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Dear Editor:

When does the editor’s opinion hurt volunteer work in the community? In the editorial last week, titled “Public money, public ownership,” I was very dismayed to read your opinions and not the facts surrounding the CDC. I will list the misleading information that was given in the editorial, as I know them.

1. You implied that Mark Weiler’s resignation was as being one from frustration of the ability to raise funds. Maybe check directly with the individual before giving the public the false impression of why someone makes a decision. All of us connected with the CDC are very concerned about funding and deal with it every day But, we carry on as Mark has in a very important advisory role.

2. You mention the deal with the transfer of ownership of the downtown City Market complex was to have happened some time ago. That is an untrue statement. It was announced by me over six months ago that we were working on this possibility as a great way to benefit all the parties involved. Every time I have been asked for any statement to the press I have expressed up front, this is not a done deal and in fact there are many aspects of getting this potential deal done. At no time did I ever state we had a deal but that we continue to be in negotiations to get a gifting deal done if possible.

3. In regard to your final statement, “we believe that the town government should give the buildings owners a reasonable deadline for the sale of the property to someone ready and willing to bring it on line and if that is not met, then the property should be condemned and turned into a parking lot for downtown. Karl, first and foremost, there is no precedent of the town condemning private property that is in no violation of town codes and your audacious statement does not help those of us who are trying to create a win/win opportunity for this community. What, you want more parking for a downtown that already has 18 closed shop fronts? Karl, have you ever run a business, have you ever had to close a business because it was not working? These are hard decisions to make.

Lastly, it is the CDC’s vision that if we could create a situation whereby the downtown City Market could be gifted to the CDC as a nonprofit 501(C)3 corporation, we could really see this building used for the good of all taxpayers by incorporating vocational space for our high school youth, artist community, Archuleta Educational Center and cooking school for health education. (Maybe we would ask you to be a guest chef, because I hear you are a good cook.)

There is a huge difference from factual reporting and editorials that sway public opinion with poor research and lack of sourcing protocols. Let’s do what you proposed in one of your editorials before the holidays, “Start the New Year by Saying Positive Things about Pagosa” At the CDC, we believe in Pagosa; read the sign next time you pass the old market!

Ken Vickerstaff

Editor’s note: Being positive about Pagosa does not require support of the CDC. There are many groups involved in activities to improve life here. Disagreement concerning certain proposals or assertions is a natural course of things, as is the fact that editorials are specifically designed to express opinions. Editorials are not news; they run on a page clearly labled “Opinion.”

You are correct in indicating a call should have been made to Mr. Weiler, though remarks we have on tape indicate some connection between his resignation and a lack of government funding.

The immanent transfer of ownership of the City Market property was mentioned at a BoCC meeting concerning county funding of non-profit organizations. Mr. Weiler, at an August meeting of the town council, indicated a resolution to the City Market building situation was soon at hand. You, and the CDC executive director, at a 10/8 meeting of the CDC noted that you were in “final negotiations” regarding transfer of ownership and that “county and city funds were needed to make it happen.”

This editor has overseen the closure of two businesses he owned and co-owned and was in a key management position at another business abandoned and closed by its owner. Yes, these are hard decisions to make.

This story was posted on January 17, 2013.