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Letters to Editor

Vote

Dear Editor:

The forthcoming election for the LPEA board is rapidly heating up. It is imperative that you review the backgrounds and credentials of the individuals and who they are representing. There is a slate put out by the San Juan Citizens Alliance Group that would be detrimental to the well being of the board. Research and development costs big bucks. We cannot afford to go off the deep end and start investing in fancy, expensive methods of renewable resources. There are many new methods being developed and by electing solid and proven citizens to the LPEA board. We will benefit in the long run.

Our recommended list of individuals are longtime residents of the districts and their knowledge and proven abilities for making sound decisions and working together is most important to the successful running of an organization. We recommend that you give strong consideration to helping elect Bob Formwalt to the LPEA board.

The year 2012 is proving to be one of the most critical years for our counties, our state and our country. Please turn out and vote.

Franklin Anderson

PAWSD

Dear Editor:

I attended the recent LWV candidates forum to hear the respective candidates for the upcoming PAWSD board election. Five of the six candidates for the PAWSD Board were in attendance and the LWV forum was well attended for a special district election.

After hearing the candidates make their introductory remarks, answer questions from the LWV and the audience, I decided which three candidates will receive my vote for the PAWSD board. I am voting for Glenn Walsh, Patrick O’Brien and Mike Church. I was swayed to vote for Walsh, O’Brien and Church because all three of these candidates pledged to place the interest of PAWSD rate and taxpayers first. In simple terms, represent the electorate — how refreshing. Walsh, O’Brien and Church pledged to spend no additional moneys on Dry Gulch. In addition, they pledged to not vote to approve any additional PAWSD revenue bonds unless they had first been approved by the district’s voters. General obligation bonds always require voter approval in Colorado, but revenue bonds do not; so this pledge is important to ensure our hard-earned dollars are spent wisely. One Dry Gulch fiasco is enough and we are just beginning to repay the debt incurred to purchase Dry Gulch land. Last, but not least, Walsh, O’Brien and Church pledged to strive for the highest level of transparency in the conduct of PAWSD board business. Transparency, or lack thereof, is a frequent topic of discussion in our community in both local media and casual conversation. We are all well served if the highest level of transparency in the conduct of the public’s business is observed and adhered to. I am encouraged that six candidates filed for the three vacant seats on the PAWSD board. The actual election day is May 8th, the polling place is PAWSD offices on Lyn Avenue. Mail-in ballots may be obtained by contacting the PAWSD business office. I urge you to join me in voting for Glenn Walsh, Patrick O’Brien and Mike Church as I am convinced they will represent us well on the PAWSD board for the next four years.

Bob Clinkenbeard

Opining

Dear Editor:

While Eugene Witkowski says in his last letter (“Proactive”) that his “policy is never to opine,” he went on to express an opinion that the 10 Commandments and nativity scene were constitutional because their presence does not constitute the state establishing a religion.

I heatedly disagree as both have been adopted as Jewish and Christian symbols. These symbols should not be in our governmental institutions unless they are part of a historical presentation giving reasonably equal weight to the many other religions followed in our land.

I also take exception to Eugene’s opining that the 10 Commandments were “given by God to all people for all time.” They were given to Moses for guidance of the Jews and later adopted in the Christian’s holy book, but I don’t see these commandments in the Quran or Dharma.

While I respect (and try to follow) the 10 Commandments, they focus too much on what I shouldn’t do and too little on what I should do. If a jury of my peers is to judge me, I would prefer they be guided by the Seven Laws of Survival given the Lakota nation by White Buffalo Calf Woman as they teach basic values intrinsic to a full and healthy life.

Eugene was correct that I would enjoy pondering Ecclesiastes 10:2 in which he asked, “Does this mean republicans are wise and democrats are fools?” I couldn’t find the biblical version of Eugene’s Ecclesiastes verse, but my King James Version reads, “A wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but a fool’s heart at his left.” The phrase “right hand” is a Hebrew idiom for a place or protection or honor whereas the “left” lacks the same.

My New English Translations says, “A wise man’s good sense protects him but a fool’s lack of sense leaves him vulnerable.” My NET for Matthew 25:31-34 describes how Jesus Christ will judge the nations upon his second coming in which he separates the good (sheep) from the bad (goats) placing the good on his right (place of protection and honor) and the bad on his left.

