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Letters to the Editor

The law

Dear Editor:

I do not see how anyone can honestly and carefully read Colorado Revised Statutes 1-13-720 and 1-13-721, both quoted in Randi Pierce’s article, “Campaign fraud allegations launched against candidate” (SUN 10/11/2012), and not reach the same conclusion you reached in your editorial,” The wrong kind of promise,” same issue.

You wrote: “You can’t buy votes. It’s against the law in Colorado to promise payment or contributions to an elector. No matter how subtle the offer.” You then went on quoting 1-13-720 and elaborating on why the promise being made by county commissioner candidate Mike Hayward is in violation of 1-13-720.

I read the article before I read your editorial. I had come to the same conclusion. You were more charitable to Hayward than I was. For me it does not matter how wonderful and generous a person is. Doing what Hayward has done is against the Colorado law.

I have known Clifford Lucero ever since he was going through high school taking some of the courses I was teaching. The world would be a better place with a lot more citizens like Clifford and his family. I have known Steve Wadley ever since he came to Archuleta County from Albuquerque, N.M., and I had the good fortune to be working with him on some projects. Clifford was elected county commissioner four years ago. He has been chairman of the board for several of those years. Steve was appointed to fill a vacancy created by a resignation. Clifford is a Democrat. Steve is a Republican. Michael Whiting is unaffiliated. I am not aware of any squabbling among them. I have read everything you have published about Lucero and Wadley during this campaign. I see no reason for a change. I am voting for Clifford Lucero and Steve Wadley. They have earned our support to continue.

Earle Beasley

Myth, reality

Dear Editor:

Do you want to be an American Oligarch, commonly known as a member of the 1 percent?

Some would call the 1-percenters leaches who only extract wealth. For instance, let’s ask the legitimate Republican question: What happened to the recent stimulus funds? Just follow the money. Surprise: 93 percent of the funds went indirectly to the 1-percent families; roughly a $4 million benefit to each. Definitely no job creation here.

Yes, there is, in general, truth to the Republican political banter regarding individualism. Problem: We’ve changed since 1776. While capitalism has been the ticket to political, social and entrepreneurial liberation, it holds the seeds of self-destruction. Whatever lip service we utter, once people succeed the human condition is to want to close the door.

Fact: If you are not in the 1 percent, or even in the remaining middle class and belong to the Republican party, you are essentially committing generational hari kari. Not losing track of exceptions, given today’s educational barriers and related economic funnels, your children have a small chance to move up in society.

So why jump up and down and kick and scream pretending it’s not true? Frankly, we prefer myths to bad reality and sacrifices. Today, we listen to a lot of learned individuals debating each other over the above-related conundrums. Actually, we all know the truth. Yes it’s bad news, today’s world (America included) demands that for us to succeed (or maybe even to survive) we, as a nation, must act together in stepping back and adopting Simpson-Bowles and recognize we need each other (including all immigrants) to be a nation. “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” — Lincoln … and he didn’t include corporations.

Dave Blake

True Christians

Dear Editor:

This November we are going to vote for the next leader of our nation. This leader needs to be a Christian and the only way that will happen is for all True Christians to vote their Christian faith, not for anyone that promotes abortions for any reason. Abortion is murder at any stage of pregnancy. No one can tell when the soul enters the body. Our heavenly Father would give His child a soul at conception because read, Jeremiah 1:4, “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you.” God formed us! We must be very careful not to interpret the bible to suit our wants and ways, but as God intended.

Are you a True Christian? This has nothing to do with being a Republican or Democrat, it has to do with truly believing what Christ has said in the Bible, “Thou shall not commit murder,” Exodus 20:13. God said it and I believe it!

Our Heavenly Mother sent a message that if we would stop killing babies our other problems would be solved, Jesus is really angry with our society for allowing abortions.

God did not intend for male to marry male, or female to marry female; that is against God in every aspect of loving Christ. If you say that you were born that way, okay, but you are called to celibacy, because if you act on your homosexual feeling, you will be committing a terrible sin. There are some that are born that like to kill or inflict pain on others; should we make it okay for them to do this terrible thing? There are those that are born that like to steal; should that be made okay? It is not a sin to be homosexual, but only if you act upon being a homosexual. Just as having sex with someone without the benefit of marriage is a sin for the heterosexuals.

We are to love and serve our loving God, not do as we please. Everyone’s sins hurt the rest of us, because it causes our society to be weak and bad. We show our love by going to God and asking for help to overcome and stop us from doing these horrific sins.

True Christians will not vote for anyone that supports abortions and homosexuality.

May God bless all of us as we vote our true Christian faith in November.

I also do not want this wonderful country of ours to become Muslim; be careful with your vote if you do not want to become Muslim.

Sandy Bramwell


Dear Editor:

At the Oct. 16 meeting of the county commissioners, there was a presentation of the master plan for the county-owned 95 acres located on U.S. 84, south of the fairgrounds. (This property was purchased by the previous board.)

After much community input and now a preliminary design by Axel Bishop with Design Concepts, the plan appears to be a sensational winner. The location is also a plus: 1) on land appropriate for the use; and 2) enhancing the eastern side of town. It will add to, rather than detract from, the natural assets/beauties of Pagosa and will be a draw for both tourists and locals.

