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Our letters section and your opportunity to weigh in and be heard. Send us your thoughts and profundities. You can contact us here.

Our botanist was on vacation
Dear Durango Telegraph,
Love the weekly. Good job you all. Makes me laugh every time, especially like the fashion, thumbs up/down and “Ask the Diver.” Hate to tell you though, but the flowers on the cover of this week’s issue are not black-eyed Susans. They are wild sunflowers.

- Jennifer Kleffner
Durango Nature Studies

Editor’s note: We are glad to know the flowers on last week’s cover were indeed wild sunflowers and not black-eyed Susans. We hate to endorse flower abuse in any form.

Playing games with constituency
Dear Editors:
Having learned that constituent calls to 70 Senate offices are running overwhelmingly against the passage of a war resolution, I decided to call our representatives in Washington and find out what the tally was.
Rep. Scott McInnis’ office was the only one that actually gave out the information on first try. They said the calls were running “heavily” against military action. When I asked how Mr. McInnis squares his support of a war resolution with his constituents’ obvious opposition to it, I was politely told that he “takes into account” those views. I guess this translates to “he has decided to discount them.”
Sen. Campbell’s office declined to give any information, saying it was against policy. I left a message indicating my opinion of that policy, and 45 minutes later his assistant called back to apologize. She said that calls were running about 70/30 against, but that the numbers were slowly shifting to 60/40. Apparently Mr. Campbell is undecided on his support of a war resolution but would “consider supporting the bill if the plans made sense.” There was no talk of “considering opposing the bill since his constituency is against it.”
Sen. Allard flatly refused to give me any indication which way calls were running, stating that information was “for the Senator’s private use.” Frankly, I can see no reason for such Nixonian withholding of public information other than it would force the congressman to admit that he is making decisions that run counter to his constituents’ desires. Since we apparently have no right to know, we’ll have to guess.
With war in Iraq comes the certainty of increased Arab hatred of Americans, thus swelling the terrorist ranks. At the very least, war will kill thousands, wreak environmental devastation and possibly destabilize the Mid-East for decades. In the worst case, it could ignite a nuclear struggle with the potential to start a third world war, killing millions and poisoning the planet.
Given the gravity of this, I think that we the people have a right to know why our congressmen are making the decisions they are making, particularly if they run counter to what they hear from their constituents. I realize that calls and faxes do not necessarily indicate majority opinion, but since our representatives have not arranged public meetings on the topic, I must assume they are satisfied with this system of feedback. Our congressmen have a direct responsibility to us that overrides loyalty to their president, party and any political games they are inclined to play. Give them a call and remind them of that.

- Shan Wells

Editor’s note: If you’d like to give the guys in D.C. a call, reach McInnis at (202) 225-4761; Campbell at (202) 224-5852; and Allard at (202) 224-5941.

Random thoughts and solutions
Dear Editors:
I think you’re doing a great job with the paper. Hopefully I can unload some thoughts here.

It seems to me a new Home Depot or Target could design one of their exterior walls to be the screen for a new drive-in movie theatre. A parking lot is going to be there anyway. It may not be all that nostalgic, but it’s better than losing our drive-in with nothing to replace it. Maybe the folks that have the Rocket could run it.

Imagine a minivan but maybe twice as long. There is a side door for every row of seats. It’s comfortable, but you can’t stand-up; there is little extra space because it has to be as light as possible. The engine could be a hybrid or electric with fuel-cell power. This thing has no driver and is computer controlled. It has roller coaster wheels and runs on tracks. The tracks can pass over roads and intersections. The turns are banked for a comfortable ride. The tracks connect Bayfield, Durango, the airport, Bodo Park, Fort Lewis College and Hermosa.

We can widen the roads for more than a million dollars a mile, put in more traffic lights and access roads, but traffic congestion will still get worse. It will continue to be difficult to cross the street and the roads will have to be resurfaced again and again.

Town Plaza should have an open hallway between stores that allows pedestrians to walk from Main Avenue to the storefronts. A simple pedestrian walkway could exist over the railroad tracks. Town Plaza stores would get more downtown foot traffic.
If you have ever walked by Rite Aid in Town Plaza during the winter, you can probably relate. The landlord from Albuquerque chains-off the sidewalk, forcing pedestrians to walk around the parked cars and in the traffic. (That is no way to treat a customer.) This is their lame solution to a freezing sidewalk that lives in the winter shade. A real solution would be to install hydronic heat into the concrete of the sidewalk and turn it on when it needs to be cleared.
All CDOT designers, city planners and council members should try crossing Camino Del Rio just about anywhere, but especially at Main and 14th Street. Bring your running shoes.

- William Holden





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