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

Give back to the music

Dear Editors,

I'm writing to address the recent trend of Durangoans not supporting their local entertainment establishments. The griping about the expense of cover charges/ticket prices has no place in a potentially locally sustained market. Supporting local A&E business goes beyond simply paying the acts themselves, which is critical with the disappearing A&E programs from our society. I can assure you all that employees and owners of such establishments are struggling to make ends meet in an already inadequate economy, and dealing with penny-pinchers is not what they look forward to every time there's a cover/ticket price exceeding $3! The market for music in Durango seems to already be at a disadvantage for reasons unknown to me, and we can't rely on tourism or additional time, energy and/or money for advertisement to keep the boat afloat. Locals and visitors alike, show some support for the art forms that make many of us who we are, for everyone deserves music .

Matt Zabka, Durango

The real price of subdivisions

Dear Friends,

The pressure on Durango to approvemany new subdivisionsseems to be intense.Of course the developers want new subdivisions to be approved. But how about the people of Durango?Will you be better off with lots of new people?It is a simple fact that population growth never pays for itself.A careful study shows that the average new home in Oregon costs Oregon taxpayers about $25,000.

If you want higher taxes, then you should urge the City Council to approve new subdivisions. If you want crowded schools, approve new subdivisions: Crowded schools will make it necessary to have bond issues (higher taxes) to construct new schools. If you want more traffic congestion, then new people and more cars are what you should lobby for.The new cars will add to the air pollution. If you want more competition in your favorite hunting, hiking, fishing, camping and picnic areas then, by all means, vote for more subdivisions and more people.If you want higher prices for gasoline, electricityand natural gas, then you should work for larger populations.If you want to increase Durango's contribution to global warming, more subdivisions is the way to go.

It's that simple. One can fight to preserveDurango's present pleasant way of life, or one can pay the steadily increasing costs that are necessary to cause a steadydecline of the quality of life in Durango.

Best wishes.


Albert Allen Bartlett, Boulder

Beware bottle's hidden agenda

Dear Editors,

Lately I have noticed cute little fund-raising baby bottles around town meant to raise money for abstinence-only education. The sticker on the bottle says the money will go toward preventing teen pregnancy.While the sticker seems to innocently suggest you should drop a buck or two in the bottle if you don't like seeing pregnant teens, it fails to give any additional information on where the money is going or what abstinence-only education is. I think the business owners who have these bottles on their counters should do a little more research before offending numerous customers who are not fooled by these fund-raising bottles.

Under title V, the U.S. Federal Government issues $50 million a year to schools and groups that teach and support abstinence-only education. That's a large sum of money already supporting abstinence-only education and since the funding is federal, all of us are paying for it.

The problem I have with all of this is that abstinence-only education programsare fear-based and require that teens are taught that: 1) Abstinence is the expected standard; 2) Abstinence is the only way to avoid certain problems; 3) Sexual relations in marriage are the expected standard; and 4) Sex outside of marriage is harmful.

Teens who happen to fall outside of the expected standard are automatically left to feel isolated, terrified and uneducated about other options.What about rape victims?What about teens who can't "just say no?" What about gay students?

The program may look good on paper, but in reality, it is dangerous and harmful.To make matters worse, our federal government is already supporting abstinence-only education.Comprehensive sex education has been proven to lower pregnancy rates and has been effective for a long time by teaching birth control options.

Kelly Ryan, Durango

Say yes' to responsible growth

Dear Editors,

Passage of the Responsible Growth Initiative is essential to preserving what's left of Durango's Quality of Life. Without the initiative, the city's joint planning area map would annex large tracts of land and move urbanization rapidly forward. The annexations of these areas will provide the additional land to expand city limits and eventually take us to a projected population of 40,000. Copies of the map and confirmation of the 40,000 figure from the city's own documents may be found at www.animasvalley.org. Without the Responsible Growth Initiative, pressure for unbridled growth will be so strong, so totally irresistible that no amount of citizen protest can succeed against such odds.

It is incorrect to characterize the initiative as "no" growth. The initiative would empower city voters a voice on major land use and annexation decisions to approve or disapprove annexations.

What is Durango's optimal population? When is enough enough, and why haven't we citizens been consulted? Should the city be promoting this massive level of growth before analyzing the necessary infrastructure? In addition to increased traffic congestion, is our 20-year-old waste water treatment plant able to handle the increased population? Deciding whether Durango will grow at this level is a huge decision. We citizens have every right to ask questions and to expect answers. FOAV's requests to the City Council in late February and early March to conduct a community wide discussion on this topic fell on deaf ears. It is out of this frustration that the Responsible Growth Initiative was born.

As city councils have historically approved every single development unanimously (with the exception of RTR) and when a quorum of city councilors attend a private meeting with the homebuilders to strategize against the Responsible Growth Initiative, who then should decide our quality of life? The initiative would make local government more open, more accountable and more accessible and would bring public participation into decision making as we citizens also have a financial interest in growth.

City residents are being asked to accept urbanization because the county cannot or will not control its own sprawl. The very real prospect of urbanization in the city and sprawl in the county are not acceptable choices. It is the county's responsibility to adopt the necessary regulations to control its own sprawl. The City of Durango should not become the sacrifice zone for county sprawl.

The vested interests that oppose the initiative would have us believe they favor a sustainable Durango, but what does a sustainable Durango mean? Does it mean sustaining our current rate of growth at 3 percent doubling our population in 25 years? Sustainability suggests that we are better off today than we were yesterday, but our quality of life is steadily deteriorating with the approval of each new development. Sustainability is not based on material or economic gain; it seeks new approaches to community problems. It is about meeting the needs of our current citizens without exploiting the future. A sustainable Durango requires a more egalitarian approach than is being proposed by the City's urbanization plan. Uncontrolled growth motivated by an increased sales tax will not create a sustainable Durango. Urbanization is not synonymous with sustainability.

It may not be perfect, but we believe this initiative is a necessary first step toward achieving a truly sustainable Durango. We believe the Responsible Growth Initiative is fair and balanced and deserves public support. The future of our community is at stake. Our most important assets are is our quality of life and small town values. As citizens, we have every right to demand a meaningful voice in planning decisions that will forever alter our landscape, our lifestyles and our community.

Support the Responsible Growth Initiative. Vote yes' for Durango.

Renee Parsons,

President, Friends of the Animas Valley




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