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Letters to Editor

Why not?

Dear Editor:

No doubt, closing City Market downtown Pagosa Springs, will cause a huge hardship on many people.

In reflection, some of us remember when we had as many as four or five grocery stores at one time.

We had Hersch’s, Dee’s market, Watkins grocery, Stanners market, Cole’s grocery, Wayside grocery on lower Put hill, and maybe more.

Looking at nearby location small towns, Aztec, N.M., supports a large Safeway only 10 miles from five or six major grocery stores, plus several small ones. Monte Vista supports two supermarkets, a large Safeway and another only a few miles from Alamosa and its four major grocery stores, plus several small ones.

We had a Shur Value at one time, why not again? I am surprised some enterprising person with an entrepreneurial spirit can’t see a business opportunity in a no-frills grocery store in downtown Pagosa Springs.

Would patrons support a downtown grocery store ? A lot of us think so.

Thank you,

Dolly Dillinger

‘High end’

Dear Editor:

I hate whiners. There have been lots of tourists in town. There has been lots of traffic in town. I do not own any type of business, but I have lots of friends who do and guess what — several of them have had really good summers.

Not much of a surprise that the sales tax is down, but look at the lodging numbers and some of the restaurants are doing very well. Why? Perhaps it is because they are not “high end.”

Perhaps it is because families do not have money for “high end” products so they come to beautiful Pagosa, find a reasonable (in cost) place to stay — one with a kitchen so they can prepare some meals. They have dinner at “home.” They pack lunches and enjoy the fun of the outdoors. They set aside a small amount of money for souvenirs and low cost baubles. It seems that the people who cater to this type of tourist will do all right, but there just isn’t enough money for the “high end” products.

So, maybe there should be a change in the way they do business and they become more attractive to the tourist of today.

Cindy Gustafson


Dear Editor:

When reviewing the websites of the two individuals running for county commissioner, something interesting/confusing stood out on the site (Bob Hart’s election site).

When looking at his page on issues, there was this statement on Integrity: “You have a right to expect it from your elected officials and nothing less,” however, when driving through town on 160, I see numerous Elect Bob Hart for County Commissioner signs.

According to the town rules, election signs can only be displayed 45 days prior to the election, which in this year’s election would be September 17th.

This is just a petty violation of ethics, but leads one to question his statement on Integrity. I thought maybe he didn’t know about this rule, however when checking further, I found out that each candidate had received a certified letter stating when the signs could be displayed. Maybe the explanation is, Bob Hart does not know which properties are in town? Makes one wonder if Bob Hart can’t abide by the law/rules during the campaign, what type of commissioner would he be?

Mike Hayward


Dear Editor:

To the Arboles Community: Thank you so much for your impressive turnout at our community meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 31. We know at times you feel “left out and unheard,” but we do listen. We also want you to know that we do the best we can with what we have to work with. Last Thursday, Sept. 2, a crew from our Road and Bridge Department went down to CR 982 and filled as many potholes as they could with two tons of asphalt. At the same time, staff from our Weed and Pest Department sprayed the entire area of our facility on CR 973, including the area around the transfer station. Thank you all for your comments and concern about our great community. We will keep getting better.


Clifford Lucero

Well done

Dear Editor:

All I can say is “Wow!” The Four Corners Folk Festival was absolutely amazing in every way. The planners, volunteers, vendors and musicians supplied concertgoers with a truly fantastic experience throughout the weekend. Each band brought its own unique style to the stage, along with absolutely incredible musical technique and engaging personalities. Each performance was exceptional in its own right.

Beyond that, were the seamless planning, volunteer work and hospitable provisions for the guests that made the entire experience one that will compel those who attended (including the musicians!) to beg to come again next year. They provided a clean, safe, family-friendly environment, a place we could all enjoy. Encouraging guests to come down from the hill to attend performances at the Community Center in the late evenings showed that Four Corners Folk Festival goes the extra mile to entertain and accommodate its guests.

