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Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor:

I have always enjoyed John Motter’s weekly articles and also Ann Oldham’s history of the rich heritage that we have in Pagosa Springs.

Going back to the Old Cemetery: In 1888 it was called the Fort Lewis Cemetery and an early map also shows it and the Brick Yard, which was located West of the Old Cemetery and just past the old Putnam Ranch. The road to reach these places would now be Piedra Road east, which used to be the main road to Durango. The Old brickyard provided bricks for many structures in Pagosa Springs. My great-great grandfather Joe Adams and his son-in-law, my great grandfather, Thomas Confar purchased bricks for three houses that were built in Pagosa Springs. Two have been destroyed recently (Knowlton and Brown House). The last one standing was contracted by the Archuleta family and still stands along main street (Lynch House).

I also would like to state that Reservoir Hill has survived many issues, and is currently being discussed as an recreational venture by a few who would like to change one of the last remaining unblemished pieces of history in our town. I strongly believe that if it were put to a public vote, it would probably be about 80 percent of the area would vote to keep it as it is. Leave well enough alone. Don’t invest tax dollars in a venture that isn’t needed or wanted.

Franklin Anderson


Dear Editor:

Does it bother you that the Town Council did not heed your advice concerning the proposed transformation of Reservoir Hill? Your strong editorial last week urging the council to get rid of the plan and move on was well reasoned, well written and, I would say, shared by most of the local citizens. So why did it fail to come about?

The favorable decision at last Thursday’s meeting to pursue the TTC-proposed amenities was the result of the council’s earlier request for a plan to coax more tourists to spend more money, stay longer and vitalize the downtown corridor. The majority of council members appeared unable or unwilling to check the progress of their previous decision, despite the overwhelming pleas from the speakers of the audience. Like a bowling ball launched toward the pins, or a bull with rider turned loose from the chute, words proved ineffective to disrupt the momentum. To “move forward” was the only option council was willing to make.

If there is a lesson to be learned here, I believe it supports the sagacious warning given in the adage: “Be careful what you wish for because it may come true.”

Increasing tourism in Pagosa Springs may be a desirable goal, but certainly not by any avenue. The ends do not justify the means. As an example of this idea, I cannot rob the bank to provide the necessary funds to keep the pregnancy center from closing its doors.

Reservoir Hill holds a special place in the lives of many Pagosans. And, to be fair, for some it is simply another piece of real estate to develop. In arguing on behalf of the former, I would say that a community is just like the people who make it up. Both body and soul must be fed for the human person to flourish. Reservoir Hill represents the soul of the local community. Refusing to recognize this important fact will continue to cause disease (dis-ease) in the political body.

For now, we can only hope that, in this case at least, the bowling ball will tumble helplessly into the gutter, the bull will throw the rider, and this whole notion will fizzle into thin air like a motion for lack of a second.

Mark Bergon


Dear Editor:

Once again, I want to address issues, the poor maintenance of our roads.

Early this year, county spread 2 1/2 of 3 inch minus gravel on CR 700, to this day no finish 3/4 gravel has been used to cover area, terrible road surface. Now CR 700 is got some terrible washboard. Large culverts on CR 500 are still plugged solid below Pagosa Junction. Now commissioners you sure love your jobs, but you sure aren’t taking care of the county. Last year for a whole week I watched and timed road and bridge crews shut down work for the day at 2 and 2:15 p.m. Guess how many hours crews worked? Later on I noticed four county units at 2:30 p.m. at service station. Why I ask did they shut down so early? There’s an old saying, some county employees are milking the system. I’m referring to road foreman and public works director. I’ve said it before very poor management. For the past 50 years, up to1990, county only had a road foreman and old equipment and by god they did a marvelous job. I have now been driving our roads 60 years and haven’t seen an improvement on the road system. So please commissioners take a drive on CR 700. By the way, county crews do a good job. No leadership.

Chris Chavez

Reservoir Hill

Dear Editor:

I have lived 20-plus years in Pagosa, after “time sharing” for two years in February and September. Attractions were: scenery, weather, people, cross-country skiing, hiking and biking. Superb live theater and varied musical events have added much pleasure.

I’m opposed to the thinking of the majority of the town council, the town manager and the tourist committee. I believe Pagosa needs to attract part-time and full-time residents and not just tourists, who will most likely come only during school vacations.

Until this year, when picture/directional signs have been posted downtown, there has been no effort to publicize our unusual asset: Reservoir Hill. It’s been the “best kept secret in town.”

