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Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor:

Recently, in these pages, we have been treated to diatribes, from those would choose to be permanent wards of the state, about the wonders of the Obama administration, and the miracles he has bestowed upon America. These writers apparently seek to be kept on the Democrat/Socialist plantation and be taken care of all their lives. No thought or care is given to the fact that the country is presently bankrupt and in debt to China for trillions. The U.S. budget deficit tops One Trillion dollars for the fourth straight year, according to Associated Press last Friday. Of course, all this means nothing to the habitués of the welfare offices as long as they continue to “get theirs.” Responsibility for teen pregnancy, alcoholic mothers who predictably produce children with birth defects, school drop-outs and clueless 21-year-olds are not the financial responsibility of their neighbors. I would rather suggest that these “victims” take responsibility for themselves and their own.

These people demand health insurance even if they have “pre-existing” health issues. This is the same as demanding that your insurance agent provide you fire insurance after your house catches fire. Such “reasoning” defies rational thought. And Junior gets to stay on Mommy’s insurance until he’s 26? Pathetic. Weak.

If our economy is in total collapse, look to Carter’s Community Reinvestment Act of 1977 as the genesis. He believed that everyone was entitled to own a house, even if they couldn’t afford the mortgage. Fanny Mae and Freddie Mack, under the vigilant stewardship of Barney Frank and Christopher Dodd, conned Americans into thinking all was well in the real estate sector. It wasn’t. Those mortgages came due, and the market crashed. Bush warned us seventeen times of the coming crisis, and it fell on deaf, partisan, ears.

We are treated to cheers for the takeover of businesses by government. (Just auto companies and banks, so far.) We hear cheers for the phantom “millions of jobs” created by Obama, but not a word about the millions lost, which exceed the number gained, which still leaves us with a jobs deficit. (But who needs a job with all the “free” stuff government will provide?)

Obama supposedly ended the war in Iraq. Has he checked the casualty figures lately in his wars in Pakistan and Afghanistan? More than 1,000 American soldiers have died in Afghanistan in the last 27 months, more than the combined total of the previous nine years.

Oh, one last thing: I’m more concerned about how Obama spends my money, than I am about how Romney spends his, and that the willing denizens of the Government Plantation should be less concerned about the economic situation of the successful, and more concerned about actually preparing to become successful themselves … or is it just easier to blame others for their vagrancy, and remain a ward of the state?

Duane Branson


Dear Editor:

Do you understand the magnitude of one trillion? Then ask yourself,“what is the magnitude of $16 trillion?,” our rising national debt. This debt has risen $5,530,876,370,298.10 since Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama was sworn in, up to Oct. 10, 2012 (see ), that’s over five trillion dollars. From 1790 when the Debt was $71 billion, to 2007 the Debt, with a few minor exceptions, increased annually for 219 years up to $8.678 trillion when Nancy Pelosi was elected Speaker of the House. She and Obama have almost doubled our debt in less than 6 years. Does this tell you anything about our current financial situation in this country that you, your descendents, and friends must face for decades to come?

Please see the large graphic depiction, “The Problem — Our National Debt,” in this issue of The SUN. This information is published to help voters understand the magnitude of a trillion and of 16 trillion in hopes that they can make a voting decision that will help us all face the future in a more fiscally responsible manner. Informed voters make better decisions.

Karen Bynum


Dear Editor:

It is becoming obvious that unlimited money in our political campaigns is unpleasant and is distorting the election process. Part of the process of correcting the situation is the passage of Amendment 65 on the Colorado ballot in the coming election.

Amendment 65 tells our Colorado Legislators that the people of Colorado expect them to support and work toward the ultimate passage of a U.S. Constitutional Amendment that allows for limits to be placed upon campaign contributions and spending.

U.S. Supreme Court rulings starting over 100 years ago and culminating with the Citizens United decision two years ago have made it possible for billionaires of all political parties and large corporations to put huge sums of money into the election process. Individual contributors with limited income are made so insignificant as to virtually exclude them from participating in the election process, other than voting.

Does anyone believe that my donation of $100 to a candidate will have the same impact as a billionaire’s million dollar contribution, even though each contribution might be a similar percent of our respective wealth? Does a billionaire’s wealth provide more freedom of speech than mine? Should a billionaire have the right to influence an election more than it is possible for me to do so? I always understood that our nation was based upon fair and equitable representation.

The federal government, and many states, including Colorado, has had laws that restricted and limited contributions to political campaigns for the purpose of removing corruption, or the appearance of corruption, but the U.S. Supreme Court has made it impossible to enforce those laws. As has happened several times in the past, the only recourse “we the people” have is to call for a Constitutional Amendment to reclaim our rights as citizens and voters.

