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The other side of vaccination

Dear Editors,

Pertussis season is here. As a result, I would advise anyone considering the DTP or DTaP vaccine as a means of preventing it to question whether or not it is safe and effective. Recent evidence shows that the pertussis vaccine offers little benefit and is a risk to the health of our children.

When administered, the vaccine does in fact increase antibodies to pertussis (Bordetella pertussis), yet immunity appears to be short lived and may even be nonexistent. This fact was documented in the well-respected medical journal Pediatrics , admitting that only a few incidences of pertussis can be prevented by immunization. Specifically, as shown by the Journal of the American Medical Association , immunity to pertussis declines by 50 percent between one month and one year after vaccination. Further, during a pertussis outbreak in Ohio, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that 82 percent of those who suffered from the disease had received regular doses of the vaccine.

Many health professionals advocate the use of the vaccine by asserting that the decline in pertussis over the last 100 years is attributed to the pertussis vaccination. This is false. Pertussis rates plummeted by 79 percent between 1900 and 1935. The pertussis vaccine was not introduced until 1940.

Because the pertussis vaccine provides little benefit, it does not make sense to expose children to the negative side effects associated with immunization. In a presentation to the Institute of Medicine, published in 1990, the public was informed that babies die at a rate seven times greater than normal within three days of receiving the shot. Often, these deaths are disguised as "SIDS." More side effects include asthma and other autoimmune disorders. Encephalitis, leading to permanent behavioral changes such as lack of focus and poor problem-solving skills can result from the pertussis vaccine as well.

Many are unaware of these facts simply because the IOM, CDC, AMA, WHO, UNICEF and the FDA are proving to be untrustworthy in the areas of immunization due to financial conflicts of interest. As a result, they have endangered the health of children by not reporting safe and effective nutritional supplements that have proven to give substantial protection from and treatment for pertussis.

Most notably, natural treatments would include, but are not limited to, zinc, vitamin C and beta carotene, as shown by Pediatrics and the University of Maryland Medical Center. Still though, it is important to note that like vaccines, nutritional supplements are no silver bullet. Considering the danger associated with the pertussis vaccination, it is both logical and scientifically sound to choose safe and effective natural remedies over vaccination.

Shane Ellison,

Durango 4

Crossing muddied waters

To the Editors and my fellow citizens:

When I was elected to the Durango City Council, I did not relinquish my right to free speech as a private citizen. Therefore, what follows is my personal opinion.

The Friends of the Animas Valley have certainly accomplished one thing muddying the waters. Conservation and preservation are what we really need to be discussing. We could be debating the merit of solutions, such as conservation easements, grants, transferable development rights, and potential sources of public funding. This is the conversation I had hoped we'd be having this fall. Instead I write urging you to oppose the Growth Initiative.

If a project doesn't develop in the city, there is nothing to preclude its development in the county. Imagine erecting a fence around the city's perimeter in the dark of night. The next morning there would be little traffic in Durango. However, there would be a lot of closed shops and businesses, absent students and employees and a loud honking sound coming from the other side of the fence. To think that slowing or stopping city growth will have a positive impact on the traffic in Durango is na i ve at best. The increased traffic on our city's streets has more to do with the growth in the county surrounding us than with the growth of Durango.

It was not one vote that denied the annexation of River Trails Ranch. It was three votes cast by council members acting as representatives of their constituency and in the best interest of the city. The process worked. There are not 800-plus homes being built on the former Kroeger Ranch property. This is more than we can say for the rest of the valley. Where's a Friend when you need one?

Roughly half of the states in the Union allow for citizen-initiated legislation. Colorado is one of those. There is at least one citizen initiative worthy of support on this fall's ballot. The so-called Responsible Growth Initiative is not one. On the ballot, vote against the ordinance, so that we can defeat the growth initiative. Next election, let's talk real solutions.

Virginia Castro,

private citizen, City Council member and

council liaison to the Open Space Advisory Board

Time to fix a faulty blueprint'

Dear Editors,

The unstated city policy of approving all annexations in conformance with the Comprehensive Plan will, with certainty, create serious traffic congestion problems that will frustrate residents and harm our tourist economy. The city manager calls the Comprehensive Plan the city's "blueprint for the future." Indeed it has been a blueprint, River Trails is the only annexation the city has denied in more than 15 years. A good blueprint however, must be based on sound engineering analysis. However, this "blueprint" relies on a 1984 traffic analysis that city staff acknowledges is totally out of sync with current conditions. The Comprehensive Plan rests on a foundation of sand.

This outdated 1984 traffic study cannot define the traffic implications of buildout of the Comprehensive Plan. Continuing to follow this "blueprint" will lead to:

n Unacceptable and unfixable congestion on North Main that will cause longer and longer periods of frustrating traffic delays;

n Unknown levels of congestion on minor arterials such as Third Ave.;

n In time, a need for massive and potentially unacceptable future improvements that may never be built such as double decking 160/550 from Farmington Hill to the Doubletree, and

n Who knows what level of congestion and potential fixes if any on Camino del Rio.

