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Letters

Already there

Dear Editor:

A few weeks ago a friend e-mailed, asking my wife and I to contact our Senators and Congressman and urge them to vote against health care reform. Her message betrayed considerable anxiety, “I don’t want anything to change what I have!” Period!

I stood behind a pharmacy case for 44 years. In various places I served families of corporate executives, professional people, office and factory workers, rich and poor farmers, welfare recipients and migrant laborers. Most could speak English, some couldn’t very well. Some had numbers tattooed on their forearms. I’ve seen many sides.

What she was asking me to do made my blood boil. Retired for 14 years, I still have too many memories. In the old days when there was no prescription insurance, the man I worked for was concerned that the average price of a prescription was approaching $4; there were patients who had to stretch a month’s supply of pills to six or eight weeks, who had to cut a twice a day dosage to once a day.

In my own pharmacy I had customers who declared bankruptcy because they’d lost their jobs and sick kids and other medical problems dragged them down. I never felt angry or really bad about those cases. Professionalism, I was taught, is not based on education or the kind of work you do but instead and wholly on the attitude you take to your work. In the case of the so-called professions, this involves complete dedication to the best interests and needs of your client or patient, not to what‘s profitable or what it costs. How different this is from corporatism!

I once asked a drug company representative why his company’s product was priced so high when it was such a simple compound. The reply was, “Maybe if they can’t afford it they don’t deserve it.” Another time I asked a rep why his company raised the price of their diuretic when the price of the generic equivalent was falling and was told the price was insignificant because so many people have insurance. Some people don’t.

And when the Clintons were pushing for universal health care I had a customer say almost the same thing as my friend in her e-mail, that her husband’s health benefits were so good she didn’t want anything to change. I asked her if it wouldn’t be great if a plan for everyone would be designed to provide the same coverage as they enjoyed. No answer.

At that same time, in the same context, a prominent Republican woman replied, “Look, when we treat everyone in this country the same, the country’s gone to Hell.”

Maybe it’s already there and we didn’t have to treat everyone the same.

Henry Buslepp

Get involved

Dear Editor:

Reflecting upon a quote found in Milton Freedman’s (sic) Free to Choose, a 1980 vintage novel containing insights that you may also conclude to be worthy of reflection, I’ve elected to attach this closing to my personal e-mails. Hopefully, dated words of wisdom such as these will help crystallize the uproar among our brothers and sisters, and unleash the voices of heretofore silent masses to prompt Big Brother/Big Government to pause and re-learn that real power resides in the polling booth, and that wisdom necessary to make decisions for others is not earned simply by establishing residency in Washington D.C., State Capital or County Seat. The sleeping beast in our country has been awakened and the advice I offer to those seeking to tread on the slippery slope of moral hazard and promote erosion of individual freedoms is to please “keep up the great work.” I have no doubt the Internet, skillfully utilized by the disciples of Big Brother/Big Government to organize highly effective political movements, will be the same tool that swings the pendulum back to center. Organize and become involved.

Our elected officials, Republican and Democratic administrations alike, have let us down in many ways. Each has failed miserably to exercise fiscal responsibility. It therefore becomes the challenge of the voters to reinvigorate a spirit of rational and responsible fiscal and social governance at all levels of government, free of bi-partisan demonizing and petty bickering, so that our children and the unborn do not forfeit their inalienable right to unfettered Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Purge the special interests from the political and legislative processes so that our mere mortal public officials represent the interests of their constituents without the corruptive influence that stems from corporate, lobby group and wealthy individual campaign contributions that seek government officials to pass laws, structure policies and appropriate funds that further objectives and outcomes detrimental to the public and the unborn. Unwind the bond and clarify boundaries between government and commercial interests.

Demand our elected officials be accountable for the seeds sown. Take our country back and drive a stake through the heart of Big Brother/Big Government. For reference, a link to the roadmap our Founding Fathers left behind is found below the subject quotation that started me on this roll.

Power to the people! Pass the Word!

“Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government’s purposes are beneficial. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greater dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding.” — Justice Louis Brandeis.

www.senate.gov/civics/constitution_item/constitution.htm.

Bill Egg

World of hurt

Dear Editor:

We agree that we need health care reform in this country. However the various bills that are in Congress now will only exacerbate the problems and according to the Congressional Budget Office cost over one trillion dollars within ten years and not cover all the people who need to be covered. The single payer plan as touted by Drs. Kircher in their letter “Enough Is Enough” several weeks ago in last week’s “SUN” is frightening. The Kirchers said, “If health care is provided by the government, we have more control through contact with our Congressmen and how we vote.” Really?

The Kirchers’ statement is logically unsound. It validates the thinking that the government knows best for we poor peons, we can trust them to do what we say and then vote them out of office, if they don’t do what we want. Fat chance!

The Kirchers also want us to learn from the other countries which deliver health care cheaper. Canadian health care is imploding according to the head of their medical association. In England, doctors have said the senior citizens are receiving substandard health care. The lesson to learn from them is: They don’t work!

After the government has successfully cured the problems of the Post Office, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the VA, and Defense contracts’ absurd overruns, then, just maybe then, we might consider trusting them to proceed with health care modification. When the government comes down hard on tort reform and fraud in Medicaid and Medicare, then we might consider a study of improvements to our entire social services’ programs. Congress needs to learn that pork is not a good diet for the financial health of this country before we embark on any changes in social/health programs.

The word rationing is not in any of the proposed bills, however, it is the logical consequence of the “cost efficiency” proposed by certain committees in Congress. To pay for the “cost efficiencies” Congress will tax the rich and take $500,000,000,000 from Medicare to help pay for their new health care plan, which will cover more people. Less money and more people means less care for senior citizens. Too bad, our leaders in Congress can’t do simple math and draw logical conclusions. But then perhaps they can and really don’t care.

Health Care reform is not an either-or situation. The president says he wants a bipartisan bill, yet criticizes the Republicans for not agreeing to Democratic ideas. Unfortunately, the Congressional committees have for the most part, excluded Republican ideas and proposals.

Unless we citizens contact our Senators and Congress members, we are going to be in a world of hurt, both figuratively and literally. Congress needs to come up with something we can live with, not something we can die from!

George and Judy Esterly

Better location

Dear Editor:

Pagosans! Please go the Internet and do your research on the subject of skateboard parks: www.concretedisciples.com. You will find an amazing variety of possible designs. (e.g., check out: Menlo Park, Palo Alto, Chico and St. Helena, Calif. — also Gunnison, Salida, Boulder and Stapleton, Colo.). Some work and some don’t! Smaller is not better. The proposed site does not allow enough space to build an adequate park for our town citizens and visitors. Skateboard parks are not quiet — they need a buffer of space around them. Some need fencing. Have you considered liability and the issue of supervision and the age when parents must be present? Will there be hours? Will the park be free?

After reading David and Carol Brown’s letter about Pagosa’s proposed skateboard park and the SUN’s recent article, I decided to do some research of my own and called a knowledgeable skateboarder friend back in California. I agree that Pagosa does not offer enough athletic and recreational opportunities for our citizens and youth. We need more bicycle paths, a public swimming pool, public tennis courts, and more green fields on which to play. Why “rob Peter to pay Paul?” Why shrink the precious peaceful green space in our central downtown park, when we actually need more green spaces for our citizens, not less. We spent a pretty penny engineering the river to be a safe place for rafting and fun; floating down the river is idyllic and quiet. Our intermediate and junior high students have no playing fields on site; what message do we communicate by infringing on their minimal PE space? Certainly, we can find and agree on a better location.

Susan Junta

Thin air

Dear Editor:

The proposed Village at Wolf Creek has been successfully opposed during the last five years or more. It was a development of the wrong size in the wrong place. Now it has re-emerged in a new guise, presumably smaller and with better highway access in a slightly different location. So far, the Village is undefined, but efforts are underway to seek approval. Colorado Wild in Durango has been an effective opponent of the original development. (Ryan Demmy Bidwell, www.coloradowild.org).

