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Letters to Editor

Independence

Dear Editor:

I impatiently awaited the start of the parade. As the small town parade began, the batons twirled, the sparklers swirled and, later, the red, white and blue fireworks filled the sky. These two voices somehow balance me. Yes, that balance is on a very precarious tightrope hanging over a netless expanse.

Bob Seger:

“And I remember what she said to me

How she swore that it never would end

I remember how she held me oh so tight

Wish I didn’t know now what I didn’t know then.”

We live in a nation born of a small group of revolutionaries determined not be slaves to any monarch. They were, “young and strong and running against the wind.” But, they were also building a nation on the back of slavery.While vowing to be no man’s slave. And the hypocrisy lives on today.

Despite it all, we swore the good times “never would end.” But, we know now what we didn’t know then.

Could the founders have ever imagined the handful of unpatriotic monarchs (financiers) currently ruling our lives and lining their gilded pockets with our money? With money accumulated from schemes that decimated the nation? And 235 years after the signing of a Constitution declaring all men equal and all religious beliefs tolerable, we must acknowledge that wondrous dream is still deferred. So, let’s heed Carl Sandburg’s advice and not pretend to be too “happy, happy” about it all.

Carl Sandburg asks in ”Snatch of Sliphorn Jazz,”

“Are you happy? It’s the only way to be, kid.

Yes, be happy, it’s a good nice way to be.

But not happy-happy, kid, don’t be too doubled-up doggone happy.

It’s the doubled-up doggone happy-

happy people ... bust hard ... they

do bust hard ... when they bust.

Be happy, kid, go to it, but not too

doggone happy.”

This Independence weekend an estimated 16 million American children were reportedly living in poverty. Middle class families were living in cars and boxes and homeless shelters. They were on my mind. Independence in 1776 meant rebellion against paying taxes to Britain — taxes that did not enhance America, but filled the coffers of the monarchy. Sound familiar?

True independence once again means “running against the wind.” It means demanding health, education and housing for everyone who works hard. If not, will those who are swept along in the red, white and blue euphoria, determined to be oh so “happy, happy,” be, as Carl Sandburg cautioned, “eventually, bust hard?”

And now the last float has passed, what next?

David Blake

Benefits

Dear Editor:

Put aside for a minute all the Washington blabber-mouthing around the recession, unemployment and debt to consider two facts that never get spotlighted but have a sizeable impact on our economy and everyday lives.

The first is Social Security, largely taken for granted as a buffer against poverty in our old age. This is what it was tooted to be in the New Deal years, and it has served that purpose fairly well ever since. That part is obvious. An unappreciated spin-off, though, which from Day-1 has had a powerful, positive effect is that as a result of SSI, senior citizens became the second largest disposable income group in the country. That is, they receive a monthly income and, generally, spend it.

In the old days, when gasoline cost less than $1, a station owner couldn’t depend on those sales for his profit, but they kept the station open. Social Security has come to play this same role in our economy. SSI helps keep it going while it‘s down. Now, as the cost of living increased during the last few years, Social Security was frozen and we clearly see the logical effect; the economy suffered more than from financial chicanery alone. Nowhere else, perhaps, is this more evident and painful than in Nevada where seniors comprise the majority of the customers in Reno and Vegas. Frivolous spending, up or down, is usually related to the ability to afford the basics first, and theirs was diminished by this freeze.

Employment is directly related to sales. An employer can’t afford to hire unless he has customers with cash to buy. Now we see a conservative push to not simply retain that freeze but to reduce Social Security or, as the more reactionary types would like, to even eliminate it. Well ...

Next, ask yourself a question: Does your employer provide health care benefits for you and your family? Let’s say, in your case, that he doesn’t and besides having to buy your own health insurance, what subtle effect is there in this situation you may never have suspected?

An employee benefit package is a business expense and, as such, is actuated into the price of the product (e.g., a car or a can of paint) or service (like LPEA) that company makes. Therefore, if you purchase a product of a company which provides this benefit, you are paying for part of someone else’s insurance — plus your own — yet receive none of the benefit. And the premium on your own, if you can afford it, is not a group rate. Do you like being generous?

But think, if the terminology were switched, i.e., from a tax to a premium, would single-payer universal health care still sound like socialism? You’re already paying for it, capitalistically. Are you receiving it?

