I want to jump up and down and shout for joy regarding Justice Ministries (JM) of Pagosa. They are located at 459 Lewis St., next to the Adobe building. With three full-time staff members, they are excited when their telephone rings or someone walks through the door and says I need help. Because that is exactly what they are about.
Networking with other community ministries and volunteers, JM is a HUB, pulling together the needs of people with those willing to help. To date, those needs have varied from helping an elderly couple fix their plumbing to moving people in desperate situations. With winter fast approaching, the needs will be expanding into more areas such as snow removal, chopping firewood and providing transportation.
During these hard economic times, Justice Ministries wants folks to know that they are not alone and someone cares. Imagine what Pagosa Springs could be like if this became the “normal,” breaking down barriers and joining together in unity. If we would all give just a little bit to help each other, life may seem a little brighter.
The name Justice Ministries is starting to spread as those who have been touched share the good news. JM cares and can help or direct you to another source that can. JM is an independent ministry, not affiliated with any specific church. They have a heart and purpose in serving the people of Pagosa Springs. Stop by for a visit and meet the staff or call them at 264-4483. Maybe their vision can include you.
The national campaign rhetoric on all sides the season demonstrates to me once again that the goal for politicians of all stripes is to get elected or stay elected and not to place the needs of the country first. The Republicans seek to wrest “control” from the Democrats this time versus the other way around last time.
Meanwhile, I expect that in the coming two years we will again fail to address the stark realities of unaffordable national budget entitlements (e.g., Medicare, Social Security, Defense — yes, this too has become a national entitlement, etc.) because we even more steadfastly reject the notion that paying taxes are what binds us as a nation and society. The no-taxing side offers no credible concepts for multi-trillion-dollar savings while the liberals complain that Obama compromised too much on their agenda.
For those without work and no prospects for a return to past employment security, Congressional leaders already focusing on the next biennial power grab are of little comfort. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said this weekend that his goal now is to assure the President Obama is a one-term president. So much for jobs. At least the local elections seem to be more focused on credentials and service. The new bumper sticker — “Divided We Fail.”
Six reasons why we should support the PLPOA board decision to stop funding animal control.
1. We pay county taxes; let the county provide animal control. Right. PLPOA is not unlike the rest of the rural county. The population is not denser, the pet population is not larger per area, the human/animal contact is not greater than in typical rural areas, etc. PLPOA does not have different and greater needs than other areas in the county. Hellooo.
2. Other subdivisions do not pay extra for animal control beyond the usual county levee. Actually, all of the other subdivisions covering over 21 square miles and with over 6,000 lots do have greater costs than what is provided by the county. Say, what? There are not any other subdivisions this size? You mean, PLPOA is unique? Ohhh.
3. PLPOA property owners are demanding that the board cut the extra cost ($8 per member per year) for animal control. Oh? Who? When? Where?
4. Animal control officers have mishandled problems in the past. Really? What a shock. Well, that’s law enforcement. A 25-year-old officer makes a decision in a half-second when a gunman is threatening lives and two years later a court spends six months deliberating and then by a five-to-four-vote decides the officer could have made a different decision that would have provided a better outcome for the perpetrator. Oh, and by the way, when a school disciplines little Billy, it is grossly unfair because little Billy is such a sweet child and would never do anything like that. Similarly, little “Pookie” is a sweet little doggie and only bit Mr. Meenie because he hates dogs and was teasing poor little Pookie.
5. Although not yet made public, the PLPOA board no doubt has plans for a much better use of the money to be saved by cutting back animal control.
6. The PLPOA board may, indeed, have other plans to save money by not funding other services that can be handled by the county to whom we all pay taxes. Some that come to mind are building permits and compliance, weed control, trails, sidewalks, recreation center. So, who needs the PLPOA?
Arguments can be made for modifying PLPOA animal control policies, but for the board to make an arbitrary decision to drop all funding for such a program without input from the membership is nothing short of arrogant. A little over a decade ago, the board and administration reached a point of arrogance to which there was a near-revolutionary response from the membership. Heads rolled, people were fired, board members resigned or were voted out, and general turmoil resulted. One of the many issues at the time: public safety wanted to take over animal control and build a dog pound by the Vista offices (without public input and support). Things were finally sorted out, and for 10 years, things have operated smoothly in the PLPOA. I sincerely request that the board reverse their decision on animal control and refer the matter to the annual meeting in July.
