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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

I’ve heard it so many times, the anti-Christian sentiments re. Christmas and what it really stands for.

It is time for Christians to show their support and light up their abodes with lights at night for this Christmas season. There doesn’t need to be a lot of lights, just a little something. Thrift shops have pretested lights at reasonable prices. There are those persons who decorate their properties with an abundance of lights. I understand it, as the colors are fantastic! It’s okay, as its just a temporary thing, to celebrate the birth of Christ. Lets not let others dictate to us what we can and cannot do re. our Christmas celebrations!

Merry Christmas!

Paula Bain

So be it

Dear Editor:

Working for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Mr. Gingrich, “offered them advice on precisely what they didn’t do.” He had concluded, last decade, that Freddie and its sister, Fannie Mae, should stop making loans to people who have no credit history. He adds that now they should be broken up.

He was approached to offer strategic advice and had warned the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) to stop lending to bad credit risks.

Obama received some $95,000 in contributions from Freddie and Fannie, Chris Dodd, Barney Frank also received funds. Democrat candidates received more campaign funds than did Republicans. Claude Rains, their chief financial officer, left with some $90 million, Jamie Gurlick walked with $20 million, Rahm Emanuel walked with some $10 million. It is known within the DC Beltway that Freddie and Fannie served as a cash cow for Democrat faithful. It was their refuel station after a temporary stint in political office. What Newt Gingrich received over a 10-year period was pocket change by comparison.

He was a private citizen at that point in time; if they gave him $1 million or more for telling them not to give a loan to people who cannot repay it, so be it.

His company consulted. His company told them to stop the high-risk loans that are presently killing us and causing foreclosures. Consultants can’t make their clients follow their advice.

And if the concern is taxpayer money paying the consultant fees, then let’s tar and feather everyone who has taken any sort of a government contract.


Duane C. Branson


Dear Editor:

I am writing in response to your 8/3/2011 article about the Archuleta County approval of the relocation of the LPEA Ponderosa Substation. In my opinion, the Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) is letting LPEA get away with a costly act of favoritism, as I explain below.

From 2005-2010, LPEA was planning to augment the Ponderosa substation in its present location, followed by an Archuleta County BoCC 3-0 approval of the upgrade at the current site. Statements made by BoCC in approving the augmentation request include: “To relocate would be cost prohibitive” and “relocation would be a great burden on LPEA.”

In July 2011, however, the new BoCC reversed this decision in a 2-1 vote after only a very brief investigation by LPEA into a previously unconsidered site, motivated by vehement objection to the original plan by the current, adjoining neighbor, coupled with the donation of a land easement on which to build the new substation. As documented in The Pagosa SUN article, this new substation will now be erected at an expense to LPEA that the previous BoCC deemed “prohibitive.”

I am an LPEA member and the owner of 78 acres directly across U.S. 160 from the new substation site. My property value will be greatly diminished because LPEA has chosen, after receiving everything they asked for in their initial substation upgrade approval, to relocate, motivated by a neighbor’s complaints. LPEA never contacted me to discuss the relocation until after they had already applied to the BoCC. I certainly did not expect that one landowner would be so clearly favored over another. Commissioner Whiting’s vote against this approval was based on exactly these grounds.

According to the July 28, 2011, BoCC minutes, the additional relocation cost amounts to $700,000, seemingly low for an undertaking of this magnitude, but nevertheless very significant for LPEA members, especially when this undertaking is not motivated by necessity, but by favoritism.

Is it consistent with quality public service for the BoCC to determine less than one year later that concerns brought up by one landowner will be ignored when it allows LPEA to relocate the substation (at substantial additional cost to the membership) next to another landowner? How can the LPEA board members defend to their members and the public the additional cost of the relocation decision and the consequent devaluation of one landowner’s property while benefitting another landowner? There is a real cost to the favoritism — a cost to be paid by the LPEA membership and inflicted as damage onto my land.

Maybe some members of the LPEA membership, LPEA board and BoCC believe this facility planning and approval process to be ethical, fair and in compliance with all laws. But can they truly justify this when state statutes governing rural electrical cooperatives prohibit favoritism and discrimination with respect to utility facilities, and county conditional use permits should not be issued when the land use will be “materially injurious to properties … in the vicinity”?


Kaspar von Braun

ALEC power

Dear Editor:

I am dismayed that Colorado State Representative J. Paul Brown, a new member of the state Legislature this year, writes of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a meeting of which he attended, saying that it is an organization of private and public partners attempting to come up “with policies and strategies that will help our country as a whole.” (SUN Dec. 8.)

Common Cause, a consumer advocacy group dedicated to putting people back in charge of America’s democracy (founded by Ralph Nader), has identified ALEC as a corporate special interest group of business leaders spending hundreds of millions of dollars to enact an anti-public interest agenda in every state. ALEC will continue putting state laws on the books that will undermine the rights of workers, make people and the environment sicker, and protect corporate profits at the expense of ordinary Americans (Robert Reich, Professor of Public Policy, UC Berkeley and former Secretary of Labor, letter October 2011). He says, “The group exists solely to draft and pass pro-business legislation at the state level.”

For more information on the ALEC lobbying juggernaut, go to or request their report, “Money, Power and the American Legislative Exchange Council.”

Norman French

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