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Bah Humbug

Dear Editor:

Watching the Times Square New Year’s Eve scene of mass enthusiasm and excitement, the crowds in the stands and thousands marching in the Rose Parade in Pasadena, then 95,000 packed into the stadium for the big game, a screwy thought came to mind: Danger! Have all these people had their flu shots?

Now, after all the holiday hoopla has subsided, and the news and commentary has returned to the same old issues of the economy, war, corruption, health care that have bombarded our reasoning for several years, for me a Christmas Day attempted disaster in Detroit and the sight of these crowds brought many of these things into new focus. I’ve always questioned the war; if undeclared by Congress is it truly a war? Was it really an attack against the United States?

Nine-eleven was the second attempt against the World Trade Center. If it really was aimed at our nation, why didn’t the planes come down into Times Square where there were a million packed in, or the Michigan Stadium with 105,000 or the Rose Bowl? The early estimate at the WTC was only 6,000, later reduced greatly. If they hated us so much, why didn’t they want to hurt us when we were having fun? Or strike at a patriotic event like 250,000 at the Fourth of July concert on the Mall? If it is all about Islam versus Christianity or Israel, why didn’t they choose a religious holy day? Why 9/11?

An Arab journalist threw his shoe at President Bush. It was, he wrote later when released from jail, a distress call: his 911. It was his protest against the occupation of his nation, the chaos and destruction brought on a stable society by “liberators.” Through lying and deception we justified, first, our invasion over weapons of mass destruction. After proven false, it was biological weapons, then because we needed to get rid of a bad guy. Always we’re told we are on a crusade for democracy everywhere, just like the Soviets had marched for communism, going where we’re not asked. Do our good men die over there to justify such lies?

I’ve heard it said our troops are there so Americans can still be comfortable and go to the mall. Without the war they claim our economy would crash, yet we’re losing our jobs and homes anyway. We’re told we can’t afford single-payer health care, yet we will not only guarantee the market for the insurance companies, but subsidize them as well. Politicians tell us to feel good that so many more Americans will have health coverage, not mention those still excluded. What surgeon received a bonus for botching an operation, yet those who’ve caused the cruel failures in industry and finance that erode our morale and impoverish so many are richly rewarded. Define that as success for those who skim off the cream before pouring the milk.

Well, anyway, Bah Humbug and Happy 2010!

Henry Buslepp

Free of shadows

Dear Editor:

A letter to Congressman Salazar:

First, thank you for representing rural southern and western Colorado to the Legislature. I am heartened and uplifted by the fact that we have a man of the soil, earth and nature there in Washington at the helm of our congressional ship. The rural values you mention in your Web site give me great comfort and confidence in the fact that you are the right man for the job.

The core point of this letter is the legislative vs. the administrative means of handling the proposed land trade for the Village at Wolf Creek. Without revisiting all the factors that would be leveraged by the “Village” — and there are many — I want to emphasize the fact that there is already in place a thorough and effective mechanism for identifying, examining and evaluating all pertinent pros and cons of both the land trade and the “Village” — the administrative approach through the U.S. Forest Service.

The proponent’s pursuit of the legislative approach is but yet another attempt at an end run around a clear, concise and visible presentation of his ultimate intentions with the development. His language is vague, incongruent, inconsistent and even contradictory to itself, intended to soften and distort the fact that his ultimate goal is still to build a “Village” capable of handling 10,000 people, or as close to that number as he can get — the approximate population of Alamosa — on a mere 300 acres. He states that phasing of the project would be tied to the future growth and demand at the ski area, knowing full well that he can affect those thresholds through monetarily subsidizing the construction of new lifts and runs which can then be purported as increased demand, thus triggering further consideration within the “Village.”

Possible short-term economic quick fixes should not overshadow long-range challenges and impacts that would result from placing a city of 10,000, or even 5,000, people at 10,000 feet in elevation under severe wilderness-like conditions. There are more than enough ski resort real estate development skeletons crumbling or hanging by a thread within your district — namely Cuchara, Conquistador, Tamaron and Stage Coach. Let’s make sure the “Village” doesn’t catastrophically become just another one of those by requiring a transparent, full disclosure examination through an impartial Forest Service Environmental Impact Statement.