The Folk Festival promoters had the vision and the “smarts” to use the potential of the hill. The two festivals are now considered about the best in the country. The whole setup with camping around the edges is unbeatable. They bring thousands of people to town two times a year.

There is also a disc golf course on the hill, which is quite unobtrusive and suitable to the terrain. I have not heard one mention of it at any council or tourism meeting. Their tournaments draw many players to town. The next one in September is sponsored by four to five local sporting goods stores and one restaurant.

Unfortunately, there has been no “professional” evaluation of the proposed plans for Reservoir Hill: cost for repair, setup and maintenance of chairlift, zip line and slide, observation tower and balloon rides (we already have at least two companies offering balloon rides in town).

A sensible “motion” was made by David Schanzenbaker and seconded by Clint Alley to have a real financial analysis by a professional person/company, detailing actual setup costs, liability, maintenance, etc., before a final vote was taken. (So far, a “class” from Fort Lewis College has had the main input on feasibility and finances. Davey Pitcher’s negative input regarding the chairlift has been ignored.)

Despite a roomful of residents adamantly and eloquently opposed to the Reservoir Hill plan, it was approved by the council with a 5 to 2 vote. Those attendees in favor of pro vote mainly had rooms to rent.

Another issue that seems to be coming up is where to build a large concert pavilion. How about in the newly-purchased county land on U.S. 84? A priority seems to be that it be visible from the highway so people will see it and stop. There should be plenty of parking. There’s already a nice small one in Town Park.

Phyl Daleske


Dear Editor:

The Town Design Review Board (DRB) passed a motion at their July 10 Wal-Mart Design Review to require Wal-Mart to meet with the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC) to discuss a Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.

A CBA is a legally enforceable contract that documents 1) promises already made like the number of jobs, 2) community protections like what to do if Wal-Mart ever closes their store, and 3) community benefits like a guaranteed percentage of local hires.

Wal-Mart and other large format retailers have done CBAs in other communities, one notable example being Durango. Wal-Mart in Durango donated riverfront property, completed a portion of the Riverwalk, enhanced landscaping and chose to build a store that fit in with the appearance of the community, among other things. This is not a new practice for them.

The PSCDC, in preparation for discussions with Wal-Mart, held a public meeting on Aug. 6 where we collected input from the public present on what they would like to see in a CBA. Although many in the room were either for or against Wal-Mart, everyone seemed to embrace the concept of a CBA and had great ideas to offer — in fact, I published most of them in a letter to the editor last week.

Unfortunately, the Wal-Mart lawyer present at the final Wal-Mart Design Review on Aug. 21 argued that a CBA cannot be a requirement to pass the Design Review because it is not in the Land Use and Development Code (LUDC). So the DRB agreed and left the CBA unfinished with no further action steps identified.

The PSCDC did receive a letter from Josh Phair of Wal-Mart listing some of the concessions already made during the Design Review process, which ended on a hopeful but vague note: “Again, we are hopeful that this list when paired with a meaningful, open and ongoing dialogue with the community — including your organization — will produce a beneficial relationship for the residents of Pagosa Springs, its businesses large and small, our customers and our associates. Please let me know if I can be of assistance moving forward. “

The PSCDC is hopeful and optimistic that Wal-Mart with the encouragement of town council will meet with us to at least discuss a meaningful CBA, especially to address the contingency of a dark, closed store, an issue we are already grappling with as a community today.

While the motion made by the planning commission did not include a requirement for the CBA, the reading of the motion did include a very strong recommendation that Wal-Mart honor the intent of the letter Josh wrote and continue the dialog and meet with the PSCDC.

Muriel Eason


Dear Editor:

Sam’s golden 50th.

Sadly, company founder Sam Walton is not around to witness the golden anniversary of Wal-Mart, which celebrated its corporate birthday on July 2, 2012. He will not be able to see how the Wal-Mart business model has trampled human rights of workers, discriminated against women or even the collateral damage done to small businesses as new stores open with predatory glee.

While certain righteous parties rail against government programs that provide food stamps and health care to ordinary citizens in poverty, they often turn a blind eye to wealthy corporate citizens that work hard to extract every available ounce of gold from taxpayers in the form of subsidies.

Wal-Mart workers are paid so little that over $2.66 billion in food stamps and other taxpayer assistance goes to Wal-mart employees, approximately $420,000 per store. It is estimated that as many as 80 percent of Wal-Mart employees in some stores qualify for food stamps.

