Letters

Agree to disagree

Dear Editor:

 Mr. Buslepp can believe in socialism if he so desires. Not a problem except when his style of government wants to place a heavier and heavier tax burden on Americans who are already overtaxed. 

Obama has stated he will place an even heavier burden on those who already pay the bulk of the taxes. Does that make one want to work harder, knowing that the more one tries to prosper, the more government will punish him through higher taxes.

I do not know where Buslepp learned what he thinks conservatism is but he has no idea. I would suggest he try reading some of William Buckley’s books, or as many as the following as he can: Friedrich Hayek, Thomas Sowell, Ben Stein, Milton Friedman and, of course, Adam Smith.

I fully understand I will not change Buslepp’s beliefs in big brother government any more then he can change mine. And, yes, I asked God to help us because I believe in God. I do what I can to help the “down trodden” as Buslepp calls them. I do so by giving of my earnings to various charities and my church. God asks each individual to help his brother. He did not ask government to do it for us. When government “helps” it’s usually to get something in return, your vote.

Liberals wrongly think they have a monopoly on helping the less fortunate. The liberal way is to make that person dependent on government, conservatives want to help them become independent. One way is a handout, the other is a hand up. Liberals think, like Marx, that to help the poor you must lower those at the top, whereas conservatives believe in raising those from the bottom.

Many people in this country fail to take advantage of all the opportunities this country offers. Are those who did take advantage of their available opportunities to pay for those who did not?

Mr. Buslepp, we are now left to merely agree to disagree.

Doug G. Bell

Granbury, Texas

America first

Dear Editor:

What do these events say to you:?

1. Oil is down from over $140 to less than $50/barrel. That’s got to be an incredible “doorway” for shifting funds to alternative energy projects. To heck with the Mid East. Phase out oil.

2. Obama is elected president, the health industry is finally pushing a comprehensive and inclusive national health program. The tattered economy and George’s expiring (2011) tax breaks for the wealthy may be just the openings we need to actually make needed changes in national health systems. Solving the health issue could mean billions for a more competitive nation, not to mention better health services for most.

3. A new, combined study by U.S. Intelligence agencies on the global future suggests that al Qaeda may be on the decline. While not contradicting intelligence assessments, the report suggested that while al Qaeda remains a major threat the group “may decay sooner” than many experts thought. Habeas Corpus anyone?

4. Same study, “Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World,” predicts a significant relative decline in the world dominance of the United States as China, India and other powers assert themselves. By 2025, the report predicts, “the U.S. will find itself as one of a number of important actors on the world stage,” playing “a prominent role in global events” but not a decisive one as in the past. It says the global shift from West to East in wealth and economic power “is without precedent in modern history.”

5. Iraq signed (subject to approval) a security agreement with the U.S. that ends U.S. involvement in 2011 with, you guessed it, the only remaining open issue being control of oil.  For us to seek a prolonged stay for some oil rights only wastes dollars and lives needed here. It never was about democracy in Iraq.

6. The bailout by George, all of Congress, Treasury and the Federal Reserve isn’t working.  Auto execs are so dim-witted they fly in private jets to hold out a tin cup. While Japanese car makers are doing OK in this market, charging more for their product and — surprise, surprise — their CEOs and execs make less than a 10th of their Detroit counterparts, who are producing multiple billions in losses.  By the way, India and France are now producing a car that runs very well (100 miles plus per air charge) on compressed air.

7. General Petraeus and President Karzai of Afghanistan have opposing goals. The latter wants to be reelected to run what is now one of the most corrupt countries in the world with a heavy dependence on opium exports and he seeks peace talks with the Taliban; while the former thinks a solution exists among the 90 percent of “enemy” combatants who aren’t part of either al Qaeda or Taliban but rather are bored locals just choosing their own kind over foreign troops. The real threat/problem remains troublemaker, unstable Pakistan, which definitely has usable nukes.

 Now that the election’s bs is over, what these developments say to me is that I can’t believe that anybody could be against choosing America first and solving our needs over futzelbauming ourselves about how foreign foregone self-predicated futility builds our economy.

 David Blake

EIS on hold

Dear Editor:

Recently I put on hold the Wolf Creek Access Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Now I want to take a moment to describe the events that led to my decision.