Phyl Daleske


Dear Editor:

Many American politicians and their minions believe global warming is a hoax. Apparently, the Russians believe otherwise. In August, Rosatomflot, Russia’s atomic fleet, inked a deal to build a massive icebreaker, powered by two 60 megawatt nuclear reactors. The icebreaker is designed to power through three meter thick ice. Russia currently has a fleet of six nuclear powered icebreakers plus many diesel powered icebreakers. Climate change is the pivotal factor in accelerating Russia’s interest in icebreakers. The fleet of icebreakers is essential for Russia to stake economic rights to vast tracts of the Artic.

U.S. Navy Admirals have repeatedly warned of the threat to our national security by ignoring the fact that the Artic sea ice is disappearing. A Fox news report stated that the Artic sea ice has shrunk to an all-time low.

Of course, we can take comfort, as our local military and climate expert, Mr. Jim Sawicki, assures us that global warming is a hoax, the Russians are wasting billions and our admirals are blowing smoke. Incidentally, if the ship were fueled with coal, it would require about a thousand tons per day.

Bob Dungan



Dear Editor:

I’ve heard that Pagosa politics are dirty. Really dirty. It must be true, as there is so much fear here. It is everywhere. People are afraid to speak their minds freely, afraid to run for office, afraid to sign petitions, afraid to even display a yard sign for fear of inviting the wrath of those in charge.

Why so much fear? Many, many people have “gotten out of line” and suffered political, business or even personal repercussions as a result. Whatever that person really cares about becomes a vulnerability that is exploited as “punishment” for going against the unspoken authority that runs our community. Word gets around and the fear spreads.

So who really runs our community? A secretive, virtually invisible group referred to as the “Good Ole Boys.” They have a network that has been in place for years. They trust one another and rally when they feel threatened. They favor those in their good ole boy network and instill fear in those that go against them. They maintain control of our town/county by whatever means necessary. And they decide who gets elected, among other things.

What is a “good ole boy?” Generally, it is a pejorative term, referring to someone who engages in cronyism among men who have known each other for a long period of time. Cronyism is partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to positions of authority, regardless of their qualifications. Cronyism is contrary in practice and principle to meritocracy (a system in which advancement is based on individual ability or achievement). The Good Ole Boys appoint people who will not try to weaken them, or express contrary views. Someone they feel comfortable with. Someone to protect the status quo.

So what have the Good Ole Boys done for us? Look around. Look at all the vacant storefronts, the piles of junk along the highway in our scenic corridors. Our community does not have much to be proud of with the 5th worst “Not Employed Rate” in the state: 19.97 percent, a poverty rate of 13 percent, per capita personal income (TPI) that ranked 55th in the state (in spite of payments to retirees accounting for almost 21 percent), an uninsured rate of 24 percent and where 51 percent of the children in the county qualify for free and reduced lunches. The Good Ole Boys haven’t done the rest of us much good.

With that in mind, it is interesting to observe what is going on in the county commissioner’s race this political season. Seem too convenient and incredible? It is! Stop and ask yourself, “who has what to gain here that is too important to entrust to an even, fair contest decided by voters?”

It is time for a change. We have the power with our votes! Let’s use it and make a difference for our community!

Muriel Eason

Editor’s note: Ms. Eason is the wife of commissioner candidate Mike Hayward.

Think twice

Dear Editor:

Grover Norquist, the Republican hierarchy’s cabana boy, has dumped a load of cash into Scott Tipton’s campaign, hoping to block Sal Pace from winning Colorado’s Congressional District 3 race.

Norquist is a very dangerous conservative lobbyist in Washington; a political hit man whose campaign piggy bank is kept perpetually overflowing by the likes of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, the National Rifle Association, Microsoft and other millionaires and billionaires. At the bidding of his masters, Norquist wields their cash like a sock full of nickels to bludgeon, bully and smear any candidates they don’t like; candidates like Sal Pace. Norquist’s money acts like a shot of steroids, lending false strength to failing campaigns like Tipton’s.

Grover Norquist is betting your vote is for sale and he thinks he can buy it by filling you with misinformation, lies and mind-numbingly, mean-spirited swill currently saturating radio and television. If you are a sheep or a cow or a member of the Tea Party you might sell your vote to Grover Norquist.

Candidates like Sal Pace all over the country are trying to compete with Norquist’s pot of corporate gold, but it’s almost impossible to compete with his unfair political juggernaut.

So think twice before you cast your vote and ask yourself if we need a Washington carpetbagger buying our congressional election? Are you casting your vote or is Grover Norquist’s dirty campaign money casting your vote for you? You may well find yourself voting for Sal Pace for Congress.

Then we can send Norquist and his bloated piggy banks packing back to Washington. D.C.

John Egan


Dear Editor:

Although I am proud of our country’s freedoms; just because you can say whatever you want doesn’t mean you have to/should.

I haven’t read a single one of the many many glossy political mailings I’ve recieved — haven’t even given them a sideways glance. As fast as possible into the trash they go; and I feel angry when I think of their space in landfills year after year, the trees used for the paper, possibly poisonous inks, and the money spent!

I think of the many, many good things that could be done with all that is spent on political advertising.

Read newspapers, read the ballot analysis booklet, research Pols’ voting records online, but don’t believe these mailings — they are not meant to be informative, just inflammatory.

If we all refuse to read these mailings, and instead collect them and send them all back next election, maybe they will stop?

Thanks for letting me vent.