Recently, at an Archuleta County Commissioners’ meeting, roughly 80 percent of the input from the floor opposed the legislative approach to the proposed land trade. Yet, ignoring their constituents, two of the three commissioners read previously prepared statements that resulted in a qualified vote of support for the legislative approach. I strongly request that you hear the voices of those you represent and decline to sponsor a House Bill for legislative approval of the proposed land trade. Let both the land trade and the “Village” stand tall in the sunshine, free of shadows, smoke and back-room deals, and be administratively examined and evaluated for both their true benefits and detriments, for all of your constituents to view clearly in the spirit of your stated rural values of honesty and integrity.

Most sincerely yours,

Dean Cox

Land use regs

Dear Editor:

The county commissioners plan to hold a meeting in Arboles on Jan. 28 to discuss the proposed land use regulations. As I write this, the time and place have not been announced. I hope that the residents of Arboles and the adjacent rural areas will attend this meeting and express their opinions in a polite, respectful, short and to-the-point manner.

The land use regulations are designed to satisfy the residents of the upscale Pagosa subdivisions. In my opinion, the regulations, if adopted, will place a great hardship on the rural area of the county. As I understand the regulations, which is very limited as I’ve never been able to master the foreign language used by lawyers, one will no longer be able to build garages or store material on their property.

I am not a native of Colorado, but I have lived in the Arboles area for 25 years, longer than anywhere else in my entire life. My beloved Rosie passed away 12 years ago this month, and I got tired of the kids nagging me about living alone out in the woods, so I sold my ranch and moved into the north end of Arboles. Naturally, I brought my tractor, trailers, log splitter and miscellaneous implements with me. I use this equipment to plow the neighbors’ driveways and supply them with firewood. Incidentally, my neighbors are the greatest people in the world, although admittedly a few of them are pretty green when it comes to country living. I have never heard any of them complain about my tractor and, in fact, they keep me well supplied with cookies.

I grew up on a dairy farm so I appreciate rural folks. As I write this letter, rural folks, like my friends Chris and Frank Chavez, are out in ten degree below zero weather feeding those methane generators that you urbanites complain about as you sit in a warm restaurant munching on a Big Mac.

The only thing that most rural people ask of you urbanites is that you mind your own business.

Bob Dungan

Arboles

Take it back

Dear Editor:

Take back our country!

With Sen. Christopher (“Countrywide”) Dodd’s announced decision to not seek re-election, one of the more egregious so-called public servants has gone down for the count. That’s a start, but the heavy lifting has only begun …

Washington DC is a rat’s nest of preposterous proportion and there are many more left to go. Join me by sending a loud and unmistakable message to the Federal Legislative and Executive Branches by cleaning house in November and again in ’12. Taxpayers are sick and tired of corruption among our elected servants. We are sick and tired of the oppressive annual financial burden and trillions of public debt that has been created by irresponsible and unproductive federal entitlement programs, unproductive, counterproductive and unnecessary federal government mandates, corporate giveaways of precious tax dollars to unlevel the playing field for the benefit of special interest groups and the distribution of precious tax dollars to buy votes. Particularity disturbing is an explosion of “alignments” between the current administration and 1) socialistic organizations seeking expansion of entitlement programs, 2) political action groups that suck precious tax dollars and don’t produce goods for commerce and 3) labor unions. Socialism may sound nice, but it doesn’t work, never has and never will. Funding for all political action groups should be from the private sector, never public funds. Labor unions have many impacts, some good (protection of workers health), but all labor unions have one common goal, to limit entry into a particular profession or workplace for maximum personal gain of the union members.

Take back the American Dream by electing patriots to public office, not professional politicians and delusional idiots that have never held the handle of a shovel and/or earned a paycheck from a tax paying enterprise. Vote against the incumbents in November and send them packing. Leave our children with a fighting chance to overturn the fiscal mess our generation has created.