Any development at 10,000 feet of elevation is destined to be limited by the elevation itself. Pilots are required to have supplemental oxygen at this level. Leadville has a stagnant population because of the “thin air.” A large development will fail and leave abandoned structures to blight the landscape.

Development of dwelling units at Wolf Creek promises negative impacts on Archuleta County for socio-economic reasons. For one thing, it would be in Mineral County and property tax revenues would go there. The needed services such as medical, law enforcement and schools would come from Rio Grande and Archuleta counties without this tax support.

The developers have failed to gain approval locally. They now appear to be escalating the approval process to Washington, D.C. Although our county commissioners unanimously oppose the Village, we can no longer successfully oppose a large development at Wolf Creek at the county level or even at the local Rio Grande Forest Service level. An element of the new proposal is a requested land exchange which would trade undevelopable wetlands for Forest Service property with frontage on Highway 160. Relative land values are in question.

Those of us who oppose such development need to be sure this proposal is brought to the attention of our Congressional Representative, John Salazar, and to our senators Bennett and Udall. Let’s do it!

Jim Lincoln

Editor’s note: Archuleta County law enforcement does not extend to the area proposed for development. No agreement has been reached with the Upper San Juan Health Services District to provide service to a proposed development.

Leave it alone

Dear Editor:

Last week was filled with news about the reawakened push for the Village at Wolf Creek speculative development.

As the week unfurled we learned the new plan hinged on a new land swap effectively moving the development over a few hundred yards. Also, “Hal Jones Development” is now proposing a resort merely three-quarters the size of the original 10,000 person conception.

The key ingredient to this new strategy would be Congressman Salazar sponsoring a land-swap bill. As Clint Jones, of HJD, says, John Salazar is the only one who could credibly carry the land-exchange act through Congress. This may be true, but credibility is hard won and easily lost. It seems difficult to believe Congressman Salazar could be swayed into compromising his credibility to join this speculative real estate scheme. Should you oppose the idea of developing Wolf Creek, now would be a good time to drop the Congressman a line at www.house.gov/salazar/contact.shtml.

In another article U.S. Sen. Bennet speaks of “serious concerns about the potential impacts” and “We need to keep a close eye on the matter and get answers to a number of questions ...”

Here are some starter questions: How viable is this eighties pipedream of building a small village at 10,000 elevation to begin with? Look at today’s economic reality and outlook. Consider the under appreciated future ripple effects our continuing rising chronic unemployment will have. Look at the lower elevation areas around Wolf Creek Pass — they have a frightening saturation of unsold vacation homes. Why add to the glut?

Why risk that high value fresh water resource?

We are talking about source waters to the Rio Grande River. Any digging and construction will disrupt, even destroy portions of an exquisitely tuned biological super-organism, one that produces any number of priceless services for all down stream inhabitants. Moving the project a few hundred yards one way or another doesn’t change that.

There is also the matter of the original “dirty land swap.” Documented in Mike Soraghan’s 2-5-6, Denver Post article: “Wolf Creek development tangled with political ties.”

B.J. Red McCombs may hold legal title but, he does not possess ethical or moral title to that land. Therefore some of us continue to beg Mr. McCombs, and now his daughter, to please revert that land to some Nature Conservancy status..

The solution really is that simple. Leave that parcel alone to remain an unmolested portion of an indescribably important biological super-organism. It would be a fitting gesture for someone who recently received the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars award for “corporate citizenship.”

If you agree, encourage Red McCombs to reconsider his priorities. He can be reached through www.redmccombsmedia.com/us/contact-us. .

Sincerely,

Peter Miesler

Durango

Editor’s note: The previous proposal for The Village at Wolf Creek included plans for 2,172 units. The current proposal involves 491 units.

Handing it back

Dear Editor:

Today (2008) the government is the largest employer in existence — 18 million employees, more than all the largest companies in America.