Neither the Ecclesiastes nor the Matthew verses suggests to me that God’s word was intended as a moral judgment on Democrat and Republican political beliefs. Still, I thank Eugene for engaging in a civil debate.

So, Eugene, I support recognizing and acknowledging God in our currency and founding governmental documents. Let’s keep Moses and Jesus in our homes, churches and private discourse, but out of our civil institutions and laws.

Jay Davison

Evidence

Dear Editor:

The statement that there is, “no scientific evidence that burning fossil fuel emits carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere at sufficient levels to influence climate change” is often made by politicians, TV commentators, conspiracy theorists and even by writers to The SUN.

Actually, there is an enormous amount of evidence contradicting the above claim. Clicking Google will reveal hundreds of pages of references. A good summary is Rough Winds: Extreme Weather and Climate Change Kindle edition for $0.99. Good websites are ClimateProgress.org and Skeptical Science.com.

The most compelling evidence to main stream scientists for the correlation between the earth’s temperature and carbon dioxide concentration comes from the geological record: Ice cores, lake beds, melting glaciers and ice sheets; records that go back a million years.

The sad fact is the oil companies, like cigarette companies, spend enormous sums of money buying politicians and hiring scientists to serve as shills. (See Merchants of Doubt by Oreskes and Conway.) Money that would be better spent on R&D.

Heaven forbid, suppose the scientists are right and the politicians are wrong and global warming is real. The evidence for an increase in severe weather events is certainly mounting; are the all-time high 15,292 record temperatures set in the spring of this year a harbinger of things to come? According to a recent poll published in the New York Times by a ratio of 3 to 1, the public thinks there may be a correlation between weather extremes and climate change.

Organizations such as the U.S. Navy that must plan for the future seem to think so. The Navy has created the Task Force Climate Change (TFCC) as many admirals believe an open Arctic Ocean is a threat to national security. See a recent Associated Press article entitled As Ice cap melts, militaries vie for Arctic edge by Eric Talmadge.

My position is if you want to know about global warming watch Mother Nature. My apricot tree blossomed in March, and will the San Juan dry up before the tourists hit town?

The demand for fossil fuels will increase and their costs will continue rise in spite of the politicians’ promises. I might be wrong on this; the Supreme Court may repeal the law of supply and demand. I hope so. The drill baby drill crowd went wild; the price of natural gas is approaching a twenty year low. I may have to give up my lavish life style and abandon my weekly dip in the lobster pot. This turn of events may prove beneficial to this old sinner. Monsignor Gianfranco Girotti, second in command of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican body responsible for confessions and absolutions said pollution and extreme wealth are now on record as mortal sins. Mortal sins are those that land you in Hell.

Bob Dungan

Arboles

Hero

Dear Editor:

Do you know Steve Potter? He is another of my heroes. I have known him for years and after a slight heart attack and marrying wonderful and beautiful Anya, Steve transformed himself. He has become a bike rider, superb, and it has taken lots of hard work. Okay, this is an example of why he is one of my heroes. Recently, he met a friend of his who lives in Pennsylvania and they did a bicycle ride in Florida from the east coast to the west coast, some 1,703 miles. His goal was to do it in 10 hours. He did it in nine hours, 58 minutes — yeah. He had been campaigning for weeks to raise pledges because he donated to support Morgan Murri’s GECKO foundation — Get Every Child Knowledge of the Outdoors. When all is said and done, around $6,000 will have been raised for GECKO.

Cindy Gustafson

Corruption

Dear Editor:

Confronted with evidence of widespread corruption in Mexico (2005), top Wal-Mart executives focused more on damage control than on rooting out wrongdoing, according to an in-depth examination by The New York Times (4/21/12). Investigators found a paper trail of hundreds of suspect bribery payments totaling more than $24 million. None of Wal-Mart de Mexico’s leaders were disciplined. Indeed, its chief executive, Eduardo Castro-Wright, the driving force behind years of bribery, was promoted to vice chairman of Wal-Mart in 2008. The Times’ examination uncovered a prolonged struggle at the highest levels of Wal-Mart, a struggle that pitted the company’s much publicized commitment to the highest moral and ethical standards against its relentless pursuit of growth. In addition, The Times’ investigation uncovered huge tax fraud by Wal-Mart. Think about it. Do we citizens of Pagosa Springs want this kind of company doing business in our town and county?

