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Letters to the Editor


Dear Editor:

I hate politics. Each side of the political aisle spinning different stories about the same set of facts to get the upper hand. Seemingly there are many half-truths and even untruths that float through the political conversations and media for the sake of winning an election.

Not much we can do about that at a national level. It is so much bigger than little Pagosa Springs. But why does it happen here too?

I am friends with Mike Hayward and with Michael Whiting. We play volleyball, wallyball, hike, bike and ski together with a big group of other friends. They used to buy sporting goods from me at Switchback when it was still here. I’ve known them for years, long before they even thought of touching politics. In fact, I thought they were crazy to do it.

I have heard rumors flying recently that are very hurtful about both of them. Because I know and socialize with them and have asked them both about them, I know that they are not true.

The dysfunction and dishonesty of the national political conversation must be at work in little Pagosa Springs.

The rumors seem to have taken on a life of their own, morphing as they are passed from one to another ranging from offensive to ridiculous. Here are some of the themes: Michael convinced Mike to run for county commissioner, Michael is funding Mike’s campaign, and craziest of all, Michael and Mike are related!

Michael had in fact distanced himself from Mike’s campaign as soon as Mike turned in his completed petition because he recognized that involvement would be a conflict of interest. In fact, the two rarely even socialize these days.

When I asked Mike about the rumor, he said that early on, he was approached by another elected official — one in a position of trust — and was told that he should withdraw from the race, since he has no chance of winning. Mike told me they were planning to say that he is Michael Whiting’s “lackey,” among other things, in order to win by any means necessary.

Mike told this elected official that it isn’t true and that he is truly independent — his own man. He told Mike that it doesn’t matter that it isn’t true, they were planning to do it anyway, presumably to defeat him. Dirty politics at work in Pagosa.

An elected official in a position of trust, spreading falsehoods. That should scare us all. No matter your political affiliation or views, I think all of us want truth and fairness in the political process.

Recognize these rumors for the lies they are and just think for a moment about who benefits.

Let’s be grownups here. Take a look at Mike, compare him to his opponent, talk issues and qualifications and make an intelligent choice, then vote accordingly. Demand honesty in politics for a change.

Ann M. Bubb

Opinion or fact

Dear Editor:

Eugene Witkowski, by his own words, says his writings site facts rather than opinion. Not so in his letter last week.

Eugene quotes the work of Ken Hoagland of Restore American Voice (RAV) who counted the number of times President Obama used the word “I” and concluded it was, “a sickening study in self-adulation.” The count may be fact, but the conclusion drawn is not.

Ken Hoagland is chairman of RAV and the Repeal It campaign. RAV is a 501(c)4 PAC promoting conservative issues and Mitt Romney’s run for president. There is nothing wrong with Mr. Hoagland’s organization or political views and speech; however, he does not have the credentials to be making psychological diagnoses nor can his organization be considered an independent fact gathering enterprise.

Eugene also would have us believe — as fact –– that his scripture interpretations represent “God’s moral law … for all people.” The god Eugene proselytizes is too narrow to be the god known by Jews, Muslims, native peoples around the world, or me. His assertion that his references “were not an attempt to impose religious views on anyone” is disingenuous at best.

Eugene attempts to climb to the moral high ground by declaring that “Morality is objective, not subjective.” To be objective, morality would need to be free of bias and based on facts rather than thoughts or opinions.

If morality were objective, we would not have a plethora of religious groups and spiritual followings. Even Christians cannot agree on the interpretation of our holy book, and beliefs vary among our many protestant denominations. We Christians have varying perspectives on God and His word — the very definition of “subjective.”

Eugene would serve his brethren better if he spent less time on pompous preaching and more time practicing tolerance and fact-checking.

Jay Davison


Dear Editor:

The fact-challenged triumvirate of Witkowski, Sawicki and Stansbury (denizens of Witwickistan, a tiny sliver of land wedged between Absurdistan and Surrealistan) is back in action (Letters, June 14, 2012).

In their latest assault on reason, we are assured that man’s activities do not contribute to increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and, inferentially, that glacial receding in the Andes is due to theft, not melt (Sawicki); that Obama released national security information to aid his reelection campaign and should therefore be denied access to classified information (Stansbury); that Obama had to be pulled off a golf course and compelled to make a decision about whether to take out Bin Laden, and that in this connection Obama, “passed the buck”; all of this categorized by “Restore American (sic) Voice,” as a “profile in cowardice” (Witkowski).

