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Letters to Editor

Stuff

Dear Editor:

If the discussion is always in economic terms, it presumes scarcity and competition and precludes other possibilities. Competition exists. Yet the irony is we must relearn to cooperate and to share, on a scale we never needed to before and this makes us uncertain. Because our institutions and values reflect a focus on accessing and maintaining wealth there exists a conflict.

Love does not compete. When man succumbs to the comfort and luxury afforded him by indulgent surroundings, his essential humility is lost as he loses the need to rely upon the creator. Sometimes we become confused thinking that we are the doer. We are born, sustained and die by the power of a mystery greater than the stars. Bigger even than Wal-Mart.

True wealth is friends and family within a community where I can contribute something of worth and where I can love and be loved. The devolution of our society has left many living so close to the bone that they have no option to consider anything other than immediate needs. Wal-Mart knows this and continues to grow its corporate wealth by encouraging our cultural fear of scarcity with its poverty mottos.

As Americans become dwarfed by our own dysfunctional institutions we naturally begin to feel powerless and afraid. When an entire society fears scarcity it can be easily led to hate others, to attack them, and then to champion its violence in vindictive selfrighteousness. Addicting ourselves to the temporary abundance of today’s cheap discount stores is a way to prolong the global disparity of affluence as a palliative to assuage the wrenching socioeconomic changes within our own society. When what we are really looking for is deeper meaning to our lives.

As a society we grow poorer by teaching our children to believe in some twisted virtue of suffering known as the white man’s burden. In our blind dedication to a decadent system we consecrate our own extraction. “I ain’t got a dime but what I got is mine, I ain’t rich but Lord I’m free.” With these words George Strait championed a nationalism of ignorance and self-righteous poverty. Are we really proud to be poor, imagining that our freedom somehow reconciles us? This is what Wal-Mart wants us to think so we will assume we need their proliferation of distractions which keep us from ourselves.

Having more stuff doesn’t get us there. We all already own a deeper sense of truth that can’t be bought or sold. Common sense has changed because we no longer survive based upon a reverent relationship with place. It’s been replaced by a reverence for wealth and consumption. We are steered away from the inward journey which is our birthright. Truth is everyone’s purpose and freedom. We find what we seek. If we seek our selves through the rituals of materialism, then we are bound to its realm. We are our brother’s keeper when we don’t abide by the rules which set us against each other.

Barr Bentley

Welcome

Dear Editor:

A lot of people are voicing their opinions about the possibility of Wal-Mart coming to Pagosa. Many do not want it here.

I, however, would welcome Wal-Mart with open arms and not a second thought in mind.

Some are worried that Wal-Mart coming to Pagosa will take out small businesses in this town. Those same small businesses were afraid when other big stores in this town opened, yet nothing happened ... those businesses are still here.

We need to look at this on a positive level. Many of us cannot afford to shop some of the Pagosa businesses. I know that I cannot shop in most of the stores here because I cannot pay what these businesses charge. Everyone talks about how we should be keeping money in Archuleta County. Maybe we could, if people would lower their prices.

It’s time for a change, and whether you welcome it or not, it’s eventually going to happen. Having Wal-Mart here in Pagosa would be a great thing. Let’s look at some positive things: City Market closes at 10 p.m. Many of you have small children and even infants. Suppose there is something you are out of, or desperately need for that child late at night. When City Market closes, where are you going to go? Are you going to want to drive the hour or so that it is going to take you to get to Wal-Mart in Durango? You may have to. Not too many places are open 24-7. If that Wal-Mart were here in Pagosa, you would find yourself there quicker, getting whatever it is  you needed and you would be back home in no time.