Thomas Jefferson, about 200 years ago, reminded us that uncontrolled big money interests can destroy our democracy. As citizens we need to continually protect our freedoms and rights from those who would take them from us.

Please vote yes on Amendment 65, and take one small step toward regaining the democracy we once had.

Ron Chacey


Dear Editor:

Your last week’s editorial says “We do not endorse candidates …”, but by slamming Mike Hayward, isn’t that exactly what you are doing? Where are your ethics? Good reporting includes checking all sources relevant to issue(s). Why haven’t you called the Secretary of State’s office?

This guy offers his paychecks to charity because he cares enough to want to serve and not get paid for it and he offers those people that he would represent the opportunity to choose the charities and this is considered bribery? Seriously? To me, that looks like transparency with those he would represent, just as he promises in his ads. Imagine that, he does what he says.

Mike Hayward has not promised any single individual or organization money. His stance is simple honesty — he’s not running for the gain of personal wealth (salary), but rather to share his education and business experiences for the gain of the people of Archuleta County. He wants us to be better off because he loves this community and he lives here, too.

Those complaining are obviously working for his opponent; the timing is extremely suspect. Mike Hayward has been saying the same things since April so why, right before the election is this somehow an issue?

This sounds like the “Good Ole Boys” are at work. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m so tired of Good Ole Boy politics. What good has it done for us? Look around at our crumbling downtown, the junk piles at the entrances to our town and on Put Hill and our chronic unemployment, the empty buildings downtown and the disenfranchisement of county voters who can’t vote in town elections where everything gets decided.

Time for a change!

Susi Cochran

Editor’s note: The editorial was run on a page clearly labeled “Opinion.” The timing of the editorial is directly and solely related, to an e-mail string received the week before, urging people to go to Mr. Hayward’s poll and vote for a nonprofit so the organization might receive Mr. Hayward’s money if he were elected. A Page 1 story about the formal complaints registered in this situation contained Mr. Hayward’s comments and reaction to the situation, as well as information about his communications with the Secretary of State. The reporter called the Denver office; no legal opinion was issued. That is reporting. An editorial is opinion. Knowing the difference between the two is important.


Dear Editor:

In the SUN article of 10/11/12 entitled “Old City Market: Give us the key” by Ed Fincher, Rich Lindblad, executive director of the Pagosa Springs Community Development Corporation (PSCDC) mentioned that one of the planned uses of the old City Market building is a “business incubator.” I just want to share a little about what that is and why it is important for our community.

Business incubators are projects designed to help new businesses develop and successfully launch. In incubators, entrepreneurs can gain the knowledge and other resources necessary to create a successful launch and nurture the new company through those first critical months or years. Just about every business incubator program has well-defined qualifications that applicants must meet in order to be accepted into the incubation project.

The main goal of a business incubator is to encourage the development of new business within the local community to create jobs and revitalize the economy. By assisting a local entrepreneur to start a company in the area, the community is likely to also benefit from the additional revenue that is brought to the town. This can help to revitalize a local economy that is somewhat sluggish and thus enhance the quality of life for everyone who lives and works in the area.

This job- and revenue-creation potential is particularly important for Archuleta County, with a “not employed rate” (people 18 years of age or older that are ready, willing and able to work but cannot find a job) of 19.97 percent. A business incubator can begin to solve this problem and enabling our young people to start their own businesses is also a good way to keep them here.

What’s more, successful completion of a business incubation program increases the likelihood that a startup company will stay in business for the long term: studies have found that 87 percent of incubator graduates stayed in business, in contrast to 44 percent of all startup firms.

So what can a successful incubator do for a community? We need look no further than the Grand Junction Business Incubator Center. During its 23-year history, it has been recognized as a leader by the National Business Incubation Association for its programs, clients and graduates’ performance.

The results that Grand Junction has experienced in that 23-year history includes:

• 260 new companies launched.

• $156M in revenue was generated by those companies.

• 10,461 jobs were created.

• $58.5M in new capital was invested.

The Pagosa Springs Business Incubator will be smaller and the focus primarily alternative energy startups that will develop good jobs in geothermal, solar and biomass. What is more, lots of grants are available for alternative energy incubators that will make it easier for us to get started.

This is only one of the many economic development ideas that the PSCDC is working on. Come to our monthly meetings to find out more and contribute your own ideas. Public meetings are the first Monday of each month. Join us and become a member.

Muriel Eason


Dear Editor:

A rational argument why conservatives should vote for Sal Pace.

If there’s one thing congress has proven in the last four years, it’s that it can’t get anything done. Our political system has become an unmanageable log jam thanks in large part to an unwillingness on the conservative side of the aisle to negotiate or compromise in good faith. It’s like congress has forgotten what it’s there for. Do you remember? Congress is supposed to move our country ahead; to protect its people, to improve the quality of life toward for all the People of the United States; young, old, rich, poor, men, women, gay, Jews, Christians, Muslims, Catholics, Baptists, Methodists and the ever-burdened middle class.