Susan Junta

NASA

Dear Editor:

As reported on 60 Minutes, April 1, 2012, and Cal Thomas on Jan. 8, President Obama has cut the military and has made the decision to cut NASA’s budget and abandon the constellation program established by the Bush administration, which was charged with returning Americans to the moon by 2020 and creating an “extended human presence on the moon”.

China has chosen to fill this vacuum. They have announced an ambitious five-year plan that includes the launch of space laboratories, a manned spaceship to the moon and the creation of its own global satellite navigation system.

The U.S. ended the space shuttle program, leaving Russia and China as the only countries now capable of sending humans into space. The U.S. must now use Russian rocketry for visits to the international space station. We must now ask for permission — and pay them to go where we once boldly went before in American made rockets.

Remember John F. Kennedy’s 1961 pledge to put men on the moon by the end of the 1960s. It was a triumph not only of American science and ingenuity, but a ratification of our way of life and its superiority to communism. The Chinese can proceed with their plan because they are flush with money we pay them for goods made there and sold here.

The next president should decare a rebirth of the U.S. space program. President Obama has transformed America to a second class power in just three years. Just think what he can do if given four more years!

Obama also promised in the campaign that NASA employees would not lose jobs. 700 have been laid off. I can’t imagine those people voting for him again.

John Meyer

Active

Dear Editor:

Nationally and locally, people are paying attention to what is happening in their government. And that is a good thing! At the Town Council meeting on April 19, before a standing room only audience, Davey Pitcher from Wolf Creek Ski Area reaffirmed to the Town Council in his professional opinion that the chairlift proposed for inclusion in a development plan on Reservoir Hill would be an ill advised use of public monies. Mr. Pitcher gave an eloquent 15-20 minute presentation in outlining his conclusions. We also learned at the meeting that Wal-Mart had submitted their official plans to the town. James Dickhoff, director of planning, assured those in attendance that these plans would be made public as soon as possible, with an effort to have them available prior to further public hearings on the issue. This meeting was very informative and well attended by an audience who was definitely paying attention. Recently many town and county meetings are well attended!

“Politically active” is not a term that I would use to describe myself, but I too have been conspicuously present at many of the recent proceedings. It was the announcement that Wal-Mart was coming to town that first brought me out. The spectre of the behemoth corporation sucking the life out of local business was my tipping point. Recent allegations of Wal-Mart’s involvement in international bribery should raise concern for all of us. It may be time for another local screening of “Wal-Mart, The High Cost Of Low Prices,” to remember who we are dealing with. In fact, I have attended the majority of county commission meetings in recent months. The county currently has no position on the Wal-Mart issue, and the commissioners have maintained that the development will only affect town property. These are the current facts. My intention is to be on record requesting that, if and when this matter does involve the county, they take a position of offering no tax incentives or abatements to Wal-Mart.

The public attention in town and county meetings has been a good thing, and board members have even expressed thanks for the additional input. Discussions have been robust and productive, and it has been a great example of our democracy at work. I hope to see more of you who have been reluctant, as I was, writing letters to the editor, attending meetings, making your voice heard, and simply “paying attention.”

Dan Park

Light

Dear Editor:

Money-Out-of-Politics.org brings corporate contributions “Into the Light.” This fourth report looks at Michael McLachlan’s campaign contributions. He is a candidate for the 59th House District in the state Legislature. There is no financial data available at this time given the newness of his campaign. The next reporting deadline is May 7 for the period 1/26-5/2. Shortly after that deadline we will update the data for McLachlan and Brown, Pace and Tipton. Stay tuned.

MOP (Money Out of Politics) is a group of citizens in Pagosa Springs committed to creating awareness on all political levels of the perverse influence of big money in electoral campaigns. We meet every third Saturday from 4:30-6 p.m.. All meetings are open to the public and all are welcome. The next meeting is May 19. Visit us on the Web (Money-Out-of-Politics.org), Facebook (MoneyOutofPolitics), or e-mail us at MovetoAmend.pagosa@yahoo.com.