Answer me this: You say you want to keep money in Pagosa. With the outrageous prices in most of the stores in this town, why would you drive to Durango, to spend your money at Wal-Mart and give your money to another county and not your own? Yet, without a Wal-Mart here in Pagosa or stores that will lower their prices to keep that money in this county, you are forcing us to go where we can save the most, even if it means spending a little extra for gas just to cut costs on things that are needed. A lot of the small businesses around here are so afraid that letting this Wal-Mart come to Pagosa will ruin them and possibly force them to shut down. If that were so, many of you would have and should have lowered your costs a long time ago when McDonald’s, Ace and other big businesses entered this county. But you didn’t, and your businesses are still open today. Instead, you are afraid of letting a business come into this town that will offer lower prices, better deals and bring in jobs to this town. Pagosans are being forced to leave and go to other states where there is work. Let’s give some kind of hope and reason to keep Pagosans from leaving. Let’s keep the money in our town where it needs to be. Wal-Mart can offer that and so much more, and is coming with or without your approval. We need a change and we need it now. 

Tammy Boen

Option

Dear Editor:

This is a link to an article on why Wal-Mart is good for the community:  www.fee.org/pdf/the-freeman/1005Semmens.pdf. 

This article has some good information worth considering. I’m tired of the negative letters that make Wal-Mart out to be the anti-Christ. Good grief!  

I remember when we got our first stop light in Pagosa. Oh my, “Our little mountain town would never be the same.” And you know what?  It isn’t.  Progress happens.  Things change, sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. But, why does building a Wal-Mart in Pagosa all of a sudden ruin our town? Really?

One letter said stars and constellations would no longer be visible if Wal-Mart comes to town. Are their lights that different than the lights City Market/Alco use? Remember when people weren’t happy about us getting a McDonald’s? McDonald’s has been a positive addition to our town.

I know there are some businesses that will be hurt, but overall, the only change in my shopping will be less shopping at City Market and more at Wal-Mart.  I much preferred having the City Market downtown instead of the new store going in up town. Now the downtown store sits vacant. My understanding is that City Market will not rent or sell it to a competitor. I’m not real impressed with how City Market has treated our community with that switch. They didn’t consider what was best for Pagosa, only what was best for City Market. I didn’t see nasty letters to the editor or protesters on main street when they shut down the old City Market, and have left it an empty eyesore. Where’s the outcry against them?

I don’t believe I’ve ever been in the Durango Wal-Mart that I haven’t seen Pagosa people! Don’t you keep a list of the things you need to pick up at Wal-Mart next time you’re in Durango? And as for “buying American made,” I agree! When you can, do it. But don’t tell me that the local stores in Pagosa that will be affected by a Wal-Mart coming in only sell American made products.  I’d like to see a comparison of the percentage of American/foreign made products sold by the local stores compared to Wal-Mart.

The tax dollars spent here will stay here, even if the corporate profit doesn’t.  And contrary to a previous letter, Wal-Mart is a big contributor to the communities they are in. Check it out.

We are in desperate need of more jobs in the community. Wal-Mart would bring more jobs. When I shop at Wal-Mart in Durango, the general attitude of the workers is good; they seem to like their jobs. I wouldn’t mind working there. I could be the boss of the greeters. (I figure I’m bossy enough to be a boss. I’m a natural.)

If you don’t like Wal-Mart, it’s simple: don’t shop there. But don’t rob the rest of us of a local option to City Market and Alco. By the way, we now have six stoplights, and we are still a great little community. Now you have my two cents! I hope you spend it locally.

Dorothy Forrest Brinton

Change

Dear Editor:

It seems that Wal-Mart is one of the main topics most locals are talking about these days. What would be the impact on our community here in Pagosa Springs? Would it devastate all our small businesses to the point they go under?

I think not.

Having a Wal-Mart in Pagosa Springs would benefit us, bringing much-needed jobs for our local folks. Opportunities for people that need something new. I just think of all those dollars being kept here in Pagosa Springs instead of Durango and surrounding areas. Having a Wal-Mart here would generate competition, and competition is good. 

We who live here surely like to save a buck or two. Face it, people, things change, and this change is a good one!

Jason L. Bruder

Corporatism

Dear Editor:

It was recently suggested to me that one way to interpret the values of a society is to look at the height of the structures they build. For instance, Tuscan cities have tall towers, monuments wealthy despots erected to emphasize their power and position. The pyramid at Tikal was the highest structure in the New World until the 1890s and the steeples at Chartres cathedral reach up over 300 feet, both indicating the power religion had over society.