Addi Greer


Dear Editor:

Are you aware that the Oktoberfest held on Oct. 6 at the Quality Resort was the best yet by a long shot? Nancy Ford was the catalyst and she worked her fingers to the bone to make it special. And, who benefits from this success? — ASI, or Archuleta Seniors Inc. So we thank Nancy, along with her many volunteers. We thank C.T. for allowing these people the use of his beautiful facility. Lots going on all over the place. There was a 27-member oompah band and the music was perfect for the occasion. There were several young women from the high school key club keeping everything picked up and running smoothly. And DJ Dude (Michael Hayward), Dusty and June Marquez filled in on the microphone when needed and it was so much fun!

Congrats to Mike Pierce for receiving an award for his beautiful and strong article regarding the many assets we enjoy in the state of Colorado. And aren’t we lucky to live here.

Cindy Gustafson


Dear Editor:

I am George J. Hayward the father of Michael Hayward of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, candidate for county commissioner. I am writing this letter to let you and everyone else in your county that feel so grievously damaged by my son’s charitable offer regarding his bid for the county commissioner’s office that I and his mother take full responsibility for his terrible breach of conduct.

My wife Joyce and I, as his parents, instilled in Mike his honest values, his love for people and his desire to help others and, therefore, we are the guilty parties.

Perhaps we should have also taught him that some people will always take even the most charitable of deeds and try to make them seem evil. We should have taught him to not get involved in politics, as there are all kinds of sleazy people that won’t tolerate someone that wants to do good things for the community and has the poor manners to want to try a fresh approach to things without expecting something in return.

While you are deciding what type of punishment is appropriate for this heinous crime, perhaps you should also address the other things he is guilty of. I’m sure if you try hard enough, there must be some way you can find a way to punish him for the excessive hours (several hundred) he has spent working on behalf of the various charities in the community. Then there is all of the equipment that he has purchased that he dares to loan or use for the various fund-raisers; now that has to deserve some punishment! Perhaps you should also know about his terrible behavior around Christmas time! He and his wife actually get dressed up in costume as Santa and Santa’s helper and offend people in downtown Pagosa Springs by giving them gifts! Even to total strangers! Can you imagine the shock this must be to some of these unsuspecting tourists? I can just imagine what their impression of your community must be given this type of experience! If I could track them down, I would, and set them all straight because I’m sure they have a false impression of Pagosa Springs and you wouldn’t want that!

As you have no doubt figured out, I am being sarcastic here. What you also should know by now is, as Mike’s parents, we are damned proud of him!

The shortest and surest way to live with honor in the world is to be in reality what we appear to be. — Socrates.

George Hayward

Sun Lakes, Ariz.

Bad for women

Dear Editor:

In one of the best questions during the second debate, candidates were asked how they would address the issue of pay equality for women. According to U.S. Department of Labor statistics for full-time, year-round workers, women’s earnings in 2011 were on average 81 percent of men’s.

Romney dodged the question with a marginally relevant story about his supposed recruiting effort as governor. Said Romney, “I went to a number of women’s groups and said, ‘Can you help us find folks,’ and they brought us whole binders full of women.” Problem is, this story is another of Romney’s fabrications. What actually happened was that prior to the election, a bipartisan group of women formed the MassGAP Project to address the problem of few women in senior leadership positions in state government. There were more than 40 organizations involved. They did the research and put together the now-infamous binders full of women qualified for all the different cabinet positions, agency heads, and authorities and commissions. They presented these binders to Romney when he was elected. So, he actually did not ask for the binders. And he never did provide any clue in the debate or since as to what he might do as president to eliminate the pay gap.

President Obama, on the other hand, has championed equality. As he noted in the debate, the first bill he signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Republicans and their big business cronies opposed this bill from the very beginning. President Obama said in the debate, “I just want to point out that when Governor Romney’s campaign was asked about the Lilly Ledbetter bill, whether he supported it, he said, ‘I’ll get back to you.’ And that’s not the kind of advocacy that women need in any economy.” The president also eloquently stated, “Women are increasingly the breadwinners in the family. This is not just a women’s issue, this is a family issue, this is a middle-class issue, and that’s why we’ve got to fight for it.” Just this past Sunday on “Meet the Press,” Romney surrogate Sen. Rubio blasted the Ledbetter law. Earlier this year, The Paycheck Fairness Act, intended to strengthen 50-year-old Equal Pay Act, was blocked by Senate Republicans along a party line vote.

So, what party should women trust for support of their issues? We know where the Republicans stand. They have questioned if pregnancy can result from rape and whether abortions are ever needed to save a mother’s life. They have promised to overturn Roe v. Wade and have vowed to eliminate the women’s health services provided by Planned Parenthood. A young woman who simply wants contraception covered by insurance was called a“slut” and a “prostitute.” Should women vote for those who want to gut the Medicaid program that is essential to low income families and who oppose efforts to provide equal pay for equal work? Are you kidding? A vote for Romney is definitely bad for women.

Becky Herman


Dear Editor:

There have been several letters in the last month touting the benefits of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and claiming that Medicare and Social Security are secure —not to worry — and the Republicans are resorting to scare tactics to get you to vote against President Obama. Let’s take a look at some facts and I’ll try not to bore you with too many numbers.

First, remember that whenever Washington talks about ‘evaluating’ the results of a program they are required to apply the current law as written.

