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Dear Editor:

We have read Mr. Sawicki’s letters to the editor for a long time and have concluded he gets all his “so-called” facts from Fox News entertainers.

He continually calls our president by what he thinks are cute and clever names. In the May 13 edition of The Pagosa SUN, however, he stoops to an all-time low in the name he uses for President Obama. We cannot express strongly enough our disgust that he would use a racially and offensive name like he has done. We know we’re not the only Pagosans deeply offended by this.

Mr. Sawicki has every right to his opinion of the administration. He only reveals his true nature and ignorance by referring to our president in such a disrespectful way.

He has our sympathy for not having the slightest clue about participating in a civil discourse.

John and Vicki Braklow

Fountain folly

Dear Editor:

The county commissioners voted seven hundred dollars to shoot a spout of water into the air above the pond on Hwy. 160. Whoopee Doo!

We should all be proud and eternally grateful to have such benevolent, concerned minds lead our county. Where else do citizens benefit so generously from their tax dollars?

I might be labeled a nasty old curmudgeon to remind everyone that more than 400 eat lunch at the Parish Hall and hundreds of food parcels are distributed each month in Pagosa Springs, indicating that, possibly, there is a far greater need in the community than a plume of water majestically evaporating over the golf course. Or that a $700 donation to the school district might save an educational program they’ve slated to cut because the money isn’t there any more. Or that it might be allocated to pay for electricity in needy persons’ homes rather than in a pump hidden out there under the water.

But pardon me for being so progressive, not reasoning very democratically. After all, even those with empty stomachs will freely marvel at this man-made wonder.

Henry Buslepp

No results

Dear Editor:

Recently, we read in The SUN newspaper a letter from Mr. John Taylor, stating that the roads he travels are in excellent shape. Yes, John, your son-in-law, who happens to be Archuleta County road boss, fixed your road to Hinsdale County where you and he live.

I ask you and those six county road advisors to take a ride after a good hard rain on County Road 700. This road from mile marker 7-11 is the worst road in the county, bar none, and hasn’t been graveled in over 30 years.

The county continues to mag chloride roads over and over every year. So, come spring or mud season, we have the muddiest damn roads to travel on. Will you ever start using a clean river source with plenty of sand to bed the mud, instead of gravel with dirt? Lower County Road 500 same condition. Just come down lower section of County Road 700, and see the results of good river material. This road was graveled 35 years ago.

Now, I ask county commissioners, why are you seeking, requesting proposals (technical) to provide a five-year road plan? What do we have a public works director and engineer on the payroll for? These are duties of a public works director, since you county commissioners don’t want to run the county. The commissioners prior to 1990 ran all operations of county road and bridge, we didn’t need engineer, road superintendents, public works directors, etc. Wish my fellow commissioners were around to tell you that our county roads (graveled) were the best in the state. Now we have the worst roads in the state. Since 1990, all we’ve heard is road planning, over and over. Twenty years of road plans. No results yet.

Chris Chavez

Do something

Dear Editor:

Almost always I enjoy reading your editorials in The SUN. Last week I was taken aback by your lack of awareness of the overall border problems — pointing out Arizona in particular.

While others might type their feelings better than I, living with the border problems was first-hand for me. My last two pastorates brought me to within three miles of the California-Mexico border. Being the father of two half-Hispanic children, I didn’t consider living near Mexico a problem, so I bought my house. I was a “happy-camper” living in the high desert of Boulevard, Calif. I had an affordable 4.2 fenced acres, a modest home, and a decent well for precious water. Being a happy resident didn’t last long.

Nightly my property, or the neighbor’s, was trespassed by illegal immigrants. If they didn’t climb over my fences, they cut through them. Needing water, they located my well and drank from the hose. When finished, rarely would the hose be turned off. Thousands of gallons of precious desert water would be lost. Weekly I had to rewire my fences at my expense. Trash and clothing would be strewn on my property as the immigrants headed north. Four times my family dogs were seriously injured (by stoning) when alerting me to the crossing attempts of my property. Neighbors had houses broken into, cars and small livestock stolen. We weren’t neglected by Border Patrol; they were/are just terribly under-funded and outnumbered.

In time I became a volunteer chaplain for the local United States Border Patrol. Rednecks? Hardly! Roughly half of the overworked personnel were Hispanic. Regardless of race or religion, these men and women received needed counsel. One agent (married, father of three) lost his right eye struggling to apprehend a migrant group heading north. I thought my property and neighbors had it rough; the Border Patrol had it far worse. Facing stones, knives and an occasional gun were almost the “norm” while on patrol. Last July, Agent Robert Rosas, Jr. was tragically murdered near my former Boulevard home; shot several times in the head. Because of DNA, the immigrant was caught and pleaded guilty.

I could go on, but let me, instead, quote from the May 10 issue of Newsweek (page 44) on the Arizona debacle. In a feature article, Ms. Eve Conant writes, “It’s terrifying to live next door to homes filled with human traffickers, drug smugglers, AK-47s, pit bulls, and desperate laborers stuffed 30 to a room.” The author quoted one man as saying, “Four years ago this neighborhood was poodles and old ladies ... Now it’s absolutely insane.” Ms. Conant blames both countries.

