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Letters to Editor


Dear Editor:

I get very disturbed when I know the majority of the citizens of Archuleta County are against destroying the natural beauty of Reservoir Hill.

I have just finished reading 13 volumes of “Remembrances” of the early day settlers in this majestic area. I strongly recommend that all of you go to the San Juan Historical Society Museum and obtain copies of these books. Many of the individuals mentioned in the volumes still have descendants living in the close proximity of Archuleta County. The pictures and the descriptions of the hardships and close camaraderie of these pioneers is something to behold. The volumes provide pictures and stories of the early inhabitants of this area and are very educational.

Franklin Anderson


Dear Editor:

A party or person called and left a message telling me that I accused two county employees of stealing, only because I used the term “milking the system,” which does not mean stealing. What it means is personnel or employees receive good wages or salaries and their employer isn’t getting his money worth, or they are overpaid for amount of work performed by an individual.

Also, a slight error or misprint in last letter, I mentioned large gravel on CR 700 which is 2 1/2 to 3 or 3 1/2-inch minus aggregate, not “2 1/2 of 3.”

For many, many years, the county had operators and motor graders throughout the county, one machine and operator at Arboles, one machine and operator at Trujillo for CR 500, one machine and operator for upper and lower Blanco, one machine and operator for Edith, upper and lower Navajo and Chromo, one machine and operator for upper Piedra, one machine and operator for Mill Creek, Fawn Gulch, Three Meadows area. Now supervisors keep all the machines bunched up. They will never get ahead or keep up with road problems. Many areas around the county that need gravel will not get it before winter.

So, please, county commissioners, get involved and see that road and bridge operations are run right.

Chris Chavez


Dear Editor:

This morning, I took much more time than usual to read The SUN ... specifically, the 8/30 edition.

What struck me most was how well-written the guest columns (my terminology) are. Not just well-written, but stylish and often quite witty ... each in its own way. I include in that list Susan Neder’s “Nose to Nose,” Val Valentine’s piece on Lester Mullins, Liz Haynes’ gardening article and Betty Slade’s charming touch about grandparents, grandchildren and local high school football. And the other columns as well.

Each week, I read quite extensively (via the Internet) newspapers from Europe, Asia and the U.S. More and more, I am realizing that The SUN’s columns are often more intelligent, witty and stylish than most of the stuff I read in those international publications. Perhaps it’s because the writers and columnists in those publications take themselves way too seriously.

Just wanted to let you know that one of your readers considers what you’re doing with The SUN to be something well beyond just a quaint small-town weekly.

John Duvall


Dear Editor:

I have heard rumors that Dan and Crista’s festivals do not bring revenue to Pagosa, but that can’t possibly be true. Ron and I have been attending in both June and September for years and as far as crowds are concerned, this one had to set records and people were all over town as well as on the hill. The volunteers do a wonderful job as “security” and keep everything under control. It was all so much fun.

And then to follow it up with ColorFest. Friday night’s party under the tent was spectacular, with delicious food and music by Bob Hemenger. Everyone had a wonderful time. And the “four women warriors” and many volunteers pulled off a lovely weekend.

I want to mention a few more heroes in this community. One is a woman named Vivian Rader. Then there is Cappy White — Joe who never found out the difference between a “bribe and a donation,” and there is a man named Gary Williams whose intelligence was apparent as he spoke to us. How about Clint Alley and David Schanzenbaker who are trying so hard to represent the citizens of this area.

Thank you to all of them.

Cindy Gustafson


Dear Editor:

I am asking all Archuleta County voters to consider Mike McLachlan for State Representative for the 59th State House District. Mike is a combat veteran, who volunteered for the Marines before he was 20 and served in the Vietnam War. He is a successful attorney in Durango, so understands both the law and the needs of small businesses. He is a 38-year resident of La Plata County, so is keenly aware of the concerns and values of the citizens of the 59th District. He has been both prosecutor and La Plata County Attorney. In 1999, then-Colorado Attorney General Ken Salazar appointed Mike as Colorado’s Solicitor General. It was in this role that Mike successfully argued the constitutionality of a Colorado statute before the U.S. Supreme Court. Named one of “The Best Lawyers in America” for the past 10 years, Mike has worked to improve the practice of law and the judiciary at the local, state and national levels — most recently as Chairman of the Judicial Performance Commission for the 6th Judicial District. Mike is a devoted family man with two children. His wife, Barbara, was named 2012 Durango High School Teacher of the Year, so education is one of Mike’s major interests.