The transportation up and down the hill was terrific. The drivers were enthusiastic and interested in the guests’ comments about the festival. They were wonderful ambassadors for the event and for our community. I overheard one child sitting behind me on the bus following the Saturday concerts say, “Mommy, I wish we could live here!” Mommy agreed! I, for one, came away feeling very proud to be a resident of Pagosa Springs.

Congratulations on a job well done.

Sally Neel


Dear Editor:

For many of us old enough to remember the civil rights struggles of the ’50s and ’60s, the sight of the demagogue Glenn Beck standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial trying to emulate the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was truly nauseating. Dr. King was a transformational figure in American history, a man who ultimately gave his life for freedom, for an end to discrimination and violence against African Americans, and ultimately other minorities as well. His inspiring speech to a million supporters on the Memorial’s steps was a masterpiece that will be remembered for centuries and set into motion events that changed our Nation for the better. Who can forget his words, “I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

Contrast this with Mr. Beck, who spoke to somewhere between 85,000 and a million mostly white, ultraconservative Tea Party supporters (the claims grew as the speechifying heated up, but the official estimate based on aerial photographs suggested a total of no more than 100,000). Isn’t this audience the very demographic that hated Dr. King and opposed civil rights legislation? Beck had the audacity to claim that he didn’t realize that his rally was being held on the 47th Anniversary of Dr. King’s speech. He claimed it was just “divine providence.” He claimed that his “Restoring Honor” rally was non-political, yet all of the nasty and fear mongering rhetoric was directed at President Obama and the Democratic Party. Beck said that he wants to “pick up Martin Luther King’s dream that has been distorted and lost.” He wants to “reclaim the civil rights movement.” He actually claimed that “we are the people who did it in the first place,” referring to civil rights. Huh? White ultraconservatives led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act? Not in the world I know.

Dr. King was fighting centuries of institutionalized, legalized racism and unchecked violence. What freedoms is Beck promoting? I guess the freedom of Americans to be victimized by Wall Street, oil companies, insurance companies, banks, mortgage lenders, etc. Or maybe the freedom of tax cutting conservatives to gut social programs aimed at the poorest and most vulnerable of our citizens while protecting tax cuts for the wealthiest and our bloated defense budget. God would be proud! Let’s just forget the fact that fully one third of the “failed” stimulus package was for tax cuts for the lower and middle class, one of the largest tax cuts in history, affecting nearly 95 percent of workers. Beck said we must turn “back to the values and principles that made us great,” evoking the very history that Dr. King and many other struggled against (and, truth be told, still struggle against), a time when minorities and women knew their place, when corporations could do whatever they wanted with impunity, when the rich got richer and the poor got poorer. And, of course, there were many references to the faceless “they,” who are taking away our freedoms, a classic tool of the demagogue.

No, Mr. Beck, you are no Dr. King and your followers are no oppressed minority. An editorial in USA Today said it best, “To compare Saturday’s events with those of 47 years ago is a bit like equating a day at the beach with D-Day. Both involve sand and saltwater.”

John W. Porco

Medical marijuana

Dear Editor:

Many of our leadership positions are held by those who volunteer their time and energy. A heartfelt thank you to those that do! It’s important to remember that leadership is intended to represent the needs and desires of the majority, not personal views or opinions.

The medical marijuana discussion lingers amongst our leaders while many of us believe this could represent positive change for our community. It holds the promise of increased revenue, some jobs, as well as viable options for those suffering from a mired of diseases preferring traditional health care alternatives.

Marijuana is traditional medicine; its prohibition arose only around 1906. In the ’70s states began to decriminalize it; 14 currently allow it for medical use, including our own. If everyone who engaged, or had no judgment about its use, were comfortable enough to be counted, those in opposition might be surprised. People from all walks of life, doctors, lawyers, teachers, church goers, business owners, athletes, celebrities, locals, tourists, rich, poor, etc. partake for various reasons; an estimated 94 million US citizens have used it.