In our cities, our skyscrapers are banks and corporate centers. They identify that same degree of power and dominance in our society today. A democracy or not, it ought not have been surprising that the Supreme Court would grant them personhood. Given their track record, though, we see certain unsavory things repeated over and over related to employment practices, product safety, pollution, deceptive advertising and so on. Do we share their values? Are they the persons we emulate, use as models for our lives?

Not I. Nor are members of the small local group of citizens who are forming a nonpartisan grassroots local movement called “Move to Amend.” The object is to become educated and to oppose this corporatism beginning with the corruption of money in the electoral process. We are not fanatics, but we are deeply concerned.

The next meeting of Move to Amend will be held on Saturday afternoon, 4:30 to 6 p.m. It is open to the public; everyone interested and concerned is invited to attend. Arrangements have been made at Greenbriar Plaza, Pagosa Boulevard and Park Avenue, Unit B-15. Come, listen, learn, join in with your input.

Henry Buslepp

List

Dear Editor:

To the mayor:

Why don’t you try to fill the vacant stores throughout the town before you court Wal-Mart?  I would think it would be your priority to do this to benefit not only the town (sales tax), but as a better image for the location of your real estate rental business for all the buildings you manage in town.

Why are you not vesting your energies in completing projects that have already been started?  The children’s skate park, Lewis Street, making your beloved community center a viable and profitable organization, or abiding by the town’s previous stipulations to not allow such an eyesore on Put Hill without a barrier.  The list goes on and on.

Susi Cochran

A start

Dear Editor:

As a lifelong, multi-generational resident of Pagosa Springs, I think a Wal-Mart is much needed. 

My husband and I grew up here in Pagosa. Remember when Subway first came to town? OMG, all the restaurants were gonna have to close. Then came McDonald’s, and again there was mass hysteria. The only people scared of the new Wal-Mart are the business owners who haven’t cared about the locals and the “true” local budget. All they see is tourist and seasonal residents’ dollars and their prices match. 

The businesses haven’t cared about us all these years, why should we care about their “locally” owned business closing? If you’re so concerned that you’re gonna lose business, find some other town to suck dry with your 300-percent markups on your merchandise. Most “local” businesses are owned by some outta-town implant. They know we don’t have the resources of larger communities, so they try to sell us their stuff at outrageous prices. The true local companies that really are Pagosa, like the outfitting companies, the tour companies, the feed companies, etc. are gonna be just fine.

The only people I see complaining about Wal-Mart aren’t even from here. Go back to whichever state you came from. I’ve said it before and I will say it again: Pagosa hasn’t been Pagosa since the ’90s, and I bet most of the complainers moved into Pagosa right about that time. Who ruined Pagosa? You did it when you moved here within the last 20 years.  For a person who was born and raised here and has family here, it has been a constant struggle to survive.  People say if you can’t afford to live here, then move.  I say we were here first; take your ridiculous prices somewhere else.  People try to label Pagosa as a resort community.  This is not Aspen or Vail.  This is a hard working community full of minimum wage workers scraping to make a living.  Wal-Mart offers a cheaper way to survive.  Many times when we do need to go to Durango, we stop at Wal-Mart to buy groceries, but we cannot afford to drive to Durango anytime we want.  Gas is outrageous and what we do have in our budget for gas is used for the everyday runs around town.  Wal-Mart offers a cheaper means for the “little” people in Pagosa who don’t have the money to shop at local stores that charge ridiculous prices for the same things you can get 120 miles (round trip) away for so much cheaper. 

Another thing I hear people complaining about is the closure of the shops and how they will be boarded up and looking like a ghost town.  Guess the newcomers shouldn’t have built all these fancy new buildings which all already sit empty.  Just because they are nice and new, yet empty, doesn’t look good either.  Many people came here with the thought of cashing in on a growing community, but tourism alone cannot sustain the people living here.  We need other alternatives to sustain our community.  Wal-Mart is a start in the right direction.

