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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

We would like to thank our board of county commissioners and La Plata Electric Association representatives for taking the time to talk with concerned neighbors in the Meadows Subdivision this past Sept. 16, 2010.

We sincerely appreciate the time and effort they have made in listening to our uneasiness regarding the proposed electrical substation at the corner of South Pagosa Boulevard and Dichoso Street. We also commend LPEA on their candor in acknowledging that the proposed site is not the ideal location for this facility and their willingness to work with our community in finding a more suitable location.

In a residential real estate market that has suffered at 20 percent loss in the past two years, coupled with an uncertain economic future, we feel that planning is the critical factor. Our homes are, for many of us, the greatest financial investment of our lives. Several of us have chosen to live here to enjoy southwestern Colorado’s rare beauty and quality of life. We selected an established rural residential community to reside in for the aforementioned amenities and relied on the zoning protections that were in place at the time of our purchases.

Many commercial developments have established themselves in our area and we know of several more in the planning stages. New subdivisions have adjoined Meadows, increasing the electrical demand within our “loop.” We understand the need for upgrading existing equipment; what we disagree with is the proposed location for the new substation. We need to find a real solution to our community’s growing demand for power.

Rural residential communities have come a long way since “the REA … finally came” to the rural areas in the 1950s. Without a doubt, the revolutionary arrival of affordable electricity changed lives and towns. The time has come, as evidenced by the costly mitigation of the Ponderosa substation, to thoughtfully incorporate the engineering marvels of electrical substations into a livable environment without negatively impacting long established residential areas.

We have a unique opportunity to work together to meet the electrical needs of anticipated future development. It is not our intent to abandon this project. In response to LPEA’s honest assessment that this site is not the most suitable location, we want to express our willingness to work with them in finding viable alternatives. Working together, we are confident that a more appropriate site can be found.

Wes and Trish Arrighetti

Pro 1B

Dear Editor:

The last time I wrote a letter to the editor was in 1996, a time when there was a great need for a new high school. I invested 16 years as a teacher, counselor, and coach in the local school district, served on the board of directors of the Ed Center in the early 90s, and am currently serving in my eighth year as director of Archuleta County High School, an alternative high school at the Education Center.

The old timers may remember our library in the early 1980s that was housed in two small rooms adjacent to what was then the police station; a modest building that stood next to the Bear Creek on the lot where the clock tower now stands. The value placed on education by our community was evident based on the generous donations from our community and approval of a tax district to fund the Ruby Sisson Library. Seeds of Learning, the community center, the hospital, the Pregnancy Center, Humane Society, and other projects have all improved the quality of life for our residents and made Pagosa Country a more attractive place to live.

Voters now have another opportunity to help our community move forward by supporting Ballot Measure 1B. I remember when the Ed Center was just a dream. Through a common belief in the importance of education, our people came together and helped create the Archuleta County Education Center. Many high school dropouts have been reengaged and provided the opportunity to earn a diploma and work certifications. The Ed Center serves a number of low income individuals in other programs as well. According to a Brookings Institute study, the average cost to society of a dropout in America is approximately $750,000 over the lifetime of the dropout (Social Services, Judicial System, Penal System, lost tax revenue, etc.) I have always said that we can pay now to educate our citizens or pay later in other costs associated with the undereducated. It is much less expensive to pay now.

1B will provide operating funds to maintain services that have been provided for many years and allow us to move forward in providing live, real-time college courses as well as employee training for local businesses. The groundwork has already been laid and the Ed Center is ready to take the final steps in making the dream a reality. Imagine if our high school students could earn college credits, even an associates degree, while attending high school. Imagine being able to take live, interactive college courses without leaving the community. Imagine the possibility of small businesses with good paying jobs making the move to our community because education and training for employees is available.

As with many past projects in our community, we need your help to make these visions a reality. Please vote Yes on 1B.

Doug Bowen

Anti 1B

Dear Editor:

Issue 1B is a permanent county property tax increase of 1.5 mills (about $6,400,000 per 10-year period). These tax monies will be used to continue some presently-funded education programs and create and operate a “video conferencing center” in the privately-owned Education Center here in Pagosa Springs.