Witkowski must have missed then Secretary of Defense Gates’ observation that Obama’s decision to send in the Seals to take out Bin Laden was the toughest call he’d ever seen a president make (Gates has been in the room over several administrations). Witkowski is evidently so enamored of President Bush’s “measured” words on the Kitty Hawk that he forgot about the boastful “Mission Accomplished” banner on display in the background. There doesn’t appear to be a “Restore American Voice” cited by Witkowski as his source for the Obama revelations, but I did find on the Web a, “Restore America’s Voice” with the same post office box in Houston as referenced in Witkowski’s letter. Not much fair and balanced content at that website.

Stansbury might have refrained from asserting as proven fact an unproven and politically charged allegation concerning the source of and motivation for a leak of classified information. Leaks happen with regularity, over many administrations, and are distributed by leakers with varying agendas. Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers because he was opposed to the Vietnam War. Scooter Libby was one of several leakers of the identity of CIA covert agent Valerie Plame. Scooter wound up with a criminal conviction for his efforts, but his sentence was commuted by the intended beneficiary of the leak, George W. Bush. P.J. Crowley noted in a Washington Post Op-Ed appearing in the June 16 edition of the paper, “Leaks can harm and support a functioning democracy at the same time,” citing former Bush Justice Department attorney Jack Goldsmith for the proposition that, “the combination of solid accountability journalism and willing sources that exposed the warrantless wiretapping program and CIA black sites reinforced government checks and balances.” Administrations can leak purposefully, or persons with access to information can leak information purposefully, without authorization or encouragement. I’d be more inclined to credit Stansbury’s angst over the leak he condemns in his letter if I could recall a similar letter from him expressing outrage over the destruction of Valerie Plame’s CIA career.

There’s not much point in arguing with Sawicki about climate change. His certainty about the matter is set in concrete. If it’s happening, and happening primarily as a result of burning fossil fuels, as many believe, the indisputable evidence of same will be apparent during the lifetime, if not of Sawicki, then of some later generations of Sawickis, who will look back at the present-day Sawicki’s dogmatic dismissal of the scientific consensus with a distinct lack of reverence. Of course, it’s possible that Witwickistan, due to its strategic location between Absurdistan and Surrealistan, will somehow be miraculously exempt from the predicted long-term consequences of climate change.

Ben Douglas

Flat earth

Dear Editor:

The good folks of Pagosa can thank Mr. Sawicki for passing along the right wing Internet lies.Now we have the UK Meteorological office claiming global warming is a fiction.The UK meteorological office: “slightly less reliable than tea leaves and cock entrails.” This outfit is a right wing front organization.Google it.

The United States NOAA states that the last year was the hottest on record. The last decade was the hottest on record and the carbon dioxide concentration increased by about 30 parts million the sea level rose by about 6 centimeters.

Ice experts predict the glaciers in Glacier Park will be gone by 2020. Glaciers in Chile are almost gone — the reason why stealing ice from them is a crime. True, the glaciers in the Himalayas are growing slightly, most likely due to a localized micro climate effect.

The global warming deniers that write to The SUN should realize they are arguing with the giants of 19th century physics, not Bob Dungan.By the start of the 20th century the science of thermodynamics in its modern form was well established. Thermodynamics is the foundation of air-conditioners, refrigerators, cars, ships, trains, planes, virtually everything. The subject of global warming is nothing more than the application of thermodynamics to the sun-earth system.In 1896, Svante Arrhenius was the first scientist to speculate that changes in the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could substantially alter the surface temperature through the “hot-house” effect.In 1907, writing in one of his popular science books, he wrote doubling the carbon dioxide in would raise the temperature of the earth’s surface by 4 degrees C in good agreement with modern estimates.The Wikipedia free encyclopedia gives a good discussion of the Stefan-Boltzmann law and its application to the energy exchange between the earth and the sun as well as Arrhenius’ calculations.

I wish to commend the editor of The SUN for publishing virtually every letter that crosses his desk.I delight in reading the letters from members of the flat earth society. However, global warming is taking place and will have serious consequences for your kids and grandkids.

Bob Dungan


Relay for Life

Dear Editor:

It seems a lifetime ago I sat in your office working my way through my wife, Susan’s, obituary for the paper. Those days following her death on March 28, 2010, was the worst time of my life. She did everything right, and still lost her battle to cancer.