Amber Garcia

Coin flip

Dear Editor:

To the Town Council:

 Regarding the Wal-Mart public comment work session to be held by the Town Council this Thursday, Feb. 16 (5 p.m., Ross Aragon Community Center), I suggest that a coin (provided by someone in the audience) be flipped just prior to the start of the meeting to determine if the proponents or opponents have the last say. 

Cynda Green

Supply/demand

Dear Editor:

The core issue of Wal-Mart coming to Pagosa should be this: supply and demand. If a business assesses potential in a town, is willing to invest capital, take risk, and gamble on future profits based upon its ability to supply goods and services for the demand that it expects from the towns consumers ... let the business try.

Where does the slippery slope of a small, vocal, highly organized group that tries to prevent Wal-Mart from coming to Pagosa end? Does that same group go into “full feather mode” to  prevent a national chain of a plumbing company that wants to provide services and investment into Pagosa when there are 20 plumbers in this town already?  Since there are a number or clothing stores in Pagosa, does this group try to prevent another store from coming into this town?  How many coffee shops are there now in Pagosa?  Will Starbucks be opposed if it tries to move into Pagosa?  When did it become a town’s business to either attract or repel any business?  At the same time there should be no subsidies from either the town or the county to bring in any business.   

This past Christmas my wife would not buy anything that was made in China. It was difficult to find things to purchase for gifts. She ended up making and sewing many of our families gifts. Most of the inventory we stock in our business is made in the good ol’ USA. We try to do the right thing for our country and home town. So when Wal-Mart arrives, we’ll continue to pick and choose what is good for us, our town and our country — by what we purchase.

The difficulty and cost and the ability of everyone to be in everyone’s business is why stuff is made in other countries. It would be funny to watch the opposition people in this town go crazy with a company that wanted to move into this town to use the geothermal hot water for hot dip galvanizing windmill towers — but hot dip galvanizing is fine in some far away country? 

So, to the people who oppose everything that tries to build up this area: It is more healthy for businesses to rise and fall on their business practices, not by preventing supply and demand from taking place.

I wonder how many cars that are going to be parked at Wal-Mart will have “I Hate Wal-Mart” bumper stickers on them?

Joel Hellwege

One-stop

Dear Editor:

I think there should be a Wal-Mart because we do not have a Wal-Mart here, and also Wal-Mart is a one-stop shopping place.

Love,

Gracie Horras, age 8

Apology

Dear Editor:

To the Ross family, the employees and customers of Buckskin:

I want to take this time to apologize and accept responsibility for my actions. I am sorry for the heartache, anger and loss that my offense has caused everyone involved. I realize that my poor decisions have deeply affected many friendships and businesses. I am working on many areas of my life to ensure that I never choose to go on a path like this again.

I hope one day that you all will find the forgiveness in your heart to forgive me.

Penelope Jones

Enough

Dear Editor:

I’m writing because I don’t think we should have a Wal-Mart. Reason 1: If Wal-Mart puts Old Town Market out of business, then we will have to drive uptown for food. Reason 2: There’s a Wal-Mart in Durango and if there’s something we can’t get in Pagosa (which is really rare) we can go to Durango. R3: We can already get most of the things they sell at Wal-Mart at different stores in Pagosa. Reason 4: If Wal-Mart sells these things for cheaper it might make other stores go out of business. Reason 5: We already have enough Wal-Marts in the world. Plus, I moved here when I was three and we’ve never had a Wal-Mart and I don’t think we should have one now. It also seems like Pagosa is too little a town to have a Wal-Mart. It would make it seem like every other town, and I like it how it is. I really hope we don’t have a Wal-Mart but that’s just what I think.

Sincerely,

Elsa Lindner, age 9

Pro

Dear Editor:

These are some of my thoughts of why I am all for the idea of Wal-Mart coming to our town.

I give City Market $850 a month for a family of one adult, two children and two pets (I have saved my receipts each month, for three years).  This cost has gone up steadily every year, most likely due to the fact that there is no competition.  For a single mom, with two children, this is a lot of money.