Wal-Mart’s healthcare plans don’t cover hundreds of thousands of associates. In 2009, Wal-Mart claimed that 52 percent of their associates were covered under their healthcare plan. They’ve refused to disclose coverage rates for their 1.4 million employees since then.

Just this year, Wal-Mart stopped offering health insurance to part-time employees working less than 24 hours per week. Taxpayers are forced to provide health care for hundreds of thousands of Wal-Mart associates and their families that qualify for publicly funded health care. According to data compiled by Good Jobs First and reported in the Label Letter, in 21 of 23 states that disclose information, Wal-Mart continues to have the largest number of employees on the public rolls of any employer. Since corporations are now considered citizens, I guess they can either be good or bad corporate citizens.

Early on in the Pagosa process, our local politicians failed to choose transparency or any honest debate on the overall impact of this project until cornered by area residents. On top of that, subsequent efforts to correct the situation seemed, at best, contrived and weak.

It’s hard to believe that this golden nugget will boost the town economy, slow down the tax leakage and still impress the tourists as they drive past the beautiful views by the golf course.

Does the opportunity to welcome this corporate citizen sound golden to you? Will it be the gold mine our politicians are touting? Or, are residents, tourists and taxpayers all just getting the shaft?

John Etten


Dear Editor:

Seriously, I thought we as a community were past this whole amusement park on Reservoir Hill idea! Why won’t the town listen to the community? The recent council elections should have been a wakeup call that the citizens were not pleased with what was going on. Individuals who supported the amusement park idea and one in particular who is still pushing it, lost his bid to be a council member by what I would consider a landslide. I sat in a meeting several months ago where different financing options were discussed and the options being pushed were options that wouldn’t require voter approval? If the town manager is correct about support for this project, why not take it to the voters for approval? Maybe, he has his doubts, or knows it would never pass. If this is such a great idea and the monies would just flow in, why hasn’t the private sector stepped up to do it? It doesn’t necessarily have to be on Reservoir Hill. My guess would be, the private sector realizes what the true costs and revenues are, and it would not be as lucrative as the TTC and town manager think. Why are they pushing for an all or none scenario? There are improvements that a majority of people agree with. Why not start with those? There are already rumors and accusations going around about pending real estate deals involving town officials, kickbacks, etc. To dispel these, wouldn’t it be prudent to let the voters decide this issue? After all this is supposed to be government of the people, for the people, by the people! I will close this letter with a quote from my college finance professor — “Figures don’t lie, liars figure.” I have seen examples of this through my entire career, and have seen people get burned for believing something, because the numbers were presented in a way that made it look positive.

Mike Hayward


Dear Editor:

The Hinsdale Board of County Commissioners, the other elected officials and Hinsdale County employees would like to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the many people and organizations from Archuleta County that stepped up and assisted Hinsdale County during the recent Little Sand Fire. That was certainly a very challenging time.

Our thanks go out to the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Office; Archuleta County Emergency Management, Drew Peterson and his staff; Archuleta County Board of County Commissioners for their offers of support; and Archuleta Fire Department and multiple other nearby fire districts. Many thanks also go to all of the people, including volunteers and organizations in our neighboring county who may not be named, but who also worked on behalf of Hinsdale County and our Upper Piedra residents.

Again, please accept our heartfelt gratitude.

Hinsdale Board of County Commissioners: Allen Brown, Stan Whinnery, Cindy Dozier


Dear Editor:

When ignorant statements are made, people listen … and revolt! While I have a mix of emotions about the outlandish statements made by Rep. Todd Akin, I can say, my overwhelming emotion is pride. I am proud of our allies, women and men, banning together and collectively holding him accountable for his ignorance. I am proud of the media for their attention to this topic, showing their awe at Mr. Akin’s audacity. And, I am the most proud of the many, many victims and survivors who have courageously come forward and shared their heart-wrenching stories of their pregnancies as the result of a rape.

I love that we’re talking. I love that the topic of sexual assault, including forcible rape, is getting the national attention it deserves. I love that myths and misconceptions are being confronted and reversed based on facts rather than ignorant assumptions. I love that the facts are being shown of the thousands — yes, thousands, of women and girls who have indeed become pregnant as the result of a rape. I love that we are tweeting, blogging, posting, talking, shouting and writing about it. I love that people are angry, saddened and driven to respond.