From the Summary of 2012 Annual Report on the Status of Social Security and Medicare Programs “Both Medicare and Social Security cannot sustain projected long-run program costs under currently scheduled financing, and legislative modifications are necessary to avoid disruptive consequences for beneficiaries and taxpayers … The Trustees project that the HI Trust Fund will pay out more in hospital benefits and other expenditures than it receives in income in all future years, as it has since 2008. The projected date of HI Trust Fund exhaustion is 2024, the same date projected in last year’s report, at which time dedicated revenues would be sufficient to pay 87 percent of HI costs … Projected Medicare costs over 75 years are substantially lower than they otherwise would be because of provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as amended by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 (the “Affordable Care Act” or ACA). Most of the ACA-related cost saving is attributable to a reduction in the annual payment updates for most Medicare services … The report notes that sustaining these payment reductions indefinitely will require unprecedented efficiency-enhancing innovations in health care payment and delivery systems that are by no means certain. In addition, the Trustees assume an almost 31-percent reduction in Medicare payment rates for physician services will be implemented in 2013 as required by current law, which is also highly uncertain … The drawdown of Social Security and HI trust fund reserves and the general revenue transfers into SMI will result in mounting pressure on the Federal budget. In fact, pressure is already evident. For the sixth consecutive year, the Social Security Act requires that the Trustees issue a “Medicare funding warning” because projected non-dedicated sources of revenues — primarily general revenues — are expected to continue to account for more than 45 percent of Medicare’s outlays, a threshold breached for the first time in fiscal year 2010. “

If you believe that: Washington will, amazingly, become more efficient next year; after 40 years they will start to reduce Medicare fraud; after 15 years Congress will suddenly apply the “Dr Fix” and reduce reimbursements by 31 percent; using $716 billion in “savings” (“cuts” in real-speak) to Medicare and Medicare Advantage to fund the ACA will make Medicare more affordable or available — then trust President Obama to take care of you. The ACA does not guarantee you healthcare — it guarantees you health insurance (at an ever-increasing premium). Having insurance does not get you an appointment with the doctor. I am already hearing about doctors in Durango refusing to accept new Medicare patients. Paul Ryan is one of the few who has been willing to initiate proposals for fixes to Medicare.

Jim Huffman


Dear Editor:

Beware voters of the 3rd Congressional District, our Congressman, Scott Tipton, having been sworn into office, then signed Grover Norquist’s Taxpayers Protection Pledge, wherein Tipton pledged: “ONE, to oppose any and all efforts to increase the marginal income tax rates for individuals and/or businesses; and TWO, oppose any net reduction or elimination of deductions and credits, unless matched dollar for dollar by further reducing tax rates.”

The oath of office that every member of Congress takes upon accepting the job, clearly states, among other things, that: “I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter.”

What are these “duties of the office” mentioned in the oath? Article 1 of the Constitution spells them out in Section 8. The first one: “The Congress shall have the Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties. Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defense and general Welfare of the United States …” Article 1, Section 8 then continues with a specific list of duties, all of which require funding.

The Taxpayer Protection Pledge is a pledge to serve a specific political agenda regardless of the duties of office. There is nothing in the Constitution or the oath of office consistent with allowing a pledge to a private partisan group to take precedence and over-ride the oath of office. This pledge violates both the Constitution and the oath of office. Unfortunately, since 52 percent of our government is involved, who is going to convict them of these violations.

This pledge was signed by 238 Representatives and 41 Senators. All are Republicans, except for three Democrats In Colorado Tipton is one of four representatives who signed. Also of interest is the fact that Paul Ryan, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell also signed. You can refer to the website Americans for Tax Reform for this information. Since Norquist has a SuperPac, you can be sure that all signers are well recompensed for their pledge. Smacks to me of bribery and corruption. Keep your pledge, or risk being routed out of office. For these people partisanship is clearly more important than the welfare of the United States itself, more important than the economy and the health and safety of its citizens, more important than a sworn oath to protect the Constitution.

No wonder nothing gets done in Congress when so many of its members have relegated themselves to be used as obstructionists for the welfare of the few. It explains a lot of Mr. Tipton’s negative voting record and my decision to cast my vote against him. I would urge Mr. Tipton’s constituents to look closely at his record before voting.

Aideen Karger


Dear Editor:

I turned 18 in June of this year and one of the first things I did was become a registered voter in Archuleta County. This is a big year for election issues, especially right here at home. I was born and raised in Pagosa Springs and my mom has been involved in politics, even running once for commissioner herself. I’ve helped my mom volunteer at local organizations and events and I have seen the impact made by those who choose to work in the background to make our community a better place.

In my first opportunity to vote, I plan on writing in the name of Julie Simmons for county commissioner in District 1. I first met Julie when she was the executive director of Colorado Housing Inc. where my mom served as a board member for many years. I’ve volunteered with my mom and Julie at several community fund-raisers. Now that I have a chance to vote for the person I want to represent me as commissioner, I will definitely be writing in Julie Simmons. She’s not just someone who says she wants to make a difference, she has actually worked behind the scenes making a difference in our community.

It is a privilege to be able to vote and know that my voice can impact the future of where I grew up. I am confident that Julie Simmons understands what the county needs and has the experience to follow through.

Dylan Koch


Dear Editor:

Barrack Obama chose the political path that many politicians before him have traveled. That path is to “buy votes” by promising government handouts and programs with taxpayer dollars taken from producers that they have worked for or earned and giving that money to the consumers for their votes. When an individual, an organization, or a government takes something from one person and gives it to another person or organization without their consent it violates a higher law given by God Himself, “though shalt not steal!”