We wring our hands over countries who are building their economies, learning new ways to feed and care for their people, those countries who rattle their sabers at America or who out flank us in science, mathematics and nation-building. Yet congress sits like truculent school children who would rather hold their breaths until they turn blue before cooperating for the good of the nation as a whole.

Let’s look at voting records for a minute. Scott Tipton votes a straight Republican party line which has much more to do with making President Obama a ‘one-term president’ than working to better our country on behalf of the American People. Consensus building? Forget about it! Compromise? No way! Reach across the aisle to find common ground? Not a chance! No folks, Mr. Tipton would rather hold his breath until he turns blue.

Take a look at Sal Pace’s voting record. Mr. Pace has earned the reputation of being a consensus builder and working with his opposite number in the Colorado Legislature to find common ground and build relationships with conservative legislators. He will vote with his political rivals in the name of working for the People of Colorado, not his political party or political ‘business partners’ to whom his vote is owed.

Suppose President Obama is re-elected, a very strong possibility this late in the campaign. What do you think is going to happen? I can tell you, more of the same — Tipton will hold his breath again and again and the legislative log jam will continue to get worse and worse.

Sal Pace, on the other hand, will focus on the issues before him, work with all his colleagues in congress to chart a new path for America. He will work toward economic prosperity for Colorado and the country, find real, sustainable solutions to America’s health care problems, help our young people to get the education they need to be productive members of the workforce and equip them to take command of our country’s future; all this regardless of who is president.

So who do you want working for you in Washington, Mr. “More-of-the-Same” or Sal Pace? The choice is clear, vote for the person who will work with both sides of the aisle to make American stronger.

Vote for Sal Pace.

John Egan


Dear Editor:

These words from President Clinton make me smile; they give me hope that something better can happen when we as a nation decide to focus on working toward solving problems rather than exacerbating them. The quotation is from Clinton’s speech at the Democratic National Convention.

“When times are tough and people are frustrated and angry and hurting and uncertain, the politics of constant conflict may be good. But what is good politics does not necessarily work in the real world. What works in the real world is cooperation. What works in the real world is cooperation, business and government, foundations and universities. Now, why is this true? Why does cooperation work better than constant conflict?

Because nobody’s right all the time, and a broken clock is right twice a day.

And every one of us — every one of us and every one of them, we’re compelled to spend our fleeting lives between those two extremes, knowing we’re never going to be right all the time and hoping we’re right more than twice a day.

Unfortunately, the faction that now dominates the Republican Party doesn’t see it that way. They think government is always the enemy, they’re always right, and compromise is weakness. Just in the last couple of elections, they defeated two distinguished Republican senators because they dared to cooperate with Democrats on issues important to the future of the country, even national security.

One of the main reasons we ought to re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation. Look at his record. He appointed Republican Secretaries of Defense, the Army and Transportation. He chose a Vice President who ran against him in 2008. And he trusted that Vice President to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the Recovery Act.

Now, we all know that he also tried to work with congressional Republicans on health care, debt reduction and new jobs. And that didn’t work out so well. But it could have been because, as the Senate Republican leader said in a remarkable moment of candor two full years before the election, their number one priority was not to put America back to work; it was to put the President out of work.”

Of course, the President’s many accomplishments — the Lilly Ledbetter Act, Obamacare, steady job creation and the strengthening of the economy, his appointment of the first Hispanic woman to the Supreme Court, the Credit Card Bill of Rights, the American Auto Industry rescue — all these argue for a pro-Obama vote. But for me, above all, I will use my vote to support his commitment to cooperation. I can’t imagine putting a party in power whose main goal is not to help us find jobs, pay our mortgages, and feed our families, but instead to shout a loud, mean-spirited “No” to all the good that can come from responsible cooperation. For me, it would be morally wrong to reward that kind of behavior with my vote.

Becky Herman


Dear Editor:

In August 2009 at a town hall in Colorado, Obama claimed Americans shouldn’t be afraid of a government insurance company (Obamacare) competing against private insurance companies, because even though the government has vastly more resources than any individual company, “You’ve got a lot of private companies competing against the government — UPS and FedEx are doing a lot better than the post office.”

Obama apparently liked the point, because he made it again at another town hall around the same time. “Private insurers should be able to compete,” he said on Aug. 11 in New Hampshire. “They do it all the time. I mean, if you think about it, UPS and FedEx are doing just fine, right? It’s the post office that’s always having problems.”

Here, Obama was trying to promote a huge expansion of government involvement in the health care business and he points to a sprawling, unresponsive and insanely expensive government bureaucracy.