BTW, healthcare reform is desperately needed to lower costs, eliminate abuses and expand fiscally sustainable access. IMO, the pile of dung poised to become law, will prove to be the worst legislative failure on record. Look in the mirror and ask yourself these questions:

1. Do I believe Congress has responsibly investigated and identified the root cause of the annual spiral in healthcare costs?

2. Do I believe the upward spiral in health care premiums will flatten or decline as a result of the upcoming legislation?

3. Do I believe a politician can spot, smell or eliminate “waste, fraud and abuse?”

4. Do I believe anything that comes out of a professional politician’s mouth, especially budgetary forecasts projecting a reduction in federal spending?

5. Do I believe the legislative “reform” on the table was not the brainchild of corrupt and disingenuous politicians, self-serving power brokers and corporate special interest groups?

Don’t get me started on Al Gore, et al and his corporate friends. Just follow the giant sucking sound of jobs leaving this country and tax dollars leaving your wallet!

Bill Egg

Horse manure

Dear Editor:

Space is limited; I must be succinct. I wrote you a letter addressing debt, slavery and ignorance. It was too long, so it was rejected. Emily Deitz’s letter, “IRS changes,” is a fine example of ignorance. If her letter was addressed to owners of corporations, its information is fine. If she was addressing the general public, it is false, misleading and borders on treason. The 16th Amendment did nothing to change Congress’ power to tax as ruled by the Supreme Court way back in 1916. U.S.C. 26, known as the Tax Code, is 100-percent voluntary. U.S.C. 27 deals with alcohol, tobacco and firearms, it is 100-percent compulsory. What part of 100 percent voluntary does she not understand? There are over 40 million of us true citizens who believe in freedom and liberty. Who pay all taxes that rightfully apply to us. Who know, there is no definitive law that requires any citizen to file an income tax return. No freedom-loving citizen can be forced to testify against themselves. That is why the Tax Code has to be voluntary. You can volunteer to pick up trash on the shoulder of Hwy. 160. You can volunteer to kill people in Iraq, who did nothing to We the People. You can volunteer to fill out and sign an IRS 1040 form. No laws exist that require a free people to do any of those things.

We the people, a freedom and liberty-loving bunch of citizens, want this nation to get back on the right track. This cannot and will not happen as long as we keep spreading lies and fear about taxation. The government and its employees are our employees, not our masters. The Constitution spells out three specific ways they are given authority to tax. First, direct taxes must be based upon the census, so each pays the same. This was intended for war and emergencies only. Second, indirect taxes are supposed to be uniform, meaning the same in Texas as in Colorado. But, specifically, indirect taxes were intended to be an activity tax, that is passed along to the end purchaser or is paid at an event, a sale, and, thus, can be avoided by not doing the activity. Last, no tax shall be laid upon exports from any state. I will personally give anyone $1,000 Federal Reserve note if they can produce a definitive law that requires anyone to file an individual income tax return. Quit giving the idiots in Washington, D.C. anything. They are selling our children and grandchildren into slavery!

Happy New Year; it all looks and smells like the same horse manure.

Greg Giehl

Eye-opening

Dear Editor:

Last June my daughter graduated from UC San Diego with a B.S. degree in structural engineering. Two years ago, these graduates had multiple job offers prior to graduation. Times have changed.

Still unemployed last fall, I suggested that she take a seasonal job with Wal-Mart or Target. At least it would provide food and gas money.

“Mom! Are you serious? Only losers work at Wal-Mart and Target. They treat their employees like they’re a herd of cattle.”

It was a short conversation, after which my mind wandered to my little town of Pagosa.

Then, on Christmas Eve, CNBC repeated their 2009 original documentary on Wal-Mart. I had to watch it. I learned a lot.

If you haven’t seen ”The New Age of Wal-Mart,” it can be viewed in its entirety on the Internet by CTRL/clicking http://saltandpeppergroup.com/cnbc.php. Or you can locate it by doing an Internet search on “Watch CNBC The New Age of Wal-Mart.”

