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Letters to the Editor

Flabbergasted

Dear Editor:

I am writing this letter in support for the CDC and Rich Lindblad. Rich was recommended to me by Mark Weiler, president of Parelli Natural Horsemanship, as an invaluable resource to grow and expand my business here in Pagosa Springs.

Mark was right! Rich has offered countless hours, giving me food for thought as well as active advice for the next vital step to expand my business as a Parelli Professional. Last winter I was approached by the Indian Health Services in Kayenta, Ariz., to provide a Parelli Level 1 Horsemanship program for challenged families and their children. Rich helped me to formulate a plan and proposal. In spring, I was awarded a $20,000 contract with Indian Health Services and I know that Rich Lindblad’s extensive knowledge and experience was the catalyst for my success.

As a former co-owner and founder of a successful computer startup business in Pueblo, Colo., I was a member of the Pueblo Economic Development Cooperation. Therefore, I understand that town and county support is vital and necessary to bring positive and progressive businesses to the area and help established companies to prosper and grow in a challenging economic climate. I have attended several CDC meetings and I am excited about all the hard work and enthusiasm that all board members are putting in to help Pagosa Springs grow and prosper with an emphasis on an environmentally sound and green future.

Since we live in an economically depressed area, I am flabbergasted that the town and county would even entertain the idea of cutting funds to Rich Lindblad and the CDC.

Petra Christensen

Snow White

Dear Editor:

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who would never say she was the fairest in the land; rather, she would ask you to be her friend. She loved the mountains and lived there with the animals she loved, too. She was named after the mountains her parents loved and after her grandmother, Jane: Sierra Jane; Mountain of God’s graciousness.

Pagosa, you are a catalyst for a miracle. Your prayers, your faith, your care, have proven what Sean always teaches in his class: Love is the most powerful force in the universe.

This is more than a thank you letter; this is an exceptional occasion of a town demonstrating community.

In our darkest hours when we thought we were going to lose Sierra, we felt your prayers, and we felt your arms around us. We are touched by you, Pagosa, and so humbled, because did you know how alone we felt? Even before this terrible event occurred, we were growing in hopelessness every day, believing a dark poisonous lie: we’re alone.

You proved us wrong. Now you are part of our story forever. The first night in the hospital, Dr. White and Dr. Snow worked together and concluded that Sierra had bubonic plague. The crisp metaphor of Snow White began. Without knowing the extent of its significance, some of you sent a beautiful Snow White prayer quilt along with this letter:

As you probably know, Snow White was a very beautiful young lady. She had a very sweet and giving heart. Animals loved her as did everyone who knew her … except the wicked stepmother. She thought that by killing Snow White, she could claim to be the most beautiful person in the land. She gave Snow White a poison apple, one that, like her, was beautiful on the outside but rotten on the inside. Snow White ate it and became very ill. Some thought she had died. But she had one very important weapon against evil. That weapon was love. In the end, love saved her.

You are like Snow White who has been saved from a very nasty disease by love. You have received God’s love in many, many ways. Your dad and sisters who rushed you to the hospital, your mom who has stayed by your side, the doctors and nurses who found the right drugs to give you to make you well, the hundreds of people who have been praying for you, the wonderful people who have sent you cards and gifts, the folks who have contributed money to help pay the doctors, the people who helped move your things into your new house, all of these acts of love are because we love you and your family so much.

Thousands of years ago King Solomon wrote, “… love is as strong as death” (Song of Songs 8:6). Because of you, because of your love, we know it’s true, and we are forever in your debt.

Sean, Darcy, Brianna, Tiarra and Sierra Jane Downing

Guide it

Dear Editor:

This letter is based on the book of Dr. Francisco J. Ayala, former Roman Catholic Priest, research biologist and winner of the 2010 Templeton Prize. (The Templeton Prize is awarded to, “a living person who has made exceptional contributions to affirming life’s spiritual dimension.”) In his book, “Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion,” Ayala describes the theory of evolution as helping explain how evil can exist with a good and omnipotent God. Ayala writes that there can be no conflict between science and religion as they are completely different things. Scientists deal with the physical world, theologians with the spiritual world. Of course, in American media, charlatans make fortunes by fueling the controversy with their messages of hate.

