Democracy is an inherently messy process; but we’re at the abyss. Let’s see, bankers (those too big to fail fat cats that we hated to bail out, then they used our tax money for bonuses) and we are actually considering electing one of them as president?
So, besides being slick at finance (companies Mitt’s firm purchased either went BK,paid for by taxpayers), jobs were shipped overseas or the lucky few paid off the debt he borrowed to buy them. Heartless comes to mind. What are his qualifications? Highly successful at avoiding taxes, but gives 10 percent to his church.
But about qualifications: He doesn’t know the difference between sheiks (leadership term) and Sikhs (not Arab, but an eastern religion). Mitt let the Brits know he thought they’re incompetent, told every Arab in the world they’re culture is second rate. Well, we’re just getting to know him.
Hates Obama Care, loves Romney Care (Mitt’s Mass. health plan, almost identical to each other), thinks corporations are citizens, except he refuses to disclose his tax history as he’s, “not a business!”
So, we’re actually thinking about electing the fox to be in the chicken coop! If we do, then surely America continues to fade as a super power, jobs don’t come back, our educational standing continues downward and the middle class … well, don’t blame anyone else.
Who does the BoCC actually represent? Is it the county voters who elected them? Town is already represented by the mayor and town council, so if not the BoCC then who?
The county residents near the proposed Wal-Mart development are so much more impacted by the negatives of the project than those town folk living far away in the downtown core. Anyone reasonable, without a political agenda to support the town can see that.
But, the town’s share of the sales tax will be spent by town on core residents’ wants and needs. Town has no concern for county residents near the proposed Wal-Mart. So the BoCC needs to represent the county voters here.
For months, county residents have taken the time to attend BoCC meetings to ask for representation on this matter. But, to no avail. The chair, Clifford Lucero, who is running for reelection this year, claimed that it was strictly a “town matter.” No need to step in to represent the county voters. Poor decision.
Then, when it became apparent that the town required ownership of Alpha Drive which is in the county, everything changed. Suddenly the county decided to get involved. Not to represent county voters, but to “help” the town acquire Alpha for their pet project. Poor decision.
First Todd Starr, the county attorney, rendered a legal opinion that the county did not own Alpha Drive. But, then he became a political emissary for Lucero and Wadley, both running for reelection this year. At the town’s second Wal-Mart design review he ensured the town that the county would “help” them acquire Alpha Drive. Poor decision.
Who sent Starr from one commissioner to the other to establish this initiative? Mitchem? It violates the intent of the Sunshine Law. Poor decision.
In the BoCC meeting last week where the commissioners finally decided to weigh in, Wadley gave an eloquent defense of private property rights. This was insincere, given that he voted to hand over a quit claim for Alpha Drive and deed to the town. This gives the appearance of a transfer of ownership, but no owner has been established. The Alpha Rockridge Metro District has been the defacto owner for years, maintaining Alpha Drive. This enables the town to take Alpha by eminent domain — a taking of private property. Poor decision.
I don’t know which is more shocking, a Republican enabling the taking of private property or a Democrat taking property away from the 99 percent and giving it to the Walton 1 percent. Who are these guys serving? The town, of course. Poor decision.
Wadley and Lucero refused to even consider adding a contingency requiring a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) to make sure there is no dark, empty building if Wal-Mart ever vacates, nor money for the Town to Lakes Trail, etc. to mitigate the negative impacts to the county constituents. Poor decision after poor decision.
I am so grateful that we will have choices this coming election. It is time for a change! Mike Hayward and Julie Simmons will represent us. We can demand the representation we deserve.
Guns and love
OMG! Is it possible that I must agree with Jim Sawicki?
Jim opined last week that restrictive controls on guns in general, and assault weapons in particular, produce no reduction in gun-related crime. I agree.
There is no credible evidence that gun restrictions reduce gun violence. We fixate on the mass killings such as occurred at the Sikh temple, the Aurora theater, the Arizona political gathering, Virginia Tech, and Columbine. We miss the point with such fixation as those deaths, while tragic, are a very small portion of our homicides.
CDC reports the U.S. gun-related death rate as 3 per 100,000; whereas, the United Kingdom’s rate is under 0.1 given their nationwide restrictive gun laws. The number of homicides and suicides from firearms in the U.S. approach those from vehicle accidents, and that’s a lot of death.