Henry Buslepp

Correction

Dear Editor:

This note is to correct two errors in my letter I sent last week. What I wrote or think I wrote is that portions of road 700, which I did not mention by name or number, have not been graveled in over 30 years, and not that it hasn’t been graded. Second correction, I donated land for road relocation to eliminate two bad curves, something no one else has done to date that I know of.

Sincerely,

Chris Chavez

Support

Dear Editor:

We agree with you that tourism is still our big economic development opportunity — many of our current part/full-time residents fell in love with this area when they just happened to be driving through. In recent years, the efforts by many have resulted in great improvements to the sport value of the San Juan River here. These recent changes or improvements range from West Fork rafting to Mesa Canyon runs, fishing from rafts, fly fishing from the banks, Piedra River paddle rafting, and summer tubing. The article in last week’s SUN by staff reporter Lindsey Bright shared the fun of a Mesa Canyon rafting run with one of several local rafting/water sport outfitters. However, and sadly, she did not even mention other rafting companies operating here, such as Pagosa Outside, Wilderness Adventures, and Canyon REO. They all have guides that are friendly, competent and knowledgeable.

I hope in the future your staff reporters will look at the big picture when doing reporting such as the recent article. We need to support all local businesses in that way!

Sincerely,

Tom and Katherine Cruse

Doggone good

Dear Editor:

Professional theatre has truly come to Pagosa Springs. Playing Thursday, Friday, Saturday evenings at 7 p.m., and with a matinee on Sundays at 2 p.m. through July 17 is “Sylvia,” a hilarious play for anyone who has ever loved a dog, or for anyone who has loved someone who has loved a dog. The title role, Sylvia the dog, is played by my daughter, Laura Moore.

I can remember clearly, about six years ago when I first saw Laura playing the role of Sylvia in the Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge. Sitting there in the audience, it was about two-thirds of the way through the play, when this thought about my only daughter occurred to me: After winning the Student Athlete award at Colgate University her senior year, playing four years of Division I volleyball and basketball, playing professional volleyball in Europe, and several years of whitewater raft guiding in Colorado and New Zealand, as I sat in that darkened theatre, I realized that I was witnessing the pinnacle, thus far, of my daughter’s career — and it was playing a dog! On all-fours, Laura became the most believable mannerless Golden Retriever you’ve ever seen.

Mulling over this new and surprising information about my little girl, as the play “Sylvia” progressed; right there in the Backstage Theatre this proud father started re-calibrating his expectations for his daughter’s future success. Those re-calibrations, after a nationwide search, led our family, following Laura and her husband Tim’s dream, to Pagosa Springs, to help them launch the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts. The reception from the community for the center thus far has been very warm and helpful because, for many, this center for all of the arts is the culmination of well over a decade of effort.

“Sylvia” is a must see show, funny, touching and deep. Please come check it out, and see for yourself what everybody in Pagosa is talking about.

We’ll see you at the center,

George Rohrbacher

Centerville, Wash.

Shocked

Dear Editor:

I was shocked, stupefied, dumbfounded at the headline on the front page of the June 23 issue: County Roads: a pretty good picture. Obviously whoever came to that conclusion has never been to my house.

I live in Holiday Acres on Shenandoah Drive. While there has been very minimal maintenance on the most eastern portion on this road, and I stress minimal, there has been no detectable work done once you pass Coyote Drive. The road is flat i.e. no crown so water pools and makes potholes that never get filled. There are several places that need a culvert to keep water/runoff from washing across the roadway. The side of the road/ditches have not been maintained for years; basically they are full and do not serve their purpose which is to channel water to the next culvert.

A huge issue is that there are several places that just have no gravel ... down to dirt/clay? Any moisture in the form or snow or rain makes these areas so slick as to require 4WD to pass. One of these locations is between Maverick and Kinnikinnik on a curve, making this very dangerous. The next area is a bit farther but is now on a very steep portion of the road and a curve. When it gets wet this area will be six inches deep in slimy clay ... 4WD again and hope you make it.

In a past life I built roads and ran a grader so I know how it goes. It is not difficult or particularly expensive to properly maintain gravel roads, but it must be done regularly. I spent 20 years on gravel roads in Weld County and there was never an issue. They showed up twice a year to do what was needed.

Additionally, snow removal basically stops at the intersection of Shenandoah and Coyote. Those of us at the back of the subdivision are just out of luck.

I can assure you that if it is snowy or rainy that emergency equipment will not reach my house, whether it be fire or ambulance.

I am very disappointed in the condition of this road.

Keith Serkes

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