As our Representative, Mike would:

Work tirelessly to spur economic growth in our state. He believes that our legislature must work to spur development in areas of small business, natural resources development, renewable energy, agriculture, tourism, technology, and construction.

Advocate for proper funding for education, as well as supporting quality, affordable instruction in the district’s two universities, and all universities in the state.

Support the rights of all public employees.

As a veteran himself, ensure that our veterans who fought for our freedom get the support, health care and services they have earned.

Champion the safe development of oil and natural gas. During his time as La Plata County attorney, he helped write the guidelines that are the gold standard in co-operation between local entities and oil and gas companies. He is also a strong supporter of renewable energy.

Support a woman’s right to choice and safeguard equal pay for equal work.

Defend the 2nd amendment and the rights of all gun owners.

Ensure that all citizens have access to broadband.

Protect the entitlements of existing water rights holders and protect western slope water from being highjacked to the front range or to downstream states.

Mike will be a leader who puts political ideologies aside, working with legislators from both parties to safeguard the interests of the 59th District and avoid partisan gridlock. He will carry common sense, southwest Colorado values to our legislature. I urge you to visit Mike’s website, for more information on Mike and his values.

Rebecca Herman


Dear Editor:

A recent article in the Washington Post (7/25/2012) titled “In Va., dogs and the dead are invited to vote” started off with “A group that tries to get ‘historically underrepresented groups’ to the polls has targeted some particularly unlikely voters: dogs and dead Virginians. The Voter Participation Center, a Washington-based non-profit, also sent voter registration forms to scores of non-citizens, children and other Virginians ineligible to vote, according to the Virginia State Board of Elections, which has received more than 100 complaints.”

A similar article ran in the Seattle Times on July 13, 2012, starting off with “OLYMPIA — The voter-registration form arrived in the mail last month with key information filled in: Rosie Charlston’s name was complete, as was her Seattle address. The problem: Rosie was a black lab who died in 1998. A group called the Voter Participation Center has touted the distribution of some 5 million registration forms in recent weeks, targeting ... voting blocs such as unmarried women, blacks, Latinos and young adults. But residents and election administrators across the country also have reported a series of bizarre and questionable mailings addressed to animals, dead people, non-citizens and people already registered to vote.”

The Voter Participation Center is a group which sends out pre-populated voter registration forms, which is legal to do in Colorado, if the recipient is a real person. The problem is that the Voter Participation Center has not been as accurate as they should be in who receives the registration forms. The mailings appear official, arriving in privacy envelopes with the headline “VOTER REGISTRATION DOCUMENTS ENCLOSED.” Some information is completed, and recipients also receive an envelope to send completed forms to local elections officials.

There are multiple voter registration operations going on here in Archuleta County. It is easy to register at the County Clerk’s office downtown. If you have a Colorado driver’s license, you can go to and, using your driver’s license, you can complete your registration online on the Secretary of State’s very easy to use Voter Registration website. You can register at the Archuleta Democrat HQ downtown at 527 Pagosa Street, Suite A. Or, if you shop at City Market, you can walk across the parking lot to the Archuleta County GOP office where there is a banner that says “Register to Vote Here” and we will help you do that, either online if you have a Colorado driver’s license/ID or we can help you fill out the form that you can take down to the County Clerk’s office.

If you, or someone you know, gets a voter registration form from the Voter Participation Center that is sent to someone who should not vote (deceased, a pet, a child, someone who is not a citizen, etc.) please get a copy of it to the county clerk’s office. My information is that the Voter Participation Center just sent out a large number of forms to Colorado residents last week. I have already heard of some bogus forms being received by residents in Denver. So, a voter registration form in your name, or in your underage daughter’s or your dog’s name, may already be in the mail from these folks.

Jim Huffman


Dear Editor:

I am writing to advise your support of Sal Pace, candidate for the 3rd Congressional District in the U.S. Congress. There are three reasons why I do so.

