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Letters to Editor

Tea Party

Dear Editor:

I’m no longer puzzled by the Tea Party. After their enthusiastic call for the death of a hypothetical sick man who chose not to buy health insurance. “But, Congressman, are you saying the society should just let him die?” At that point, the rabble erupted in cheers and whoops of, “Yeah.” Guess they forgot what Christ said. Plus, with their of- repeated “Tar Baby” slurs at our president, I no longer see them as unwitting optimists, but rather a “mob-mentality moment.”

In “The Rhetoric of Reaction,” A. Hirshman pointed out that, “Conservative arguments come in three distinct theses. First is the ‘Perversity thesis’ where any well meaning reform produces its opposite outcome: ‘welfare makes you poor.’ The second is the ‘Jeopardy thesis’ where reforms put at risk more than they can ever deliver. Third is the ‘Futility thesis’ where reforms are simply pointless.”

There is good-bad to group or consensus thinking as this process makes possible equalitarian redistribution; but it also limits the ability to question the foundations of the system or group position.

Re-enter the Tea Party. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) said, “In Washington, the view is that the banks are to be regulated, and my view is that Washington and the regulators are there to serve the banks.”

“This logic is important because it lies at the heart of the argument of the contribution of large financial sectors to growth.“

The economic evidence to date doesn’t support or deny the benefit of unfettered financial markets. But the current global recession leaves no doubt of the ability of minimally controlled banks to cause disaster.

Look closely and you’ll recognize another conservative conundrum: encouraging our major corporations to “globalize” actually led to the decline of our middle class and in turn the associated general decline in our youth of character and in turn their academic test scores. Our middle class was/is where our national traits of character reside.

So, are the Tea Partyites “right?” Depends on whether you’re Darwinian or humanist. They’re certainly not Christian in their actions, but they’ll keep telling themselves so at our nation’s expense. And if you don’t agree, well, you’re just a “Tar Baby” lover.

Dave Blake

Bond-aid

Dear Editor:

I have a question for Archuleta County voters: Why pay for a short term fix when you can pay for a long term answer for a little more?

The road tax proposal, approximately $10 million raised in four years, is a short term fix. I question the impact of this proposal as paving and road construction currently costs roughly $1 million per 1 mile of new road. $10 million dollars on patches and repairs of roads amounts to a very expensive band-aid.

The school district considered a fix and repair solution, too — one that includes making repairs to fix unsafe, inefficient buildings and having yet another, very expensive Band-aid that won’t last as long as a new building doesn’t take our kids away from U.S. 160, like a new building would, or create operating efficiencies that a new building would; to allow more money to be spent in the classroom. Band-aids were never meant to heal, but to cover existing wounds from worse infections (worse conditions and more expensive problems). I’m glad the district proceeded with a new, and more permanent solution to their K-8 building deficiencies. If approved, I’ll get a bigger bang for my buck and ensure a better future for our students and our community.

And I’m willing to bet the intelligent taxpaying citizen would agree and vote for the best investment of their dollar. “Yes” on 3B invests our valuable tax dollars in a long-term fix — building new schools that are safe, energy efficient, and at the height of 21st century technology. Building a safe, new school where our kids, our future leaders, can learn with fresh air and natural light; away from the highway, which is only expected to become busier in the next 10 years.

For those of you who have verbalized their desire for better teachers and better teaching tools, instead of more economical buildings, let me ask: “Do you realize the reality of what could happen to the teachers and technology if this bond does not pass?” The effect it will have on our kids, our future leaders, could be far worse than the tax impact the bond will have on the taxpayers.

If the school district has to start taking money from the general education fund to start making some of the necessary repairs to the existing K-8 buildings, the taxpayer may be able to say, “I didn’t have to pay for that; however, ultimately they will be passing the burden onto their children, grandchildren, and their community.

More money will be allocated for maintenance expenses; therefore, leaving less money for teachers, salaries, technology, sports, programs, etc. If programs are cut, teachers are cut. If teachers are cut, families move. If families move, businesses close. Are you seeing a pattern here?

So, think about the effects of not fixing the problems or putting a short-term Band-aid on them. Band-aids were meant to temporarily cover wounds, not to fix them. We need a long-term fix.

We do not need a Band-aid, we need a “Bond-aid.” We need 3B.