We have more guns than people in our country, and I believe that abundance makes any local gun restriction ineffective in reducing death rates. Washington, DC, and Denver have restrictions with no positive results; whereas, New York City dramatically reduced its homicide rate using better policing with no change in gun laws.
Our Constitution guarantees a right to bear arms, and that right was affirmed as an individual right by our Supreme Court. Gun restrictions might have an impact only if aggressively enforced on a national level, but there is no appetitive for federal control over our right to own and carry weapons.
I don’t believe our gun ownership makes law abiding citizens measurably safer. I can’t recall any mass killer being taken down by a citizen with a concealed weapon. A few assassins were subdued by quick acting citizens using their bare hands. Most assassins were dispatched by police or committed suicide with their own weapons.
Where does our freedom of gun ownership leave us? “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance (Thomas Jefferson).” We each must be alert to situations and persons that seem to pose a credible threat of taking lives.
What is our protection in the long term? Love. Practicing the Lord’s greatest commandment would reduce bullying and isolation, provide more accessible mental health care for troubled citizens, and cause each of us to practice peaceful resolution of our differences. We can reduce gun violence by reducing violence in all its forms.
If that is my belief, then let it begin with me. So, Jim Sawicki, I love you man. I apologize for any of my writings that made you out to be mean spirited. You are worthy of respect and all the rights of a citizen.
Once there were two climate skeptics with creditable credentials, now there is one. Richard Lindzen, MIT professor of meteorology and global warming skeptic recently presented a seminar to Sandia Lab’s Climate Change and National Security organization. Professor Lindzen is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. (Sandia National Labs is the nation’s engineering lab. Sandia’s primary business is nuclear weapons, but also undertakes a wide variety of engineering projects that are in the national interest.) Professor Richard A. Muller is professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley and former MacArthur foundation fellow.
Neither Professor Lindzen nor Professor Muller believes in computer models.
Both cited the average temperature rise (about a degree F) during the 20th century as evidence for or against global warming. Lindzen says it doesn’t amount to much and believes that in the future clouds will moderate the effect of global warming. Muller believed the same until he and his associates undertook the Berkeley project, a statistical study of 1.6 billion temperature reports from16 pre existing archives. (The study was partially funded by the billionaire climate change skeptics, the Koch brothers.) These data show that global land temperatures have increased by 1.5 degrees C over the past 250 years. The best fit of the data is with CO2 concentration. The graphs are published on Berkeleyearth.com. These data changed Muller’s from a skeptic to a believer.
I believe the professors’ emphasis on average temperatures to be misguided.
What is important in agriculture and engineering are the temperature and rain fall extremes. Before 1950, the numbers of record high and low temperatures were about equal. In the past decade, the numbers of record highs exceed the lows by a ratio of 2 to 1. This year the ratio is 9 to 1. (thinkprogress.org/climate). An early freeze or no rain spells the death kneel for a farmer. Engineers must design to the extreme case. This past summer in some locations, the cooling water was so warm, nuclear reactors had to reduce power. However, it is unwise to base conclusions on yearly records, as natural fluctuations may be misinterpreted
Professor Muller points out that how fast global warming takes place depends to a large extent on China. China is adding a one gigawatt power plant every month. Awhile back, I suggested a one gigawatt power plant for Pagosa; recall this plant would burn 6,000 tons of coal with 30,000 tons of CO2 emission per day.
Planet earth has only been on the stove for about ten years and every year, we turn the burner up a click. Who is right, Lindzen or Muller? The data favor Muller and global warming.
It boggles the mind how the Town Council and BoCC are ramrodding Wal-Mart through, despite many citizens’ disapproval of the project.
What makes the whole matter even more difficult to digest are the lies, secret deals and lack of transparency that have been going on for many months.
BoCC quit claims Alpha Drive over to the town when they don’t even own the land? And Alpha Drive is going to be the main road into WM? (That had to be a misprint in the paper.) Alpha Drive ownership has still not been resolved?
There have to be records.
Alpha Homeowners believe they own it because they have been paying for the upkeep of the road thru their Metro Road District taxes for many, many years.
