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Workers of Durango unite

Dear Editors,

A friend of mine who works in roofing recently approached me in the supermarket. "Danial," he says, "my friends and I were sitting around the campfire the other night and we got the idea to start a union in Durango. You know, a labor union." He explained that laborers and skilled workers were being treated unfairly and there were no benefits or security for these people. They were living in campgrounds, for crying out loud. I quickly found out how the people who build these million dollar houses in Durango use local workers, pay them inadequately and then drop them, leaving them jobless. That's if they don't "outsource," bringing workers from out of state. If they get hurt, they are S.O.L. or discreetly compensated so they will keep their mouths closed and not seek workman's comp.

After hearing such grievances and a testimony of a hope for positive change, I attended this forum on a proposed labor union. The showing wasn't grand, but there was a certain, varied group of people, all with valid concerns and points of view. What precipitated at this meeting was a rallying point among these craftspeople.

A representative from the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America helped channel the energy into a common place, presumably a common solution. A lot of good things were said, and many options presented. Foremost, it was made clear that when people stand unified for their rights, it is harder for employers to trample them than if they go it alone.

I support the cause presented here, and I see the need for structure and reform. I think that this brotherhood, with the power of the common man, could see results; improvements in standards and wages. This group meets on Thursdays at 7 p.m. at Durango Joe's.

Danial B. Grinnan, Durango

Before it's too late

To the editors,

I am a longtime Durango resident. I have lived here long enough to remember the "old" Durango with Woolworth's and Parsons Drugstore. It was a lovely town then, before the three- and four-story buildings were built along Main Avenue and before the developers took over. It was and still is a wonderful place to live and raise a family. But things have changed. Today, it seems that every patch of green is being built on and that the way we were is no longer good enough. Even Buckley Park needs to be upscaled. I never thought I'd see this, but that's what's happening.

Some growth has been good. We have a recreation center, a fine-arts auditorium and excellent restaurants that many residents cannot afford to eat in. But nothing comes free. Now we need a new library because the current one cannot handle the increased population. While growth brings certain advantages, growth today is around us, everywhere we look. It is widespread and out of control. If we voters don't act, we will lose that special thing that makes Durango our home.

If the Responsible Growth Initiative loses, it will break my heart because Durango will lose too.

Geraldine Burns, Durango

Angry newspeople

Dear Editors,

What in the world did Ted Holteen mean in the Sept. 23 Society Page when he said of Amy Goodman's appearance at Smiley: "for an evening of anger with the angriest woman in journalism"?

Amy asks incisive questions in a clear, calm, conversational manner.She is tough about not allowing her interviews to be side-tracked by evasions. I have never heard her be less than polite and respectful. Want to talk about angry news people? What about the daily display of contempt and frothing anger that are staples of the FOX network and others such as Rush Limbaugh and that bunch?

The key to a healthy democracy is open airing of all opposing views, news, facts. America's corporate-owned media is trying to kill this.Amy Goodman, and her staff, are doing a heroic job of preserving a vestige of media independence something our country's health depends on. And they are doing it with dignity hear for yourself, weekdays at noon on KDUR or watch on Durango Community TV Ch.22 at 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.; Denver Community TV Ch.57 at 6 a.m. and noon; and Ch. 59 at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Sincerely, Peter Miesler,Durango

In reply:

Dear Peter,

I apologize if you misunderstood this as anything other than the highest compliment that I can pay a journalist. It is not her manner to which I referred, but rather her refusal to accept the canned messages of either governmental regimes or the media that report them, and her ceaseless questioning of both.I worked at KDUR for over six years, have met Amy on several occasions and am a longtime listener of "Democracy Now!" If my description sounded in any way demeaning or negative, the fault was mine. Thanks for your feedback and for taking the time to read in a critical manner.

Ted Holteen

Where's the rest of the story?