Let’s look at the record.

The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775 — they have had 234 years to get it right; it is broke.

Social Security was established in 1935 — they have had 74years to get it right; it is broke.

Fannie Mae was established in 1938 — they have had 71 years to get it right; it is broke.

The War on Poverty was started in 1964 — they have had 45 years to get it right; one trillion of our money is confiscated each year and is transferred to “the poor”; it hasn’t worked.

Medicaid and Medicare were established in 1965 — they have had 44 years to get it right; they are broke.

Freddie Mac was established in 1970 — they have had 39 years to get it right; it is broke.

Trillions of dollars in massive political payoffs called the TARP Bill of 2009 shows no sign of working.

Cash for Clunkers was established in 2009 and went broke in 2009; it took good, dependable cars that were the best some people could afford and replaced them with high priced cars which people couldn’t afford, but are now making payments. Most were Japanese models, so a good percentage of the profits from the sales went out of the country.

And last, but not least, AMTRAC — 30 billion in the red and counting.

So, with a perfect 100 percent failure rate, they want Americans to believe they can be trusted with a government-run health care system?

What could go wrong? Barack Hussein Obama has already told us: just look at the post office.

Leo Landon

Farmington, N.M.


Dear Editor:

America has two clear choices for President in deciding which direction the “voice of the people” wish to take our nation in November. America can choose Barrack “Osama” Obama’s socialist America of government control or Romney’s social and economic America of freedom of individual choice.

Obama’s ideas, policies and philosophies are more in line with Stalin, Hitler, Bin Ladin’s reins of government force and compulsion than Washington, Jefferson, and Lincoln ideas and principles of economic, social, and religious freedom. The choices at the ballot box are clear to voters who have studied the issues, the candidate’s political history, and the Constitution and the eternal principles our Founding Fathers declared in the Declaration of Independence come from our Creator Himself.

If a voter supports gun control, homosexuality, abortion, big government, a weak military, a leader who disregards the Constitution and supreme law of the land, redistribution of wealth from the producers to the consumers for political favors and votes , and socialism than you need to cast your vote for Obama.

If you support economic freedom, religious freedom, keeping the money you have earned, marriage is between a man and a woman as God ordained marriage, freedom to own and control property rights, freedom to keep and bear arms, the rights of the unborn, a strong military defense, family values, and the balance of powers and freedoms set forth in our Divinely Inspired Constitution than you need to cast a vote for Mitt Romney for president.

Our freedoms given to us by the Constitution hang by a thread today. Obama and others like him are quickly destroying our freedoms and ignoring the checks and balances set forth in the Constitution and the individuals’ rights our Founders declared in the Declaration of Independence are given by God to His creations. I and many Americans fear that if Obama is re-elected he will finish his agenda to bring America to its knees in the next four years. My fellow Americans, be wise and study the issues so that you can make a wise and informed decision in November for our nation’s sake! Can I say more?

American patriot.

Monte H. Lane


Dear Editor:

I was outraged to read that non-residents are holding the Town of Pagosa Springs hostage with regard to Wal-Mart coming here, along with employment opportunities, tax revenues and price competition. Where do these people come from?

Honestly, do you really enjoy driving 120 miles round trip to Wal-Mart in Durango, not to mention the skyrocketing price of gasoline. It’s ridiculous what you are putting Wal-Mart through to build a store here in this wonderful community. If I were Wal-Mart, I would say go to hell, but Wal-Mart has more class than that. Opposition to Wal-Mart is beyond comprehension and the fruit of your own ignorance. More power to free enterprise, freedom of speech and the freedom of the press.

Olivia McCasland

Cheshire Cat

Dear Editor:

I suspect that in this day and age some of my opinions may be considered “old school,” but I have always thought that when a head of state or high-ranking government official appears before the public, he should at least attempt to look and act like a statesman. Joe Biden, in his appearance before the nation during his recent debate with Paul Ryan, looked and acted like a complete clown and he was an insult to the Office of the Vice Presidency of the United States of America. Of course we’re being told by Democrat strategists that his ridiculous behavior was a tactic designed to rattle Ryan and to somehow enable Obama and the Democrats to recapture momentum after Obama’s desultory performance in the first debate against Mitt Romney. If that was their strategy, and it was designed to rally the liberal base of the party, it shows just how desperate and unprincipled they are to get re-elected. And to think that this reincarnation of the Cheshire cat in Alice in Wonderland is only a heartbeat from the presidency … It will be interesting to watch the next two acts, Debates II and III between Obama and Romney, to see how far Obama himself is willing to go in order to recoup ground lost in the first debate. I have little doubt he will remain true to his narcissistic nature and continue the repetition of outlandish claims of accomplishments, twisting facts and figures, and attempting to place blame on George W. Bush and Congress for his lack of accomplishments. David Axelrod, chief attack dog and spinner for Obama, when asked if the president was making some adjustments after the first debate, responded that he thought Obama would do much better. Let’s see if Obama can at least be more statesman-like than the Cheshire Cat. Go Romney.