First a quick history. Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture (LMJV) owns about 288 acres of land which sits a short distance south of U.S. Highway 160 directly below Wolf Creek Ski Area. LMJV plans to build the Village at Wolf Creek on their land. Since their private property is surrounded by National Forest System land, in 2004 LMJV submitted an application to the Rio Grande National Forest for road access and a utility corridor across federal land.

As many readers know, this led to the Forest conducting the first analysis on LMJV’s request for access. In March 2006, the Forest released the final EIS and record of decision, which was soon challenged in court. In August of 2007, Dan Dallas became the new forest supervisor for the Rio Grande National Forest and he quickly pushed for a settlement with the plaintiffs in the court case in order to take a fresh look at the proposed access.

The Forest began a new EIS in September 2008 after receiving a new application from LMJV for permanent road access. We decided to approach this EIS differently by pulling together a team of federal employees to conduct the analysis instead of a third party contractor. We also invited right up front several agencies and Mineral County to participate in the EIS process.

The primary purpose of the Wolf Creek Access EIS is to analyze the potential environmental impacts of the requested access road across the national forest. We will also analyze the potential impacts of the “connected actions,” which are the proposed Village and an access interchange on the highway. For this reason, we must have a clear and accurate development plan of the proposed Village.

Before the public meetings, we received information that the development plan submitted with the application was outdated. Rather than cancel the meetings, I decided to keep the process moving forward, but extended the scoping period from October 31 to December 31. I also told LMJV that they needed to submit a new or amended application with an updated development plan.

I now have decided to put a hold on the project since it has become apparent that we don’t really know if or when we will receive a new or amended application that meets our criteria. The EIS team, and the other agencies involved with the analysis, can’t do their work, and the public can’t provide meaningful input without a clear idea of what the Village will look like.

If we receive a new or amended application, we will reinitiate the EIS process with a new Notice of Intent and public input period.

I am committed to ensuring that Wolf Creek Access EIS process is transparent to all, so that the public can provide meaningful input that helps guide our analysis. With that in mind, I want to encourage everyone who is interested in this project to visit our Web site regularly as we will continue to update the site as new information becomes available.

For more information about the Wolf Creek Access EIS visit the Rio Grande National Forest Web site at www.fs.fed.us/r2/riogrande/projects/forcomment/village/index.shtml.

Jeni Evans

Editor’s note: Jeni Evans is the deputy forest supervisor at the San Luis Valley Public Lands Center and the primary Forest Service liaison for the Wolf Creek Access EIS.

Crucial foundation

Dear Editor:

Friends, family and neighbors in beautiful Pagosa Springs:

In this season of thanks and thanksgiving, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge my appreciation and admiration for the faculty and staff of Seeds of Learning Early Childhood Education Center. Every day that my children attend preschool there, I have no doubt that they will be treated with love and respect as they make their way through the journey that defines the early learning experience. Through play, they are taught emotional, social and physical skills that are a crucial foundation throughout their lives. They will be much better prepared for kindergarten, as well.

Research consistently shows that the best educational dollars spent are at the preschool/kindergarten age.

I firmly and fully believe that my family and I are getting every cent worth from our Seeds of Learning experience.

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Sincerely,

Holly Fulbright

Applauds the plan

Dear Editor:

Recently, the county has been trying to wrap up a new Urban Services Area map which hints at where new development and maybe higher densities will go in the future.

Some have argued that the people who come to Pagosa are looking for a lifestyle of 3 to 5 acres. But maybe, other people who prefer walkable communities and higher density have not arrived in Pagosa — yet — because there is nothing here for them to arrive to.

We do not have a solid example of mixed-use development in our community. A mixed-use development is characterized, in part, by people walking around. From the house to the coffee shop. From the house to a store to buy a loaf of bread. From the house to a job.

Right now, everywhere in our community, every “trip” is done in an automobile. Mixed-use, done well, eliminates the need for some automobile trips.

When our population doubles again, the number of vehicle trips will also double. My dream of a small town is not bumper to bumper traffic heading up and down U.S. 160. Does anyone doubt that the population in our community will double again in size someday?

Every day I drive the five-plus miles from my house in the heart of the downtown to the functional commercial center of town on the west side at least once. Is this the “small town character” and lifestyle people are trying to preserve?