Although I knew Relay For Life was a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society, I had never volunteered to participate. However, a friend of mine, Stan Zuege, talked me into joining his team not long after the funeral. When Stan’s dad became ill, I stood in for him at committee meetings, and pretty soon, I was volunteering. Now, Stan and I are partners doing logistics for the Relay For Life coordinating committee, we both have teams we lead, and we are both with Morning Rotary so we sponsor the dunk tank at the Relay as a fund-raising event. It’s a good cause, and I am now committed to Relay.

This year, Relay For Life is set for June 22. A lot of work went into planning this year’s event. We lost the driving force behind the effort over the last few years, Barbara Briles. The change in leadership has meant change across the board. Susan Williams has stepped up to lead this year’s Relay. She has done a fantastic job of pulling a new team together, and has been tireless in her efforts to make it a success.

I am still looking for people to help out Stan and I as we move tables and chairs, set up the dunk tank and set out everything for this year’s event. If you can’t help us on Thursday to get ready for Relay, please plan on participating on Friday. The dunk tank kicks off at 1 p.m. and I am still looking for dunkees. If you’re not up to being a dunkee, then at least participate by being a dunker. There are 20 teams this year, and they are all looking for people to walk overnight for about an hour; it’s not much to give, just a little time and effort. See the Home Show and do Relay!

Finally, we always need help taking everything down on Saturday. Please go to for more information and to sign up. Thanks!

Rodney B. Proffitt


Dear Editor:

Today, about 30 percent of young Americans age 25 to 34 who once left their family homes have moved back in, says a report released by the PEW Research Center, “The trend of young adults returning to their family homes has surged.”

What I’d like to know is how these young people, who’ve had to move back home due to deteriorating economic conditions, are going to vote this November.

Just picture the kids who were in college back in 2008, campaigning for the great Barack Obama. They got educated, got jobs, left home. Mr. Hope and Change was elected. Yet three years later they discover they have only one financial option: bunk with Mom and Dad again. So they’re moving back into their old rooms, with those stupid “hope” and “change” posters probably still on the walls. Was this the change they were hoping for?

Personally, I find this scenario, repeated in millions of homes across the fruited plain, incredibly grim. But it’s part of a larger picture of the destruction that has taken place in America under this Regime of Czars.

It’s not really difficult to see what Obama really believes. He believes that if folks work hard and become successful, they should be punished with higher taxes and the loss of all their deductions. That’s what happens to you in Obammy’s America. So you better always keep your limitations in sight.

This quote is profound. The POTUS is purposely destroying hope. Mr. Hope and Change is telling the American people and particularly the American middle class, “There is no reason to shoot high anymore. We know what it will take to satisfy you: very little.”

What a desolate picture of life in America he paints! What a gray, raw, overcast scene he presents. It’s all pretty offensive to me. We don’t have to turn our lives over to a slick con artist. Obama’s not going to save you; losers save no one. Obama’s life story is all a lie; when you do nothing you must compensate with lies.

What Obama and his czars hope to see die are the vast blessings of the American lifestyle, shared by millions upon millions — the fruits of freedom. The left despises big dreams; they hate the fact that regular Americans, through rugged individualism, have for generation after generation created wonderful lives for themselves and their families — outside the beneficence and control of government.

So, don’t let yer dreams git too big folks, or Obama will tax the ever-livin’ hell outta ya. He’s going to punish you for having visions outside of what your ambitions ought to be. If you end up acquiring too much, you are the enemy. You will be punished. He will tax that achievement right out of yer back pocket and right out of your bank account.

Obama’s ultimate objective is to dampen your ambitions, and limit your dreams; but it’s not gonna work. If it looks like a dope, and smells like a dope — must be!

Jim Sawicki


Dear Editor:

Re: editorial 6/12/12.

It is, as the editorial states, “interesting to note” how you respond to opinions or imagined opinions that do not agree with yours. Such is the case with the editorial of June 12, 2012. Once again, you cannot seem to give your opinion without attacking and talking down to those with differing thoughts.

The editorial states that, “Their comments are absurd, uneducated and lacking understanding of forest ecology and the benefits of fire to the forest.” Well, who made you an expert in forest ecology? Maybe you could share your resume in the area of fire and forest ecology. Surely it will reveal vast firefighting experience and impeccable educational background in the subject. Accusations of “fear, panic and extreme reaction” seem to be the tone of the editorial itself.

It states, “Their reaction to the fire is similar to those in political and social situations.” That is just another way of saying we should just sit back and let you lefties push your politics and social agenda down our throats. Well, that is not ever going to happen. It’s okay for you to write that the fire has been handled perfectly if that is what you believe, but don’t ridicule, attack and talk down to those who may not agree.