Gary Stansbury

Credible elector

Dear Editor:

After reading last week’s Pagosa Springs SUN regarding Mr. Hayward and the editorial on the same subject, I have a few words to describe my thoughts:

Disingenuous — Do you really expect people to believe that front page articles and editorials based on unproven allegations this close to an election don’t define “jump to conclusions” regarding Mr. Hayward’s reason for donating his salary to charity? I do.

Naivety — Would you expect voters to not think you are, effectively, promoting a candidate by describing the other as “trying to buy votes” even though the legal department of the Campaign Finance office in Denver believes that no violation of the statutes you quote has occurred? I do.

Transparency — Mr. Hayward tried to offer a public way to channel his charitable giving. Maybe it’s not the best way, but I believe his motive is as clear as was yours to discredit him.

Smug — Do you really believe it’s “wise” to lecture on the value of anonymous giving? Are children better off if they don’t know the Gates Foundation saved their lives through its work on malaria? Are all the local folks who attend the various silent auctions and fund raisers somehow less valuable in our community? I don’t think so.

Curious — I’ll be very interested to see if the DA’s findings are given the same front page status if the allegations are found to be baseless.

Drivel — except it’s too close to an election to ignore my responsibility as a “credible elector.”

Kenny Daniels


Dear Editor:

Who is misleading who?

Mr. Church’s “political ad” entitled “Republican Voters, Don’t be Misled …” in The SUN last Thursday is pure profit motive disguised as political principle. A ham-handed attempt to tie together independent candidates and officials rings hollow in the context of his interest in Wal-Mart. You see, Mr. Church owns the land under the proposed Wal-Mart. In fairness to Mr. Church, it is in his very best personal wealth-interest to retain the status quo in local government, who robotically give away town and county taxpayer assets and blindly devote taxpayer dollars to attracting a mega-corp, while they quietly threaten to take away even the crumbs left to help his friends’ and neighbors’ existing local businesses.

Not only does the ad ring hollow, it is also a slap in the face to real Archuleta County Republicans, who Mr. Church thinks are gullible enough to be “had” by local candidates, or worse, swallow his self-serving, fear-based and fact-free conspiracy rhetoric.

True “independents” are the last thing that Mr. Church wants, regardless of party. Anyone not willing to be on the Wal-Mart payroll while in public service, like the Mayor, town staff, and most of Town Council are. Question: If much of the town’s time (that we already paid for) has been devoted to this one retailer for over a year, at the exclusion of any other jobs-creation efforts, but, “Don’t worry, Wal-Mart is picking up the tab” for the town to promote and defend their arrival in Pagosa, how are they not working for Wal-Mart again?

Mr. Church is just the latest in a long line of guys who has ridden the express subway to success flowing out of the mayor’s office throughout the county. This time it just happens to be him and Wal-Mart. Clap on, clap off. Good projects, bad projects. Public concern or benefit? Whatever. Kiss the ring and off you go. Don’t, and out you go. That includes Town Councilors, commissioners, candidates, volunteers, community projects, etc.

Thank you, Mr. Church, for demonstrating your commitment to self over community, democracy, party, and certainly principle. A poignant remnant of a rapidly withering past in Pagosa, we hope. And thank you for reminding us all that this county election is really not about party or principle, but about retaining the status quo. The “leaders” who brought us “Pavilions,” Wal-Mart, Reservoir Hill Circus, and brought us to 19.6 percent unemployment (three times that of surrounding communities) and failing or incomplete infrastructure. This is further demonstrated by the two incumbents and their parties campaigning for each other.

Ann M. Bubb


Dear Editor:

The character of the candidate is an important consideration in this election, so I wanted to share this aspect of my character with the public. People who know me know that I truly love this community and have given money and volunteered my time generously to local charities, individuals in need and other community programs — both presently and in the past. Many can attest to that.

This is not new to me, it is who I am. I am shocked and surprised to find that this has somehow been twisted into a bad thing. I have a friend that often says, “No good deed goes unpunished.” Sadly, it somehow proves true all too often.

In this case, my promise is an assurance to the voters of Archuleta County that I will not be influenced by the money. There is a lot of concern about the amount of money awash in politics these days. So many politicians get into office, appear to get addicted to or corrupted by the money and will do anything or say anything to stay there. That is not me and my promise proves it.

It is interesting that if Mitt Romney promises, if elected, to lower every individual’s income taxes, that’s called effective campaigning. However, when I promise when elected, to contribute to non-profit organizations, that gets the County Sheriff and DA involved, plus gets me tried and convicted in a scathing/demeaning editorial.