I have been considering leaving Pagosa because, for a single mom, this town is a sinking ship. But I love Pagosa Springs, so I keep holding on. I welcome any offer of saving myself from having to leave here ... and Wal-Mart might be a big incentive. I clean homes for a living. I have known a lot of people in the area, and the majority of the people complaining about Wal-Mart in Pagosa Springs are the seasonal people who leave Pagosa in the winter, when the going gets tough.  It’s hard to find work for the full-time residents in town, when everyone is leaving, which makes paying for groceries, supplies, etc. next to impossible at times. These seasonal residents are the ones who have at least two, big beautiful homes, luxury cars, and some have their own private airplane.  These people really don’t understand the needs of the average citizen in this town, the blue-collar workers, the laborers. But, I assure you, the wealthier half of Pagosa needs us. All the hard workers.  What would you do without us?

I have no homes to clean when they all get closed up for the winter and everyone heads for the beach and sunshine.  I stay here in my everyday, hard-working life, and I would so appreciate a break, something to boost this town, and I think Wal-Mart will be the adrenaline Pagosa needs to survive.  Because, if we don’t survive, Pagosa won’t. The people who will be the most blessed by having a discount store come to our town are the people that actually make this town run.  All of the hard workers. I am more concerned about the “other half” of our town, that can barely put gasoline in our rundown vehicles, to get our children to school and ourselves to work. Pro Wal-Mart.

Kaitlyn McIntosh

Etymology

Dear Editor:

Sorry to be a little late in writing this note. I was preparing for a fire in the fireplace with the help of your estimable publication, and, just in the nick of time, my eye was caught by the story on the relic of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton. Everything was wonderful except for the etymology given, which claims that “relics” comes from the Latin “reliquice.” That does not resemble a Latin word, and in fact is not a Latin word. The word wanted is “reliquiae” or, if you are striving to be archaically poetic, “relliquiae.”

I hereby offer my services, at the customary rates, as Latin Proofreader, so that you may avoid future embarrassment.

Jim Milstein

Editor’s note: we will forward your offer to John Paul II Catholic Church.

Good work

Dear Editor:

Again, folks, keep up the good work, i.e., writing your letters, reasons, why no Wal-Mart. I continue to cut them out and send to Wal-Mart Inc., Bentonville, AR 72716.

Pam Morrow

Influence

Dear Editor:

Before we become completely absorbed and distracted by the partisanship and rancor of the 2012 Presidential elections, I would ask that everyone focus on a larger issue — the overwhelming and fundamental influence of money in politics. From mega-millionaires contributing to nearly unregulated Super PACs to corporate lobbyists roaming the halls of Congress, it is perfectly obvious that a founding principle of our democracy is under attack. When politicians can be legally bought and paid for, we have no democracy. This is far more important than any liberal vs. conservative disagreement on a policy issue. The issue is all voters versus big (really big) money.

The good news is that there is a spreading and increasingly vocal backlash against this trend. Even better, this backlash is non-partisan and spans virtually the entire spectrum of political views. Recently, 30 plus people showed up, in the middle of a snow storm, at a grassroots meeting to discuss this problem and to brainstorm possible actions we could take as individuals or as a group to return power to individual voters. It was such a relief to know how many others felt the way I did about this issue. It was refreshing to find out Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, progressives and libertarians could agree that this is a problem and explore solutions with open minds. We went away from the meeting with subgroups working on possible action steps.

I’m sure there are others who feel as we do. They are welcome to join this effort and take action to lessen the influence of money in politics. The group will meet again on Saturday, Feb. 18, at 4:30 p.m. The location is Greenbriar Plaza, corner of North Pagosa Boulevard and Park Avenue, Unit B-15.

Johnny Pickett

Concern

Dear Editor:

I’m ashamed to admit I used to be a bargain Wal-Mart shopper, believing it was my right, or even housewifely duty, to find the most affordable deals on necessities for my family. As a Christian, I have recently had to re-evaluate my mindset and choices once I personally researched Wal-Mart and the recurring litigation against them by American workers, and also learned of the inhumane living conditions being suffered by those whose literal blood, sweat, and tears had been allowing me the pure luxury of alleged “low everyday pricing.” With knowledge, comes duty.