Politicians have learned that they can promise favors and government programs to voters for votes at the expense of the producing taxpayer. These same politicians have given or funneled hundreds of millions in handouts to companies who supported them financially in their campaigns like Solyndra. What Barrack Obama and others like him have done can easily be defined as “legalized plunder” or “buying votes” by our government officials. Mitt Romney’s and Paul Ryan’s policies require more individual responsibility and freedom.

The 47 percent of people on government doles or handouts that Romney referred to that would vote for Obama regardless should have been worded differently. Romney should have said that “the majority of the 47 percent of people on Obama’s government doles will vote for Obama regardless of what he does in office.” Obviously not 100 percent of those receiving government handouts would feel Obama’s programs to buy off voters outweigh Obama’s destructive policies. If a poll was taken on people with voters on government assistance, I would bet that the majority of them are voting for Barrack Hussein Obama next month because Obama’s is “helping the American people.”

One other area that Obama has used taxpayer money to fund organizations that Obama supports is Obama illegally issuing an “executive order” to give 1.5 billion taxpayer dollars to America’s terrorist enemies, the Muslim Brotherhood. Obama couldn’t make time to meet with America’s ally, Israel’s prime minister. The same week he had the Muslim Brotherhood to the White House for the second at the taxpayers’ expense.

Obama is required to get congressional approval before taxpayer moneys can be distributed as part of the balance of powers set forth in the Constitution to limit one branch from gaining too much power. The Constitution does not give Obama the tyrannical power to execute or created an “executive order” to give our enemies and obviously his friend’s 1.5 billion taxpayer dollars with no approval from our elected representatives. How many schools, roads and veterans hospitals could have been built with that money here at home?

My government professor in college gave the class statistics one day. Mr. Taylor said that about a third of our taxpayer dollars go to redistribution programs. Mr. Taylor also stated that 71 percent of our tax dollars are used in administration cost and never make it back to the local areas. I feel that any reasonable person can agree that our local elected administrators know what our local needs are better than the state elected leaders and our state leaders know what their constituents needs are better than the Washington bureaucrats know and understand our local issues. Tax dollars can be better managed on a local level.

I have never understood why it is seen as greed by some to want to keep the money you have earned from wise investments and hard work, but it is not considered greed by some to sit at the house and watch Oprah and break another commandment of God’s by “coveting” the earnings of your neighbor?

Monte Lane

Voting record

Dear Editor:

The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise was the Republican Party’s budget proposal for the United States federal government in the fiscal year 2012. Representative Paul Ryan, Chairman of the House Budget Committee, played a prominent public role in drafting and promoting the Path to Prosperity proposals, and they are therefore often referred to as the Ryan budget, Ryan plan, Ryan proposal, etc.

The 2012 Republican proposal was formalized and passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, April 15, 2011, by a vote of 235 to 193, largely along party lines. No Democrats voted in favor of the bill, and only four Republicans voted against it: Walter B. Jones, Jr., David McKinley, Ron Paul and Denny Rehberg.

Although the original proposal has been watered down to conform to public opinion, what every Republican representative (with the above exceptions) voted for is the following:

Eliminating Medicare as a government-run, guaranteed health care system, and replacing it with a voucher system, in essence paying a set amount to seniors who will be required to purchase their own insurance from private insurance companies.

Repeal of the entire Affordable Care Act and a return to insurance companies’ ability to refuse to insure people with pre-existing conditions, eliminating consumers when they get sick, using premiums to pad executive salaries instead of spending on actual health care, a return to lifetime benefit caps, no constraints on premium increases, the repeal of requirements to pay for preventative testing, cover children until they are 26, and all the other “good things” about “Obamacare” that the GOP now claims to support (or not support) on any given day.

A 30-percent cut to Federal Funding of the Medicaid Program, on which a large percentage of seniors also depend.

Increases in defense spending, retention of the Bush tax cuts, elimination of the estate tax (which would benefit only the wealthiest Americans) and the capital gains tax, would be “offset” by the unspecified closing of “loopholes and deductions.” In other words, we’ll have to trust future Congressional leaders to be able to agree on these cuts, something they’ve been unable to do in modern history.

At the end of the day, the Republicans running for office, have been using the strongest language to claim they would never vote to cut Medicare or Social Security benefits. One candidate tearfully claims that she has taken an oath to protect these things … but no matter how much these candidates pretend otherwise, no matter how much the party has re-arranged their proposal to fit the latest opinion polls, this is the legislation they all voted for.

Instead of trying to divine which candidate is telling the truth in these matters, how about, for once, we look at their actual voting record instead. Perhaps if all of us paid a bit more attention to what our representatives do instead of what they say at election time, we might all of us have better representation in the first place, and wouldn’t have to debate what is and isn’t true about their agendas.

F John Lozen

The line

Dear Editor:

Voting is one of our most important freedoms because almost all our other freedoms depend on free and untainted elections. The process must be fair and above reproach. Anything that damages the credibility of the voting process is a serious threat to our cherished freedoms.

In the race for county commissioner one candidate, Mike Hayward, has unfortunately crossed the line and essentially tried to get people to vote for him by saying that he would donate his net salary to various local charities or nonprofits if he is elected.