The Secretary of State’s Campaign Finance Legal Office has ruled that this is legal (including the statutes 1-13-720 and 721 cited in last week’s paper/editorial) and there are numerous precedents from George Washington, Herbert Hoover, John F. Kennedy and even Mitt Romney in 2008 that have made similar promises. Amazingly, there is even a homeless handyman who won the Republican primary in Hawaii for an open U.S. House seat that says he’ll donate half his congressional salary to charity if he wins. So I am not alone — in fact, I’m in good company.

For the misinterpretation of my motives and intentions, I apologize. Therefore, I have removed the survey on local charities from my website. This is a matter than I can focus on after the election. There may be emails still in circulation among voters, but the survey link will no longer work.

But since this campaign is really about my qualifications for office, my goals for the next four years for the county, Mr. Lucero’s record and the issues important to voters, that is what I want to focus the campaign on — issues that matter to the voters. I would challenge my opponent, Clifford Lucero, to do the same.

Mike Hayward

Thanks, Dad

Dear Editor:

Thanks, Dad.

Politics is not for the faint of heart. Being involved in politics and partisanship is something I try to avoid, but due to an upbringing by a father who instilled a belief that apathy and indifference is a dangerous foe, I often find myself drawn into the political arena.

I am currently volunteering my time and energy to support Julie Simmons’ write-in effort to become Archuleta County Commissioner for District 1. She is running against Steve Wadley, and without Julie as a write-in, Wadley would have had no opposition. Without Julie Simmons taking time from her busy job as co-owner of the wildly popular Pagosa Brewing Company, Archuleta county residents would have watched an unopposed county commissioner be automatically elected to four years in office, in addition to the 18 months he has already served having been appointed by a Republican committee in April of 2011 when the previous commissioner resigned.

Whether or not Julie is able to pull off a feat no other candidate has done in Archuleta County — won as a write-in — Julie entered the campaign to give county residents a choice. Regardless of the negativity we have encountered from those who would prefer to keep the status quo, regardless of the struggle and the outcome, I am supporting the efforts of Julie Simmons to represent the diverse interests of this community as a non-partisan candidate.

Our county is barely out of one financial crisis and headed for another, our roads are a mess, and the general sentiment of county residents is that our voices are not being heard. Those who have taken time to write letters and attend meetings to express their concerns know that it’s one thing to say the problem will be addressed. It’s another thing to actually follow through and do something about it.

Thanks to Julie Simmons, you now have a choice for District 1 Archuleta County Commissioner. There is a line for a write in under the name Steve Wadley. I am supporting Julie Simmons for this position, and I will write in her name on the ballot. I hope you will, too.

It’s not easy to take a stand in a public arena, but it’s the right thing to do.

Thank you for instilling that in me, Dad.

Natalie Carpenter

Good deeds

Dear Editor:

No good deed goes unpunished! Let’s stop a good person from donating money to local charities! Insane!

Karl Isberg thinks Mike Hayward is “buying votes.” He is not! Contributing his salary is typical of Mike’s unselfish generosity, as witnessed by so many people in our community over the years.

Karl is clueless about Mike Hayward’s unquestionable character and generosity. There is no need for me to build Mike’s personal integrity case here; either you know Mike, or you don’t. Clearly Karl Isberg does not; as he admits in his recent character assassination of Mike in the Pagosa SUN.

I encourage everyone to get to know Mike Hayward and understand the problem-solving skills and openness he will bring to the position of county commissioner before they cast their vote in this election. Unlike Karl Isberg, I would never impugn Clifford Lucero’s character when I barely know the man. Simply based on what I have learned about our candidates, Clifford is a likeable person who came to office with only a fraction of the skills, experience and intellect that Mike Hayward brings to the office. If you want an intelligent, hard-working commissioner beholden to no one, vote for Mike Hayward. But do your own research.

And while you are at it, send a message to your newspaper’s editor that you are not as naïve as he thinks you are. In his position of power, Karl Isberg should have done some basic research on Mike Hayward before he initiated his hatchet job just two publishing cycles before the election. He even admitted he does not “know Mike Hayward well enough to comment on his character.” But that did not slow him from using the power of his newspaper to prosecute and convict the candidate. We have seen this tactic on the SUN’s editorial page before and I am not the least bit surprised now, but I continue to be disappointed. Talk about buying votes! Karl has abandoned the integrity of his office to the dismay of readers who appreciate the genuine contributions of journalism in our society.

It would be interesting to disassemble the building blocks of the editorial’s propaganda here. Instead, carefully reread Karl’s editorial with an open mind and the knowledge that Karl likely knows no more about the facts in this case than you do, yet he rushes to judgment without investigating the accusation.