Ayala points out that ID, the Intelligent Design of the Creationists, is actually Imperfect Design and he devotes several chapters detailing such perceived errors. Evolution takes God off the hook for the Imperfect designs. For example, he cites the millions of miscarriages and babies born with birth defects each year as evidence of imperfect design through evolution rather than intelligent design through divine intervention.

Recently MIT bio-engineers swapped out the genes of the Ralstonia eutropha bacteria so that it can create isobutanol — an alcohol that can blend with or replace gasoline. My buddy, Jim Sawicki, will be pleased to learn that Canadian and Australian researchers created transgenic corn that can synthesize alpha-L-iduronidase useful for treating mucopolysaccharidosis, a disease that causes progressive damage to the brain. I hope it reaches Jim in time, or is it too late? How long before the bio-engineers swap out the genes of humans? Are they playing God or just improving on natural selection?

I doubt that many Christians have a problem reconciling their faith with modern science. Christian denominations such as the Presbyterians, the Lutherans and the Roman Catholics, as well as various Jewish organizations, have more or less indicated science is here to stay. St. Augustine believed that science and creation stories are irrelevant when it comes to matters of faith. To St. Augustine the important question is how one pleases God. No one, including modern cosmologists, is ever going to figure out how the universe came into being.

The two creation stories in Genesis, as well as those in Second Isaiah and in the gospel of John differ, but their meaning is clear, there is one God who created heaven and earth. There is nothing in science that contradicts this conclusion.

The proper role of 21st century Christians is not to fight with science, but to guide it. Modern Christians should preach that technology be used for the betterment of mankind, not its destruction.

Bob Dungan

Arboles

Left boot

Dear Editor:

Sal Pace needs to be vetted, and vetted thoroughly. Haven’t we learned yet that character does count? With his background of arrests and run-ins with the law, dating from March 12, 2004, Aug. 29, 2003, Aug. 15, 2003, April 20, 1996 and Oct. 5, 1995, I would vote for my left boot before I’d vote for Pace. Do your own research. Check out Denver Post and Colorado Peaks Politics sites.

Additionally, take a look at the comparative C.U.T. (Colorado Union of Taxpayers) Ratings between Sal Pace and Scott Tipton.(http://www.coloradotaxpayer.org/). It looks as though Pace never met a tax increase he didn’t like. Pace must be terrified of his miserable Colorado Union of Taxpayers score, in standing up for us Colorado taxpayers.

His C.U.T. Scores: 2009, 3.33 percent, 2010: 20 percent, 2011: 23.08 percent, and 2012, 16.67 percent, for a lifetime average score of 15.77 percent. He’s really looking out for us, isn’t he? Contrast Pace’s record with Scott Tipton’s C.U.T. Ratings, during his two years in the Colorado House, which were: 2009, 73.33 percent, and in 2010, 91.67 percent.

Let’s also take a look at Tipton’s record with the National Taxpayers Union while he’s been in the U.S. House: They rate Tipton at 75 percent. The FRCAction Family Research Council (FRC) also rates Tipton at 83 percent.

Go ahead: Vote for Sal Pace and hang on to your pocketbook.

Duane C. Branson

Swans

Dear Editor:

The swans on Pinon Lake are loved by both residents and visitors to Pagosa Springs. Their majestic beauty is something that all enjoy as they year after year introduce a brand new family to our area. This year the two adult swans that make Pinon Lake their permanent residence had four chicks. The swans use the small island on Pinon Lake as their safe haven for nesting and raising their chicks. The adults are very protective of the little ones as they grow each year, only letting them get a little exposure to humans if they have something to feed them. There are several condos surrounding Pinon Lake and often the visitors will feed the swans and let them actually come right up on their patios.

The adult swans seem to be very content with letting a variety of ducks join them on the lake; however, if you happen to be a Canadian Goose, you just are not welcome. Often, some very uninformed geese will land on the lake to get a snack or two and the swans run them off immediately. Geese are just not welcome at any time. Some have suspected it is because of the chicks; but, after careful observation one will realize that geese are not welcome at any time during the year.

This year, we had a very tragic situation. The four chicks were almost full grown by mid September when something attacked and killed two of the chicks. There are many large dogs that often are seen scampering around the edge of the lake and when this occurs, the swans will immediately move to the center of the Lake if they happen to be along the road or some other area that the dogs might be able to catch them. During the month of September this year, Pinon Lake was very low and some believe that a fox may have been the culprit that killed the two chicks. We will probably never really know; but, they are missed.

