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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

The article on the variance for the new substation left out or buried several very important facts. They are:

• The LPEA wants to build the new substation to meet our growing demands;

• It will be a capital investment by the LPEA, not a tax or special assessment on local rate payers;

• The primary intent of the current building code restrictions is to limit the height of structures to capabilities of our fire fighting equipment; and,

• The laws of physics dictate the height of lightning rods based on the capacity of the substation.

Finally, never forget that the co-operative LPEA offers everyone in our community substantially lower rates than those paid by many other communities in the United States. We should welcome their investment!

Pat Artis


Dear Editor:

To the person in the big black SUV who almost ran over me while I was running at approximately 8 a.m. Wednesday, July 21, on Park: Shame on you. You’re not from Pagosa, are you?

Marcia Bledsoe


Dear Editor:

To Commissioners John Ranson and Clifford Lucero, I have the following questions.

Commissioner Ranson:

In one of your occasional reports, which mostly contain your boasts about how the board is saving us taxpayers money, how about a report on the following questions:

• How are the Archuleta County taxpayers benefiting by the road improvement on Forest Service Road 631, where I noticed at least four Road and Bridge employees working in that area last week? There are enough personnel up on FS 631 to make up a maintenance crew, I as any other taxpayer would think that county roads are a priority.

• How does that prioritize in regard to our county road system, which is falling apart? I own a duplex on Valley View Drive and there are big potholes, which have been there for at least a year and a half. But yet the Road and Bridge crews are putting teaspoonfuls of asphalt on County Road 600 between Black Powder Place and the cattle guard where FS Road 631 begins, when it’s obvious there are better and more cost efficient methods.

• Who reviews and approves these types of projects? Is the $101,000 a year administrator and $85,000 yearly public works director aware of these projects? I would bet you money your Road and Bridge superintendent is aware, especially the CR 600 and FS 631 roads.

• Since it appears that this is going to be a timely project, could it not have been contracted by bid out to a contractor who has the equipment to do the work? And would it be cost efficient to do so? Thus freeing up the crew to concentrate on much-needed maintenance.

Questions for both of you:

• Is the Road and Bridge Department supposed to be a maintenance or construction department?

• Since the solid waste administrative assistant recently left the county, how many vacation and sick leave hours did we as taxpayers pay her for? Was it honestly paid time or approved dishonestly by the solid waste and public works director? I brought this up in a letter two months ago and have not seen a reply.

• Was the solid waste department’s former assistant’s question of honesty ever brought to the board’s attention and what was done about it?

Commissioner Lucero, these questions are based on one of your 200-percent campaign slogans:

• Do you think that there is need for both a public works director and Road and Bridge superintendent, to supervise three working foremen and 10 to 12 employees? If not, how much would that save us taxpayers?

• In your opinion, is there an overabundance of supervision in the Road and Bridge Department?

Thank you both for your replies and if you don’t reply, it will show me that neither of you are concerned about these matters.

Chris Hunt


Dear Editor:

Thank God we were watched over by our guardian angels during the recent breakout in the Archuleta County Detention Center, and when those involved ended up in Edith, Colo., County Road 359 area.

Families with children, senior citizens and many other taxpaying residents certainly would have greatly appreciated a courtesy knock on the door or even a brief call to warn the people to keep their doors locked and have a heightened alert due to the escape of two “armed and dangerous men.”

Archuleta County sheriffs drive into residential areas with spotlights shining into windows only to leave everyone frightened and with no idea as to what was happening. As taxpaying citizens, it would have been greatly appreciated to have been warned.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone involved. We do thank all agencies for their services in this incident.

Beverly Martinez

Sky is falling

Dear Editor:

Last weeks letter entitled “Winners/Losers” would have been appreciated by Chicken Little. The author seems to run all over the barn yard and beyond telling us of all kinds of disasters awaiting us if we ignore carbon dioxide.

I am old and have lived through a sizable number of these predicted disasters caused by man. Most I can’t remember, but here are just a few.

Just after the second world war, there was a very real concern that we were running out of petroleum because of the vast quantities consumed during the war. The concern was that we would not be able to produce enough food and there would be widespread starvation.

Then about forty years ago, there was the fear of global cooling and a manmade ice age. This would occur due to the increased levels of water vapor and clouds that would develop from the greatly increasing levels of irrigation.