Cheryl Bowdridge

Road and bridge

Dear Editor:

Have we still got a road crew? Our roads are a mess — every culvert plugged, horrible washboard five miles south of 160 on CR 700. CR 500 from 151 east to Carracas has made driving dangerous.

I still can’t see why you commissioners, public works director and county administrator, who apparently runs the county, can’t take couple hours and tour our roads.

You just don’t care, do you?

County R&B crews are just not doing their jobs. So, I say, voters, do not support the mill levy increase request. Money has not been used wisely. Commissioners let the county administrator call the shots. I say get rid many of the professional people in the road and bridge department. What’s with upper Piedra Road that gets no attention? One commissioner (new) said upon entering office, “... we will get professional people to do the work for the county.” County officials do not care, or know how to run county operations.

I say no on mill levy increase. I also say no to the idea of creating districts.

Chris Chavez

BBBS

Dear Editor:

I want to express my deep thanks for the Archuleta County Big Brothers Big Sisters program.

My family applied for the program and my son received a Big Couple just a few months ago. We weren’t sure what to expect, but the amazing positive influence in his life goes beyond even the high hopes we had.

Since joining the program, my son has become involved in volunteering, activities outdoors like biking and horseback riding, and he has begun to work out. He and his Big Brother talk and laugh a lot, and this has bridged over into his social life. He has started to make new friends his own age and open up emotionally at home and at school. My son even asked us to find a church he would feel comfortable in and has begun to go each Sunday.

Much of this transition can be found in the fact that he has very positive and available life mentors in his Big Couple and the program offers many activities that he can get involved with.

My thanks to Maggie at Big Brothers Big Sisters for this gift, and especially to Mike and Linda for your enormous kindness. Big Brothers Big Sisters are always in need of volunteers for the program to help mentor young children. I encourage everyone reading this to find out how they can help by calling Maggie at 264-5077. You can transform a life!

Jennifer Decker

Bad move

Dear Editor:

To the Archuleta County Democratic Central Committee:

As a local Democrat, I must address the recent resolution passed by the Archuleta County Democratic Central Committee opposing the school bond issue. When I read the document I was appalled, embarrassed and ashamed for the local Dems who supported this resolution and its poorly written and less than factual foundation.

It would have been nice if it had also been e-mailed to the Dems and posted on the ADP website, put in the newsletter and not just sent to the media and local governmental agencies. I believe the ADP Central Committee acted too quickly and without proper information. It is also very disconcerting to me that the ADP would do this when many teachers and administrators happen to be progressive leaning independents or registered Dems. A more positive approach would have been to invite the school board and superintendent to speak to the Dems at the Chili Supper, to encourage the LWV to host a debate on the issue. For teachers, voters and more to be contacted when a draft was written and before the document was circulated to be sure all the factual evidence was in place.

Instead, in my opinion, the ADP Central Committee submitted a document filled with false information and it makes each one of you look uninformed and ignorant. I am a progressive because I value logic, intelligence and facts, but this appears to be a document resulting from fear-based tactics and toxic opinions without doing the proper homework.

Real journalists know that research requires dozens of sources because just having two or four doesn’t tell the whole story. Issues are complex; they are not black and white. We must do our homework and talk to multiple people to get all the required information before making a decision.

For ten years my children have attended school here. I choose to support this bond issue and our community actually doing something, instead of just complaining and existing in a constant spiral of negativity, rumor and false information. The cost to my family will be $11 a month. This after my tax assessment was cut significantly this year — and it will likely decline again next valuation. In essence, by supporting this bond issue, I will pay no more in taxes than I am currently paying or paid in the past. And, for once, this community will have accomplished something positive.

Leanne Goebel

Costs

Dear Editor:

Why has the school district steadfastly refused to provide the public any repair/maintenance plan for the elementary, middle and junior high schools with reasonable cost figures rather than the, almost universally recognized as bloated, $39 million for repairs cited in their arguments for new construction? I believe it is because if they say it will cost $39 million to repair the ES, MS and JHS, then saying that it will only cost $49 million for a new building doesn’t sound too bad.