So, thank you Rep. Akin, for talking about it! So are we!

Carmen Hubbs

Executive director

Archuleta County Victim Assistance Program


Dear Editor:

My work as a marriage family therapist over 20 years in Silicon Valley, Calif., taught me many things; one of the most important things I learned, working with people spanning all economic levels, is that most of society’s ills are as a result of bringing unwanted unloved children into the world. Such problems are perpetuated generation after generation. Here is the real work of the world!

Now we learn that Paul Ryan would deny women their God-given rights to protect their own bodies and to earn equal pay for equal work.

1. He voted against the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The pay-gap currently costs women and their families close to $431,000 over a lifetime.

2. He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest. He voted 59 times against a woman’s right to choose. He would rather have a woman die than allow her to have an abortion. He’s supported a bill to allow hospitals to refuse to provide abortion care to a woman, even if she could die without it.

3. He strongly wants to get rid of Planned Parenthood and has voted repeatedly to defund Planned Parenthood, which would leave millions of women without access to comprehensive reproductive healthcare and preventative services.

4. He would criminalize some forms of birth control and adamantly opposes health care laws requiring insurance companies to cover birth control.

5. He would outlaw invitro fertilization — seriously! That same bill that outlaws some forms of birth control could also make invitro fertilization illegal. Can’t have children naturally? Too bad!

Where is compassion? Where is compassion for women? We spend unlimited funds on war to kill men, women and children in foreign countries. And yet, we are unwilling to fund help for women in our own country. Why? What do men really know about women’s bodies? Where is compassion?

Susan Junta


Dear Editor:

Trespassing at the hot springs resort hot tubs.

On the evening of 8/16/12, my friends and I entered the hot springs resort hot tubs without paying. I was wrong to do this. I acted childish and disrespectful toward the owner and the vital role the hot springs resort plays in the economy of our community. I sincerely apologize for my immature behavior and hope that others will understand that sneaking in without paying (trespassing) is against the law and is never acceptable behavior.

Nathan Keyawa


Dear Editor:

Socialists come up with the idea of “sharing the wealth,” as though this is a new idea for America. It has been in Europe for decades. There is really nothing new about this idea. You and I do it all the time.

We earn money at a job or business, which is our “wealth.” Then we spend it on goods and services we need and want. Thus, the wealth circulates and becomes useful to many.

The difference is that socialism says that government can do a better job of sharing the wealth. This, of course, is not true. To do this, government makes laws which limit and restrain legitimate individual rights and establishes huge bureaucracies which are subject to massive waste and corruption.

Socialism is another excuse for the government (or those who control it) to have control over the people and all the processes involved in commerce, industry, and the economy in general. Example: National Socialist Germany, Communist USSR, and we well know the evils of both.

No, I am not a “conservative,” but I do believe in individual freedom.

No, I am not a “libertarian,” but I do believe in liberty.

You may ask — what kind of liberty?

The answer to this question is, to me, best expressed in a book called “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” by Mary Baker Eddy, where she states, “God has endowed man with inalienable rights, among which are self-government, reason, and conscience. Man is properly self-governed only when he is guided rightly and governed by his Maker, divine Truth and Love.”

True, isn’t it, that man so governed has no greed, selfishness or dishonesty. He is always provided for and protected, and is generous in wisely giving to those in need, and respecting the rights of others.

This may seem like a lofty and perhaps unreachable goal. But why not give it a try?

Clive Lamprell

Golden, Colo.


Dear Editor:

It is going around (from eyewitnesses) that one of our public servants in Pagosa exploded at a public meeting at the mention of him being a “public servant.” It is a good intro to the entire problem with government these days.

Those elected officials across this Republic, local, state or federal, were chosen by the people, hired by the people, and are there to serve the people. The problem is that most “public servants” have completely forgotten what it means to be hired by someone. It means you work for the people that hired you, and yes you are a servant.

For someone to yell that he is not a servant is someone who has been impersonating a public official and is in violation of his oath of office, and perhaps a traitor to his country. Servants do not do what they want, but what their masters want. Yes, public servants, if you don’t remember whom you are serving, then you have become an infiltrator, and someone who is harming the people. Serving yourselves, serving greed, serving your lust for supposed power … well, we’ve had enough of that and it is destroying our local community, not to mention our Republic. How about standing up for the law and Constitution for a change, and the people, or quit, or we’ll fire you as a servant, and we’ll replace you with someone who understands what it means to serve.