John Gosselink

Willis, Texas

Fresh air

Dear Editor:

Sal Pace, who is running for the District 3 seat in the US House of Representatives, supports a reasonable approach to our national problems. While serving in the Colorado House as minority leader, Sal worked across party lines to get things done.

Recently, during a Sept. 8 debate between District 3 candidates in Alamosa, when Sal was stating how necessary it was that there be more bipartisanship in government, Rep. Tipton replied that now is not the time to get along! Really? Does he not see how gridlock prevents taking action to help those who are in need? (See the entire debate at rmpbs.org.)

Sal, on the other hand, has spent his term in the state Legislature focusing on finding, “common ground, rather than vilifying the other party.” He actually believes that good ideas can come from either party, and that, with perseverance, areas of agreement can be found. “After all, an elected official should be fighting for their constituents ahead of their own party. If everyone had this focus in Washington, D.C., then I think Congress could be putting people back to work and rebuilding the middle class. This is an approach I will take when elected to Congress.” (paceforcolorado.com.)

On the surface, it seems like such an extraordinary statement to think first of one’s constituents, but it’s only extraordinary in the light of the current extremist opposition, where “no” is the only method of operation. In fact, though, Sal’s approach to problem solving is exactly what it should be: fair, measured, rational. In Washington, he will be a breath of fresh air.

Becky Herman

Misdirected

Dear Editor:

It appears that Ms. Herman is guilty of the same sin that she accuses Gov. Romney of committing — launching a premature and false attack.

The embassy’s statement that it, “condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions ... Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy,” was essentially an apology for the film they assumed might provoke demonstrations and riots.

Gov. Romney’s comment that the embassy’s statement had its priorities wrong, and later that the embassy’s statement was “disgraceful” and was “akin to an apology and ... a severe miscalculation,” was accurate and correct. The administration was apparently sufficiently embarrassed by the statement that it removed it from the embassy website.

As a result, the MSM front page for the next several days was focused on attacking Gov. Romney’s statement rather than reporting what occurred in Cairo and Benghazi or how the White House was responding. Except for Fox News everyone seemed to accept the administration’s statements about the cause of the demonstrations and violence.

On 16 Sept., five days after the attack on the consulate, UN Ambassador Susan Rice hit five Sunday news/commentary shows relentlessly asserting that the events in Benghazi were spontaneous demonstrations that spiraled out of control and were caused by the anti-Islam video on the Internet “ ... it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo,” Rice said on This Week. “In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated,” Rice said, referring to protests in Egypt Tuesday over a film that depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud.

This was at the same time Fox News was continuing to develop the story that there was no demonstration in Benghazi, that it was a pre-planned, coordinated, attack to coincide with the anniversary of 9/11. Finally, over a week after the events, the administration began shifting its explanations for the attack. NCC Director Matt Olsen testified before the Senate on 19th that it was a, “terrorist attack” and presidential spokesman Jay Carney said for the first time on the 20th that it was, “self evident” that the attack was an act of terrorism

However, as late as the 21st, in the face of this almost overwhelming evidence of a pre-planned, coordinated terrorist attack, President Obama still had difficulty abandoning the narrative he is so fond of — “there is an offensive video or cartoon directed at the Prophet Muhammad” and, “that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”

In light of what we know today the two questions I have are: Is the Obama Administration clueless, or did they deliberately mislead us for over a week in an effort to downplay terrorist activity? And, is our intelligence operation in North Africa incompetent, or did this administration just lie to us for over a week about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi? This appears to me to be more misdirected diplomacy than measured diplomacy.

Jim Huffman

School costs

Dear Editor:

Good teachers deserve to be well paid. All teachers should not get the same pay.

Taxpayers spend about $10,000 per year per student and yet American students rank 16th in the world in math and science, not a good return on our investment.

What is required to “educate” a snapshot of 30 students (total current cost of $300,000)? I would submit the following:

Teacher — $80,000 per year.

A room — $ 20,000 (amortized cost for 1,500 square-foot house).

Utilities — $6,000 (for nine months).

Books and supplies — $6,000.

Administration — $8,000 (one administrator at $80,000 for each 10 classrooms, $8,000 each).

Total direct cost — $120,000 per nine months (with first-class, highly paid teacher).

And yet we spend on average $300,000. Ask your school board where the remaining $180,000 goes.