First, Sal identifies with the needs of Coloradans and especially the district. He lives the life of a family facing issues of the day — educating children, protecting the environment, health, planning for retirement, budgeting for current and future needs, insuring public safety. He is honorable, forthright and honest. He listens well and acts with deliberation. I admire him as an individual and as a public servant.

Second, Sal has a record in the Colorado House of crafting and implementing common sense solutions to real problems facing real people in these difficult times: education, jobs, the environment.

Third, he has shown an independence in crafting legislation that solves problems rather than party-line proposals; solutions, not position-taking and obstruction. He works to take care of matters that really do matter, finding the best ideas and implementing them, regardless of where they come from.

I believe he will make a fine Congressman, representing the views of all citizens of the district. I ask you to vote for Sal Pace on Nov. 6.

Terry Pickett


Dear Editor:

The level of deception at the RNC was truly stunning, even for a political event. As the New York Times noted, “The two speeches — peppered with statements that were incorrect or incomplete — seemed to signal the arrival of a new kind of presidential campaign, one in which concerns about fact-checking have been largely set aside.” Even a FOX NEWS (!) columnist said that Ryan’s speech,“was an apparent attempt to set the world record for the greatest number of blatant lies and misrepresentations slipped into a single political speech.”

Mr. Ryan fiercely attacked the president on the deficit, stating, “He created a new bipartisan debt commission. They came back with an urgent report. He thanked them, sent them on their way and then did exactly nothing.” Of course, he cynically failed to mention he was a member and voted against the report. In fact, the president did embrace a number of the recommendations of the commission, including budget cuts and small tax increases. Yet, it is the Republican House that refuses to consider any tax increase.

Then, he blamed the president for the closure of a GM plant in his district. But, that plant closed in 2008, before Mr. Obama even became president. By the way, hardly anyone questions that, if not for the president’s decision to rescue Chrysler and GM, which Romney and Ryan both opposed, the domestic auto industry would have crumbled, costing more than a million jobs.

About the downgrading of America’s credit rating, Ryan said, “It began with a perfect Triple-A credit rating for the United States; it ends with a downgraded America.” In fact, Standard and Poors, which downgraded its rating, blamed it on, “the political brinkmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America’s governance and policy making becoming less stable, less effective and less predictable ...” This brinkmanship was completely manufactured by Ryan himself and the Republican House.

According to Ryan, “What did the taxpayers get out of the Obama stimulus? More debt.” No jobs, just more debt. Yet, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the stimulus package actually increased employment by up to 3.3 million people. Ironically, in 2010, Ryan asked for Stimulus Funds for two companies in his district. I guess what is bad for the nation is good for his district!

I could go on, because Ryan lied about Medicare cuts, the safety net, the deficit, and on and on.

Romney was no better. Romney said, “We are a good and generous people who are united by so much more than divides us.” Yet, the Republicans charted a course of denial and obstruction from the first day of President Obama’s term. Senate Majority Leader McConnell said in 2010, “Our top political priority over the next two years should be to deny President Obama a second term in office.” Not jobs, not the deficit, not Social Security and Medicare. In fact, I truly believe that the Republicans really don’t want the economy to improve, because that strengthens the president. They would rather capture the White House than see Americans prosper. Shame!

John Porco

No swap

Dear Editor:

Could there be a Village at Wolf Creek? Yes, I think there could be, someday.

My only question is, should there be any day soon?

And why do I ask? I ask because there has been a weird mix of incompetence, uncertainty and obfuscation so far — at least three decades worth. Really, it boils down to the propriety of what has been happening since the original (legislatively orchestrated) land swap some years ago (in the early ’80s), which makes this debate now ongoing. Apparently that original land swap was unstudied by the parties involved (Forest Service, Congressional advocates and developer) and to a crippling degree ill-founded — which has led to the present proposal for another land swap to correct what the Forest Service, Congress and developer were apparently in agreement with, yet, between them, still unable to anticipate complications.

Did no one understand that irreplaceable wetlands existed and that access issues (including highway on-ramp/off-ramp parameters from the Colorado Department of Transportation) were imminent? Evidently not, which speaks to the inattentiveness that has pervaded this lengthy and painful process.