Jeff Maehr


Dear Editor:

It will be great to come to Pagosa Springs and be able to eliminate the half day,120-mile round trip to Durango for supplies at Wal-Mart. What a time and money saving convenience for me, and for 80 percent of the people living in Pagosa who make the weekly trip. We’re talking about a $25 savings per trip on fuel alone, that might be spent in Pagosa Springs. What’s that amount to, a couple million dollars a year down the drain? Fuel that’s probably bought somewhere other than Pagosa, along with a quick lunch out.

What’s more, I suspect an increase in Pagosa home values, possible new construction, and needed tax revenue. All this because people will be able to stay off the road and enjoy the reasons they live in and visit Pagosa Springs.

Why are the frequent trips to Durango needed? Who among us doesn’t make them? Maybe something is missing in Pagosa? You think?

You’ll be assured when you turn off U.S.160, the road to Wal-Mart will not be filled with potholes. In the winter the snow will be handled properly. I doubt the store will resemble a “box.” The tough decision by Wal-Mart will be having to turn away so many people who are looking for a job.

Just the facts!

Fred Olson


Dear Editor:

I’ve been here 10 years and have heard a lot of excuses about roads, but I’m not going to vote for an incumbent county commissioner until my street, Cloudcap, is fixed.

I’ve also noticed that while there is no money to fix potholes, there is money to paint a double yellow line down the middle where everyone drives to miss the potholes on the side.

Roland Ray


Dear Editor:

I was very disappointed to learn of the theft of the swing at Yamaguchi Park. I spearheaded the project to build that playground, so it is quite dear to me. When I was planning for the elements of the playground, it was very important to me that it be a place where all children could find a way to play. Despite many comments that having any new playground at all would be terrific and that I didn’t need to worry so much about accessibility, one of my main goals for this playground was inclusion. The sight of the completed playground, including the recently installed swings, was very rewarding to me and a testament to the good will of the people of Pagosa Springs and Archuleta County.

I would now like to address the person or people who took the swing. I am not angry at you. I understand that you wanted to possess it for yourself. I am sorry you felt compelled to act on that desire. Let me tell you from whom you stole the swing. You did not steal from the town or the county governments. The people in government do not use swings during business hours. You did not steal from me. My children and I do not need such a swing to enjoy the playground. You did not even steal from the many able-bodied children you see playing on the playground daily. They may notice the loss, but they can still enjoy the playground. No, you stole from the children with disabilities. These children reside here or are guests, and they live with conditions like Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Muscular Dystrophy. The Jennswing was a gift to them. These children cannot use the other swings at the park. They might not be able to use any other element at the playground, other than that swing, the swing you took.

Now if you think about the challenges these children face versus the things you take for granted every day, I trust you know the right thing to do. It would renew my faith in human nature if you would just return the swing. You could do it stealthily, in the same manner in which you took it. I imagine it would make you feel better. Then everyone — the physically challenged children it was intended for, able bodied children, and, yes, even you — could enjoy the swing. Just think about it.

Dawn Robel


Dear Editor:

America’s crisis is not Mr. Bob Dungan’s global warming, and it’s not that we’ll need two earths in 20 years because we’re draining the world’s resources. It’s none of that. The real crisis is Obama’s out-of-control spending that is destroying the U.S. private sector — because the solution to the world’s problems is the United States of America continuing to lead as a bastion of freedom. The United States is the solution to the world’s problems — a capitalistic, free market, entrepreneurial pursuit of excellence. But under Obama and his Democrat Party Czars, the U.S. cannot solve anything, including our own problems.

That’s what has to change. Not our use of fossil fuels. We don’t have to eliminate SUVs or airplanes, or the American lifestyle; we don’t have to start driving vehicles powered by batteries. We don’t have to do one thing the environmentalist wackos say. What we have to do is get rid of liberals and socialists from positions of power who want to dictate to us, and inflict their way of life on everyone else!

The catastrophe, the crisis, the biggest problem the world faces, is the potential end of the United States of America as the lone outpost of freedom, the guidance for greatness, pursuit of excellence and happiness. The challenge we face is reasserting the traditions and institutions that led to and defined the singular greatness of this country, which are all under assault.

These idiots say that we’re using 50 percent more resources than the earth can provide. That’s not logically possible. The real problem is that we are spending 100 percent or 200 percent more money than we have, if not more — in part because we’re giving it away to Looney Tunes like these people at the World Wildlife Fund through research grants to come up with studies to tell us that in 18 years, we’ll need two planets.