One has to ask why WM chose the site they have when it impacts so many homeowners, small businesses, is adjacent to wetlands, and obstructs a grand view? (Wouldn’t a better site be in the newly purchased vast acreage on 84 that the county has big plans for?)
Question for Mayor Aragon and BoCC Chairman Lucero: Would you want want WM in your backyard?
Remember, leaders, your rulings are supposed to reflect the wishes of the majority of citizens, not personal agendas or personal gains.
In response to your article, “BoCC deals with seniors issues,” it is apparent to me that arrogance is condoned from some of the county’s staff by the BoCC; several seniors pleaded with the board and indicated they were harassed by the senior center’s director, but yet nothing was done. Commissioners, don’t forget these people have rights and, yes, I bet they vote.
I have a suggestion for the commissioners: send the senior center director to the same class you sent your road and bridge superintendent to learn how to deal with people at taxpayers’ expense. I have a couple of questions in regard to that, one being shouldn’t having good public relations skills be part of the job description and how many other employees would have been terminated for such behavior?
I would like to add that the county has many good employees that are very professional and service oriented. I have called the road and bridge department and talked to the superintendent about road matters and was told things like it will never be done and there is no money to do so. (What kind of attitude is that?)
On the bright side, we have choices. I voted for Clifford in 2008 and today I wish I could have my vote back, but instead like many others of his constituents, I will be casting my vote for Mike Hayward and Julie Simmons in November. I didn’t vote for Steve Wadley in 2006 and I won’t in November 2012 neither.
It’s time for a change downtown, seems to happen every two to four years, who knows someday we might get it right.
Two weeks ago James Porter hit the nail on the head with his letter pointing out that this election is between “two diametrically opposite political philosophies” — Democrat (more government, higher taxes, increased spending, and more dependence on welfare) and Republican (less government, lower taxes, reduced spending, and individual responsibility). The selection of Representative Paul Ryan as Romney’s vice-presidential running-mate brings that difference even more into focus.
So, if you are one of those folks who believe “the man” when he shows up at your door and says, “I’m from the government and I’m here to help;” if you see no hypocrisy?in attacking Governor Romney for his lack of transparency because he has only released two years of tax returns, while President Obama continues to keep sealed his academic (Occidental, Columbia,and Harvard), Selective Service, passport, Illinois Bar and Illinois Senate records; if you think it is OK for Senator Reid to abdicate his Constitutional requirement to pass a budget by refusing to even discuss the House budget, let alone vote on it for three years; if you approve of the Senate (with the president’s encouragement) refusing to discuss and/or vote on any of the numerous bills passed by the House and forwarded to the Senate, thereby subverting our Constitutionally mandated legislative process; if you have no problem with the president legislating from the Executive Branch via Executive Orders and Executive Agency (EPA, HHS, DHS, etc.) regulations in violation of the Separation of Powers enshrined in our Constitution; if you think continuing with the status quo and blathering about the proposed Ryan budget “ending Medicare as we know it” is a viable approach to solving the problem of Medicare’s over $30 trillion in unfunded liabilities, the increased strain of “Baby Boomer’”retirements, and the fact that the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will be exhausted by 2024 (Medicare as we know it will die then if not reformed); if you think we can continue to run the government with over $1.5 trillion in deficit spending each year — with 40 percent of every dollar spent being borrowed, mostly from China and Japan; if you are comfortable with the fact that just the required or mandatory entitlement spending (Medicare, Social Security, interest on the debt, etc.) exceeds the total revenue collected by the IRS starting last year (basically all of the government’s daily operation to include the Department of Defense is paid for with borrowed money); if you believe that problem is the government does not collect enough taxes rather than the government spends too much and wastes too much; if you think ignoring problems and continuing to make personal attacks is the solution rather than engaging in a reasonable discussion of policy differences — well then you need to carefully lift your almost opaque rose-colored glasses (not too far, you might let in too much light) and make sure you can find the Democrat bubbles on your ballot this November.
“This land is your land; this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island …”
In 1940, Woody Guthrie penned these words, set them to an old gospel song, and created a hymn to the dreams of the ordinary man. This vision of a verdant land in which we share the bounty and the sacrifice, living as a community, touches us all in our heart’s core.