Issue 1B is overkill on many levels.

A permanent tax eliminates the possible changes in voter wishes, or at least makes it difficult to limit monies as needs change or disappear. Even if the Education Center fails, the 1.5 mill tax will remain as a tax permanently for, as yet, unidentified purposes.

Current programs at the Education Center are judged by many to be adequately funded, given the needs and wants of Archuleta County.

Taxpayers, via a property tax, should not usurp the prerogatives of private industry or the possibility of entrepreneurship. There is a capability of video conferencing already in the county. Why do we need another in such a small community?

Any business requiring video conferencing most likely will have its own capability. Having ready access to your data at your desk or bench while in conference will increase communication efficiency.

Outlying area residents will find it rather inconvenient to travel to downtown Pagosa Springs when any home computer linked to the Internet can access online education courses. Also, computers are available for free at the library and community center, should travel be acceptable.

Other than an unwanted desire to have taxpayers provide low or no cost education opportunities that are in competition with private industry, there is no indication that there is a need for a permanent facility, funded by a permanent increase in property taxes, especially in a time of a failing economy.

Vote No on Issue 1B.

John Bozek

Best choice

Dear Editor:

Natalie Woodruff is a person many of us have worked with and is greatly respected within the community.

Natalie is currently my personal banker for the company I work for and in 20 years in Pagosa and dealing with all the banks within Pagosa, I have never had such outstanding service. In a time when service is a dying art, Natalie is still at the top of her game. I also had the opportunity to work with Natalie at a title company, where again she was such an asset. Her ability to work with customers, as well as co-workers, is way above the norm and the assessor’s office needs that skill.

Her diversified experience, operations coordinator with 25-70 people under her, already having worked in Archuleta County building with the offices she will need to be dealing with again and understand how they function and the need for cooperation between them, her years at a title company dealing with title searching, legal descriptions, and the county mapping gave her a beginning knowledge needed for the assessor’s position and again customer service needs.

I truly feel that Natalie’s diversified job experiences, broad knowledge, outstanding customer service and truly caring ability for people is what we need in the county assessor’s office and not just another number cruncher. Please vote Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Georgia Dick

Up to you

Dear Editor:

I can’t resist weighing in on the education debate going on in Pagosa and the country. In way of disclosure, I spent my entire professional career in the defense industry and live on a modest government pension. I confess to being a government bureaucrat (retired) and hence hated by the majority of Americans. Forgive me as, at the time, I thought I was doing the right thing.

I just read a summary of a talk given at Sandia National Labs by Nancy Jackson, Sandia staff member and president-elect of the American Chemical Society (ACS). The ACS is the largest science society in the world with 162,000 members and publishes 38 professional journals. The title of the talk was U.S. research preeminence faces global challenges. “The talk just stopped short of hair-raising on the declining leadership margin of the US on the world technical/scientific stage … the global landscape shifted after 9/11 … we closed our doors to international students. These students went to other countries to study and remain there rather than in the US.” Chinese scientists now publish about 10 percent of the papers in the ACS journals, up from about one percent ten years ago.

My personal belief is the USA is losing the education race and hence the science/technology war. When Russia beat us into space, we responded by beating them to the moon. Now, NASA is history. The very survival of the United States depends on an educated public and being number one in science and technology. Of course, citizens have every right to demand excellence in our science, in our schools and from our students. The Greatest Generation is gone; now it’s up to you folks.

Bob Dungan


Veterans Day

Dear Editor:

On Veterans Day, Nov. 11, 2010, the American Legion Post 108 of Pagosa Springs will hold a Veterans Day ceremonial in honor of all veterans of all wars at the Legion Post located at 287 Hermosa St., next to the park.

Activities will start at 11 a.m. and there will be a brief ceremonial with the posting of the colors. Post 108 would also recognize and honor those who have served in the post-9/11 global war on terror right after the ceremony. There will be a big potluck and all veterans and the public are invited to bring your favorite dish and meet and say thank you for serving to all your veterans.