In our country, the five most addictive/misused “substances” in order are (1) Alcohol, (2) Cigarettes, (3) Drugs: illegal, prescription and OTC, (4) Food: overeating and (5) Gambling. Check the list again and note how visible and/or accessible each one of these are in our community. Liquor stores line our main streets, cigarettes are sold everywhere, illegal, prescription and OTC drugs are respectively available, the food misuse is obvious, and carpools run folks to casinos every week! One can take each of those five “substances,” trace their costs and harm inflicted, be it from ill health, insurance /rehab costs, lives lost, money spent, etc. and clearly see the negative impacts. It’s worth noting that alcohol is documented as often the initiator and/or a mainstay.

We scream about needing new businesses and increased revenue. Dollars generated through cultivation and sales of medical marijuana are clearly traceable in other respected communities and sizable from licensing fees and taxable revenue.

Medical marijuana is safer than many legal drugs; read the warning labels in your medicine cabinet and pay attention to the amount of recalls, they are staggering. It’s the (banned) chemicals often used in the illegal cultivation of marijuana that pose the most danger. My uncle in the ’70s (lifelong journalist and elected state official) was diagnosed with a very painful, incurable brain tumor and was prescribed through Duke Medical, organically grown medical marijuana for pain. It was the only amenable medication due to the horrible side effects that pharmaceuticals caused and clearly allowed him a more comfortable passing.

Let’s recognize this as an opportunity for viable new small local businesses, jobs, and revenue for our community. Many will benefit and while some may disagree with its presence, it poses less threat than several of the above mentioned substances offered locally. The only “gateway” that is being perpetuated currently is the one heading over to the Durango dispensaries.

Veronica Taylor


Dear Editor:

The recent Strategic Planning Retreat held to evaluate recommendations for the economic future of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County was well attended. However, one observation which was “on target” highlighted the absence of the below 40 age group for the most part. Analyzing the majority of the 28 recommendations presented, the primary beneficiaries of these proposals will, in fact, be the under 40 age group. I would like to reflect on one of these specifically which rated the highest acceptance from the attendees. Recommendation No. 7 entitled “Support for the November 1B Referendum” received a 9.44 rating out of a possible 10

In my over 25 years in economic development, I can accurately state that there is nothing more important to economic development success than the emphasis on education. There is nothing even close as to second place. Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County have an opportunity in November to write our own destiny in this regard.

When one evaluates our economy today in September 2010, the greater emphasis is on service sector employment and those jobs that are critically important to support tourism and the needs of the businesses that have chosen to locate here. One of the greatest resources that our community can provide to our younger generations is the availability of additional education outreaches with an emphasis on the latest technologies known today. Our young workers will benefit greatly by not having to leave the community (at their expense) to access higher educational opportunities. What 1B offers is the advancement at our Education Center to sustain and expand programming and services to include technology that enables local access to postsecondary certificate and degree programs and to those programs specifically for workforce training. Our local business community will then have the opportunity to access and be more competitive in global markets.

It is a fact of life that most of us do not open our arms with warm feelings anytime that the two words “tax increase” are mentioned. However, it is also a fact of life “that you get what you pay for.” Investing in a community’s future will show the highest return on investment when the investment focuses on education. This is fact, not fiction. The proposed 1.5 mill increase is insignificant in the bigger picture when one considers the greater return to be derived. In closing, I urge all of our citizens to support this well-thought out proposal which will allow our younger generations (primarily) additional educational opportunities that this older generation missed out on. Thank you for any and all consideration. Please vote for and support Resolution 1B on Nov. 2. The citizens of Archuleta County win with a “Yes” approval!

Steve Vassallo

Editor’s note: Policy change

For many years, it has been a policy at The SUN to print only those letters to the editor that deal with campaign issues.

Beginning this week, we will consider letters supporting or criticizing candidates for office. In cases of redundancy, one letter will be printed that best relays the shared point of view. All letters must meet our letters criteria regarding size, signature and phone number (for purposes of verification).

The SUN will continue to print such letters until Oct. 28.