Terry Pickett

LPEA

Dear Editor:

Do you know that LPEA’s small-commercial base charges, the charges most small business owners pay, are now 44-percent higher than other comparable utilities in our region? Take a look at your January bill compared to December’s. You will find that your line item base charge increased. Because base charges are independent of consumption, they are regressive and penalize smaller consumers. The increases undermine conservation measures and marginalize investments in efficiency and solar net-metering. Concurrent with these recent changes, LPEA directors passed a policy which promises to make more sizeable hikes imminent. Although exact increases for commercial accounts have not been disclosed, LPEA has announced it will more than double residential charges over the next few years. Commercial users can expect similar increases.

Justification for these increases — a cost-of-service study classified as a “proprietary” secret by LPEA. We have requested, and been refused, this study from LPEA three times over the past several months; denied by their CEO, their board and their attorney. During the franchise agreement negotiations we were told by the board that the cost to supply and maintain electric service to the rural areas of the county is no more than the cost to urban areas. The justification for this statement is the same study we have been denied to review.

LPEA’s directors, some of whom have served on the board over 20 years, are being challenged by a bloc of candidates who share common goals for LPEA, one of which is making board decisions that affect the profitability of our businesses more transparent. Every one of the incumbent directors being challenged supported the new base-charge increases. They are Bob Formwalt, Jerry McCaw, Bobby Lieb and Herb Brodsky. Their aforementioned challengers are Kirsten Skeehan, Bruce Baizel, Britt Bassett and Heather Erb.

Businesses will be getting an LPEA ballot shortly after April 20. It takes a little more effort to vote as a business because the ballot has to be notarized; the person signing and casting the vote must be authorized to do so. The status quo’s got to go. Please take the time to vote!

Lissa Ray

Durango

Appalled

Dear Editor:

Last Friday, I went downtown to eat breakfast and as I walked down main street, I was appalled and disgusted at the signs posted on some of the businesses that said something to the effect of: “After nine years it doesn’t help, please don’t feed the hobo.”

This sign clearly sends a message of hate and intolerance. Is that the message we want to send as a community? I, for one, hope we are better than that.

It seems to me, that message does more to affect tourism, or at least the impression visitors take from our community, than one homeless person does or ever would.

By the way, I commend all of the downtown businesses that didn’t post this sign.

Dean Sell

Tales

Dear Editor:

What irony. As many as 11 Secret Service agents may face dismissal for having consorted with prostitutes in Colombia. The mainstream media is so indignant over this, yet we have two former Democrat presidents, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton, who freely used the Secret Service to facilitate their dalliances in the White House. At least the Secret Service agents had the decency to play around abroad and not sully the White House.

JFK even managed to have an affair with a mafia moll (and, of course, a famous actress), and it couldn’t have happened without the Secret Service helping to arrange the meetings or at least closing their eyes to them. The Secret Service had to be aware of Bill Clinton’s infamous meetings in the White House with Monica Lewinsky, and there are many (mostly media-suppressed) stories about his using the state police in Georgia to facilitate liaisons with women while he was the governor.

Had I been a Secret Service agent during JFK’s and Clinton’s tenure in the White House, I think I would have insisted on prostitute procurement being included in my job description. Who knows, maybe it was. While the examples set by two former randy Democrat presidents don’t provide justification for Secret Service agents to emulate them, it should be noted that at least the presidencies of Reagan and the Bushes provided some respite from this debauchery. The moral behind this? Vote Republican.

Maybe the agents who end up being terminated over this will have something to say about it eventually. There could be even more interesting tales for the media to rant about (or suppress, depending on whether the guilty are conservative or liberal).

Gary Stansbury

Focus

Dear Editor:

The primary focus of board members of utilities such as La Plate Electric must always be on the individual customer.

Any preoccupation by board members with grandiose schemes and philosophies having to do with alternative or sustainable energy serves another agenda and distracts them from their first duty. Our incumbent LPEA board member for Archuleta County, Bob Formwalt, understands the principle that the worthiness of any energy management philosophy is first and foremost measured by its compatibility with the real-life needs and interests of the rate payers.

I urge my fellow Archuleta County La Plata Electric Association members to re-elect Bob Formwalt to the LPEA board of directors.

Roy Vega

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