Now compare the vision of Scott Tipton, evidenced by his voting record. His very first vote was to defund virtually our every effort to help our less fortunate neighbors. For example, health care and nutrition for poor women and children, after-school and child care, substance abuse and mental health programs, community health clinics and nutrition assistance for low income pregnant women. Other defunding votes included Public Radio, NOAA and NASA. Meanwhile, he has voted 18 times to protect the $5 billion in subsidies to big oil, the world’s wealthiest and most profitable companies. He has voted 134 times against programs and funding to protect clean air and water, and 98 times to weaken the agency responsible for the protection of the air we breathe and the water we drink. And particularly ignominious is his sponsorship of HR1581, the complete give-away of our Roadless Forests, from which come that clean air and water, to industry. Three times he has voted for the Ryan Budget, which converts Medicare into a voucher system, deeply cuts health services for the poor, gives huge tax cuts to the very wealthy, and has been declared immoral by the Council of Catholic Bishops. Robin Hood in reverse is not what Jesus taught.
Fortunately, we have a bright young alternative; his name is Sal Pace. Sal is a moderate, with a well-deserved reputation of working across the aisle in our State House. And most refreshing is his promise to replace petrified ideology with moderation and rational thought.
Town of Pagosa Springs’ Comprehensive Plan is incorporated in Town’s Land Use and Development Code (LUDC).
Wal-Mart’s permit should be denied for following reasons:
Walmart development violates LUDC requirements and intent of Comprehensive Plan:
No meaningful dialog with citizens in impacted area.
Exterior lighting plan omits required hours of illumination. Wal-Mart seeks flexibility to be open 24 hours, but LUDC limits lighting until 11 p.m.
Diverse land uses. Studies incorporated as appendices to Comprehensive Plan explicit about separating diverse land uses. Large horse properties and 24-hour superstores inconsistent land uses in immediate vicinity of one another. Established property owners’ rights transgressed.
Buffering and screening. Broken buffer wall ineffective screen for Alpha residents living above and looking down upon proposed site.
Aspen Village approved plan consistent with Comprehensive Plan. 93,000-square-foot building with large traffic volumes substantially violates plan.
Comprehensive Plan requires major retail/commercial developments located away from uptown, keeping commerce healthy in core area and preventing “sprawl” in rural county areas. Second major grocery outlet uptown precludes major grocery store locating in core downtown.
Comprehensive Plan establishes town’s commitment to protect scenic environment and beauty. Wal-Mart near golf course and scenic lake view corridor inconsistent with Plan.
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers questions location choice, when alternative sites available.
LUDC is explicit: road improvement costs must be bonded.
Last Design Review Resolution gave one year warranty; LUDC requires three year warranty.
Legal and technical violations and tainted process:
Record corrupted by falsified notarized document, procured by fraud, relied upon by town to move Wal-Mart’s application forward.
Deeded Open Space not legally reconfigured to support project. False statements made by James Dickhoff and Wal-Mart relied upon. Two deeds recorded in county records are false.
Staff falsely alleged Wal-Mart won’t significantly alter traffic impacts to area, compared to previously-approved project. Traffic will increase by 20 percent, a threshold significant to CDOT.
Alpha Drive not legally acquired by town. No documentation offered to substantiate county’s “ownership” of Alpha Drive when quit-claiming rights without warranty of title to town.
Wal-Mart failed to document legal authority to place additional three accesses to its project from Alpha Drive; Plat (1972) restricts accesses to two.
Planning board member Natalie Woodruff is conflicted and proceedings have been tainted. Woodruff must determine whether county’s quit claim is sufficient to give town authority to allow three additional accesses via Alpha Drive. Her office relied upon deeds showing a non-existent entity as co-owner of Open Space. As county assessor, she is arbitrator for homeowners whose property valuations may be appealed, due to impacts of a Walmart nearby.
Enforceable Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) is required to assure project conforms to Comprehensive Plan and makes Walmart’s verbal representations fully enforceable. Must be negotiated in advance of project approval to be meaningful.
If Planning Commission proceeds and approves project, remedy is available by appeal to Town Council, followed by appeal to state and/or federal courts, resulting in potentially expensive litigation and possibly resulting in civil or criminal charges.