This is why bond issues fail. The recent comment in The SUN that the roof cost of $700,000 (excessive by any comparison) was the reason for no teacher pay increase is pure demagoguery.

Gil Johnson

Editor’s note: Please see the related article in this week’s SUN.

Citizens United

Dear Editor:

People everywhere in America know it’s time to get Money Out of Politics! No more can normal people be elected to public office. Candidates must somehow be affiliated with big corporations in order to get elected. And yes, this means there is the potential for political candidates to be bought! Not a happy thought, but it’s true. That’s why we need to vote yes on Proposition 65.

When our Supreme Court voted on Citizens United vs. FEC (5-4) they opened the door for political mayhem. This decision alleged that “money is free speech” under the First Amendment of the Constitution. Corporations are people and money is free speech? That’s not what our founding fathers intended. Our founding fathers feared the potential power of corporations. Think of all the money being spent on the current political campaign. Imagine if all this money were instead to be spent on improving the infrastructure of our great country and lives of our people. What would this mean?

Did you know that the top .07 percent of donors is exerting more influence on the 2012 race than the bottom 85 percent? More money, more speech. Is that any way to run our country?

Susan Junta

Sidewalks

Dear Editor:

Post-sunrise hours every July 4, eager locals and out-of-towners plop camp chairs on the sidewalk in front of the house. Few are polite; most, in their pugilistic mien, stop short of pushing the duenna of the house out of their way in the inevitable and tiresome stance that the sidewalk is not hers.

It was curious, therefore, to read one of the responses in the Whaddya Think? section of the Sept. 20 Pagosa Springs SUN regarding a hypothetical tug-of-war over a mundane sidewalk between Alpha Drive and Wal-Mart. Before the cockamamie decision was made to let business enthusiasts loose on the 200 block of Pagosa Street, it was a culturally deficient but relatively placid neighborhood. Because the variegated concrete in front of each house was better suited to jolty tricycle rides, children were often seen bumptiously sporting a Band-Aid or six, and boy howdy, the scene was menacing but logistically ideal.

The property owners on what was nostalgically known as the 200 block of Main Street were made monetarily responsible for the existing sidewalk. If, July 4, 2013, the duenna needs help placing her Italian leather divans on the stretch of sidewalk she paid for, she can count on me.

Arlene Marcus

65

Dear Editor:

If you are a voter who is discouraged by the level of the current political discourse, I have some good news for you: there is a citizens initiative on the ballot this November that will give you an opportunity to send a message to your elected representatives that you want to see limits placed on the corrupting influence of money in politics.

Thanks to the signatures of thousands of Coloradans, Amendment 65 is one of three special ballot issues that are on the ballot. Amendment 65 is a non-binding, advisory amendment to the Colorado constitution and statutes that tells our Federal and State representatives that we want them to work toward restoring reasonable restrictions on campaign finances. As a result of the Supreme Court’s narrow, 5-4 decision in Citizens United vs the FEC, this can only be done through an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. By approving Amendment 65, the citizens of Colorado can join with the citizens of Montana and 28 other states in expressing their concerns about an interpretation of the constitution that overturned a century of efforts to ensure transparency and fairness in campaign finances. If you believe that money is speech and corporations are people, then you probably will not support Amendment 65. But if you believe, as I do, that the voices of ordinary people are being drowned out by the unlimited contributions of corporations and wealthy individuals to political campaigns and their related political action committees, then you will vote “Yes” on Amendment 65.

Johnny Pickett

47 percent

Dear Editor:

Well. Mitt Romney finally told the truth about himself. His shameful remarks to a group of uber-wealthy one percenters about the 47 percent betray the real Romney. As president, he would not need, “to worry about those people.” So who are these Americans that Romney mocks as, “victims” and “those people,” who are unwilling to take “personal responsibility” and “care for their lives.”

Millions are senior citizens who rely on meager Social Security pensions and Medicare just to stay alive. They dutifully paid payroll taxes all their working lives, but now somehow are freeloaders according to Romney’s perverted view. I guess they were not lucky enough to have inherited millions from a wealthy father.

Many of the 47 percent are active duty members of the military fighting for our country overseas, as Romney never did. I guess facing hostile fire on a battlefield doesn’t qualify as taking “personal responsibility!” And how about veterans struggling for survival on VA benefits. I guess they must see themselves as “victims” on the federal dole, rather than citizens who served their nation honorably and may have suffered enormously as a result.