What are the repair figures from the Blythe Group Facilities Master Plan in 2008 and the CDE School Assessment Reports conducted in FY 2009? The Facilities Master Plan identified $9,271,235 in repairs needed immediately, within five years, or greater than five years (not counting the high school). The CDE, for the same schools a year later, identified $27,548,423 in repairs needed immediately, within one year, or within two-five years. We have been told the folks, “who know and understand these things” that are working with the school district have re-evaluated the data previously collected and have come up with the $39 million figure, but as far as I know no report showing the figures for the different categories of repairs, their new “costs,” and why, has been published — or at least not released to us “common” folks who don’t understand these assessments and calculations.

The CDE Elementary School assessment identified total repairs and costs needed for the school as $50,547 immediately, $24,404 within one year, and $9,125,985 within two-five years. As far as we know none of these repairs were done. Let’s look at how some of the repair items were addressed and their related costs to see if there might be some things we “common” folks might find unnecessary. A significant number of the individual systems evaluated contain the following descriptive statement of their condition: “The system age is either beyond expected life or does not meet its intended performance under the Guidelines. The system may be in service and functioning but it is recommended to be replaced due to probable increased condition budget needs, the potential failure of its components, or in order to meet the performance Guidelines for this system,” followed by a declaration of when the system was installed, usually identifying that its service life has expired, and that it needs to be replaced — but maybe not right now. So, not specifically broken, but old according to the guidelines. These items end up in the within two-five years category — but are still part of the total figure for repairs.

Some items that fall into this category, and their cost just for the main building and not the addition built in 1982, are things like: Site Lighting-$112,952, Exterior Windows-$425,548, Roof Coverings-$618,666, Interior and Exterior Doors-$161,803, Fittings-$119,409, Floor Finishes-$546,923, Plumbing Fixtures-$302,699, and the building ventilation system which includes Distribution System-$424,565, Controls and Instrumentation-$104,176, Systems Testing and Balance-$30,466, and finally a completely new Terminal and Package Units (code for Air Conditioning System, which the school does not currently have)-$1,304,654. So, $4,151,861 in questionable repairs used to inflate to the $39 million identified so far.

Jim Huffman

Challenge

Dear Editor:

As a retired school administrator with over 25 years of experience as a high school principal and superintendent in southern California, I wish to comment about the proposed “3B” ballot issue pertaining to the educational future of this community.

Students and teachers need a facility where strong teaching and solid learning can take place. The older school units in question for replacement do not meet those qualifications. I have three grandchildren in the local school system and when I hear them talk about how hard it is to concentrate in a room with one small window, no air circulation while they sit and sweat trying to study/learn, one building nearly 100 years old, badly in need of updating and repair as all three buildings in question seem to be, how can we not look to the future of these next generation leaders of this community and give them a setting that is conducive for learning and teaching? How do you work in a less than adequate situation?

In a recent Pagosa SUN article, the local Democratic Party already came out ruing a “no” vote for all their party members. Folks, this is not a political issue, this is dealing with the future of your children and our community children. When perspective, younger families come to consider our community, what is one of the first questions they ask, “How are the schools, both educationally and facility wise?” This community supports our young people through 4-H projects, special recreational areas, strong athletic programs, art, music, service oriented projects and much more. Education has to be the heart of this community. When you provide a strong, modern learning situation, the desire for better teaching and learning is immediately evident. Your facilities speak loudly about how you feel about your educational philosophy for the future generation. Pagosa’s time has come to stand up and meet the challenge.

Please take time to look at the fact sheets offered by the “3B vote yes” group. Take note that the cost to retrofit and upgrade three buildings is way over one-half the cost to build the state-of-the-art facilities. Consider that the tax mill increase is less than what our taxes have dropped in the past two years with a net “no increase” in taxes giving us the new school.

This coming vote is about the future of this community willing to accept the challenge on behalf of your future leaders and decision makers. I sincerely hope you choose wisely.

Bruce Keuning

Corporate state

Dear Editor:

Arguably, the worst president in our country’s history can be narrowed down to four presidents.

Warren G. Harding, Bill Clinton, George Bush and Barack Obama. Old Warren never really wanted to be president. He fortunately died in office early. Bill Clinton, a man of the people, did more to destroy the working class than any other president. He did this by supporting NAFTA and was thereby instrumental in exporting millions of working class jobs overseas. Clinton, with the help of his then secretary of the treasury, Robert Rubin and other traitors, pushed through legislation to allow banks to gamble with your money. The next results of these treasonous acts are being played out on world financial markets today. The last thing Bill Clinton had on his mind was the working class, or for that matter, the middle class. Monica Lewinsky comes to mind.