You really stepped in it this time, Karl. But the problem of The SUN’s editorial desk is of less concern to me than whether voters and opinion leaders will ever find and support the reasonable leadership Pagosa needs to revitalize itself. When will we take advantage of opportunities offered for the greater good of the community? When will our representatives stop with the insider deals? When will we support people who want to see this town prosper and provide opportunities for the people who love living here?

When will we stop electing people who snatch defeat from the jaws of victory?

Steven McPeek


Dear Editor:

In your editorial, “The Wrong Kind of Promise,” you accused candidate Mike Hayward of violating Colorado’s election laws. You equated Mr. Hayward’s pledge to donate his future commissioner salary to nonprofit groups as an illegal attempt to buy votes.

I’ve been an attorney for 19 years. On day one of law school, I learned that every criminal act requires both an action and a specific intent, just as the statute you recited clearly states. Did Mr. Hayward promise to donate money to nonprofits if elected? Yes. Did he do it with the intent to induce non-profit supporters to vote for him? Who knows at this point? Certainly not you. In fact, you expressly refused to analyze Mr. Hayward’s motives. That didn’t stop you though from labeling him a criminal. Isn’t it at least plausible that Mr. Hayward pledged his donation for the sole purpose of helping local charities? If so, it’s a gracious gesture, but clearly not an illegal bribe.

The question of Mr. Hayward’s true intent will undoubtedly be investigated by the District Attorney’s office in the weeks to come. But in the absence of that answer, it was incredibly irresponsible for you to prematurely convict Mr. Hayward in the court of public opinion. You implored voters to make their decisions based upon facts. How can they do that in this age of sound-bite journalism when you, the editor of our town’s only newspaper, play judge and jury before all the evidence is in?

Matt Roane


Dear Editor:

Someone — Mitt or Paul — needs to explain to me how cutting taxes for small businesses creates jobs: please include the exact economic mechanism by which this happens, and has happened in the past. Here’s my problem. When I was running my small business — as a sole proprietor just like the ones Mitt and Paul mention so frequently — I only hired new staff when 1) it was clear I could not meet the demand for my service/product with current staff and 2) I had reasonable assurance/prediction that I would not only cover the cost of the new employee, but that I would make a profit doing so. So you see, to me, the key was whether there was a consistent (and growing) demand for my product/services, not whether I had some extra cash. Absent demand, the “tax break” would go into my pocket (“Thank You”) and not to creating a job. So explain to me how this “tax break = jobs” magic works.

Terry Pickett


Dear Editor:

The Republican lie machine was on full display at the Biden-Ryan debate last week. Just a very few lowlights from the mouth of Paul Ryan:

“It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that [the Libya attack] was a terrorist attack.” Obama used terrorism to describe the killing of Americans the very next day at the Rose Garden. “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for,” Obama said in a Rose Garden statement on Sept. 12.

“Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.”The possibility of Medicare going bankrupt is, and historically has been, greatly exaggerated, so Ryan’s assertion is neither indisputable, nor factual. In fact, if no changes are made, Medicare would still be able to meet 88 percent of its obligations in 2085. Social Security is fully funded for another two decades and could pay 75 percent of its benefits thereafter. Certainly, reforms need to be made, but not the draconian Romney/Ryan plan.

“Unemployment is rising all around America.”In August, the unemployment rate dropped from a year before in 325 of 372 metro areas surveyed by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“… you can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayer. It is mathematically possible. It’s been done before. It’s precisely what we’re proposing.” If Romney/Ryan hope to provide tax relief to the middle class, then their $5 trillion tax cut would add to the deficit. There are not enough deductions in the tax code that primarily benefit rich people to make his math work. As the non-partisan Tax Policy Center concluded, Romney’s plan can’t both exempt middle class families from tax cuts and remain revenue neutral. “He’s promised all these things and he can’t do them all. In order for him to cover the cost of his tax cut without adding to the deficit, he’d have to find a way to raise taxes on middle income people or people making less than $200,000 a year,” the Center found.

After Vice President Biden called out Ryan for sending two letters requesting stimulus funds for his district, despite harshly and repeatedly attacking the program, Ryan said, “We do that. We advocate for constituents’ interests.” That’s a new answer for Ryan, who previously blamed his staff. It’s actually his third answer. First, he said, “I never asked for stimulus.” Then, after being caught in this falsehood, he blamed his staff for allegedly mishandling the request. “After having these letters called to my attention I checked into them, and they were treated as constituent service requests in the same way matters involving Social Security or Veterans Affairs are handled. This is why I didn’t recall the letters earlier. But they should have been handled differently,” he said in a statement. So, his defense of the requests in the debate is another divergent explanation.

How about some truth for a change!