Ernie Garcia

American Legion Post 108


Dear Editor:

The first time I met Bruce Whitehead, I said something like “Nice to meet you, Senator.” He shot right back, “Call me Bruce.” That was, as I look back, an auspicious beginning. I’m writing this to urge you to support Bruce in the upcoming election, because, since I met him, I have come to realize how truly lucky we are to have him representing us in the state Senate.

Bruce has an extensive background in Colorado water issues. Newspapers and commentators regularly refer to him as “water expert Bruce Whitehead.” He worked for the Colorado Division of Water Resources for 25 years, and for the last two years before his appointment, was employed by the Southwestern Water Conservation District as its executive director. In his first article to the Durango Herald after being chosen to replace Jim Isgar, he promised that his vast experience working for state government would be put to the best possible use to help people in this rural district of southwestern Colorado.

In order to do that, Bruce, in his own words, “hit the ground running.” Even before his first legislative session started, he spent months traveling throughout our district, meeting people, listening to what matters most to all of us, so that he could take our thoughts and concerns to Denver with him.

After the legislative session actually started, Bruce was responsible for sponsoring or co-sponsoring a large number of bills, way too many to list here; it was quite an impressive start for a freshman Senator. Consult for the history of Bruce’s accomplishments.

Both the Colorado Conservation Voters and the Farm Bureau have formally recognized Bruce’s contributions during his first year. The CCV tracks congressional votes which promote the preservation of Colorado’s air, land, and water; it announced that Bruce received a 92 percent rating, with his opponent receiving only a 33 percent rating. In addition, The Colorado Farm Bureau awarded Bruce, chair of the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, the 2010 Pinnacle Award for his support of Colorado’s farmers and ranchers. Water is a precious commodity in dry southwest Colorado, vitally important to our farmers, ranchers, families, industry, and the community in general. Bruce Whitehead is the Senator to protect this valuable resource.

Bruce Whitehead is a man who cares about his friends and neighbors in District 6, who listens carefully to what is said to him, and who has the experience and integrity necessary to fulfill his obligation to serve and protect southwestern Colorado and those who live here. Election Day is Nov. 2; if you haven’t at that time already voted, please go to the polls on that day and vote.

Becky Herman


Dear Editor:

I am deeply offended, Mr. Blake, by your letter calling me a racist simply for being a member of the Tea Party movement and an ignorant one because I am the unwitting dupe of Fox News and the select network of billionaires who control the conservative movement. I am always suspicious when people throw out the race card whenever someone disagrees with them. I wonder what black and bigoted thoughts are hidden deep in their souls that they become overly defensive and raise the issue of race whenever comments or actions by Blacks are criticized. Your quotes criticize those who listen to Fox while at the same time you parrot the false and/or unsubstantiated allegations you find on MSNBC, CBS, and Move On.Org after drinking their kool-aid.

I am really tired to hearing this unfounded racist allegation. You don’t know me and know nothing about me just as you know nothing about 99 percent of the rest of those in the Tea Party — yet you indiscriminately throw the ‘racism’ charge at me and all who are upset with this current Administration and its policies. I am opposed to most of President Obama’s policies, but not because he is Black. I was opposed to essentially the same policies when they were proposed by Carter. I am a Conservative and a self defined member of the Tea Party. I spent my entire life either in or associated with the Military. I grew up in a multi-racial society with integrated housing areas, schools, and activities. During my 22 years in the Army I worked for, worked with, and supervised a variety of American Soldiers of European, African, Hispanic, Oriental, and Indian descent; and I shared barracks, rooms, showers, bunks, meals, drinks, and SCUBA mouthpieces with them. In my Army people were judged on their competence not color, and I have learned that jerks come in all colors, as do Patriots.

I am against illegal immigration and am outraged by the fact that my government is not securing the border and protecting U.S. citizens, but rather is suing the State of Arizona for trying to do both — does that make me a racist? I am married to an “immigrant” and my future son-in-law’s mother is an “immigrant.” Both came to America legally and went through the necessary steps to become citizens.