This takes advantage of an extremely stressed group in these economic times. In good times raising money for these groups is very challenging. My wife and I are very sympathetic to the problem as we have both been on a number of nonprofit boards as either president, fund-raising chairman or general members. We have dealt with it by working hard with others on the board and by donating to numerous nonprofits since we first bought property in 1997.

Yes, I donated a considerable amount of my commissioner salary while I was a commissioner. But it was never used as a way of getting elected nor should it be.

Mike Hayward should be ashamed of himself and apologize to the voters as well as the members of the nonprofits. The District Attorney has made a determination that, in his opinion, Mr Hayward did violate Colorado State Statue, Conduct of Elections 1-13-721-1a, Receipt of Money or Jobs, and would prosecute Mr. Hayward if he continued to promise to donate his salary. In order to avoid prosecution, Mr. Hayward and the DA reached an agreement so that Mr. Hayward will not be prosecuted if he does not make any more promises to donate his salary.

Interestingly, Mr. Hayward has also put voters who vote for him in violation of the law if they vote for him because of his offer to donate his salary. I suggest you go back and read Karl Isberg’s editorial concerning this. I thought it was a very straightforward, factual editorial and with the District Attorney’s decision last week, it turns out Karl was absolutely correct. Money should not even enter into the election thought process. If it has been part of your thought process in determining who to vote for, then shame on you, the voter. When you are voting to select a county commissioner, the major consideration should be the qualifications of the person running and what he has done for the community, not if he is trying to bribe you into voting for him.

Bob Moomaw

Third party

Dear Editor:

Vote for a third party president.

It would not be a lost vote. It would create a statement for change.

Jill Stein, Green Party, had been arrested and was not allowed to speak at the presidential debate. As Ralph Nader was in our 2008 presidential election/debate.

A third party needs to be allowed in the presidential debates, on all broadcasts.

Pam Morrow

Heads up!

Dear Editor:

Let’s say the one most loved and adored by you, has suffered the worst life changing event imaginable. She is a victim of rape! A horrific, “legitimate” rape! Think about this. Unbelievable, right? Legal abortion shouldn’t be a problem, should it?

Women in the United States presently have the legal right to abortion under Roe vs. Wade. This is the law of the land. It’s a smart law, it’s sensible, it’s just and it’s right. There are politicians that want this right eliminated. They want Roe vs. Wade repealed.

Heads up! This country presently has individuals running for the presidency and vice presidency of this country who are swamped with "dark age mentalities.”These Neanderthals want this absolute right for a woman to control her own body taken away! Not only do they intend to eliminate the decision of women to have an abortion because of personal circumstances, but they would force her to continue her pregnancy, and subsequent delivery, that may have resulted from the terrible act described above. Their stated, proposed policy, is to deny any abortion, even those pregnancies resulting from rape or incest.

Any implied idea that restricts a woman’s right to choose, is more than reason to keep these crackpots, and others like them, from holding an elected office at any level. Their misguided religious philosophy is dangerous. They should keep their scary thoughts to their miserable selves! They have no business attempting to control the reproductive rights of anyone. Seems that even here in Colorado, and throughout the country, we’ve been invaded and we need to take serious note. Take a hard look at all the things they say.

Fred Olson


Dear Editor:

Vote for Amendment 65. This is about getting unlimited and undisclosed money out of our elections.

This money threatens the integrity of our elections. We need to insure that elections belong to the people, not special interests.

Amendment 65 instructs the Colorado Congressional Delegation to propose, support, and ratify an amendment to the United States Constitution that allows Congress and the states to limit campaign contributions and spending to insure that all citizens can express their views to one another and their government on a level playing field.

Unlimited and undisclosed campaign contributions allow special interest groups (unions, corporations, wealthy individuals, etc.) to exercise a disproportionate level of influence over the political process. These campaign contributions create the potential for corruption and the appearance of corruption. And the rising costs of campaigning for political office prevent qualified citizens from running for political office.

And unlimited campaign money is rampant. For the presidential election we are at $1.1 billion (hard and soft money combined) and counting, for the 3rd Congressional district we are at $5 million and counting, and for the Colorado House District 59 we are at $300,000 and counting. Further, undisclosed contributions distort the political process, enabling a few individuals and interests to dominate the political discourse, overwhelming the voices of citizen voters. We can reduce the dependency of candidates on large donations, reduce the danger that office holders will feel dependent on that, and reduce the effect of those donations on policy and appointments.

This is a non-partisan issue. Both the Republican and Democratic county parties passed resolutions calling for action on the special interest corporate, union, PAC, and other unknown organization funding of campaign ads that are distorting our political process. In a joint statement they note that, “527/PAC, Super PAC, and 501(c)(4), corporate, union, and other hidden money in local, state, and national elections has produced mostly ads that are, in general, misleading or untrue and for which no one can reasonably identify the source or agenda of the money, creating a situation where it is virtually impossible for the average voter to distinguish between the truth or falseness of these ads; this has allowed candidates to avoid responsibility for the content of and accountability for false information in the ads being run either in their favor or attacking their opponents.”

I urge you to get the ball rolling by voting for Amendment 65.

