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Fight sprawl and
To the editors,
I read with interest
Edmund Andersson's snob zoning letter in the Sept. 2 edition of the
Telegraph. Poison to our community are people who loudly beat their
breasts in public concerning affordable housing, and then gush all
over about how wonderful it was to get rid of that awful trailer
park south of town, to replace it with magazine-cover condos. Ahem,
Mr. Andersson, in case you didn't realize, trailer parks ARE
affordable housing. I wonder what Mr. Andersson's connection with
Parkside Terrace might be? It has become clear that the main
opposition to the proposed growth initiative is from those who
profit from construction. Durango is their cash cow, and Orwellian
speak is their game.
FOAV is a diverse group
of citizens that range from real estate brokers to engineers, from
housewives to construction workers. They realize that local wages
are already beginning to fall in order to compete with outside
workers pouring into this area for construction.
They also realize that
developments are simply stepping stones for people wishing to find
their dream spot and sprawl out into the county. It is all sprawl
and traffic congestion and higher taxes from here on out. Is it any
wonder that citizens feel concerned?
How much is too much?
I would like to respond
to Tina Pernosky and Ed Andersson'srecent Letters to the Editor
on the Responsible Growth Initiative.
First, Tina is not
exactly your average concerned citizen. She neglected to mention in
her letter that she is the State AEC Chair of the National
Association of Realtors. Ed also is a prominent Durango Realtor a
group that is very concerned the passage of the initiative will
affect its pocketbook.
As with most assertions
by the Citizens for Sustainable Growth and interested Realtors,
their claim "the proposed initiative is asking the city to stop
population growth" is totally unfounded. Six cities in Colorado and
30 cities in Oregon have citizen voting requirements on annexations
similar to the initiative, and the experience in every one of the
cities is the same the overwhelming majority of annexations get
approved by the voters.
The very few that have
been denied were clearly flawed and were turned down by the
citizens by large margins. Despite their obvious flaws, they still
were approved by city officials.
The evidence shows
clearly local government has a difficult time saying no to a
development that meets all 4
its regulations and is
clearly not right for the community.
Tina asserts that the
Comprehensive Plan allows us to see how each development decision
"affects the whole." Not true no traffic analysis has been made to
support the Comprehensive Plan. Thus we have no idea of the level
of traffic congestion that awaits if we continue to follow this
Worse, when Durango's
Comprehensive Plan gets hitched to an Intergovernmental Agreement
with the county later this fall, the city's expansion by annexation
will be facilitated in all four directions: north in the Animas
Valley up to the glider field; west on 160 to Lightner Creek; south
along La Posta Road as far as the Animas Airpark; east on 160,
through "big box alley" to Elmore's Corner and south on
Even without the new
intergovernmental agreement, Durango's single-family housing permit
issuance has increased at an annual rate of 17 percent over the
past five years. During the same period, Durango's issuance of
multi-family housing permits has increased at an annual rate of 40
How much is too
If I was a Realtor, I
certainly would support the wholesale expansion laid out in the
Comprehensive Plan and the Intergovernmental Agreement. It would
put a lot of money in my pocket as Durango's growth soars towards
its 40,000 limit.
But for the rest of us
who pay taxes, have to drive on the roads and who are concerned
with our quality of life, why is it good that Durango expand so
rapidly? How will our quality of life be affected as one large
development after another is approved?
Our city must grow, and
will grow, and the Planning Department and City Council are clearly
the ones best qualified to make sure that proposed annexation
developments meet all of the city's development
But they may not be the
best ones to decide if every large annexation is in the best
interests of Durango's existing citizens. The pressure of money,
power and momentum are hard to resist as evidenced by our city's
long history of unanimous approvals of development after
majority of annexation developments get approved by the voters and
it will be the same in Durango. But the city and developers will
know when they go through their decisions that the annexation
development has to be good for the voters, too, and that will
improve how Durango grows.
Peter Bartol, Durango
More on abstinence education
I would like to address
the misinformation printed in your Aug. 19, 2004, article regarding
our new abstinence education program:
1)We are the REALITY
Youth Abstinence Program, one of the programs under the umbrella of
the Durango Life Foundation, not "Family Life Center."
2) We were awarded
funding for abstinence education in January 2004 through a grant in
the amount of $64,890, but this grant is a matching funds
grant.For every $4 we are granted, we have to match with $3.
This means we have to raise $50,122 in matching funds.
3) The Durango Life
Foundation is a nonprofit organization. Our only source of income
is through private donations, so we have to collect donations to
match the grant (hence the baby bottles as well as other
4) We are not
"abstinence-only." We are abstinence and ... character building,
and relationship development, and dating wisely, and consequences
of sex outside of a faithful, monogamous relationship (not just
physical, but emotional, intellectual and social consequences), and
boundary setting, and marriage preparation.
5) We are not "based in
fear," but on fact: medically accurate and age-appropriate
facts. Our curriculum can be adapted for middle or high school
students as well as parent teaching.We customize for the needs
of the particular classroom, teacher or principal.