I am offended when black leaders and organizations are given a pass on comments or actions because they are black. I am offended when our black attorney general working for a black president not only refuses to prosecute the Black Panthers for voter intimidation, but refuses to even accept the conviction already entered by the court. If you are not also offended by these things, then you have either not been paying attention or have been imbibing entirely too much kool-aid. Equal justice under the law means equal. Justice must be colorblind if it is to work properly. Biased prosecution based on race destroys faith in the system and ultimately leads to civil disobedience and, possibly, anarchy — and that works both ways.

I spent my entire life defending your right to make offensive and false statements like those in your letter, and that also gives me the right to challenge bigotry when I see it.

Jim Huffman


Dear Editor:

I just read the letter to the editor by Dick Warring regarding campaign funding in the county commissioner race. Following Mr. Warring’s advice to “Follow the Money,” I checked the page on the Secretary of State’s website that details campaign contributions. Here’s what I found. First, Mr. Warring’s figures are grossly incorrect and misleading.

Michael Whiting’s campaign has received $13,891.10 in total contributions as of 10/7, $2737.92 (20 percent) of which was in non-monetary personal contributions from the Whitings themselves. His campaign has not borrowed money, in keeping with his stance as a fiscal conservative and reputation as an adept fundraiser.

I also traced the names of Mr. Whiting’s out-of-state contributors and all but two of them (total $300) are at least part-time Archuleta County residents. The vast majority of these folks are members of our community, own homes here, pay taxes, and bring much needed out-of-state money for the benefit of our businesses, our charities, and our community in general. Bill Jordan, a respected doctor, long time part-time resident and large contributor to this community, is particularly maligned by Mr. Warring’s letter.

Dr. Jordan’s honest expression of concern over Mr. Hart’s conflicts of interest was disdainfully dismissed in an earlier letter by Marcy Mitchell, a member of Mr. Hart’s campaign committee, because “he can’t even vote here.” Is this the message we want to send to our retired and semi-retired community members, who contribute roughly 30 percent of our economy, and bring construction, home sales and jobs? Or to those who are thinking about buying or building homes here to live part time?

After looking through Mr. Whiting’s records I turned to Mr. Hart’s and this is what I found. Of his $15,281.39 total, Mr. Hart has only received $6,502.60 in actual campaign contributions from anyone. His campaign is operating on $8,778.79 (57 percent) of borrowed money. This debt has paid for some pretty extravagant full-page ads, like the one from “Hart Supporters” last week, which was paid for by Mr. Hart’s campaign (fine print at the bottom of the ad). Unlike Mr. Whiting’s campaign, which appears to be operating in the black, Mr. Hart’s campaign is deep in the red with two weeks left before the election. Who will pay this debt? And when, after the election?

If this is any indication of Mr. Hart’s approach to running the county, I think I will stick with Mr. Whiting, whose claims of being fiscally conservative are truly reflected in how he’s running his campaign.

I understand Mr. Hart and his campaign team need to divert attention from Mr. Hart’s glaring conflict of interest because it is one of the most important issues of the election. In doing so, though, they would be well advised to get their facts straight, stop alienating our part-time residents, and get their own campaign-finance house in order before they bring attention to it.

I am a full-time resident, business owner, and voter in Archuleta County.

Reta Jarvi


Dear Editor:

As a former county commissioner, I watch with much interest the candidates for this office. Of the two candidates, I have concluded that Michael Whiting is the better qualified candidate to fill this position.

I believe Michael has proven his dedication to Archuleta County and truly has the best interest of its citizens in mind. He has a broad knowledge of Archuleta County through his experience with Southwest Land Alliance. He has economic development experience and truly wants to work to provide better jobs for our citizens. He has pledged (and I believe him) to listen to all of your concerns. Michael is a proven problem solver and has the skills to find common ground and work for the good of the whole county.

Michael has not now, nor has he ever in Archuleta County been involved in activities that would create a conflict of interest. He comes to us with a clean slate and I encourage you to vote for Michael, but also talk to your neighbors and get out the vote. Without a good voter turnout, we may not be assured that the best and most qualified candidate will be elected.

