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Letters to Editor

Common cause

Dear Editor:

It seems to me, as a major simplification, that the success of our species over the millennia is largely due to a unique balance of selfishness (and greed) and selflessness (our communal spirit). This success comes into some clarity for me at this time of year with presents received and given, of wish lists written and community service given. During those millennia, our species has gone from tribalism to complex social structures. That we have succeeded so spectacularly as a species is that, along with the other two attributes, we have learned that a cooperative economic and social structure is critical for success, as we have gone from scattered nomadic tribes moving out from our original habitat to today’s cities and countries.

Governmental forms are ongoing experiments in social organization and cooperation. The complexities of governing in a nation of 300 million or so are nearly overwhelming. Many seek over-simplicity as an antidote to these complexities. One of the most complex issues we are facing is how to effectively provide and deliver medical care that blends the right proportions of selfish and selfless aspects. We have delegated the complexities of our health care system to the political elite whose training and disposition appears to be to generate complex legalisms and political power rather than effective solutions.

Our natural selfish inclination is to cast the government as a separate creature that takes tax money that is rightly our own — we “earned” it and we want to keep it. Our natural selfless inclination is to see that health care in this country does not favor those who have over those who don’t have. In reality, the success of any complex social structure is largely based on our ability to fairly share the national burdens and rewards, a balance of selfish and selfless. Taxes and tithes have a common theme of shared responsibility. Unfortunately, the national experiment in republic-based governance has created large and complex structures that do not work efficiently or responsively. The new health care law is the result of that governance structure.

We who have enjoyed financial success have done so because we operate in a cooperative social structure with many interacting parts. To now say our success is ours alone as individuals and not as members of the larger society is simply wrong. Our republic needs something better to address these complexities in fairness and balance to all persons. I do not believe the answer is likely to come from either end of today’s political spectrum. Can we find a basis to work in common cause on any of the many major issues we face today?

Merry Christmas.

Tom Cruse


Dear Editor:

As a former certified nurse midwife (900 births) and the former nurse manager of a obstetrical unit at a community hospital, I am acutely aware of the complex decisions involved when a young woman with no, or minimal, prenatal care arrives in labor at a facility that lacks the capacity to handle serious obstetrical/neonatal emergencies.

For the practitioner, medically-established guidelines and hard-won experience combine to make a decision that gives the client the best chance for an optimal outcome. For the client, as in all other life-situations, there is a responsibility for planning and making choices that enhance the possibility of success.

Since I was not present as Dr. Phillips went through this process with Meeka Martinez, it would be improper for me to assume that his decision was not appropriate. Only an informed inquiry into all aspects of this situation would yield an answer.

However, it is important for all rural residents to realize that a rural hospital has certain staffing, equipment and procedural limitations that “go with the territory.” Having done both, I know that working in a rapidly growing community hospital requires staff members to have a broader range of skills and flexibility than are needed in a big city hospital where there is more of everything to deal with emergencies. While PMH is not staffed and equipped to handle all our needs, I hope we can continue to support it in its growth toward excellence as a Critical Access facility.

Elizabeth Coleman

Sorely missed

Dear Editor:

A letter to Charlie Brannon.

Dear Charlie,

It’s funny that I should be the one writing you, because you and I have never met. I’m pretty new in town, and one of the most pleasant surprises Pagosa has had for me is its abundance of wonderful, live music. I’m not a musician, but I’m one of those folks musicians love to play for. Thus I attended your benefit concert, “Charlie’s Bands and Loose Musicians,” held at Dorothy’s Restaurant.

You were sorely missed.

Even though we’ve never met, I feel that I know you because your friend Karma Railey wrote a moving article about you and your benefit for The Pagosa SUN’s PREVIEW section. You remind me of Vietnam vets I have known, whose Vietnam experiences were so pervasive that they became inimitable in their identity, hauntingly so.