The United States/Mexico border is a critical problem for all. You have people wanting to raise their families in peace. You also have the desperately poor needing work, drug lords and heartless human traffickers destroying personal property and placing lives at risk. These two nations have hardly addressed the problems of illegal immigration. Can we really blame border states for trying to do something — even if it is stupid?

Stan F. Counsell

It is us

Dear Editor:

At last Jim Sawicki comes forth with some facts and data to consider. Stripping out the name calling and intended insults, I conclude Jim believes our country has spent a ton of money, run up a huge debt and now must pay the piper. I agree.

Where we disagree is the government leaders’ intent and the approach to solving our fiscal problems.

There are two reasons for our government to spend more money than it has available and thus create debt. First, we spend money to conduct wars necessary to defend our nation. Second, we spend to recover from natural and man-made disasters.

We have been waging two wars that are still in progress, and we spent in response to the near collapse of our financial systems. Both Republicans and Democrats supported this spending; so, there is plenty of accountability on both sides of the congressional aisle.

We can debate whether the wars were justified national defense or foolish adventures. We can debate whether the stimulus spending were justified, bold initiatives that prevented a second great depression or a socialistic attempt to subvert our capitalistic economy.

Given that wars are fought in secrecy and financial policy flows from one’s economic philosophy; thus, we are left with a lot of speculation, conspiracy theories and general unrest.

So how do we right our ship of state? Throw all the bums out of office and leave our future to five hundred freshman members of congress guided by professional staffs and lobbyists? That should give us the best government money can buy, and we can accept whatever those moneyed interests grant us.

If there is blame to be assigned, then let’s start with ourselves. We the people went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq. We applauded the reduced business regulation believing profits would be forsaken in the name of public good.

We the people voted for all those bums we now blame for our misfortune. How about we stop crying in our beers, looking for some person or political party to blame, and discuss with one another possible solutions.

To quote Pogo, “We has met the enemy and it is us.”

We can start right here in Archuleta County with the upcoming elections. We can question, listen, talk, evaluate and decide on the qualifications of our next set of leaders. Or, we can accuse, back stab, and rumor monger our way to our future.

Whatever we decide, we deserve the government we get because it is our government elected by our people. That’s the beauty of our system. Thank you, Jim, for some facts. Now let’s get down to remembering our values and electing people who have definitive ideas for creating a better future for our country.

Jay Davison

Not welcome

Dear Editor:

It is amazing and amusing what one reads in The Pagosa SUN’s letters to the editor. Imagine, Mr. Jim Sawicki quoting Thomas Paine. Paine was a liberal who advocated the minimum wage and railed against slavery. More to the point, he was a Quaker and a deist. The clergy, then and now, hold Paine in contempt. He ridiculed the Bible. He made much of the genealogies in Matthew and Luke. Matthew went back to Abraham, Luke to Adam. Paine argued that the discrepancies in the genealogies proved that God did not dictate the Bible. (I was a disappointment to my mother when I was unable to memorize the 40 generations listed by Mathew, let alone the 75 listed by Luke.) Paine didn’t believe a loving God would kill his own son. A quote from Paine: “What is it the Bible teaches us? — rapine, cruelty and murder. What is it the testament teaches us? — to believe the Almighty committed debauchery with a woman engaged to be married, and the belief of this debauchery is called faith.” (The Age of Reason, page 174.)

Paine’s secular political writings were widely read and influential during the Revolutionary War and no doubt contributed to the victory of the Americans over the British. Paine, an Englishman, came to America at the urging of Franklin and Jefferson. He almost died on the trip over, and Franklin’s personal physician carried him off the ship. After the war, he went back to France and got tossed in jail for his views. He eventually made it back to New York and died with about six people in attendance at his funeral. I wonder if Paine is in heaven or hell. I am glad I didn’t have to make the call. One thing is certain: Thomas Paine would not be welcome by the modern day Republican Party.

Bob Dungan


Report questions

Dear Editor:

I would like to comment on some of Commissioner Ranson’s last report dated April 30. It seems to me he is trying to feed us some of the same information they are fed by their higher paid supervisors, and heaven knows there are plenty of them.

In regard to the county health insurance and saving $300,000 a year, how much of that will go to supervision? That probably wouldn’t be necessary if the ones they have now would do their jobs; for example, does the solid waste department need a full-time administrative assistant? The one that is there now works only part time. Makes you wonder if she draws a full-time wage. I know when you call their office, all you get is voicemail and no return calls. I have been calling there for the past three weeks. And look at the landfill; it looks worse than ever. And, by the way, who signs her time sheet? Make that a part-time job that it is and guess what, Mr. Ranson, save us taxpayers $18,043.70 more a year, even more to boast about.

What about the county employees who have endured the tough times of the past few years, how have they been rewarded? No raises and higher deductibles on their insurance, but yet there are employees who don’t even work eight hours a day, but yet are paid for eight-and-one-half to nine hours a day. Ask your high-priced public works director about this, he might know. This is our money you are dealing with; please do something.