I now perceive that nothing I “need” is “needed” more than others without a voice or choice deserve: pay worthy of their hire and healthy living conditions. It’s no wonder there’s a perception by other countries’ populations that Americans are indulgent and spoiled by honest comparison.  I was surprised that once I took the time to really investigate locally, there were few things I could not find here [already] at a very comparable price. Local managers have always treated me promptly and courteously as I investigate potential special orders for those things I had not found in Pagosa, and at times even readily suggested other local businesses where I might look. I cannot get the images of the sweatshop children out of my mind, and this has “cured” me of the mindbend that the best deal price-wise is the responsible choice.

Wal-Mart mind trick: if you really believe you “need” to pay Wal-Mart prices regardless of what another man, woman, or child had to sacrifice for a mega-corporation to be able to offer, then please take a moment the next time you shop at Wal-Mart to transpose the face of a sweat-shop-working child over each yellow smiley face so prominently displayed throughout the Wal-Mart store (or better yet, transpose the face of a child you personally love in sweatshop garb and grime).

Slavery has not been abolished in America — it’s simply been moved overseas and proliferated on behalf of a superstore conduit. Please educate yourself and rethink what those cheap prices have honestly cost another. I pray your care and concern for others, whether American or not, will lead you to a sense of concern greater than the size of your shopping cart and the bottom-dollar of a Wal-Mart sales receipt.

Vivian Rader

Dictator

Dear Editor:

 It is a fact. Obama and his ideological allies don’t see America as exceptional because they think America is a crime; they think America is immoral. They think that America became a superpower by stealing other peoples’ resources. We stole their oil. We stole their corn. We conquered them and we imprisoned them with imperialist oppression. They believe this!

Ask yourself, how is it that in less than 250 years a single population of under 300 million people so dominated the planet for good? There are populations, countries, civilizations that have been around thousands of years. Our DNA is no different than theirs. We’re not inherently smarter; we’re not a special species; there’s nothing that differentiates us — other than where we live.

 How can this happen? Look at the advancement in the world’s standard of living in the 19th and 20th centuries alone because of the United States. What makes it possible? Freedom. And the founding principles right in our own Declaration: “We are all endowed by our Creator” — ergo, there’s a God — “with certain unalienable rights, among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

The founding of this country is a miracle. For all of human history, the normal, standard shared experience has been tyranny, dungeons, oppression, and poverty. The majority of the people who have ever lived have been poor, oppressed, shackled. Except here. The exception to what life was like for almost every human being is in the United States of America. That’s American exceptionalism. It’s not that we’re superior to anybody else. The left bristles because they believe we’re saying we’re better people. Not at all. We’re fortunate. Ours is a country founded by brilliant people who understood that we are blessed by God.

Folks, Obama desperately wants a second term. Don’t buy this notion that he’s not interested. The progressives are finally being honest. The left has always had romantic attachments to all these tyrannical communist regimes. Now they can practically taste movement toward an all-powerful, centralized-state government, unencumbered by a Constitution, unencumbered by a Bill of Rights, unencumbered by a separation of powers.

 We are now in the process here of defining the large purpose of the 2012 elections. It isn’t just Obama versus the state. It’s about state control of property versus individuals controlling their own property. It’s about the makers versus the takers, about the public sector versus the private sector.

What hangs in the balance really is the American way of life. This election is about remaining a free people. These wannabe authoritarians, Obama, Reid, Pelosi, and their cronies, are on the verge of rendering the American Revolution null and void, and the regime’s minions know it. They’re one election away from remaking America.

We face a choice. This is an ideological battle: freedom versus socialism, freedom versus tyranny, and the tyranny is represented by Obama and the Democrats. You’ve got a vote this November — use it! Or, you can vote for Obama (the dictator) and be miserable the rest of yer life.