Terry Pickett


Dear Editor:

Hypocrisy is alive and well and living in the Republican Party. A few examples:

The latest Romney ad has him pleading for bipartisanship in Washington and claims that he doesn’t care if a plan or policy is Republican or Democrat if it helps America. This ad is the largest pile of moldering hypocrisy of the whole campaign. The Republicans have sought to politicize and impede every action of the Obama Administration starting the day of his inauguration. In 2010, Senate Minority Leader McConnell proclaimed that the central goal of the Republican Party would be to make Obama a one term president. Not to help the economy, not to create jobs, not to save Medicare! President Obama had a good jobs bill that would have helped the economy, but it was not even considered in the Republican House. Of course not — it might have helped the president by helping the American people. Can’t have that! Bipartisanship? Not from Romney and the Republican hypocrites!

On the tragedy in Libya, the Republicans keep accusing the Obama Administration of lying, starting with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. She told television interviewers the violence grew out of a spontaneous demonstration, prompted by an American anti-Muslim video. Here is the simple fact: The Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, has confirmed that Rice told the truth in describing the assessment of the intelligence community at the time of her remarks. And Ambassador Rice was not the only one. Two days after the attack, CIA Director David Petraeus, a real American hero, briefed the House Intelligence Committee and told lawmakers the best intelligence showed it was a demonstration sparked by the video that got out of hand. What this all shows is that intelligence in unstable foreign nations where America has little presence is an inexact science. Somehow the Republicans think that we should have known exactly what happened on day one, which is ludicrous. Let’s not forget that President Bush used cherry picked and deeply flawed intelligence to start an unjustified war that cost thousands of American lives and added to the destabilization of the Middle East. And regarding embassy security, House Republicans voted to cut nearly $300 million in funding from that as part of their most recent budget. Hypocrisy? You bet!

Finally, here’s a scary look at what’s happening in Texas. Health and Human Services Executive Commissioner Dr. Kyle Janek announced this week that the state’s newly created state health program for low-income women will not include Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates. If a federal court orders it to include Planned Parenthood, officials will SHUTTER the program, rather than let them participate. Currently the federal government pays for about 90 percent of Texas’ $39-million-a-year Women’s Health Program. But that funding is at risk after Texas voted to exclude Planned Parenthood or any of its affiliates from being included in the program. Read more: The Republicans say they care about women. Really? That is nothing but hypocrisy.

John Porco


Dear Editor:

What is a regent?

Many voters leave the boxes for regents on their ballot unmarked because of lack of information. There are two places on this year’s ballot to vote for regents. One is for our 3rd Congressional Regent and one is for Regent At Large.

The regents serve on a board that oversees four Colorado Universities, one in Boulder, two in Denver and one in Colorado Springs. These universities graduate 11,000 students per year. The Board of Regents manages a $3 billion yearly budget, sets tuition and fees and is the third largest employer in the state. They select the presidents of these universities, set goals and direction, direct and control all budget dollars and adopt university policy.

The board is made up of seven regents, one from each congressional district plus two at-large members. These are important positions. Glen Gallegos is our 3rd Congressional District conservative candidate. He is an educator and a successful businessman. He believes CU should be affordable, accessible and accountable. Dr. Brian Davidson, an anesthesiologist, is the conservative candidate for Regent At Large. He is endorsed by The Cortez Journal, the Durango Herald and the Pueblo Chieftain. Universities are known to be extremely liberal and more balance can be achieved by voting for these conservative candidates. Your vote for education in Colorado is very important. Please vote.

Barbara Rawlings

Write in

Dear Editor:

My wife, Julie Simmons, is running as a write-in candidate for District 1 County Commissioner. She chose to run for commissioner because we believe that Archuleta County needs new leadership to support existing local businesses and offer clear, two-way communication with residents of this community.

The county claims to be business friendly. But, the facts disagree. Our business, Pagosa Brewing Company, was required by the county to spend a job-killing $25,000 on fees for attorneys, engineers and code specialists to obtain our parking lot paving variance. Yet, after meeting the county’s requirements, and even having our variance recommended by county staff, Commissioner Steve Wadley still voted against us, which could have cost us a staggering $100,000 on top of what we already spent. His rationale was that we supposedly, “Weren’t following the rules.” I hate to inform him that a variance is a state-approved rule. Why are home-grown businesses being saddled with unnecessary burdens? Our parking lot fiasco is just one example of bureaucracy that is unfriendly to local business. We have heard numerous stories from residents approaching their commissioner about roads, business or development and receiving little to no follow-up communication and seeing no results. Community task forces formed by previous boards have been disbanded and excused, their ideas and input shelved. Julie has 12 years of experience working with town, county and regional government entities and I know she can serve as a leader with clear communication, diligent follow-through, and strong support of the residents and businesses who make their home in Archuleta County. I urge you to write in Julie Simmons for District 1 County Commissioner. Let’s move our community forward, together, and out of bottle-necked bureaucracy.

Tony Simmons

No spin

Dear Editor:

Vote on facts, not media spin.

Women employed at the Whitehouse make 18 percent less than men (CBO, GAO). Women employed at Democratic Convention made $504 less than men (2012 Election Reports).

Ninety-two percent of jobs lost where held by women. Forty percent-plus single women live in poverty, the child poverty rate rose to 22 percent in single women households during President Obama’s term (Bureau of Labor).

23 million unemployed or underemployed.

47 million on food stamps, highest record under any president.

$4,500-plus drop in average household income.

$716 billion in Medicare cuts. President Obama uses scare tactics, not facts, against seniors.

$5.5 trillion of new debt and growing during President Obama’s term.