So, Charlie Brannon, local musician and Vietnam veteran, I want to assure you that your musician friends threw one hell of a party in your honor. Oh my gosh! I think the party was the most fun I’ve ever had in Pagosa, and probably was the largest gathering of local musicians in Pagosa history.

J.P. and Joel kept the sound and show running smoothly. I saw some bands, or perhaps they were combined bands, that I had never seen before. There were no egos on stage, just a bunch of musicians collaborating to put on a show for you. You must be one great guy!

Anyway, Charlie, I took some pictures for you, since you couldn’t be there.

Thanks again, Charlie, for being the person you are that brought all these musicians together, for your benefit, and mine.

Yours truly,

Cynda Green


Dear Editor:

My name is Susan Harris and I want to apologize for dumping a large amount of yard waste and household goods on public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, specifically in the Martinez Canyon area north of the Trails subdivision. The Trails subdivision is managed by the Pagosa Lakes Property Owners Association. In October, I was issued a summons to appear to District Court in Durango as a result of my dumping. I was subsequently fined $1,000, ordered to stay off of BLM and Forest Service lands for a year, was ordered to write a letter of apology to public land users, and was ordered to pick up all of the trash in the area I illegally dumped in. As long as I fulfill the requirements of my sentence, all but $200 of the fine will be suspended.

I want to apologize to public land users, in particular residents of the Trails subdivision, for trashing your backyard. I want to also apologize to the volunteers who donated your time to clean up the Martinez Canyon area a year ago.

I will never dump anything on public lands again and will instead use the county landfill. It is much cheaper to pay the fee at the landfill than it is to pay a hefty fine.


Susan Harris


Dear Editor:

Cindy Lovato, who you may know from the Family Dollar store, was involved in an accident on Dec. 1, where she sustained serious injuries.

An account for donations has been set up for her at the Bank of the San Juans, account No. 20032064.

Any donations that you wish to give in Cindy’s time of need would be greatly appreciated.

Our heartfelt thanks to you.

The family of Cindy Lovato


Dear Editor:

Re: Jim McQuiggin’s “Random Shuffle” column, Oct. 21, 2010.

As I read your article I became more and more incensed with each sentence. I am deeply insulted that you refer to hunters as dishonest, “swinish sort(s)” whom you compare to “vicious man-eaters” and refer to as “drunken morons.” While my husband and I were out for a week of camping and hunting, we didn’t experience any stray rounds whizzing by our heads. Nor did we experience any drunk or rude hunters.

You, on the other hand, apparently take little responsibility for your own existence and certainly don’t want to expend any more effort than is absolutely necessary. (“The grocery store offers me ample selection, and all things considered, it comes at a fraction of the price and none of the effort.”)

You consider it fine to eat meat as long as someone else does the dirty work. (“ … never understood the need to shoot an animal, for sport or food.”) Are you completely unaware of the deplorable conditions under which most animals are raised, commercially? Are you completely out of tune with how well Colorado’s Division of Wildlife manages our game populations? Have you no knowledge of the respect and admiration we hunters have for wilderness?

You have enlisted Habitat for Humanity to provide you housing.

You have turned to the community for family support of various sorts.

Somehow, in your logic, it’s okay to toss back a few at the beer garden, with your kids in tow, but it’s not okay for a hunter to do the same after returning to camp from a day of enjoying the outdoors.

As a citizen of Pagosa Springs, you might want to consider the revenue that hunting season brings to the area. You might need some of that the next time you require assistance.

Pagosa Springs’ community has been gracious and giving to you. Yet you insult these hard working, independent people with your arrogant, entitlement minded attitude. Perhaps Manitou Springs is a better fit for you.

Charlotte Maier


Dear Editor:

Appreciation to the Americana class:

The concert the other night was excruciatingly off the hook, way more than anyone could have expected. Great job to all the teachers and students! There is a new sound coming out of Pagosa reaching back to our grassroots and about to blossom a whole new era of music. So, to all you music lovers and young musicians from near and far, keep on spreadin’ da love!

Benjamin Shiflett