John Porco


Dear Editor:

My name is Clay Ross and I am the student who is at the center of the incident that happened on our football team.

I would first like to offer a sincere apology to my teammates that were affected in this situation, both directly and indirectly. To those of you and your families directly affected by this, all I can do is give you an apology and a promise that I will do everything I can be become a better person for having been involved in this. As a team captain, I let all of my teammates down. I would also like to take this opportunity to apologize to my coaches. I hope they can find it in their hearts to forgive me. Though my version of the events that took place is somewhat different, I realize that I acted inappropriately. I have always been a high-spirited kid and when you couple that with immaturity, you don’t always get the best results. I would also like to apologize to my community, especially those of you who have known me my whole life. I hope for the opportunity to be able to make amends for my bad judgment. I realize that actions speak louder than words, so I will take the time from here on out to try to live my life in a way that allows me to walk through my community again with my head help up knowing that I have righted the wrong I caused. I wish my coaches and teammates the best for the rest of the season. I hope they know how much I love and care for them all.

Clay Ross


Dear Editor:

The Affordable Care Act, aka “Obama-Care,” set to begin in a few months, will crush our local business. I recently attended the first detailed seminar from the legal counsel of our trade association. In it we finally got hard facts about how employers will have to administer this new law. Because group health insurance runs about $15,000/year per employee, it is much more prudent to pay the $2,000 penalty tax. If many employers choose the much cheaper option, group insurance will become a thing of the past, and health care in America will be run by the government. Even more concerning was the complexity of how to administer this in my business with 75 employees. My payroll/HR expenses will increase by 50 percent just to manage the new law. Legal council gave us our options:

1. Cut hours to as many employees as possible to get them below 30 hours/week.

2. Raise your prices by 5-10 percent to cover this new expense.

3. Downsize your business to keep below the threshold of 50 employees.

My business is in the health care industry and represents millions of employees. I don’t think any of them are hoping to get a cut in hours. Raising my prices will make health care more expensive. Downsizing business in today’s economy is the opposite of what America needs.

I started this business in hard times to create a job for me and as many others as possible. Did I misunderstand?

If Obama is re-elected, this will take place, if not, it has a good chance of being repealed. For my sake and the 75 people I employ in this community, do not vote for Obama.

Chris Smith


Dear Editor:

At a Farm Bureau candidate forum in Pagosa Sept. 25, Mike McLachlan described J. Paul Brown as narrow-minded and an ideologue. If he meant J. Paul has his mind narrowly focused on what is in the best interests of the taxpayers, then Mike was correct. If he meant J. Paul is ideologically convinced that the size and scope of government needs to be reined in and the traditional values of this country upheld, then Mike was correct. I congratulate Mr. McLachlan on identifying attributes that commend Mr. Brown for re-election to the 59th House District. Who says candidates have to go negative to get elected?

Roy Vega


Dear Editor:

I was appalled by your editorial condemnation of Mike Hayward to the public in the midst of an ongoing investigation. No conclusions have yet been reached, however, you have already passed judgement. In fact, when Mike contacted the Colorado Secretary of State’s legal department about his pledge to donate his salary to local charities, he was told in writing, “based on the facts you presented, we see no Colorado campaign finance violation,” signed Kerry Coburn Legal Specialist, Campaign Finance State of Colorado.

Let’s talk a little more about the good company Mike keeps in terms of historic figures who have said during elections that they would donate their salaries if elected and then actually did so: John F. Kennedy, Herbert Hoover and yes, even George Washington our first president. I would say that Mike is in good company on the issue of donating his salary to charity! Also, what about our local non-profits that would be helped and are in desperate need?

Further, did the U.S. Attorney General in 2008 file allegations of campaign fraud against Mitt Romney when he promised to donate his salary if elected? No! So, why did this frivolous investigation begin? Even though Mike made this commitment back in April, are charges just now being made right before the election? Seems like convenient timing for the incumbent?

In the past, I have found your editorials about elections to be fair and largely fact based, with the goal of asking all registered voters to get out and vote if you expect to see a change. Now, what I see is the “Good Ole Boys” rallying, with you and The Pagosa SUN at the forefront. In our free country, Karl, you and The Pagosa SUN have the right to endorse any candidate. It would have been better for you to exercise that right rather than passing negative judgement on a good man. I was disappointed that you choose to “convict” Mike in the press instead of waiting for the facts to be determined by the judicial system.

I for one am not afraid to endorse a positive change in this county and will definitely be voting for Mike Hayward and Julie Simmons to replace the status quo. I urge any registered voter to get the real facts on all candiates running in this election and vote for this county’s future and who will best serve our needs. The past doesn’t look so great with a 19.97 percent unemployment rate, the fifth worst in the state.

Ken Vickerstaff

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