I urge everyone to find a way and take the time to watch “The New Age of Wal-Mart.” It is eye-opening.

Cynda Green

Helping Hand

Dear Editor:

For twenty years, Operation Helping Hand has worked to meet the needs of those in our community who are less fortunate and going through difficult times. Beginning with just offering assistance at Christmas, the program expanded and provided assistance year round helping with urgent needs, our school supply drive and Thanksgiving.

The needs of our community have changed and it is with great sadness that we announce that after twenty fulfilling years, we will no longer be providing services through Operation Helping Hand.

Even though our program has ended, there are many other organizations that assist the same segment that will benefit from your generosity.

We extend the sincerest of thanks to our community for your support through all of the years.

Operation Helping Hand Board of Directors

Terri House, Shari Pierce, Kelly Fisher, Janna Ranson and Heidi Martinez

Preserve and develop

Dear Editor:

Your article of Dec. 31, “Conservation easements to protect East Fork Ranch,” was most timely. There are other major properties in Archuleta County that have been in family hands for many years. In some cases, the younger generations do not wish to continue to work the land. This usually means that the property will change hands, but to whom will it be sold? Or is it to be preserved as was done with East Fork Ranch?

While it is wonderful to preserve large tracts of land so that the natural beauty of this area can be retained, there is an alternative to unfettered development. Under a properly structured conservation easement, the major portion of the land may be preserved, while a smaller portion of it can be dedicated to a specific project. Such a balanced approach would assist growth in the county by allowing a jobs-producing project, such as an educational institute, to exist in a beautiful natural setting. Thus, a true win-win is achieved by balancing development with land preservation.

As a new resident of Pagosa Springs, I see the potential to create a world-class facility amidst the grandeur of the San Juans. This would help fulfill the potential of Archuleta County by combining a stabilizing economic factor, along with preserving the natural beauty of this area. This would also enable the current landowners to stamp their legacy on the land for which they have been the guardians these many years.

Sincerely,

Mark Kimmel

Mentors

Dear Editor:

Since this is National Mentoring Month, I would like to publicly thank all those who are mentoring children and youth in our community, especially those who are working as Big Brothers or Big Sisters. As Community Coordinator of Big Brothers Big Sisters for Archuleta County, I can attest to the tremendous effect these mentors have on the life of their “Little” brother or sister.

These are generally children from single parent households who don’t have many strong role models in their lives. Big Brothers and Sisters devote approximately two to three hours each week (often more) to their Littles, enjoying outdoor activities, arts, crafts, or teaching new skills. As a result, the Littles improve in self confidence, social skills, school work, family relationships, and many other areas of life.

I cannot say enough wonderful things about these volunteers and the important work they are doing. If you know of someone working as a mentor, please be sure to tell them thank you. Or, if you would like to become a mentor, please call 264-5077 and let me know. Mentors are my heroes!

Sincerely,

Sally Neel

Community Coordinator

Time to choose

Dear Editor:

A thought: I wonder if Jay Davison has thanked Obama for stating recently that our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan (and his son-in-law), “Need to pay for their own health insurance, after all, they did volunteer to fight.” Maybe Obama doesn’t realize that your son-in-law is engaged in a “War on Terror?” Which really doesn’t surprise me.

All of us who have worn a military uniform took an oath to support and defend the Constitution. Unfortunately, a year ago, a majority of our countrymen were hoodwinked into electing a charlatan with dubious credentials to the highest constitutional office in the land. Since then, millions of Americans who had become complacent about the leftist threat to our liberty have begun to realize that our Constitution is now suffering an unprecedented assault. The prosperity-wrecking big-government policies of Barack Obama and his merry band of neo-socialists have been devastating and there is no letup in sight, at least I haven’t seen any.

However, a great awakening has occurred since November ’08. The “Obumbler” in the Oval Office has given us one thing of value; it is the opportunity to clearly discern between Left and Right, between rule of men and Rule of Law.