6) We have great trust
and respect for the youth of our community and know that if they
are taught the social, emotional and physical health gains to be
realized by abstaining, they will make wise choices.
7)93 percent of youth
surveyed by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, in
April 2000, said they "felt it was important for teens to be given
a strong message from society that they should abstain from sex
until they were at least out of high school." This is reflected
in the comments from the youth in your article.
8) Sexually transmitted
diseases are at epidemic proportions (over 15 million people every
year).Over 3 million of these are teens 15 to 19 years old, with
2/3 of the 15 million being people under 24 years old. Many of
these diseases are viral with no cure and no symptoms.These
diseases have been linked to infertility, pelvic inflammatory
disease (PID), cervical cancer and death.
9) A recent National
Institutes of Health (NIH) report summarizing condom effectiveness
of eight major STDs revealed "no clinical proof of effectiveness"
in six of those eight diseases (which include chlamydia, syphilis,
genital herpes and human papillomavirus-HPV). Some "risk
reduction" (not risk prevention) was found in the other
10) If the "safe sex"
message has been so effective for the past several decades, why is
there an epidemic of STDs and the numbers keep growing?Why are
dentists reporting oral STDs?
11) Does the "safe sex"
message teach youth (and adults for that matter) how to protect
one's heart and mind from the consequences of sexual activity
outside of the boundaries of marriage?
12)Why are we giving
our youth the mixed message "to abstain is best, but if you don't,
then use a condom?" Don't we teach our children how and why to
abstain from alcohol, drugs and tobacco? Can't we expect them to
have the same self-control when it comes to abstaining from sex?
Shouldn't we adults be giving them the same how and why to abstain
from sexual activity?
I invite anyone with any
questions to come by, talk to us, look at our curriculum and see
for yourself what a fun, positive program we have. Also, feel free
to call (247-5559) if you want any website information for the
medical information presented here.
Sincerely, Lori Thornbrue, RN
Director, REALITY Youth Abstinence
Vote for responsible growth
How will passage of the
Responsible Growth Initiative encourage affordable housing (AH) in
Durango? First, let's examine what we've been doing and where the
issue is now.
The consensus is that
there is not nearly enough affordable housing available, especially
for purchase. The Homebuilder's Association argues that AH should
be voluntary on the part of developers.The Durango City Council
has been unable to find the political will to enact inclusionary
zoning, i.e. zoning that would require developers provide a
reasonable percentage of their developments as AH.Currently, the
council only "encourages" developers to include AH.The price of
available land has skyrocketed because developers can sell small
condos at $275,000 and up hardly affordable. When the city annexes
a piece of land, its value jumps dramatically. In the meantime, a
spokesperson for Colorado Housing Inc., a mutual, self-help housing
agency, stated that somewhere around 35 percent of families in La
Plata County could probably qualify for their program.
When the Responsible
Growth Initiative passes, wise developers will know that savvy
Durango voters will demand they include substantial AH in order to
get projects approved for annexation. When affordable housing is a
part of the equation for all developers, the market for developable
land will shift to more affordable prices. Wise developers will be
able to purchase reasonably priced land and present good projects,
including AH. Voters can approve the annexation, and AH will
actually get built. Real Durango folks could actually afford to buy
the homes, and the working people of Durango would be
Forbes Magazine recently
invited all of the U.S. to move to Durango, saying it's one of the
last, good, affordable (to the Forbes Crowd) places. Let's stop
crowding ourselves into gridlock and pricing Durangoans out of the
market to accommodate all those folks. A wise counselor once told
me, "Keep doing what you've always done, and you'll keep getting
what you've always gotten." Let's stop doing what we've always done
it's not working. Let's provide affordable housing for Durangoans
first. Let's vote "Yes" on the Citizen's Responsible Growth
Friends of the Animas Valley
End loss of liberty
To the editors,
The Orwellian-speak of
the present campaign is suffocating. It is important to vote, as
this is our chance to continue to live in the land of liberty,
where citizens conduct their own affairs and efforts to keep our
overpopulated masses from overwhelming our nest.The other choice is
to go with the guys who influenced the denial of emergency
contraception for women, in spite of favorable testing and
unanimous approval by scientists. This administration began its
first week in office by denying funding for family planning (not
funding for abortions), worldwide.
This government sees
benefits for itself in encouraging submission of women and
encouraging overpopulation. This growth provides the president with
the cannon fodder he needs. It also gives his "have-mores" a large
desperate workforce, willing to work for near slave wages.Who says
that international authorities do not agree with the Bush
administration? Osama, the male institutions of Pakistan,
Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Rome, etc., etc., line up with the
Bush boys to require women to bend over so these men can protect
their values.While our hearts are struck with sorrow over the
caskets of our friends and loved ones returning home, the casket
the Bush administration wants most to hide is the one in which the
land of liberty is being carried away.