Twenty years ago man was supposedly bringing on his own demise by clearing the jungles of Brazil. This defoliation would decrease oxygen levels eventually chocking out life. And now it is carbon dioxide and global warming.

All of these were believed by large numbers of people, including those in the scientific community. Now we look back and say that they were ridiculous, but we eagerly embrace the next “falling acorn.” No Ms. Little, the sky is not falling this time either. Man is still a very tiny player in the global picture. I am not sure whether it’s ego or just a basic human need for worry that drives these things.

Last week I was watching “Tammy and the Bachelor” with Debbie Reynolds. Her movie character is a country bumpkin, low on education but very wise. At one point she says, “It used to be that we left the weather and the end of the world to God. Now, we take it on ourselves and get all worked up.” Good advice.

Dick Riethmiller


Dear Editor:

As the irate recipient of an anonymous letter complete with doctored photograph of the proposed new power plant, I feel compelled to write.

Where were these NIMBYs who are afraid to identify themselves when Parelli placed a huge white tent in a pristine meadow? A view that hits the eye so strongly when driving from the west that the current LPEA site goes unnoticed. Where were they when a small impact rural subdivision of three lots was proposed in the area, and Parelli sent in his lawyer to explain that the area was not now suitable for residential development because of the noise and traffic created by Parelli? (The subdivision did not go through.)

And how much will it cost us in rate increases to provide the same efficient service if their proposed sites are used instead? The anonymous brochure failed to address this question. Or the impact of their proposed sites on others.

This anonymous brochure closes with an appeal to pressure the BoCC on Aug. 3 to ignore the welfare of the community and appease the NIMBYs. Instead, I urge every LPEA member who cares about rates and good service to support the BoCC in continuing to support needed service at a reasonable cost to our community.

Not anonymously yours,

Bobra Schaeper


Dear Editor:

Please contact your Board of County Commissioners and support the LPEA Ponderosa Substation.

Recently, a winter storm knocked out electrical power to parts of Archuleta County for two days, and as much as four days in Aspen Springs. Every summer, intermittent power outages cause; interruption of phone calls, use of computers, and access to news information. No electricity, means no water pumped from any cisterns/wells and for many, electricity provides their only heat source. This is not caused by old electrical wires.

LPEA’s increased Ponderosa Substation is part of the redundancy plan to overcome these issues. LPEA has had this improvement and increased capacity for this substation planned for 15-20 years. The project has been presented to the public and Town Council and County governmental bodies as a capital improvement project each year for the last 5-10 years. Utility facilities are allowed in all zoning types as stated in the Archuleta County Land Use Regulations “Section 3.” Utilities must follow state and federal regulations and the county only has the ability to work with the utility company for minor mitigation and minimal regulation of procedures before construction begins.

Can the LPEA members (us), county and the taxpayers afford the time and cost to start the process over to move this substation to a different location? The needs of the many outweigh the demands of the few. “The few” are part-timers and visitors who think this project is ugly and should be disguised or moved; versus the majority that live here year round, who struggle to pay the mortgage/rent, utilities, and put food on the table. The “majority” is in need of reliable electricity, which should outweigh a small group with lots of money to fight public projects. “Not in my back yard” (NIMBY) lawsuits only add cost to the project which means community businesses and full-time residents pay more for electricity. When a lawsuit occurs against a governing body, the entire community suffers. Lawsuits are not budget line items, and services must be cut or restricted from the community to pay for the litigation. The people bringing the lawsuit are suing themselves and the rest of us.

Mark Weiler and the Parellis’ first requests were mitigation, berms, landscaping etc., which LPEA agreed to. That wasn’t enough — now they have offered a 10 acre site across the road to move this substation to. Moving the substation may stop the threat of a lawsuit to the county, but to re-engineer the project for the site proposed would require all new application submittals to the federal, state, and the Public Utility Commission, not to mention the environmental impact studies which include: archaeological, wildlife and wetlands, to mention a few. The redesign of the feeders (lines) alone could take 1 1/2 to 2 years and after that the process starts again. Which NIMBY group will complain then? How long will it be before the residents of Archuleta County have adequate electricity?


Ronnie Zaday and concerned Aspen Springs residents