Mamie R. Lynch


Dear Editor:

Imagine having to defend yourself in a court of law. Imagine studying the law and being able to stand up for your rights. Imagine doing so in court so well, only to have the judge have you hauled out of court by two supposed “peace officers,” and the hearing continuing without you. Russia? China? North Korea? Mexico? Nope ... Archuleta County Court, Colorado. A judge who took an oath of office to defend the Constitution is simply defending her position and corporate interests. Such judges are not only traitors, but are clearly domestic terrorists, according to the government’s own definition. When will the people stand up to stop this sort of insanity and corruption?

Jeff Maehr

The line

Dear Editor:

You have probably heard by now about the “sexting” trend. But your child’s cell phone can present a far less publicized risk; it can be used as a tool of emotional abuse by your teen’s dating partner. One in four teens in a relationship say they have been called names, harassed or put down by their partner through cell phones or texting, and one in three teens in relationships say that their boyfriend or girlfriend checks up on them up to10-30 times per hour to see where they are, who they are with, and what they are doing.

Teens don’t always know when this behavior crosses the line, but you can help them. Talk to your teen about the difference between staying in touch and controlling where she or he is and what she or he does. Let them know healthy relationships include giving the other room to breathe, enjoy time with friends and family, and chill out. Ask them if the texts/calls/instant messages/emails make them feel bad or if they are sometimes afraid not to respond because they are worried about what their boyfriend or girlfriend might do. Technology has made teen dating violence more prevalent and easier to hide. Talk to your teen often to let them know, “I’m here for you.”

Liz Parker

Out of the dark

Dear Editor:

Hold onto your hats, Archuleta County! Three foreign-owned corporations are spending money to convince you for whom to vote in the 59th House District. I just received a scurrilous piece of campaign mail from a group calling itself “Colorado Citizens for Accountable Government” (and now robo calls as well). What they sent us is rubbish, distorting Brian O’Donnell’s fine record as a citizen and a candidate. We can only surmise that they support J. Paul Brown, O’Donnell’s opponent. But what is more scurrilous is that CCAG is just a front for corporations that prefer to hide in the shadows rather than be forthright and out front about who they are and what they want. As it turns out there are no “concerned citizens,” just shills for corporate interests. What do they want for their ads and money? Maybe J. Paul Brown can tell us. Mr. Brown, just what will you deliver for these corporations if elected?

Here’s the money trail (2008-2010) — check it out at CCAG receives over 98 percent of its funding ($130,000) from two other “funds:” the Senate Majority Fund ($60,000) and the Colorado Leadership Fund ($70,000). The Senate Majority Fund received $25,000 plus from Anheuser Busch, a wholly owned subsidiary of Anheuser-Busch InBev, headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, $18,500 from Encana Oil and Gas, a wholly owned subsidiary of Encana Corporation, headquartered in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, and $18,000 from Farmer Services, LLC, managed by Zurich Financial Services LTD headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland. The Colorado Leadership Fund (which is now also sending out mailers supporting J. Paul Brown) received $45,000 from Farmer Services, LLC, $22,000 from Encana Corporation, and $19,000 plus from Anheuser Busch. And these are just the foreign-controlled corporations; you would be amazed at other corporate contributors.

We don’t want or need someone in Switzerland, Belgium or Canada telling us for whom to vote. These companies are manipulating the election, misleading the voters and maligning a genuine leader who seeks the best interests of all Archuleta County. Demand that they come out of the dark! Tell them to stay out of our elections! And shame on any politician who condones such crap. I hope J. Paul Brown will say, “I am J. Paul Brown and I disapprove these ads.” The next time you see Mr. Brown, ask him if he supports foreign corporations spending money to elect him. Tell them and their money to get out of our elections, period.

Terry Pickett

Editor’s note: Please read Mr. Brown’s comments in this week’s SUN.