As for all the health care plans being touted in Washington: imagine, $200,000 a year for malpractice insurance, innumerable tests ordered to protect themselves from frivolous lawsuits, plus rampant waste and fraud in our government-run Medicare and Medicaid spending, and they think more government is the answer.

There are more than a million lawyers in the U.S. — one for every 274 people. China has one for every 12,745 people. New York has the most of any one lawyer for every 14 residents. Wow!

I can understand why there is little mention of tort reform in the health care bills. The above-mentioned barristers need the work.

After all, the blood and sacrifice in the war for independence, we are handing it back, free of charge.

Leo J. Landon

Farmington, N.M.

Family event

Dear Editor:

Along with the festivities downtown, the Archuleta County airport will be sponsoring a Balloon Glow starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday Sept. 12. It will be a great family event with aircraft exhibits, R/C aircraft demos, food vendors and games. Also demonstrations and exhibits by our wonderful medical, fire, law enforcement and rescue personnel. There will be free fingerprinting for the children by the Pagosa Springs Police Department. The Balloon Glow itself will start at dusk Saturday night.

On Sunday morning at 7 a.m. the airport is the place to be for the best seats to view the mass ascension of the colorful hot air balloons. So grab the kids along with those folding chairs and come out to the Stevens Field Archuleta County airport on Piedra Road.

See you at the airport!

The Stevens Field Auxiliary

Embrace it

Dear Editor:

The Browns believe that a skateboard park in Town Park will interrupt the peace, tranquility and beauty of of Pagosa Springs.

If we want our kids to feel like they are a part of the community we shouldn’t hide them in some corner of Pagosa.

Skateboarding is a big part of today’s culture, we should embrace it and make it available to our children.

Tanya Quinn

Pedal pushers

Dear Editor:

I think the time has come for those of us who pay for the construction and maintenance of all public thoroughfares to demand that all who use them also contribute their fair share. Since our legislature and governor (who are supposed to represent our interests) passed and signed legislation that raised our taxes (they call it license fee, but in my opinion, it is a tax), to supposedly repair our roads and bridges, we need to demand that they pass legislation to spread the cost to all of those who use our thoroughfares.

I am referring to the pedal pushers (foot or hand) that clog our roads and up to now have contributed $0 to the construction or maintenance of these pathways. Although you or I who wish to drive a vehicle, pull a trailer, or ride a motorcycle on any federal, state, county or town roadway must have a license plate on the vehicle plus carry registration and proof of insurance, the pedal pusher vehicles do not.

I propose to all, contact your state representatives and senators and tell them to pass legislation regarding pedal powered vehicles that accomplishes the following:

1. All these vehicles on public thoroughfares must have a license plate. Pedal pusher fee of $50/year for the rider vehicle, $30/year for attached/towed vehicles.

2. All riders over the age of 15 years must have on their person (or attached to the vehicle) registration, proof of insurance and photo ID.

3. Visitors from out of sate pay $10 for a temporary plate good for not more than 30 days, and also meet the requirements of No. 2, above.

The fees paid by the pedal pushers would be used exclusively for bicycle-related projects such as widening public thoroughfares to add dedicated bicycle lanes. First priority would be to widen two-lane roads in the mountains, then other travel paths (gravel, etc.) with all projects to be outside city limits. After all roadways used by pedal pushers are completed, the fees could be used to create bicycle trails and the like. But, all gas tax and current motor vehicle/trailer fees would be prohibited from being used for any thoroughfare that prohibits motor vehicle use.

It’s time to stop “sharing the road” with all of those who don’t help pay for it, or get them to pay for the use.

John Rice

Parshall, Colo.

Slippery slope

Dear Editor:

Maybe the time has come for the voter to push for less partisan dribble from the two mainstream political cults and more America first fist shaking. In 2010/2012, we need to sweep the old guard, two party, fat cats, from our government and replace them with independents who put America and Americans ahead of party politics.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid that the alternatives are going to be compromises. Obamacare lite, cap and trade lite, etc. This seems to be the approach of the Republicans. They think that they can stop all this nonsense by compromising when all they do is allow the left to p