George Bush, not too smart to begin with, did more to dismantle the Constitution than any president in the last 100 years. He did this with the implementation of the Patriot Act. Who needs privacy and Habeas Corpus anyway? Are we still looking for those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? And now to the ever-popular Barack Obama. More lobbyists in Washington than ever before, 35,000. A healthcare program to benefit big pharma and insurance conglomerates. Millions more people on food stamps and assured poverty. Continual warfare all over the planet without any hope of any kind of change for the better. Yes, I think Barack has sold his soul to the corporate elite and doesn’t care about you and me. He and Michelle will be fine; you and I will be much worse off when he’s gone. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes to work for Goldman Sachs when he leaves office. He has mastered the art of licking his corporate masters’ boots and, at the same time, conning and charming you and I into believing that he is on our side. He isn’t. Corporations are running the country. They control money flows to politicians and write the laws. The country is no longer changeable by democratic means. An overthrow of this degenerate corrupt regime is mandatory.

Marty Margulies

Unique

Dear Editor:

I am a committee member of the Florida Keys Tourist Development Council (TDC). I have some knowledge of tourism inducement, trends, events and advertising. I have also spent three months each year for the last three years in Pagosa Springs.

I come to this area for the natural beauty and the outdoor activities. This may appear to be a bias but I will try to remain as neutral as possible and address my comments from my knowledge as a committee member of a tourism council.

From your survey in the paper it seems that a large portion of those polled believe that increased amenities will draw more people here. From my experience, I can say that isn’t the case. The cultural and eco tourist are the two largest segments of the tourism business today. They actually overlap, as cultural tourism is described as travel directed at experiencing the arts, natural resources and authentically representing the heritage and special character of a place. While all three of those quoted in the paper had good points, I think it is Lynne Killey’s comment about drawing high income tourists that covers all aspects of what should be a focus of your tourism committee.

Most eco tourists will find their own activities once they find themselves here. The key is in attracting the visitor in the first place. One business cannot usually do that themselves unless they are quite unique, and then public relations kicks in.

The ecotourism attractions are phenomenal in this area. The way to get that word out has many answers, but an obvious one is to advertise in media sources that cater to this crowd. Or, have a public relations tour for national videographers, writers, etc.

Pagosa has a nice little cultural community but I can tell that it struggles. As an artist, I know that marketing is not a huge strength of artists. There should be more collaboration between your Tourism Commission and artistic/cultural community.

The one thing I feel Pagosa does not need is more “attractions.” You have a great attraction in the natural beauty.

My suggestion is that you take advantage of all the free social media available. Word of mouth is one of the greatest advantages for business. If you’re authentic people, report that. Spend your money advertising out of county and probably out of Colorado as well, with well-focused media buys. Collaborate with your cultural community for classic events. Boast about your natural resources and the activities associated with them. Remembering the definition of cultural tourism, keep “authentic” foremost in your mind. Keep your beauty and uniqueness, because gimmicky attractions will sell you down the stream in the long run. Pagosa Springs has a lot to offer already and doesn’t need any attractions to make it desirable. The goal is to advertise what you already own and make it irresistible.

Sincerely,

Sherry Phillips

Big Pine Key, Florida

Village

Dear Editor:

I recently learned that the Forest Service scheduled a public site visit for the proposed “Village at Wolf Creek” meeting on Sept. 20. After a lull in activity, “Red” McCombs has resurrected his Village at Wolf Creek proposal and plans to issue a Draft Environmental Impact Statement in the coming months.

So, I did a little digging to inform myself about the project; here’s a summary of what I found. The Village proposal was borne out of a land exchange in which the aforementioned Mr. McCombs failed to include access in his original workings with the USFS. After a legal battle and a flawed Environmental Impact Statement, the original Village proposal was defeated in the courts.

At the time, representative Udall aligned himself with local environmental groups and citizens to eliminate a “rider” on an appropriations bill that would have circumvented public process and granted automatic access to the McCombs Parcel across public lands.