Dear Editor:

Wake up, citizens! This election is being bought and paid for by shadowy, secretive 527 and 501(c)4 organizations that need not disclose donors and have absolutely no limits on spending. Although there are a few of these groups that support Democratic candidates, the vast majority are brazenly Republican, even though they may hypocritically proclaim that they are “non-partisan.” Looking at the organizations that are prominent in ads here in Colorado, here is what one finds on the Web:

• American Future Fund. This organization was founded by Iowa Republican operatives and plans to spend $20-25 million in this election. Their website presents no information on donors or sponsors, although a millionaire energy CEO provided the seed money to start the organization.

• American Crossroads. This is Carl Rove’s 527 organization, headed by a former Rebublican National Committee Chairman and the former General Counsel of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The group does not disclose information on donors. The website, which checks on both Republican and Democratic organizations, reports that major contributors are Texas oil billionaire Henry Simmons and executives from Public Storage, Chief Gas and Oil, Southwest Louisiana Land, and TRT Holdings (Omni Hotels and Gold’s Gym). With a new spinoff, Crossroads GPS, the two organizations plan to spend at least $52 million.

• Senate Alternatives Fund. This group appears to have no website, nor is it referenced on any other sites, so is particualry mysterious.

• Club for Growth Action.This is an offshoot of the infamous Club for Growth, which is unabashedly Republican and uses the term “destructive Liberal Democrats” on its website. The site also proudly proclaims in bold, “We can accept unlimited individual and corporate contributions.” Club for Growth is the brainchild of multi-billionaire Steve Forbes and is associated with Republican Senators Tom Coburn and Jim DeMint, the Senate’s most conservative members. The group supports the flat tax and privitization of Social Security.

• American Action Network. This group was founded by former Republican Sen. Norm Coleman. Again, their website does not mention contributors. However, their Board of Directors includes a number of conservative former Repulican lawmakers and executives from the banking and investment industries, as well as drug maker Pfizer. They claim to steer a center-right agenda, but their positions and Board make this claim preposterous.

And, of course, we also have the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which plans to spend as much as $75 million to influence the election in favor of its anti-regulation, anti-tax, anti-environment, anti-health care agenda, nearly all on Repulican candidates.

What a sad distortion of democracy in action! Does anyone truly believe that these organizations are getting their hundreds of millions of anonymous dollars in $10 donations from ordinary, middle-class citizens? Does anyone truly believe that these groups are not being financed mainly by corporate interests from the financial, energy, insurance, pharmaceutical and other industries that stand to benefit from the end of environmental and financial regulations, health care refom, etc.? And those who want to “take back” the government and who buy into the simplistic slogans and outright lies these groups are peddling here in Colorado and around the nation will sure be taking it back, and delivering it right into the hands of the corporations and mega-rich who are funding this campaign. Those citizens who don’t believe in corporate control, please get out and vote!

John Porco


Dear Editor:

Many positive things have been said about the Ballot Measure 1B, which is a request for a small increase in property taxes to support a wide range of educational opportunities and enterprise development projects in Archuleta County. The educational opportunities will be directed toward the future of the youth of the county, while the enterprise development projects will support our economy, both in the short term and the long term.

Some voters seem to be concerned about a tax with no expiration. However, please consider two facts, i.e. just as taxes can be increased by 51 percent of the vote, they may also be repealed by 51 percent of the vote. In addition, as per agreement between the Ed Center and the BoCC, the BoCC can stop payment to the Ed Center at any time they feel the money is being spent inappropriately or counter to the legal agreement.

The Archuleta County Education Center has worked cooperatively with the School District to provide a wide range of educational opportunities to all of our youth for 22 years. Approximately 1,000 students of all ages use the center every year. Our need for such educational opportunities is unlikely to expire in the foreseeable future. If it does, 51 percent of the voters can repeal the tax.

Dave Richardson

Don’t be conned

Dear Editor:

If Issue 1A passes, it will be a permanent source of county revenue to be used as the county government sees fit and has been demonstrated in the past with the passage of the original 1A in 2006.

When passed in 2006, Issue 1A was promoted as the only way to satisfy the county’s need for a tax increase because: There was a pressing need for a new justice center i.e. courthouse and jail; there was an opportunity to garner increased oil and gas revenue; and the road maintenance fund was in dire need of a substantial infusion of moneys to keep us safe. Proponents, at that time, stated that 1A could lead to a permanent 1A after five years should voters deem the demonstrated benefits of 1A warrant such an action.