My mere objection to any but the “no action” alternative now presented is based on no mere emotional protest. My objection is to the support of any alternative that perpetuates the illogic and irrational backtracking of an already ill-conceived plan. And so, I request that no action be the result of this most recent review — no swap. And I implore the developer to sell present holdings on Wolf Creek Pass into a conservancy which would preserve it in perpetuity, as is. Perhaps the Rio Grande Headwaters Trust could be helpful in making the arrangements.

This is not to say that I am objecting to the possibility of a Village at Wolf Creek. I am, however, objecting to the fiasco of the village scenario over the past 30 years, and the additional land swap as presently proposed, and also to the machinations of the current land swap options proposed, which are not solutions at all. Please count me as a “no new options” vote. I believe the conclusions of the original EIS should stand, and the developer should be held accountable to its conclusions. No additional land swap required or necessary. The developer got exactly what he wanted the first time — and very generously so. His miscalculations are his — as any real estate deal goes, the consequences are unpredictable. You win some; you lose some. This time, he loses. One swap is enough.

When does this nonsense end? Now, I hope.

Wayne Sheldrake

Del Norte, Colo.


Dear Editor:

A couple days before the Democratic National Convention, our intrepid vice president, Joe Biden, made a suggestion for a bumper sticker: “Osama bin Laden is Dead and GM is Alive.” Let’s take a look at General Motors and see where it is and what it has cost the American taxpayer since it was bailed out of bankruptcy in 2009 by the Obama Administration.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, the total auto bailout in 2009, including TARP money given to both GM and Chrysler, cost taxpayers $34 billion. At that time, the U.S. Treasury ended up with a 61-percent equity stake in GM and a 9.9-percent stake in Chrysler.

In September 2010, GM’s stock went public (the Initial Public Offering — IPO) at an initial offering of $33 per share. Following the IPO, the Treasury held a 26-percent stake in GM. At that initial share price, it will have to rise about 65 percent (to approximately $54 per share) in order for taxpayers to break even. As of 4 September 2012, GM is selling at a rather anemic $21 per share. On top of this, GM has just asked for $8 to $10 billion more to beef up liquidity and to refinance existing debt. And so it’s true that GM is alive, but it certainly is not very healthy and I don’t think its financial condition is anything one might want to trumpet (except for Joe Biden). Furthermore, at this rate, we taxpayers are going to have to wait a long, long time to get reimbursed for the bailout, if ever.

Since it was Biden who chose to contrast bin Laden with GM, I’d like to add this vignette: Documents recovered by the Navy Seals in bin Laden’s hideout revealed bin Laden considered Biden, “totally unprepared” to take over the U.S. presidency (in the event of Obama’s demise, presumably). Therefore, he did not include Biden in an al Qaeda hit list which included, among others, Obama and David Petraeus. Had I been bin Laden, I wouldn’t have included him either.

Gary Stansbury


Dear Editor:

Voter IDs: many kinds.

The information in my recent letter regarding voter IDs was based upon the brief answers I was given when I called the county clerk’s office for information. After my letter was published, I received a nice personal letter from our county clerk listing many additional kinds of IDs that are acceptable as voter IDs. Here is the list:

Valid Colorado driver’s license.

Valid ID card issued by CDOR.

Valid US passport.

Valid employee ID card with photo of elector issued by any federal, state or local government.

Valid pilot’s license issued by the FAA or other authorized agency of the U.S.

Valid U.S. military ID card with photo (may have out-of-state address).

Copy of current utility bill or bank statement, government paycheck or other government document that includes name and address.

Valid Medicare or Medicaid card.

Certified copy of U.S. birth certificate.

Certified documentation of naturalization.

Valid student ID card with photo issued by an institute of higher education in Colorado.

Letter from the administrator of a group residential facility verifying residence at that facility.

Valid veteran ID card issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs veterans health administration with photo.

Valid ID card issued by a federal recognized tribal government, certifying tribal membership.

I greatly appreciate receiving this information from our county clerk and hope all of your readers will check the list to be sure they have proper identification before going to the polls. You must vote, so scan this list now and be prepared.

Patty Tillerson

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