Representative John Salazar also lined up in opposition stating that, “[t]he development brings the threat of dangerous roads, contaminated water and harm to the very wildlife and landscape that makes this area so unique. I will not support a project that hurts the community I represent.”

Mineral County came out in favor of the development proposal, likely for tax reasons, issuing a development permit for the 270-acre project but ultimately a court ruled that the permit was issued illegally due to the lack of legal access.

Well, as history tends to repeat itself the Village at Wolf Creek team is back and I hope the community will muster even greater levels of energy and reason as forces against this recurring crazy idea. Yes, times are tough economically and the promise of “new jobs” will be enticing. I urge all of us to think long and hard about the types of jobs and overall social and economic impacts a development for 10,000 people would bring to our communities (the 2010 US Census counted 1,727 residents of Pagosa Springs and 386 residents of South Fork). These two great towns combined represent about 20 percent of the total estimated size of “Red” McCombs village.

Born and raised in western Colorado, I watched my own “hometown ski area” of Powderhorn be purchased and sold many times over (it was auctioned off again this summer) and with each new owner came the promise of new amenities, accommodations, and an improved “experience.” Each of these ventures ultimately failed. I believe we will see the same results or worse at Wolf Creek, all in the name of progress. As citizens and residents I urge you to muster the energy once again to come out in strong opposition to the proposed development at Wolf Creek Village and to get involved in the decision-making process.

Warren C. Rider

Durango

Editor’s note: 1) The project has not been recently resurrected — it has been in process for some time now, in the land swap phase. 2) Mr. McCombs does not own the Wolf Creek Ski Area and, thus, the comparison to Powderhorn does not hold. The Village — if it is ever constructed, at any level — is on land adjacent to the ski area.

Baker man

Dear Editor:

Ron the “Baker Man” Levitan: Where in the world did you get the idea that this Polock makes $250,000 a year? Darn, I only wish! I’m jist a retired 33-year squid.

Actually, the only wealthy dude I know is the troglodyte in Arboles, Mr. Bob Dungan. He made zillions using his copious gray matter makin those “Oppie” eggs at Los Alamos. Which saved at least a million American causalities by not having to invade the Japanese homeland. Oh ya, the Archuleta County Sheriff is probably also loaded?

As you know, I did gather dog and cat waste for (16) years at the Humane Society of Pagosa Springs; which you really don’t do for money. However, I was cast out when the CEO at the time, and the current Republican Party Archuleta County commissioner, decided that since I wouldn’t kiss his/her backside they’d threaten a really dedicated shelter manager with her job if she didn’t get rid of me. So, I just quietly walked. At least it saved her job for a while. Fortunately, both the CEO and the current county commissioner are now gone from the organization, at least from the inside … and the animals are happy.

Baker Man, I’m stunned! You must be seeing the conservative light? You called yer president a “Buffoon.” Right on! Why didn’t ya call Clinton a buffoon when he shook his finger at the American people and stated, “I did not have sex with that woman.”

BTW, no sense in debating your letter by point—you’d lose. Besides, you know the truth: For all the left’s claims, they don’t give a rat’s behind about the needy. All they care about is creating as many government dependents as possible so that they can enlarge their power.

The good news is, more folks are finally waking up, for which we have Obama to thank. Never in the history of the country has so much abject socialism been foisted on a culture and society at such a rapid rate. And never before have so many Americans seen for themselves that the dummies policies don’t remotely work.

Really sad ta see that all you progressives are so aghast, disappointed, even terrified that yer president is tanking and watching in total disbelief as it all slips away. Even a lefty New York Times columnist Charles Blow joined the parade of his fellow lefty columnists slamming yer president. Blow wrote despairing that Obama was failing “to connect with the American people … increasingly coming across as dispassionate to some and outright revolting to others.” Blow closed his column by calling Obama a “robotic Sustainer-in-Chief with an eerie inhumanity.” Yes, a creepy robot.

Ron, ya’ll need ta move back ta P-Town Realville, where the local coffee shop motto is, “It is what it is.” The coffee shop regulars see what’s right before our eyes. When you inhabit “Siberia With a View,” life is a lot simpler. Here’s the key: You jist have ta be able to accept what is. Those who don’t live in Realville can’t!

Don’t stay away till 2012, Baker Man. You know darn well that even Elmer Fudd could stomp yer buffoon in 2012.

Jim Sawicki

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