It is amazing to see the lengths that some people will go to find something, anything, they dislike about the Affordable Care Act. The diatribe by Mr. Bynum in last week’s SUN seems to single out the confusing and lengthy verbiage of the bill as his most major objection (Wow … a law written in legalese. Go figure!) and the fact that a single government administrator will be responsible for overseeing large portions of the law.
But, as usual with the “Obamacare” critics, Mr. Bynum fails to point out what actual operating provisions of the law he finds so distasteful.
Is it the ability to keep our kids on our policies until they are 26? The inability of insurance companies to refuse to pay when we get sick, to refuse us insurance for pre-existing conditions? The requirement that insurance companies use the majority of our premiums to pay for actual healthcare instead of CEO bonuses? The exchanges that will allow us to compare companies and policies? The restrictions on premium increases? The requirement to pay for all preventive examinations? The removal of lifetime caps?
Or is it the increase in Medicaid for the poor and uninsured?
Since a third of this country is already covered by government funded healthcare, what is it that people like Mr. Bynum so strongly object to? I would suspect it has less to do with government control and more about seeing the poor (whom they consider slackers and ne’er-do-wells), getting something free from their taxes.
Once again, it is all about hate and fear, and less about the creation of a rational health care system, whom even their own candidate has praised in speeches overseas.
I am sure there is prejudice amongst populations around the world ... sometimes even violent hatreds ... but this seems to the be the only country where a significant percentage of the population is willing to work against their own best interests, if only they can keep some subclass from getting the same benefits.
As happened with Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, the overblown, outrageous and misguided attacks on healthcare reform will fade as the benefits are woven into the fabric of society; and eventually, the angry protagonists like Mr. Bynum will move on to some other dire threat to our freedoms, accept the benefits of others who have worked to improve things, all the while pretending they were for the programs all along.
F John Lozen
Most of us realize that this republic is in trouble, but what do we do? One of the most powerful offices for a person to hold is that of sheriff. The county sheriff has the lawful and constitutional authority to defend county citizens from unlawful and unconstitutional actions, whether it be by the local government, courts, citizenry or the federal government’s encroachment into our lives. Every sheriff and deputy took an oath of office to uphold and defend the Constitutions of Colorado and the U.S. The county sheriff is the first line of defense for us here in Archuleta County, but what if he doesn’t stand for the constitution? We elected our sheriff, and we can hold him accountable to us and to defend us against tyranny, but what do we do when he refuses to attend a constitutional sheriff’s convention, or send a representative, even when it is fully paid for? Every sheriff in the U.S. received such an invitation, and many citizens across the U.S. are willing to pay for their sheriff to attend this convention so they understand what the people want from them. Do we want a constitutional sheriff, or do we just ignore the Constitution and accept the growing tyranny? If you want to join many others in encouraging Pete Gonzalez, or your local sheriff, to attend this conference sponsored by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, Sept. 16-18, 2012, in Las Vegas, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for brochures and website information to give the sheriff. We should easily be able to donate enough to cover all expenses for our sheriff or representative to attend, and join the growing sheriff movement to defend local citizens against the growing threats we all face, and return to our Constitution. Will Archuleta County citizens step forward to get involved and encourage Pete Gonzalez to stand for us?
The logging and railroad industries played an important role in the economic and social development of our county in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The historical society museum has a display of items from this time period in our history, but would like to expand it. We have many visitors to the museum who are interested in this particular part of our history.
We ask that anyone with memorabilia from these industries who would be will to loan or donate to the museum to please contact Shari Pierce at 946-3137. We ask that the items be from this area.
If photos are available that could be scanned for our collection, that would be most welcome.
Thank you to the community for helping us to preserve our history so that we may enjoy it now and in the future.
Pledge of Allegiance, so clean, so pure “back then.” By “back then,” I mean up to and during WWII. I was watching an old movie the other night, “Room for One More,” filmed when I was a teenager — the culture was so pure, so sweet, so sound, so respectful, so patriotic. What caught my attention was the Boy Scout meeting at the end of the movie when the troop recited the Pledge of Allegiance in a very solemn, meaningful tone:
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republicfor which it stands: one nation indivisible with liberty and justice for all.”