Eventually, downtown will be restored as the vibrant commercial center of our community. If we get the downtown core right — a must see tourist destination and a walkable civic center where locals actually walk — then the rest of the county will successfully ride on the coattails of this socio-economic heart of the community If we blow it on growing the downtown core properly then we will always have nondescript sprawl, anywhere USA.

Satellite mixed-use small commercial centers, properly located, will reduce some 5-mile commutes for a loaf of bread, a coffee shop and offices. Somehow we will integrate the whole thing together coming down Putt Hill.

What I like about the draft USA map is that it shows that we really are a one town, small unified county. Here is a map with the “Town” in the middle and the “County” together as single bubble of people and houses.

The second thing that I really like about the draft USA map is that I trust the people who put it together. The county planning commission and staff have done their best to represent the thousands of people who did not show up at the meetings. And all the thousands of people who don’t live here yet, but will some day. This map is a stand against future sprawl.

To the extent which the Urban Services Area map will establish the idea that we are not expanding this community out any farther into our open space, I applaud it.

Teddy Herzog

Whispers

Dear Editor:

To the county Planning Commissioners:

After sitting in your Nov. 13 meeting for six hours, I left very disappointed with your vote on the USA, Urban Services Area, map. Your mention of having spent one year — three years on this, was enough time. Let me tell you, having served as a volunteer on a subcommittee to a city council. Having worked 15 years on one issue, and now able to return and say it’s still beautiful vs. saying, gee, remember how it used to be before dredge, fill and build took place. This is hopefully an insight for all of you to realize time on a decision need not be rushed.

I would like to ask all of you, who does frequent Piedra road? It is dangerous without any more build out. Realize Pagosa Reserve has hardly begun its build out. Then there is Coyote Cove without any structures. Which Coyote Cove, yes, sits just above a main drinking water shed, Hatcher Lake, that is an example of a rush decision, wrong doings.

Another thought for all of you. This community speaks of need for open space, trails. Well, folks, Turkey Springs has some really nice trails. For myself, I am lucky to go out my door, hike, ski, bike and enjoy this open space and trails. A thought, this is forest land and one big hype that is said by a lot of Realtors, “Oh, your land backs up to forest land,” but know BLM land and forest land can change ownership quickly. What I am saying is, if development continues out dangerous Piedra Road and years from now, what could become of Turkey Springs for future generations? Ask yourself and be honest, are you as county planning commission, really trying to protect this county, a lot of us ask this question.

In my eight years, I have seen county staff turn over greatly and present county staff will they even be here later?

I heard some from the heart presentations at this meeting from commissioners, but those same people unfortunately had a big change toward midnight. It is known, a meeting that lasted over two hours, one’s mind is not clear. The audience was not allowed to clap on public comment nor allowed to whisper. Yet, county staff and commissioners did not set an example. I witness whispers.

I ask all of you to accept this letter with respect and or twelve voices. My understanding one letter equals twelve voices. Another point, it was mentioned this commission hears same topics, well that should imply to all the problems are real. We do not need to attend all meetings as one public comment addressed. To hear from new people should inspire commission.

Once the pavement is laid and the concrete sets, it is all gone.

Thank you,

Pam Morrow

Unique place, people

Dear Editor:

Last Friday night was one of those wonderful times I wasn’t looking forward to and asked to avoid, but in reality I never had much of a choice. Jim Saunders wouldn’t take no for an answer, and he assembled like-minded souls to conspire and throw me a retirement party.

They reserved the Parish Hall, advertised and invited the community to bring a dish and share some memories and good food with special friends. Lo and behold, they pulled it off.

I am humbled and overwhelmed by the response and I want to express my sincere appreciation to all who made it possible. I have known many for most of my life, some not so long, but all were friends, family and loved ones. They gathered to recognize my service to the community, but the residents of this community are the ones deserving thanks. More than I could name have supported and trusted me to serve and protect them, and I would have accomplished very little without that. When I moved to Pagosa Springs in 1973, I found the home I longed for and a family who welcomed me. We live in a unique place among amazing people. Pagosa Country is definitely not perfect, but I would challenge anyone to find a greener pasture.

To everyone who helped with the potluck, for all who attended, for all who couldn’t make it, but expressed their apologies and best wishes, I extend a heartfelt thank you. God bless Pagosa Springs and all of our neighbors who make it what it is.

Sincerely,

Donald D. Volger

Chief (soon-to-be-retired), Pagosa Springs Police Department