 Jim Sawicki

Hang in

Dear Editor:

To the Pagosa Springs opposition to Wal-Mart. Hang in there and do not give in. There are two things that you need to know. One is the argument that they will hire more people. This is something that has never been fully researched. Their product line covers nearly everything from operating on people to selling baby livestock, and that is under a roof. Outside, they sell about everything except heavy farm equipment and motorized vehicles. Five years after they open their doors, some businesses have closed, and a lot have reduced their help number. Ten years after they open for business, there are still local businesses closing their doors. It is impossible to say they hire more people. Although they hire more elderly and they are underpaid, and this you already know. Employee income needs to be better regulated and hourly wages need to be better tuned to the local overall cost of living. It may come down to job description and work requirements. To be fair, there has been no research on why all these other businesses have closed, as it is just word of mouth. So what we do know today is that there have been more people put out of work than Wal-Mart hires. Since Wal-Mart is involved in so many different product lines, their range of sales will eventually have an effect on many different businesses and force them into selling and by doing this it will boost Wal-Mart sales.

Harold Starr

Garden City, Kansas

Welcome

Dear Editor:

As a longtime Pagosa Springs resident, I welcome Wal-Mart. It will bring more money into our town from the sales taxes alone.

Wal-Mart will cause competitive pricing on everyday items and payroll from our other “Big Box” companies such as Wyndham, McDonald’s, Subway and City Market. Wal-Mart will bring higher paying jobs even at a part-time level, with health benefits for the ones who really want to work and keep a job year round.

Pagosa grew at a rapid rate with construction being a major contributor to the economy. Even during this growth many wondered how long it would last since we have so much public land in Archuleta County.

A great deal of the construction was to provide second and third homes for people that only visit our fair community and most of which are for baby boomers that wish to retire or visit a few weeks a year. These homeowners have no children left in the home to attend schools, participate in local activities that require financial support.

This type of growth was only a temporary contributor, once the home was completed and construction moved on the amount of dollars that were spent in the community from that specific home declined.

One fact that I am sure most everyone will agree on is that Pagosa needs to develop some form of industry to provide jobs, draw more dollars to help pay for the maintenance of all the roads and amenities that were built during the boom. Teachers and workers have been laid off; I am in fact one of those people that was forced to leave to find work in another city. For those that have chosen to stay and work three jobs just to pay rent, it will save them money which in turn will improve their quality of life.

Pagosa, like so many other things in our lifetime, is changing and it needs to in order to survive. Wal-Mart brings needed jobs with benefits. It will bring people to shop from as far away as Chama, South Fork and maybe Dulce, including the rural areas. It will bring back the dollars that currently go to Durango from all of us shopping there.

Everyone is worried about the current businesses! Look around, most of the businesses in Pagosa are tourism based and carry products especially for the tourist. These folks shop at Wal-Mart, I see them there! The businesses that carry quality will still get their share of the Pagosa dollar.

It’s time for a change; let us not forget one man’s answer is another man’s problem. Someone will always benefit and some will always suffer. I do not believe children in the schools and the community will suffer more than they already have if a Wal-Mart comes to Pagosa Springs.

Willie Swanda

Predatory

Dear Editor:

Wal-Mart exploits its workers, here in the U.S. and in China. It is a predatory business with monopolistic tendencies. It aims to monopolize whatever market it enters and it will adversely affect the Pagosa downtown and uptown businesses. Many in Pagosa Springs have discussed big box stores and asked would we feel differently if this were a Costco, instead of Wal-Mart? Yes, we would feel differently. Why? Because Costco treats their employees fairly. If you are looking for a model for big box stores that treat their employees well, sell quality products and makes a profit, Costco offers such an example. I am not arguing for big box stores, I only want to point out that business can organize itself in ways that make a profit and treat employees well. Check out the New York Times article, July 17, 2005, “How Costco Became the Anti-Wal-Mart.”

According to the article, Costco, the big box warehouse store, provides health insurance where workers pay only 10 percent of the cost (82 percent of Costco workers are covered compared to 50 percent at Wal-Mart), pays high average wages ($17/hour, 72 percent higher than Wal-Mart’s Sam’s Club average wage in 2005), provides retirement/401Ks (91 percent covered compared to 33 percent at Wal-Mart) and has the lowest worker turnover in the industry. Costco laid no one off during the recession. Costco stock has performed better than Wal-Mart’s (Wal-Mart has shown declines in same store sales over the last few years). Read the Harvard Business Review article, “The High Cost of Low Wages” at http://hbr.org/2006/12/the-high-cost-of-low-wages/ar/1.