Dear Editors,

I am absolutely appalled at the recent suicide of Jason Clark, and equally appalled at the Durango Herald's coverage, or lack thereof. No real information was given about the boy or his family. No questions asked about why, a 17-year-old CHILD would feel such devastation, that the only way out would seem to be ending his life. What is going on in our society that this happens, and quite often, in all parts of the world? You can't blame it on school systems, a screwed up president or really anyone else.

I want to know what his interactions were like with his peers. What did his parents SHOW him, through their actions, to be in the world? Why did he see suicide as the only way out? Did he not have anyone to talk too? More importantly, was he ever taught (shown) that sharing emotions was OK? Were his parents and friends ever taught that? Were you?

We seem to live in an emotionless society, where feelings aren't tolerated. Men have to be tough and "manly," aka numb. Women are free to be "crazy" under the label of P.M.S. and a general stereotype. Women are allowed by society (us) the freedom to grow from life and feel, fully, every experience encountered. However the norm (still us) does not allow men that same gift.

Parents have forgotten what it's like to be a teen-ager. Not because of hormones, but because of the ways in which kids have been shown to treat kids. I would urge parents to know yourselves; you can only give what you have. You are growing a human, and showing them, by your example, how to BE in the world.

I feel such emotion for Jason Clark. It's a sad day when a local newspaper reports more on the beagle that found Jason Clark's dead body, than on what would cause a 17-year-old to commit suicide, for no apparent reason. Or so they report.

Where did the gun come from? Is this occurrence being stuffed under the belt of depression? If we're going to go that far, why don't we spend some time analyzing the trash or "food," as some call it, that we consume on a daily basis; starving our bodies of necessary nutrients, which then will cause chemical imbalances all throughout the body, including the brain. Why not go even deeper and explore our over-medicated world, thanks to the valiant medical corporation, er, I mean system. I know we've all heard the little voice at the end singing: "side effects may include internal bleeding, loss of intestinal control, severe hemorrhage and heart failure." Scary. But the scariest part is that we all buy into this crap.

So, in my seemingly pessimistic, slightly neurotic view, the point is this: Why are we afraid of emotions? Why 4 aren't we all screaming and crying in the street, mourning the death of Jason Clark, or anyone for that matter? When are we going to wake up and love ourselves, truly give ourselves? Love your world and its inhabitants.

S. Mavis

Crash the party

Dear Editors,

Ralph Nader and Peter Camejo are running as third party candidates in the USA presidential elections in 2004. In reality though, they are running as challengers to the ONE PARTY Republicrat/Demoblican duopoly that has embedded itself in the U.S. governmental suites of U.S. corporate America.

As Ralph Nader correctly states in his book, Crashing the Party, "both the Republican and Democratic parties are delivering our elections and our government to the highest bidders at the expense of our democratic processes." Nowhere is this more apparent than with the establishment of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), formed in 1988 by a private corporation headed by the co-chairs of the Republican and Democratic committees. Funded heavily by companies such as Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch, Ford Motor Co., and AT&T, the CPD was specifically put into place to exclude third party candidates and limit the parameters of the debate choice for president to the ONE PARTY duopoly.

As Ralph has correctly noted, "each time the cycle of power has favored more democracy, our country has prospered a rising tide lifting all boats. Each time the cycle of corporate plutocracy (rule by the rich) has lengthened, injustices and shortcomings proliferate."Truly, it is high time to stand up against the ONE PARTY corporate duopoly in America and assert the enormous leverage we, the American citizenry, have in "equaliberalizing" the Democratic-Republican governance equation, now desperately out of balance.Vote your conscience on Nov. 2, 2004, America. The choice between the "lesser of two evils" is the central stratagem used by the plutocratic duopoly to keep itself solely in power and unchallenged.

Its time to SMASH this bankrupt ideology once and for all this upcoming election and take our country back from the corporatists and robber barons who have illegally usurped our rights to govern our own country.

Steve Jones,Durango




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