Now, is America in decline? No, I don’t believe we’re in decline. I think we’re in shackles. It’s a fine point. There’s no question the economy’s trending down, but why? It’s not difficult to figure out. What Obama and the Democrats want you to believe is that we are in a structural decline because of the failure of capitalism. It’s a flat-out lie. We are trending toward decline because of Obamaism. If we are heading toward decline it’s because oduma is shrinking the private sector, spending and taxing us into debt, regulating everybody into mediocrity.

There is no country in the history of the world that has the energy and drive of the USA. No country has the ability to innovate, to adjust, to make things happen, than we do. Call it American exceptionalism — it’s right there in our 200-plus-year resume. There’s no holding us back if we’re turned loose.

What’s happening here is that Obamaism has shackled us with all these regulations, the spending, the impending new taxes. Obamacare. But Americans are getting things done anyway. Just wait until Nov. 6, when the Obama Regime is history — you will not be able to contain the energy unleashed by unshackled, free people. Vote America! Vote fer da American.

Jim Sawicki

Gun rights

Dear Editor:

The 23 August 2012 issue of The SUN included an insert entitled “The Hunt.” It is the 2012 Pagosa Springs Hunting Guide and it no doubt is of interest to a wide segment of the local populace. Most of us are aware that the ownership of firearms for hunting and home protection is a right guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the Constitution. Focusing parochially for a moment, hunting is an important source of both recreation for our citizens and revenue for our various merchants who cater to hunters — retail stores, motels, restaurants, etc. It is a right and a source of income most people here (and throughout the U.S.) take for granted.

Taking this right for granted could be a big mistake, however, if Barack Obama should be re-elected. Even now, this right may presently hang in the balance by only one vote in the U.S. Supreme Court. Obama has already appointed two justices to the Court so far, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, both of whom have a history of anti-gun opinions and activism. If Obama is re-elected, he may have an opportunity to nominate at least another one or two similarly-minded justices to the Court, thereby putting the Second Amendment in jeopardy. Additionally, loss of gun rights is made all the more possible considering that the United Nations has been discussing details of an international treaty that if passed (and surely endorsed by Obama), might likely impose significant regulation of gun ownership in the U.S. Therefore, if we Coloradans re-elect Obama we could very well be shooting ourselves in the foot and the pocket book and give up a constitutional privilege Obama has no right to abrogate.

There is a quick and and easy solution to this potential problem. We need to elect Mitt Romney who has stated unequivocally that the Second Amendment is “essential to a free society.” Furthermore, in a recent interview with the executive director of the NRA, Romney stated very clearly that he supports the right of all law-abiding citizens to exercise their constitutionally-protected right to own firearms and to use them for self-defense, the protection of family and property, hunting, and recreational shooting. Isn’t this the way most Coloradans think? You can bet Obama doesn’t think this way. So if you want to keep your guns and continue hunting, don’t take this right for granted, vote for Romney on 6 November and protect it!

Gary Stansbury

Voter ID

Dear Editor:

Voting IDs and driver’s licenses.

I wish to inform your readers of the following requirement for renewing a driver’s license and also the Colorado voter ID law requirements.

I drove to Durango to renew my driver’s license, only to be told that I must produce proof of residence, e.g., my street address, not my PO box. I showed her that my street address was on my current driver’s license, but she said that does not qualify as I may have moved since that license was processed. I had nothing in my care or on me that had my physical address on it, just my mailing address. So, what to do?

The attendant was very polite and was simply doing her job. Noting my frustration, she sent me down the road to La Plata Electric, stating that they may be able to provide me with proof of my physical address, even though our bills are sent under my husband’s name. So, I drove down there and they were very nice and yes, they had a record that I truly do live at that address. They gave me a copy of the evidence and I returned to have my license renewed. Knowing this ahead of time would have saved me some time, as I had to start over in the waiting line when I returned.

Now, for those who have no driver’s license but plan to vote (and I certainly hope every one of our citizens plan to do so), you will need to show proof of residence, e.g., voter ID. No photo is required, but you must take with you to the polls a current utility bill or a monthly rent receipt with your address and your name on it (your spouse’s name will not do). If the utility bill has only your spouse’s name, then go to La Plata Electric and ask them for something with your name on it for voting privileges.