Well, the list of demonstrated benefits is quite interesting. The justice center is just a few words on a piece of paper with little hope of fruition in the next decade or two. Gas and oil revenue, touted to be in the millions, have garnered an average of $66,000 per year so far. Hardly a game changer. Road maintenance funding has remained essentially constant with most visible road improvements were via funds that were not part of 1A. Promises made but not kept.

There are tangible results of a 72-percent increase in property tax over three years via the 1A of 2006: A no longer active drug officer; some recreational projects; a new motor-generator for the non-existent justice center; and a county staff level which matches pre-2007 fiscal crisis levels.

Therefore, history has proven that voting for a perpetual 1A, especially when our economy is faltering and paychecks are non-existent, is not the wisest thing. A perpetual 1A will result in perpetual higher, uncontrolled taxes, no increase in the level of road maintenance, a perpetual bigger, well paid government, and maybe better parks and trails. On balance, a perpetual 1A is not recommended to be in the best interests of Archuleta County’s tax payers.

Vote No on a perpetual county slush fund. Vote No on Issue 1A.

Lee Vorhies

Conflict and jobs

Dear Editor:

Although I live only part time in Pagosa Springs and am not a resident of the state, I have been fascinated with the exchange of rhetoric between Michael Whiting and Bob Hart over whether Mr Hart would have a conflict of interest given the nature of his businesses and his current and past business conducted with the county. While I am unable to vote in Colorado, I am very interested in the local political scene as it impacts our real estate as well as my desire to witness a change in Pagosa Springs.

First off, there is no question that Mr Hart would have a conflict. It is only to what degree. His statement that he does not become involved in day-to-day decisions of his construction company conjures up the idea in one’s mind that he is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company rather than an owner of a local entity in a small Colorado town. He will have a very significant conflict of interest if he should become the next commissioner and any of his companies contract to do business with the county and/or others who contract and lease/buy/purchase any services from any of his companies. The latter, or indirect conflicts, could possibly be more significant then direct ones in many situations. His putting forth the notion that his situation is no different than any other commissioner who might own a local business such as a restaurant, for example, illustrates to me that he truly does not understand what constitutes a conflict. On the surface, I believe he must think that he has a real conflict by defending this indefensible position or else he would simple put it to bed by stating that while he is commissioner his companies, or any companies having financial ties to his, will not bid or perform any county work.

As to the issue regarding who could create more jobs, it is the charge of the county officials to make sure that the county provides a friendly climate to new businesses and to be a cheerleader in promoting growth and opportunity. You can only create new jobs by attracting businesses to our area which manufacture or otherwise provide new services to this area or areas outside of the county or by further developing tourism. This is true job creation. Jobs that come about as a result of local development, such as home construction, are created not by the contractors building such structures but rather by the developers or home builders. In this regard Mr. Whiting is correct in his supposition as to what constitutes real job creation.

John E. Wosoba


Dear Editor:

In the 12 years I have been here, I have heard considerable criticism concerning the condition of our roads. We live on a dirt road three and a half miles off the main highway. The traffic on our road is heavy by county road standards. In the past, a couple of weeks after the crew graded it, the road would almost deteriorate to its original state. I have seen many road applications performed on our road and most recently I noticed a significant change in the crew’s approach to this problem.

Their new approach and tactics has resulted in much improved road conditions for many of us living on county roads. Their investment in equipment and materials has given us a strong indication that the road will hold up much better than it has in the past. It’s apparent it will no longer be necessary to do our road three or four times a year. The crew addressed slopes, drainage and material composition to enhance our road conditions. I salute the crew and management’s decision to “do it right.” I want to both commend and thank the road crew and management for their efforts. Oh yes, my car wants to say thank you also.

It’s easy to criticize, but we as citizens need to step up and give a pat on the back when it’s so deserved. Some of you may have not experienced this new approach yet, and you may think I’m crazy. But be patient, they will get to you.

Frank Zellner