Obama is the quintessential socialist, and his domestic and foreign policies present a contrast between tyranny and liberty that has rarely been so apparent. Many who have been reluctant to rise on behalf of liberty or have been too comfortable to be concerned by such conflict, are now making an ever-louder stand, look at the tea party movement … it gets bigger every day.

Despite the fact that the Leftists in media and academia have had a stranglehold on public opinion, seating one of their own as president, which they believe is a great prize, may well be their undoing.

Today, Democrat Party Leftists deride the notion of individual rights. Instead, they advocate the supplanting of individual liberty with statism.

Obama and his “dumbocrat” Congress have endowed future generations, unless soon reversed, not with liberty but with historically unprecedented levels of debt, which will enslave them to hyperinflation.

Conservatives and liberals can argue various policy points ad-nauseam, but the question Americans are asking in greater numbers is this … are we a nation governed by Rule of Law or the contemporaneous opinions of men?

The “Obumbler” and his liberal lawmaking brethren have done us great harm this past year and it may take several election cycles, or a revolution to turn that around. But, the fields are being plowed and seeds sown.

Folks, the time has come to choose, even if ya reside in “Siberia With a View” or a deep cave in Arboles. Personally, I choose to persevere, to make my cause that of all men, and make no peace with oppression.

The opportunity is before us. It’s time to display some bold American colors and show some cojones. Throw all of ‘em out in November 2010!

Jim Sawicki

Bullies

Dear Editor:

The article on the boy who got bullied on the school bus coming home from the wrestling match has left me no choice but to respond. I and my husband, Nick, were called when this incident took place. Our son was also a victim of these same boys, and also a victim of the Pagosa Springs school system. Nicky’s entire sixth-grade year was consumed with the hate these boys continuously spewed upon him. Nicky started sixth grade strong, confident and happy. By the end of his sixth-grade year at Pagosa Springs Intermediate school, he was a boy we didn’t recognize — curled up in a ball. Even talking of suicide. Nicky defended himself … a lot. This, of course, got him in trouble. Nicky was on the tiered program that Mr. Devoti and Mr. Hinger speak so proudly of. I really don’t know if the other boys were. I was told to only be concerned with Nicky.

As most of the town knows, Nicky’s situation spiraled downhill fast. Nicky was labeled an “habitual offender.” He was labeled this because he defended himself. When Nicky was asked if he did something, he said, yes. He owned his faults. The other boys lied. Lisa Hudson put in for Nicky’s expulsion from school. Expulsion! Nicky was still an honor roll student, an amazing boy, but the intermediate school thought he was a pain in the ass. So what happened to the other boys? Well, this is where Nicky’s story ends, and the latest victim’s begins.

This latest event has brought up deep emotions in myself, Nick and even Nicky.

Here is how easy this is Mr. Hinger and Mr. Devoti. Pay close attention, this is easy stuff, if you really try hard.

1. The coaches should have been spread out throughout the bus.

2. The boys in question should not have been permitted to sit together.

3. All boys involved should have been expelled. Hello They committed a sexual crime. A penis was shoved in a boy’s face.

4. How about if a girl was held down and endured that? It would be a form of rape — and that is exactly what this was!

How on earth can you justify not expelling them? Why such protection for them? The only thing Pagosa Springs school system is providing for these boys is enablement. Each year that passes, you are enabling these boys to continue their wrath. It is time for you to own your responsibility. These boys do not deserve a free pass anymore! Now, one can only hope you have learned something from this.

I am thankful and honored that Nick and I saved our son. We did it.Nicky is positively shining here on the East Coast. We are so proud of the man he is becoming. Our move was for many reasons, his sixth-grade year being the biggest. I give kudos to Mr. Hinger for how he treated Nicky in seventh grade. But, now, I am so saddened by his mishandling of this situation. I just don’t understand how Mr. DeVoti can say that “the district can only do so much.” Mark, you missed the most basic one: immediate expulsion of all participating boys, including those cheering the attack on.

Carrie Toth

Glen Gardner, N.J.