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Letters to Editor

Chamber members

Dear Editor:

To the members of the Pagosa Springs Chamber of Commerce.

I want to thank you for electing me to serve as one of your Chamber board of directors. I look forward to working with everyone on the board and the Chamber staff. I have made a commitment to the Chamber of Commerce and now I am asking the membership to make the same commitment. One of the concerns that I have is a current audit of the Chamber. Mary Jo has informed me that one is scheduled for May of this year. I will be asking the board of directors to consider some of the following ideas:

• Post an agenda prior to all board meetings.

• Post minutes of all board meetings.

What I am asking in return is your immediate feedback from the agenda and minutes so the board may consider your ideas. Also, please take a few minutes to e-mail me your ideas or concerns so I may present them to the board at the Feb. 8 board retreat. Again, thank you for your support.

Thaddeus Cano

Proud

Dear Editor:

I am so proud to have stood next to Bill Bechtold, Dan Schmeltz, Lorrie Church, Kathy Betts, Jan Dotson, Jackie Schick, Doris Whitcomb, Bob Tearnan and Ronny Zaday.

I am so proud that our proactive outreach efforts increased the use of our Medical Support Programs in 2009 by 83 percent over the previous six-year average. In fact, 2009 was the highest year ever spent on the Medical Support Programs that Archuleta Seniors, Inc. offers to its members. I am proud that we were able to expand the Tai Chi classes to Arboles, and begin the new Healthy Cooking classes and Yoga for Seniors.

These achievements would not have happened were it not for the remarkable people I stood next to in 2009.

Susi Cochran

Archuleta Seniors Inc.

Embarrassed

Dear Editor:

I wish to assure John Porco that devout Christians are indeed embarrassed and chagrined at the recent comments by Pat Robertson on his 700 Club.

Within hours of Robertson’s so-called “discernment” of the Haiti catastrophe many ministries, ministers, missionaries and lay-workers were condemning his remarks. I received and sent many e-mails decrying this myopic judgment of these very desperate people. I’m sure that many Pagosans did the same.

I pray Robertson renounces his derogatory remarks; that he develops the healthy heart of a follower of Jesus Christ.

Rev. Stan F. Counsell

Welcome help

Dear Editor:

On Jan. 22, 2010, the EMS crew was called to the Aspen Springs area for a call. At this time, the roads were being plowed and it was snowing quite hard. The street that the call was on had not been plowed yet, and the ambulance was not able to get to the home. Aspen Springs Metro District was contacted for assistance. Marshall Currier arrived with a snowplow as soon as possible and led us to the home, plowing the roadway for our arrival. We arrived at the home only to find out there was little access into the home — driveway and sidewalk were covered with snow. Neighbors Chris Torres and John Lindsey came for assistance immediately, using their plows and snowblower for us to get to our patient. At this time, they also assisted in helping load the patient safely into the ambulance.

EMS thanks these men for their time, dedication and caring for both the patient and EMS crew safety. We appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness that you, the Pagosa Springs community, show.

Thank you, Marshall Currier, Chris Torres and John Lindsey!

Your local EMTs

Slippery slope

Dear Editor:

I am a landowner from the Aspen Springs area. My land is bought and paid for and my property taxes are paid in full and on time. The idea of the county having and enforcing codes and regulations to ensure against grievous land stewardship or devaluation makes sense. But, my concern is for the county to be aware of the “slippery slope” it prepares to tread. I don’t believe a code enforcement officer is a move in the right direction.

I would like to encourage people to attend the neighborhood meetings concerning this issue. I would hope people on both sides of this issue will not fail to emphasize the importance of personal property rights.

People who own property in the county, whether they live on it or not, already have an enforcement system to turn to in times of question. It is called the Archuleta County Sheriff’s Department. If county people become concerned that their welfare or the value of their property is threatened, they can call this department and voice their concerns. The sheriff’s department can notify the county. The people could also call the county themselves if they wish. Most people in the county would probably try something else first. An outdated method called talking to their neighbor, first; sometimes it works!

This is the United States of America. I do not engage in illegal construction, nor do I pollute my beautiful property. Yet, I have had county employees drive right past my “no trespassing” sign like it didn’t pertain to them. I am very cordial and polite because I don’t want to start trouble. But this really bugs me. It stinks like “nanny state” government intrusion. If the county wants to inspect my property, they can call me and I’ll be happy to meet with them and give them a tour. I have nothing to hide. I would like the county to understand that in America, “no trespassing” pertains especially to the employees of the government. They do not have an exemption. Personal property rights are the basis of all that any of us have. I own my property; I do not rent it from the county.

Barry and DeEtte England

Santa Clara, Calif.