When Jim Sinegal, one of the founders and CEO of Costco, retired in 2011, his salary was $350,000/year and his total compensation was $3.5 million in 2010. (Washington Post, “The Costco King Checks Out,” Sept. 2, 2011). When Wal-Mart’s CEO, Michael T. Duke, failed to perform as expected and same store sales dropped for two years, the compensation metric was changed at Wal-Mart to overall sales growth so his bonus would not suffer too greatly. “Shifting the goal posts meant more money for Mr. Duke in the latest fiscal year than he would have received under the old arrangement. His compensation totaled $18.7 million ...” (May 8, 2011 New York Times, “Moving the Goal Posts on Pay”). In the same article it was stated that ... “ Wal-Mart’s pay packages seemed especially unfortunate in light of the company’s decision late last year to end its longtime profit-sharing programs for lower-level workers. This arrangement was created by Sam Walton, the company’s founder, and was a source of considerable pride to him.” This eliminated roughly $1 billion in profit-sharing to employees.

So as Wal-Mart pays low wages, is stingy about sharing health care costs and has eliminated profit sharing for the little guy, Wal-Mart’s CEO is getting rich off of the profits from small towns like Pagosa Springs. Is that a giant sucking sound I hear approaching Pagosa Springs? Is Wal-Mart the best Pagosa can do?

Gary Williams

Ameritopia

Dear Editor:

Throughout history, we have had several attempts at Utopia from Plato’s “Republic” to Marx’s “Communist Manifesto.” Utopianism is a proposed ideal social and political scheme, which is irrational, insidious and doomed to fail. It advocates the complete dominance of people and property by a small group of rulers or an individual “sovereign” (Hobbes). In his brilliant treatise “Ameritopia” (highly recommended reading), Mark Levin (p. xi) calls it “the ideological and doctrinal foundation for statism.”

President Obama and his democratic cronies are pursuing the latest version of utopianism. Two examples are Obamacare, which was “crammed down the throats of Americans” (Huckabee) and his repetitive demands ad nauseum to “pass this bill now.” This contrasts dramatically with Thomas Jefferson’s rule that any bill introduced before Congress be discussed and studied for a year before being voted on.

The most inspired attempt at “Ameritopia” is Obama’s phony “accommodation” of the most important issue of our times, i.e., the requirement of government for religious institutions to provide abortion, birth control, euthanasia, sterilization, etc., services against their religious convictions or suffer penalties. After severe public outcry, Obama “compromised” his position so that those who wish to obtain these services could get them elsewhere for free from their insurance providers. Who would pay the “free premiums” Insurance subscribers or employers (religious and otherwise) would pay the substantially increased premiums. No one has a “right” to these services, nor does government have the authority to require them.

Religious liberty is protected by the First Amendment of the Constitution, which disallows any law prohibiting the free exercise of religion. This relates closely to the Declaration of Independence (par. 2), which asserts the divine endowment of the right to life, which affirms the efforts of religious institutions to prevent abortion and protect life from conception to natural death. Obama not only blatantly violates these documents, but also ignores their mandates, especially that of the government’s responsibility to, “secure these rights.” In other words, religious institutions safeguarding life are required by the Constitution to have their efforts “secured” by the government, not violated or controlled by a utopian administration.

Especially on this critical issue of a religious institution’s provision of health and human services, Obama places himself above the Constitution or exempts himself from it or ignores it. If he had his way, he would abolish it, modernize it or bend it to conform to his will instead of bending his will to abide by it. By desiring modification, he reveals no concept of or respect for God’s inspiration of the country’s founding documents, as acknowledged repeatedly by the founding fathers. For example, Alexander Hamilton wrote, “The sacred rights of mankind are not to be rummaged for. They are written, as a beam by the hand of Divinity Himself, and cannot be erased or obscured by mortal powers.”

It is imperative that by our vote we preserve our divinely inspired heritage and not allow Obama to destroy it by his pursuit of Ameritopia.

Eugene Witkowski

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