That described us and united us as a nation — simple and pure———“indivisible with liberty and justice for all.” But, then, following WWII, I suppose to express our thankfulness, the pledge was amended in this way: “One nation indivisible, under God, with liberty and justice for all.” It seems to me that that was the beginning of our political turmoil, as folks began to place their personal vision of God into their political decisions and slowly, over time, resulted in our current lack of unity for the good of all — extremism. As a devoted Christian, my heart aches for a return to our original Pledge of Allegiance, which served this country well during its early days of hardship, trials and tribulations.
Listening to those Boy Scouts recite that original pledge warmed my heart, but also brought tears to my eyes. I bet most of you young folks never knew the original pledge. Too bad.
I read the article in last Thursday’s paper about vaccines and our kids starting school. I was pretty frustrated when I read the article. That article only stated part of the Colorado immunization law.
According to the National Vaccine Information Center (nvic.orb), “Exemption is obtained by submitting to the student’s school a statement of exemption signed by one parent or guardian or the emancipated student or student of eighteen years of age or older that the parent, guardian or student is an adherent to a religious belief whose teachings are opposed to immunizations or that they have personal belief that is opposed to immunizations.”
For these reasons: medical, religious and personal, a parent in the state of Colorado may not immunize their child and it’s actually not required to immunize our children (C.R.S. 25-4-903).
The school systems and health organizations are always trying to re-word things in a manner so that parents feel as if they have no choice but to immunize. I know this is very controversial issue, but feel that parents should accurately know their rights when it comes to immunizations. I’m a mother of three and two don’t receive immunizations for medical reasons and one it’s my personal choice.
Thank you for allowing me to express my concerns.,
Those who deny the Christian origins of our country or have never been taught them are invited to consider the facts concerning just our nation’s capitol and compare them to the anti-religiosity of today. The capitol rotunda is adorned with huge Christian paintings: 1) Columbus landing, planting crosses, leading a prayer and naming the land San Salvador (Holy Savior); 2) the 1613 baptism of Pocahontas; 3) others illustrating prayer services and Bible studies; 4) the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, 29 of whom were preachers holding seminary degrees.
In 1782, Congress allocated funds for the printing and distribution of 20,000 copies of its official Bible to schoolchildren and for public use. On Dec. 4, 1800, Thomas Jefferson authorized use of the rotunda for church services (eventually by four congregations with a weekly average attendance of 2,000 by 1857). President Jefferson himself attended and ordered the marine band to provide the church music. This rotunda use lasted 100 years. President Jefferson also had Congress authorize funds for the construction of churches for use by Native American converts to Christianity. Then, President Garfield, a general, war hero and minister, in 1858 wrote a letter about preaching revivals and baptizing 31 people. (Source: David Barton, capitol tour guide and founder of Wall Builders, Aledo, Texas.)
One recent example of today’s contrasting anti-religious protagonism is the Chick-fil-A incident. When Chick-fil-A supports traditional marriage, it is called “bigotry,” but when Amazon pledges 2.5 million dollars to help abolish traditional marriage, it is called “equal rights.” Fortunately, there is reason for hope when millions turn out to help Chick-fil-A set a world sales record and affirm their appreciation for the company’s stand on true Biblical marriage.
One fallout of this was that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel attempted to cause a boycott of Chick-fil-A. However, under legal and public pressure, he settled for a statement that Chicago’s values are not Chick-fil-A’s, as if he is the judge of what is a value (defined as estimable) or that Chicago’s “values” are better than Chick-fil-A’s. Actually, his (and other’s) advocacy of same sex “marriage,” abortion, homosexuality and deprivation of religious freedom are not values at all but aberrations and violations of constitutional, natural and divine laws (e.g., Lev. 18:22 ff.; Jer. 1:5; Matt. 19:5).
It is incumbent on each of us to imitate the Chick-fil-A supporters and help restore the values of our country’s historic Christian heritage. Our best opportunity will come in November when we should elect a president and congressman who will reverse the current immorality and advance moral principles.
“The God who gave us life gave us liberty … Can the liberties of a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm basis, a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God?” — Thomas Jefferson.