Sunshine

Dear Editor:

As anyone who has ever been elected to a government position knows, whether it is at the city or state level, meetings that are held by elected representatives are subject to what is commonly called the “Sunshine Law.” The Colorado Legislature passed its Sunshine Law in 1973. Briefly, the law states that meetings are to be open to the public. The governing body is supposed to post notice of meetings at least 24 hours before they are to be held, the agenda of meetings is to be identified, and the date, time and place of meetings are to be specified. There are certain exceptions to the requirement to hold open meetings, such as when legal actions are discussed, the purchase of real estate, personnel actions, etc., but generally speaking, meetings are to be held open to the public as much as possible. One of the principal reasons for this is to prevent government officials, especially those with selfish and self-serving agendas, from brokering private deals behind closed doors. Officials who are allowed to formulate legislation outside of “sunshine” frequently saddle their constituents with laws and financial commitments that are unwanted and sometimes even unconstitutional.

This is exactly what certain Democrats have been attempting to force on the U.S. public. Until just a few days ago (until the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts), Barack Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and numerous senate and house cohorts were attempting to force upon the general public a health care bill which 60 percent of the public did not want. Pelosi stated: “There has never been a more open process for any legislation.” This is an outlandish lie! This abominable bill was written in secret. It was so large that few lawmakers would take the time to read it, so complicated that even lawyers could not understand or explain it, and so full of special interests that it was bound to bankrupt our treasury. And yet Obama, Reid and Pelosi were determined to force it down our throats, regardless of any and all objections to it, even from moderate members of their own Democrat party.

Now that the Democrats don’t have the votes to pass the bill, thanks to the election of Brown, it looks like we are going to escape this disaster, at least for now. But this is the time to remind our elected officials at the federal level that we elected them to represent us, to draft legislation — in the sunshine — that the majority wants, and to govern in an open and above-the-board manner. If they are not willing to do this, we should remind them there is a place to put sub rosa, special interest and unwanted legislation, a place where the sun never shines. Better yet, we should vote the bums out of office.

Gary Stansbury

Big box town

Dear Editor:

It’s hard to believe Pagosa Springs is considering any big box store. The good news about big box stores is this: They “…always provide lower prices…” At what cost are these lower prices? If a cheap pair of poorly-made socks is your decision criteria, you are voting blindly. The impact of big box stores runs much deeper.

I saw a 2009 CNBC broadcast about Walmart, thinking it might sway my opinion. It did not. It reinforced it. Since Walmart is one of the best known big box stores, more in-depth studies have been done on it. Some are:

Walmart provides health care that is far too expensive for their employees to afford. Consequently, Walmart has a larger share of its employees and their children enrolled in Medicaid compared to other companies. Source: Reviewing and Revising Walmart’s Benefits Strategy, Memo to the Walmart Board of Directors, October 2005. Walmart puts suppliers out of business. After a supplier negotiates a contract with Walmart, it’s Walmart’s aim to renegotiate the price. Walmart gives them an ultimatum: Supply the product at a lower price or Walmart cancels their contract. The supplier makes the product cheaper, until Walmart’s next “request” to lower the price, again. People begin to lose their jobs or the factory closes down and moves offshore. What happens to the people who lose their jobs?

A new Walmart Supercenter creates 500 jobs; 450 local jobs are eliminated within five years after the opening of a Walmart Supercenter. Source: The Wal-Mart Effect, by Charles Fishman.

For every job created by Walmart, 1.4 jobs are lost as existing businesses close. Walmart reduces total local retail payroll by an average of $1.2 million. Source: The Effects of Walmart on Local Labor Markets, by David Neumark (University of California-Irvine), Junfu Zhang (Clark University), and Stephen Ciccarella (Cornell University), January 2007.

Walmart causes existing retailers to downsize and lay off employees. Within four years, there is a loss of 40 to 60 additional jobs as retailers close. Walmart causes a decline of 20 jobs in the first five years, 10 jobs over the long run. Source: Job Creation or Destruction? Labor-Market Effects of Walmart Expansion, by Emek Basker, University of Missouri, Review of Economics & Statistics, February 2005.

Supposed tax benefits of Walmart do not materialize: “The local tax base added about $2 million but the decline in retail stores following (a Walmart) opening had a depressing effect on property values in downtowns, offsetting gains from the Walmart property.” Source: What Happened When Walmart Came to Town? A Report on Three Iowa Communities with a Statistical Analysis of Seven Iowa Counties, by Thomas Muller and Elizabeth Humstone, 1996.

The presence of a Walmart hinders moving families out of poverty. Source: Walmart and County-Wide Poverty, by Stephan Goetz and Hema Swaminathan, Social Science Quarterly, June 2006.

You end up paying for what Walmart causes. How are those “always lower prices” looking now?

The town we moved from once had no traffic jams, little crime and locally-owned businesses. With the lure of “always lower prices” clouding the view of people and elected officials in that county, “progress” gave us things like big-box stores. Those “always lower prices” had a horrendous negative impact. Don’t sentence Pagosa Springs to a big-box-town fate.

Gary Woods