Commissioner Ranson. How much more would that save if your numerous supervisors do their jobs. Yet, I bet you don’t have any idea what I am talking about. Don’t feel bad, your public works director doesn’t either. Also, now that the county is doing mag chloride, I noticed County Road 166 has been done the last couple of years. I only wonder who lives there and are they related to your road and bridge superintendent?

Also, what about the county’s bulldozer (pay attention to this one, Chris Chavez): why was it taken to Hinsdale County to move snow from the Chub Draw gravel pit, and how much did that cost us? Guess who lives in Hinsdale County, and do our snowplow trucks ever plow driveways there? I’ve seen your superintendent in Hinsdale County on a newer truck with a plow on it this winter. Or do we now go into Hinsdale County when it snows? Please answer these questions, commissioners. A challenge to Mr. Ranson on his next report.

Now, as for your road task force, are there any maintenance plans for the deteriorating roads? Such as Lake Forest Circle, Meadows Drive, South Pagosa Boulevard, just to name a few. So please quit with the dog and pony shows, and watch your managers who are raking us over the coals with their $60,000-plus salaries. Just take a look at your roads, street and stop signs. Who knows, if you pay attention, you might honestly do something you can brag about.


Chris Hunt


Dear Editor:

As county commissioner, I am keenly aware of the need for adequate funding to meet budgetary concerns of the various organizations that serve the needs of Archuleta County residents.

To receive our fair share of the 400 billion dollars the federal government distributes annually, we need to be counted by the 2010 census.

As of April 27, 2010, Archuleta County had a response rate of 43 percent, as compared, say, to La Plata County at 57 percent and Alamosa County at 65 percent.

In dollars and cents, each person missed signifies a loss to the county of $880. A family of four not counted would cost the county over $35,000 over the next 10 years.

In 2000, the census estimates that 46 percent of the county was not counted.

This gives you an idea of why I am so adamant about wanting community involvement. We must do better this time around.

The census workers are now visiting addresses from which no questionnaire has been received. Welcome them; they are your friends and neighbors. They are there to get the job done.

That will trigger much needed resources for the county, town and all their residents.

It truly is “in our hands!”

Clifford Lucero


Dear Editor:

Reply to “Lonely Liberal” letter of May 6, 2010:

Mike, I can certainly agree with you that our national political climate has become polarized to the extreme in recent years. My mother was a staunch Democrat, and my father an equally staunch Republican, and although most of the time they cancelled each other’s vote, they managed to stay married until their deaths. However they weren’t Liberals or Conservatives, just Democrat and Republican. I don’t how all this happened, but I think it makes it easier to understand how the country voted for the Congress and Administration that we find ourselves with today.

You mention the Tea Party, and I think you have the wrong idea of the main ideas that are drawing very reasonable people of all ages, political, and ethnic/racial backgrounds to these rallies. My wife and I attended the rally in Washington D.C. last September. There were many thousands of people there and it lasted all day. Most could not even hear the speakers that were up near the Capitol building, but almost all carried signs. The most prevalent theme was Big Government takeover and the usurping of our Constitutional rights. The second was that Congress and the Administration are out of control with respect to any kind of fiscal responsibility. You should go to a major rally, I think you will be surprised. They are not accurately reported in the press.

You mentioned that you could not understand why the Tea people are “whining” about high taxes when taxes are at a 30 year low. I think you got that figure from the SUN’s front page report of the Republican rally on “Tax day.” Incidentally, that article was a front page editorial whereby the reporter noted what was said at the meeting and then gave us his opinion on each of the points. It was certainly not up to SUN’s standards.

But let’s look at the 30 year low number for taxes. First of all, there are currently 10 percent unemployed in this country that are collecting unemployment checks. Those payments are not taxed nor is the government receiving the taxes that would occur if these people were working. There is another 10 percent or so that are not receiving unemployment but are unemployed and thus not paying income tax. There is also a third group that are employed but pay no tax and instead receive a check from the Government each year, and this number is growing as others learn how to “play the game.” So if you take current tax revenues and compare that to tax payers (both negative and positive), tax rates are at a 30 year low! That is a little misleading to say the least, and hardly a justification for higher taxes.

Dick Riethmiller


Dear Editor:

Top heavy Road and Bridge Department: $300,000 a year.

A Board of County Commissioners that cannot make decisions: $245,000 a year.

A county manager that cannot lead or direct: $115,000 a year.

Archuleta County roads getting worse, wasting money, ruining our beloved county and going nowhere: priceless.

Emily Taylor

EMS week

Dear Editor:

Each year, the nation honors EMS employees throughout the country. May 16 through May 22 is National EMS Week.

The Pagosa Springs Upper San Juan Health Service District EMS staff would like to take the opportunity to thank our community. Throughout the year, we receive numerous thank you cards, notes and calls giving us praise and respect. In the community, many have acknowledged how thankful one is, handshakes, smiles or a warm pat on the back that you have given us. We at this time would like to thank you for the opportunity in serving our community. We are proud of who we are and what we do, and, because of you, we can continue to do the job we all take pride in.

Carrie Trumble