I know, that’s how liberal/progressives do business, but your intolerance will always fail. Those of us who love freedom and the right to have our differing opinions will never allow it to succeed. Not in editorial rhetoric, not in politics and not in social engineering. Editorials such as this one diminish the relevance of The Pagosa SUN and highlight the decline of the progressive agenda.

Johnny Stoeppleman


Dear Editor:

I’m writing regarding my concern about the Wal-Mart Wetlands project in Aspen Village, Phase 4 Reconfiguration.

I am requesting an independent Environmental Impact Report (EIR) to be made public, reviewed and discussed in pubic hearings, with public comment taken into serious consideration, prior to any action taken to approve of the Wal-Mart project by our Town Council.

I am also requesting there be public hearings held as to the impact of the proposed wetlands reconfiguration and open public comment based on the above requested EIR.

Without benefit of the EIR information, I’d like to voice my concern over the drainage and runoff from the parking lot and traffic that will be draining into Pinion Lake across from the site on Highway 160. This could have a very negative impact on the health of the adjacent wetlands.

I would like to know what the impact of the toxic elements in that runoff would be on the wildlife and plants that frequent and live in the lake environment and the wetlands.

The Town Council of Pagosa Springs seems to be turning a blind eye to any issues associated with the Wal-Mart development and I would like to see an independent, public EIR for the entire project addressing all of the issues and impacts, including a financial impact study, of a development of this size on our community.

Susan Ward


Dear Editor:

I sure hope you print this letter.

You see, we have this friend named “Bear” who walks in pain every day. We’re trying to raise some money so he can have hip surgery.

If you’ve been to any of our festivals, I’m sure you’ve seen him there. He’s the head of our security and has a big, gray fuzzy beard,

He walks with a bad limp these days because he’s in so much pain. We’re trying to raise lots of dollars so he can walk without a cane

C’mon Pagosa, please help us. We’re having a fund-raiser, “Bearfest,” at the Vista Clubhouse on Sunday, June 24, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. There will be a $10 cover charge with all proceeds going towards Bear’s new hips. We’re gonna have music, with Bluegrass Cadillac,Big ’Ns, JJ Davids Blues Band, String Theory, Shane Lane Gang, DJ Marcus and others. There will be food (killer homemade spaghetti dinner and homemade enchiladas), desserts, refreshments (lemonade, water, soft drinks), and beer provided by Breckenridge Brewery. Raffle tickets will be sold with the raffle to include a pair of patron tickets to the Four Corners Folk Festival in September.

I love Pagosa and I know that, together, we can raise this money for somebody who’s really hurtin’. And bring the kids, too; it’ll be so much fun! Be sure to ask for “Griffin” to dance for you. My husband, Brad, made a marionette; we named him Griffin and he is so darn cute — guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

Please come help us help our friend. It always feels good to give, because it’s the right thing to do.

Oh, shoot, I almost forgot: If you absolutely can’t come to our “gathering,” we have an account set up at The Bank of the San Juans (across from the Post Office) under the name “Bearfest.” You could help us there, too, even if it’s just pocket change. Anything will help.

We can do it, Pagosa.

Lori Werhan


Dear Editor:

Cancer is a disease that affects millions and can be devastating, but due to progress in medical technology, most forms of cancer can now successfully be treated. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about pancreatic cancer. For many, it is a death sentence. In fact, only six percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer survive five years.

This must change. And the good news is that it can. Congress is currently debating the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act. The legislation will require that the National Cancer Institute draw up a long-term comprehensive strategy to address pancreatic cancer with a focus on increasing the current survival rate.

The goal is achievable, but Congress must act. On June 26, citizens from around the country will unite and call on members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate to help bring an end to this deadly disease (visit for more info).I am proud to say that I will be among our group representing Pagosa Springs and southwest Colorado.

With your support we can give every person diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a fighting chance.Please join me in urging Sen. Mark Udall, Sen. Michael Bennett and Rep. Scott Tipton to pass the Pancreatic Cancer Research & Education Act, so that thousands more won’t pass away. I have been asked why I fight so hard for this and the reason is because I don’t want another family to see their loved one fade away right before their eyes like we did. My father, Joe S. Lobato, fought a long a difficult 16-month battle with pancreatic cancer, and it was one of the biggest challenges of our lives. We must make everyone aware of this dreadful disease. Please take a moment and help advocate for a much needed cause!Feel free to stop by my booth at Relay for Life on Friday, June 22, at Pagosa Springs High School or call me at 946-2288 for more information.

Inez Lobato-Winter

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