Others are middle-class families raising children with a little help from the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit, a hand up Republicans once bragged about helping to enact.

Many of the 47 percent are students grasping to afford college tuition so they can “care for their lives,” no thanks to the Republicans.

Millions more have been unemployed since the Great Bush Recession, not because they’re freeloaders or can’t be bothered to get a job.

While the 47 percent may not pay federal income tax, they do pay many other federal taxes, most notably the payroll tax, to say nothing of state and local taxes. Ironically, someone who makes $1 billion a year pays no more payroll tax than someone who makes $106,800. Who is the freeloader there?

As David Brooks, a reliably conservative, yet thoughtful pundit recently said, Romney has divided the nation into the libertarian “makers” and “moochers.” He has lost any sense of the national social compact. In 1987, during Reagan’s second term, 62 percent of Republicans believed that the government has a duty to help those who can’t help themselves. Today, according to a Pew survey, less than 40 percent do. Ironically, many members of the 47 percent are part of the Republican base. They are senior citizens, veterans, white males with a high school degree. I am particularly baffled about seniors, of which I am one. Does anyone think that present and future seniors will be better off under the slash and burn Romney-Ryan budget, gutting Medicare and turning Social Security into a glorified mutual fund? Why people would vote for a man and a party that holds them in contempt, a man and a party that doesn’t need, “to worry about those people,” a man and a party that is clearly interested only in the 1 percent (or maybe only the 0.1 percent), is beyond my comprehension.

John Porco

Mt. Greedy

Dear Editor:

It’s no 14’er, not even a 9’er, just the hill. However, I’m suggesting that in order to keep our developer friends and the sharp tacks on the town council and TTC happy, we the people proudly rename it … Mt. Greedy.

Wake me when the better class of tourists arrives.

Clarence Riley

Fooled

Dear Editor:

This is my second letter to the editor this summer attempting to dispel misleading and false information from right-wing contributors. The initial letter detailed incorrect assertions regarding the funding of the new health care act submitted by Jim Sawicki, and now I feel compelled to respond to the inaccurate claims by Gary Stansbury regarding General Motors and President Obama. The ludicrous note from Duane Branson I felt needed no response.

Mr. Stansbury states that according to a Bloomberg Report, a publication which he portrays as a, “respected site for business and financial news” and “not known for its gullibility,” GM car sales were up 16 percent for the month of June, the best since 2008. The “article” goes on to state that this jump was due primarily to a 79-percent increase in GM fleet sales to the U.S. government during this time period. Quoting Bloomberg, he says, “Our tax dollars are being used to pump up GM sales figures ahead of next month’s quarterly report so that our Dear Leader can point to ‘Government Motors’ as a success.” He decries this maneuver in other ways and then labels the president as corrupt, finishing with a plea to not be fooled in November.

Unfortunately Mr. Stansbury is the one being fooled. According to factcheck.org, “a respectable site” for evaluating political claims and, “not known for its gullibility,” this was not a Bloomberg Report, but stems from an article by the National Legal and Policy Center, a right-leaning organization. Factcheck explains that while government fleet sales increased 79 percent, it was year over year, not for just the month of June and the term “government” includes state and local governments as well as the federal government. According to GM’s financial news manager, “government fleet sales account for only about 3 percent of GM’s U.S. sales and about three fourths of these are to state and local agencies” (thus the federal government accounts for only .75 percent), adding that state and local purchases are up 36 percent for the year while those by the federal government are down 3.5 percent. Hardly numbers that would bolster the president’s appeal. A similar finding is reported at www.snopes.com/politics/business/gmsales.asp.

The political right has made a plethora of false accusations against President Obama during these last four years. Many of these are detailed at http://factcheck.org/hot-topics. Other websites for evaluating all political claims can be found at snopes.com, politifact.com as well as factcheck.org.

With the election only a few weeks away and massive amounts of money being spent to influence public opinion (thanks to Citizens United), it will take a significant voter effort in order to make a rational decision on Nov. 6. Letters such as Stansbury’s are not helpful to this process.

Ronald Sandler

Appeasement

Dear Editor:

One of the letters to the editor in the 20 Sept. issue of the Pagosa SUN accused Mitt Romney of hastily condemning the president over the death of our ambassador and three officers assigned to Libya. The writer of the letter also stated “Republicans do not believe in measured diplomacy as a way to solve international problems.”

