid all the feature-happy, sensationalized, entertainment-oriented programming that too often passes for news.

Although they were delivered in an entirely different context in the New Testament’s John 8:32, our hope lies in these words of Jesus: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth will make you free.” I sure hope so.

John Graves


Dear Editor:

The king of Pagosa.

Just received my April 8 issue of The SUN, my favorite newspaper.

Headlines: Aragon elected for term No. 9 by less than one-half of the registered voters.

Tell me it’s not true! 36 years as mayor. Fifty-nine percent of the townies didn’t bother to vote?

I say abolish the office of mayor and appoint Sir Ross “King for Life.”

The “King of Pagosa.” I kinda think it has a good ring to it.

And why not decree John Salazar court jester.

Mr. Salazar is totally out of contact with his constituency, voting the far left party line, regardless of what the folks back home want and he won’t answer his mail.

Tom Griffin

Suwanee, Ga.

Lonely liberal

Dear Editor:

Sometimes nowadays I feel like a stranger in a strange land or an outcast in my own land. In the grocery store and the hardware store I overhear little groups of guys talking about how bad it is, the liberals, Obama , etc.

The other day I was getting dressed in the locker room of the health club and one guy(about my age of 62 I thought) was spouting off to his two buddies about how bad it is and that liberals had to be mentally deranged for following Obama. I couldn‘t help myself and said I was one of those liberals and I thought all of you conservatives were deranged, etc. So we bantered back and forth, not really listening much to each other, but the group did seem surprised that I was a hard working man (40 years a carpenter and builder) and that I believed in law and order and even God and loving our neighbors as we would like to be loved. I could see that we probably shared much in common and, in other circumstances, we could be friends, but this current trend of divisiveness is dividing our common humanity.

The big talker said I ought to listen to Glen Beck in the afternoon, who is the only one that‘s got it right and puts down both sides. I never could get past five minutes of Glen Beck thinking that this guy is a charismatic, egotistical, conspiracy theorist with a prime time show and making lots of money stirring up the fires of our fears and worries and adding some half baked ideas and fuzzy logic.

So here I sit, a crazy liberal, in an ocean of tea, still in support of President Obama and thinking he is doing a good job. I am glad the health care bill passed and in a month or two, I‘ll actually be able to get health insurance, as I have a preexisting condition. Gee, one of my conservative neighbors just had $300,000 worth of heart surgery that Medicare paid for. Wow! what a good government policy. It was started by Lyndon Johnson, a Texas liberal! Harry Truman, the initiator of that idea in the ’40s, was the first to sign up.

I also have a hard time understanding why all the tea partiers are whining. I think personal taxes are at a 30-year low. Obama didn‘t rob our pension funds, it was the underegulated banks and the derivative traders. Bush’s team should have seen this coming before it happened, but that team had a hands-off policy. And who is our biggest trading partner — China, a repressive communist regime that is beating us at our own game-free market capitalism.

I could go on and on and maybe I am half crazy, but no more so than you guys who hate our government, which does so much for us. Please remenber our country gains its strength by having people of different opinions and outlooks and healthy debate.

Your lonely liberal,

Mike Horsey

Bad health

Dear Editor:

I can tell the health of an organization by the attitude of the employees that work there. In my dealings with Archuleta County, I would have to say that this organization is in very bad health. In talking with several employees from many different departments, it would appear that morale is very bad and that there is a complete lack of communication. Most of the employees have talked of a bad attitude from department heads. They talked of a lack of leadership and that the commissioners and the county administrator are out of touch and non responsive. All of the employees that I have talked to made the statement that things inside our county are worse now than they ever have been, including the financial meltdown of 2007. So why does this matter, because you have to have your house in order before you can fix any problems outside the house. Bad attitudes and low morale lead to poor productivity and money wasted. Equipment gets abused and items disappear, bad decisions are made. Good people are lost. More money is wasted with top-heavy departments. We cannot afford to waste money. We need some leadership; maybe it is time to send the administrator back to his caddy shack and get some commissioners in office that know how to lead.

William Jenkins

Third party

Dear Editor:

I have not been a regular reader of The SUN, having been away from Pagosa for several years. I recently got online and found the story on the Tea Party. The SUN report appears to have reported what was discussed, but sought to provide the fact of the matter as well. Thank you for not just restating the exaggerated or outright falsehood thrown to the crowd. The more we can carry on civil discourse based on facts, the better off we will be as a community, state and country. Please keep us informed of the facts related to what is said.

As an afterthought, if this was in fact a Republican organized event and the local party endorses the type of hyperbole dispersed, then it does not bode well for the needed alternative to the current administration.

I hope the United States is finally ready for a third party to grab the center and leave the R and Ds to the special interests such as bankers, pharmaceuticals and insurance companies.


Thomas Mottl

Powell Butte, Ore.


Dear Editor:

Approximately 15 years ago, we fell in love with the natural beauty and wonderful people of Archuleta County.

We acquired the old Hell’s Hip Pocket Ranch (Caywood Ranch) just west of Pagosa Springs and moved our operation, Parelli Natural Horse-Man-Ship, to the area. Believing it the right thing to do, we placed much of our property in a conservation easement to protect our own views to the San Juan Mountains and to protect in perpetuity the views from U.S. 160.

We are now faced with the prospect of having a huge electrical substation constructed right next to U.S. 160, immediately opposite the entrance to our ranch. While we do not wish to stand in the way of expansion of electrical service to this area, we believe the substation as proposed, next to dedicated open space and located at the gateway to the Pagosa Springs community, is wholly inappropriate. Something needs to be done to either screen the substation or move it to a more appropriate location.

Please join us in making our feelings known to the Archuleta County Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners. The first public hearing on the matter is at 6 p.m. on May 13 in the Archuleta County courthouse.

Pat and Linda Parelli

Everyone works

Dear Editor:

I got to thinking about all the talk about the top-heavy County Road and Bridge Department. I can see what John Ranson and his crew are trying to do. If they give all the unemployed people in Pagosa Springs a management job in the Road and Bridge Department, then everyone will have a job, taxes get paid and our little economy starts buzzing.

We all could use a $60,000-a-year job and maybe if we add enough managers, then the roads will start getting better instead of worse. Maybe this logic will work in all the departments in the county. And think about how much national attention we would get if we had no unemployment; and if everybody worked for the county, then they would not complain about the roads.

Emily Taylor