$4-plus gas prices. President Obama stated drilling increased, but only private land drilling increased. President Obama’s policies have cut public land drilling over 50 percent.

Food prices increased due to gas/diesel price increasing. President Obama said we are doing fine.

President Obama stated the national debt would be reduced by 50 percent in three years, it increased to $16 trillion-plus.

President Obama had control of both houses of Congress for two years, but did not act on immigration, tax reform or debt reduction.

President Obama claims tax cuts for middle class and small business, but tax cuts expire 12-31-12.

Insurance premiums have risen and ObamaCare is not fully implemented. If we do not have a job, or are just barely making enough to pay bills — how will we pay the mandate to obtain insurance or pay the fine imposed by ObamaCare?

Four Americans murdered in Libya. President Obama spoke numerous times blaming a video, not blaming terrorists. The buck stops with President Obama, not Hillary.

President Obama’s family spent taxpayer funds, our money, on lavish vacations, while Americans cannot afford vacations and struggle for daily needs.

My fellow voters, please review the facts — just the facts. Ignore media spin. Mitt Romey is fighting for our country and deserves your vote. President Obama is only fighting for his job and deserves to be fired.

Mary Ann Smith


Dear Editor:

As we prepare to cast our votes, let’s think on this from the Good Book, the Gospel of Luke:

“If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.”

This election will decide the kind of nation we are building: Are we “One under God” that cares for all, regardless of religious, cultural, racial or even financial differences, or do we decide at the ballot box to, “love only those who love us,” to “do good only to those who are good to us?” Where does your heart lie?

Patty Tillerson


Dear Editor:

While Mike Hayward’s salary donation plan has been thoroughly discussed in letters to The SUN, a couple of points haven’t been covered.

Mr. Hayward wishes, if elected, to donate his salary to nonprofits. While this is a nice gesture, it is also risky. Legalities aside, consider members of the county electorate from the 20 percent not-employed group (people 18 and older that are ready, willing and able to work but can’t find a job). What would it say to them, watching a new commissioner, who may not even need the salary from his job, give it away to whatever nonprofit he felt was most deserving?

As for The SUN, they regularly express their opinions and they made it clear in their Oct. 11 editorial that they don’t endorse candidates. However, The SUN seems to have achieved this result anyway by discrediting Mr. Hayward’s donation plan, thereby implicitly endorsing his opponent, Clifford Lucero. Besides creating doubt in the minds of voters, this resulted in more letters to The SUN and more political advertising revenue for them. Rather than criticizing Karl Isberg and The SUN, people could encourage candidates to spend some of their advertising dollars at other publications. Personally, I would like to see The SUN enhance its value to the Archuleta County electorate by thoroughly evaluating and formally endorsing future candidates based on their qualifications and accomplishments. Our neighbor publication, The Durango Herald, does this very well, making it an asset to La Plata County.

I believe that based on his record, steady leadership of the BoCC, and ability to stay above the fray, Clifford Lucero is the best candidate. But it’s good to have candidates from different parties in the race as it gives voters a choice. As the campaigns come to an end, I hope to see more discussion over real issues like road maintenance, declining property tax revenues, etc.

Fred Uehling

Fight cancer

Dear Editor:

Having cancer is hard. Finding help shouldn’t be. Pagosa Springs citizens have been influential in fundraising to help further lifesaving research and the reach of the American Cancer Society’s Patient Services. Just call the American Cancer Society at (800) ACS-2345. We can help. There is a wealth of information available to anyone who is interested. Below are a number of services available to any individuals who seek support:

1. Pagosa Springs Cancer Support Group — a local group of cancer survivors, offering educational and emotional support for all patients and their loved ones. This group meets the last Monday of the month at 5:30 in the Heritage Building (on Main Street, next to the newspaper office) upstairs, with the next meeting being held on Oct. 29 at 5:30 p.m.

2. Cancer Survivors Network — an online community created by and for cancer survivors and their loved ones at

3. “New Connections” Cancer Survivors On-line newsletter — a series of bimonthly online newsletters specifically created for patients either in active treatment or after treatment, or caregivers. Available at or (800) ACS-2345.

4. Treatment options decision making tools — an interactive tool that guides you through the complexity of issues involved with cancer treatment and helps support informed decision making and doctor-patient communication.

5. Treatment guidelines — an interactive guide to the most current courses of treatment for the leading types of cancer, as well as fatigue, pain, distress, fever and nausea, as recommended by professionals from 19 of the nation’s leading cancer centers.

6. Clinical trials matching service — a free, confidential, matching service for cancer clinical trials nationwide as well as information about why clinical trials are important, and the benefits to patients and families.

7. Hospitals’ and doctors’ databases — searchable databases and directories of hospitals, healthcare facilities and physicians.

8. Guide to cancer drugs — a free online searchable directory of the most commonly used cancer drugs. Available as a book, too.

9. Health Insurance Assistance Program — a free service via the Society’s 800 number, (800) ACS-2345 to help cancer patients and families with financial issues.

The money that we raise in our community from Relay For Life helps fund these programs. Together we can make a difference. My hope is that Archuleta County will be aware of the opportunities and programs the American Cancer Society has to offer. If you’ve been touched by cancer, we can give you the opportunity to fight in ways that will help you and others.

I can’t thank the newspaper enough for letting me inform our community of the important resources provided by the American Cancer Society. If there is ever a question I can help you with, please call me at 247-1667.

Susan Williams

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