Ahh, Mr. Blake, nice try, but that dog won’t hunt. Out of the millions who attended Tea Party events across the country, liberal activists who went out to search for anything that would discredit the Tea Party movement were only able to find a couple of people carrying racist signs. Pictures of those few signs floated on the Internet for months - but a picture of one sign seen 10,000 times does not make 10,000 signs. Whenever leaders of the movement identified anyone who made racist comments or carried racist signs, they were expelled. I can assure you that were there any real racist element in the Tea Party the media would have been on it and we would still be hearing it. You, Mr. Blake, are no Chris (a thrill runs up my leg) Matthews who can make a general (and unsubstantiated) allegation on national TV about possible racism in the Tea Party. When you make that kind of comment in a small-town newspaper, you are accusing conservative neighbors of being racists. We had several Tea Party events in Pagosa and I attended every one along with hundreds of others. I did not see a single racist sign or hear a single racist comment. So, back up your statement Mr. Blake.
I am still a conservative and a member of the Tea Party movement, supporting candidates who will work to push back government by reducing its scope and power. Since liberals cannot run on their record this year, they can only hope to find some quote or part of a statement they can use to paint their opponents as “extreme.” There is nothing extreme about wanting smaller, less intrusive, less controlling government. I think it is the representatives, lobbyists and special interests in Washington who have their collective “bowels chilled with fear,” to use your quaint phrase, at the prospect of having a group of new representatives seated who owe no allegiance to the political establishment.
You criticize conservatives/Tea Party, who receive donations from conservative billionaires but ignore liberals who receive donations from unions and liberal billionaires like Soros. You castigate Wall Street and ignore the fact that Obama received more money from Goldman Sachs than any other congressman and then, curiously, his administration bailed them out. You are happy to go back 20 years to find alleged statements or acts by conservative/Tea Party candidates in college, but are willing to forget elected officials like Congressman ($90,000 in my freezer) Jefferson or Sen. Kennedy who killed a young woman at Chappaquiddick and then went on to get elected for decades.
Last, at least we now know how you really feel about the military. Yes, I did forgo the exercise of some of my civil rights during my 22 years of service, but that was not for life and it made me value those freedoms even more. Through my service I was able to observe the effect of overpowering and oppressive governments in other countries where citizens have no expectation they are “. . . endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights ...” I will do what I can to prevent the loss of those rights here.
This year I did not run out of candy. Being new to downtown living last year, I was not prepared for the hundreds of children that invade Mesa Heights and Lewis Street in search of Halloween treats. I was caught off guard actually. A friend happened to mention in random conversation that I should be prepared to shell out money for candy — because kids would come not in pairs ... but in dozens. Worried, I sought advice from someone living in Mesa Heights who I know has lived there for many years. Unfortunately I guess I misinterpreted the information because by 7 p.m. I turned out my light and had to sneak out the back door with people still banging on the front door.
A few days ago, my doorbell rang and I saw a young gentleman leaving — walking down my stairs. I noticed that he had left a grocery bag on my doorknob. When I opened the door he yelled out, “Happy Halloween.” Curious, I opened the bag to find candy. The candy was from the Alley House Grille and Farrago’s, with a note stating that they would like us to add the candy in the bag to our stash to give out to Halloween trick-or-treaters. Finally ... someone takes initiative. So, thank you to the team at Alley House and Farrago’s for recognizing the hundreds (more like thousands) of dollars that are spent by Mesa Heights and Lewis Street residents on Halloween candy, and trying to help out. No offense, but I’d rather spend the money that I spend on candy on groceries or the gas bill or any number of other things. I don’t have kids, nor do I have nieces or nephews living here. I could have easily turned off the light and went somewhere else instead of manning my house on Halloween, but I love the Halloween kiddos.
It would be great next year if someone continues the initiative that Alley House and Farrago’s have shown this year, and would purchase candy for downtown residents willing to hand it out — instead of expecting them to always foot the bill. Maybe folks living further outside of downtown wouldn’t mind dropping off a bag or two of goodies? Just an idea. Thanks again, Alley House and Farrago’s, for thinking of us, every little bit helps.