Patty Tillerson


Dear Editor:

Dear Wal-Mart:

If you feel you truly must come to Pagosa Country, I hope that you will decide to do what you truly must do to fit in and not destroy the beauty, views and freshness. Take a long look at the hunting extra that was included in last week’s Pagosa SUN. On page 3, there is a gorgeous picture of a herd of elk crossing Pinon Lake. That lake is across from the wetlands that you propose to build on and change forever. By adding concrete, asphalt, and toxic drainage to an already delicate area, you will leave a footprint of enormous impact.

The residents built in the area with the views. Why should they sacrifice so that you can prosper when it will lower their values greatly?

Instead of being a “bully on the block,” pushing your way in to the Alpha commercial yet very residential area that would be sacrificed for your benefit, why not be the hero and change your building site? There is room for all with a little common sense. Granted, you have the money and lawyers to do with any town whatever you wish. Power and money equals greed. That does not mean that you must do it. Take another look at the area by the “Y” on the east side of town. Mr. Franklin Anderson is very wise in his letter to the SUN last week. Easy access to the ski area, Dulce and Chama, N.M., plus it would bring a much-needed grocery store to that end of town.

This could benefit the downtown area as well. The area would be exposed to traffic that normally would not come there. It is already evident that those living on the west side of town do not go “downtown” and have no clue what is there. The people on the east side must travel to the west end for groceries. Spread the wealth around the area, from one end to the other.

Why doesn’t the planning commission, the town council, the BoCC and others take note throughout the area with better planning? Wal-Mart, you can be a leader in our area that is lacking in leadership that is for the people. Turn the tables around.

I am not for Wal-Mart coming to this area, but it seems that you are determined to walk over, under, around and through in order to build your enormous store. Can you at least give more back than you want to take? Those that made money from the land deal with you are likely set for life, but so many in this county are not. Look around ... closer. Get out and talk to the people, not the politicians and planners. I challenge you.

Janet Valdez


Dear Editor:

In response to Mr. Davison’s letter (SUN 8/23/12), first I submit a brief reference to the Congressional Bible in question. Mr. David Barton is very highly respected and would not lie to Capitol visitors at the risk of losing his job. Actually, that official, approved Congressional Bible is extant, contains the Congressional inscription inside the front cover and is shown by Mr. Barton to the tourists.

Secondly, Mr. Davison’s belief that Mr. Barton and I are, “attempting to establish Christianity at some superior status within our institutions and laws” is not accurate. Just as the government “shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion” (first amendment), so shall Christianity not exercise a superior status as in a theocracy. Actually, it is the responsibility of government to “secure these rights” (declaration, par. 2), including the right to the free exercise of religion (first amendment).

Thirdly, this is what Thomas Jefferson was assuring the Baptist congregation of in his letter, namely, that the government would not interfere in the free exercise of their religion. His accurate use of “wall of separation …” was a private assurance, not a quote from an official document. Actually, the first “official” use of “separation of church and state” was by Associate Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black circa 1947. He was an anti-religion Ku Klux Klan member. The term is now used erroneously as if it were in the Constitution.

Finally, I firmly believe in and practice, as does Mr. Davison, Jesus’ admonition to, “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” The problem today is that Caesar is usurping what is God’s. For example, in Obamacare, the constitutionally required freedom of religion is destroyed. Also, the 2012 democratic platform committee met in Detroit and approved a same-sex marriage amendment to the draft for the full convention. “One key part of the platform is a plank in support of same-sex marriage” (Linda Wertheimer, NPR News, 8/12/12). If Obama, who already approves this, were reelected, it would become the law of the land. However, God’s law condemns this as an “abomination” (Lev. 18:23 ff.). How, then, in good conscience can anyone render to Caesar the authority to perpetrate this evil in violation of obedience that is to be given to God?

St. Peter told the Sanhedrin at his trial about not speaking Jesus’ name, “better for us to obey God than men” (Acts 5:29). Today, St. Peter’s example of civil disobedience is being proposed on a massive scale by any religious institutions to counter the government’s destruction of religious freedom and its superseding of God’s law. Twelve lawsuits by 79 congressmen and over 40 religious organizations have already been filed against Obama (American Center for Law and Justice). The only justifiable rendering possible to today’s Caesar is to remove him from office and return to rendering to God what is his and to the Constitution’s principles upon which this nation was founded under God’s inspiration.

Eugene Witkowski

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