The fact is, the Obama Administration does not practice diplomacy, it practices appeasement. And because Obama is more sympathetic to and protective of the Muslim religion than Christianity, he is even unwilling to call what happened in Libya by what it clearly was, an attack on our diplomatic mission by radical Islamic terrorists. Rather than tell the truth, he and his lap dogs attempted to pin all the blame on an obscure video that criticized Mohammed. Then, after going through the motion of professing sadness and outrage that four Americans had been killed, he quickly resumed campaigning and fund-raising the very next morning, the only thing he has been good at during his entire term as president.

Was it proper for Romney to immediately criticize Obama’s handing of this attack on Americans? You bet, and unless and until the U.S. Government and its leaders get tough and stop apologizing for every little statement or occurrence which might somehow be found offensive to Muslims, especially those beyond our control, we will become a laughing-stock to both our allies and our enemies. Furthermore, it is absolutely outrageous that this administration, as well as previous administrations, I might add, sends billions of dollars in aid to a growing number of Muslim countries who turn around and berate and ridicule us, vote against us on issues of importance to us in the United Nations, and now, kill our officials who are sent abroad to represent us. Almost as equally unpalatable to me, and I hope to the majority of our citizenry, is our continued acquiescence in allowing an American-hater like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, the president of Iran, to enter the U.S. and freely castigate us (and Israel) in the U.N. just as he is scheduled to do again on 26 Sept. We and the Israelis ought to flush this little piece of foul excrement down a toilet, but instead we continue to issue him a visa just so someone can’t accuse the U.S. of being prejudiced or, even worse, judgemental of a Muslim, even if he is a terrorist. Now if the author of the letter I mentioned above thinks she can convince me I’m wrong about this, I’d like to hear from her. Please tell me how continued diplomacy and appeasement, Obama-style, is going win the hearts and minds of radical Islamic terrorists bent on destroying us and Israel — and ultimately every other “infidel” around the world?

Gary Stansbury

Lacking

Dear Editor:

So, we all pledge to our flag, stating that we are one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Hmmm, “under God.”

So, what does God expect of our leaders? I looked at the “Good Book,” the Bible that is, for answers and this is what I learned (II Chronicles, Chapter One, Verses 9-12).

King Solomon asked God: “... You have made me King over a people who are as numerous as the dust of the earth. Give me wisdom and knowledge that I may lead this people, for who is able to govern this great people of yours?”

God’s answer to Solomon: “Since this is your heart’s desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people … therefore, wisdom and knowledge will be given to you.”

And then, the missionary Paul said this in speaking to the Philippians (Chapter 2, verses 3-4): “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vane conceit, but in humility, consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also the interests of others.”

We Americans, both rich and poor, are filled with goodness, but we feel helpless when leaders lack the above. I will consider these things as I vote for members of Congress as well as president.

Patty Tillerson

Common sense

Dear Editor:

I recently wrote a letter to the editor criticizing J. Paul Brown for voting against a bill to protect the homeless youth of Colorado, a vote he defended by saying, “politicians keep expanding the government to buy votes.”

Protecting at-risk youth isn’t simply trying to “buy votes.”

Taking action to protect children is a worthy cause that everyone can rally around; the Colorado State House passed the bill 64-1 against Brown’s objections. However, Brown’s refusal to help children doesn’t end; he voted against Senate Bill 11-177, which extended the Teen Pregnancy and Dropout Program, a program to help teens avoid pregnancies and stay in school.

I am a senior in high school. At my age, there are plenty of distractions and a strong support system is everything. By voting against extending this program, Brown voted to remove what could be the only support for many at-risk teens. Keeping our population well-educated and well-supported is one of the main roles of government, and it is especially important in the current economic climate. Without a well-educated and well-trained populace, our country will not keep up with China or India.

Staying in school is imperative. Statistics from the government show that by simply getting a high school diploma, the average person increases their earning potential by up to one million dollars. However, for many kids, this cannot happen without a support system that helps them overcome challenges in life. Once again, J. Paul Brown’s radical ideology failed his constituency.

Mike McLachlan, Brown’s opponent, understands the need for children to stay in school. Both of his children graduated from Durango High School and have or will graduate from public Colorado universities. His wife, Barbara, has taught at Durango High School for 20 years, and was named the 2012 Teacher of the Year. Please join me in supporting Mike McLachlan and bringing common sense back to House District 59.

Ben Marvin-Vanderryn

Durango

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