The time to address this blindness in the plan is now when options exist not when it is too late to make choices. The obvious solution is to conduct a new citywide traffic study and revise the Comprehensive Plan as necessary to address these traffic problems. City staff, however, defends the status quo and City Council has yet to take action in this direction.

The adequate public facilities requirement of the Responsible Growth Initiative (RGI) would give the city a very strong push to make these needed changes and take a harder look at the true traffic impacts of new development. Still, the city could take insufficient steps to address our real traffic planning and development approval problems. The RGI will empower voters to decide when enough traffic congestion is enough.

The city's track record on growth supports this RGI approach. Vote YES on Responsible Growth.

John Viner,


Make your own biodiesel

Dear Editors,

This is a comment regarding the article Amy Maestas wrote about french fries fueling a local Ford. Well, I just want to point out that you can make your own biodiesel and run it in any diesel engine without any conversions. That means no needing to switch back and forth between tanks and it also means you don't have to use any petroleum product at all. There is a kit you can buy to make biodiesel as well, and it's cheaper and you can use the same waste oil as before. It's just less hassle and even more environmentally cool. Then you don't have to hire a mechanic to install anything on your vehicle. Thanks for listening.

Reid Tulloch,

via e-mail

Vote down suburban sprawl

To the editors,

I've always been a fan of truth in advertising. Unfortunately, truth has been in short supply this election cycle. Lies and deception are the daily diet of the Bush Administration, but we had come to expect better in local politics until recently. In Durango, similar misrepresentations are now cloaking the so-called "Responsible Growth" initiative. Although proponents would have you believe otherwise, the direct result of this initiative will be chaotic sprawl, further loss of valuable ranch land, destruction of wildlife habitat, and irreparable harm to our community, quality of life, and environment. Contrary to the assertion that the initiative will ensure "Responsible Growth," it will have the exact opposite result: the promotion of destructive suburban sprawl.

Friends of the Animas Valley claims that implementing the initiative would be simple, but they have provided no guidance as to how the complex annexation approval process should occur. The vague and poorly-written legislation will be a boon to lawyers and a nightmare for the residents of Durango. While the lawyers line their pockets with our tax dollars, fighting out the meaning of the initiative in court, developers will simply refocus their sights away from the city, where the new rules do not apply.

FOAV also argues that the initiative will "empower" the citizens of Durango by ensuring development happens only where the community wants it to. Unfortunately, the initiative will neither serve the common interest nor guarantee public involvement in the planning process. In general, annexations are approved only when they are in conformance with the City's Comprehensive Plan, which is the guidepost for future development. The Comp Plan has been vetted publicly several times and has undergone intense scrutiny. The Comp Plan process is the appropriate place for public guidance regarding the future course of development in Durango. Disregarding decades of planning work in favor of a yearly referendum could actually curtail meaningful public input, making it easier for a few people to hijack the planning process for their own self-serving purposes.

FOAV has used shrewd techniques to obfuscate the true effect of their proposed policy and wrap their actions in the "environmentalist" blanket. They would have you think that the initiative is the pro-environment position, despite the fact that "real" environmentalists realize that over consumption of natural resources and loss of open space are our greatest environmental challenges. The way to manage growth in a responsible and environmentally sensitive manner is to focus it, to concentrate it logically, to require a mix of commercial and residential uses, to create walkable and transit-oriented neighborhoods, and to buffer these areas with open green spaces, parks and recreational areas. Instead of focusing new construction where it belongs, however, the initiative encourages far-flung subdivisions, which will be carved out of precious open space and ranch land.

The degree to which La Plata County has already suffered from sprawl is staggering. Contrary to FOAV assertions, growth hasbeen occurring predominantly in remote areas of the county over the past 30 years. Between 1970 and 2000, the City of Durango grew from 10,300 to 13,922. That's a growth rate of 1.15 percent annually. By contrast, the population of unincorporated parts of the county (which does not include Bayfield and Ignacio

) grew from 7,933 to 27,801 (figures from the La Plata County Comp Plan). That's a phenomenal 8.3 percent rate of growth!

These statistics dramatically illustrate the problem with regional population trends: Most of the development is occurring in remote areas of the county, where it eats up our valuable open spaces and ranch land. We need to channel growth toward the municipalities, toward services, schools, playgrounds, shopping, and work, and away from the countryside. We need to adopt programs that help conserve farmland, obtain conservation easements and stop the subdividing of ranches.

Many people are right to be disturbed about the pace of growth in La Plata County, but that is no reason to vote for this legislation. We can't afford to take out our frustration this way. The initiative will simply result in more destruction of open space and wildlife habitat and further erode our special quality of life. When you go to the polls, cast your vote for the environment, for the health of your community, and against this poorly-conceived initiative.

Dylan Norton,






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