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

Do it for the children

Dear Editors,

As president of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, I go to work every day thinking about the lives of Colorado’s more than 1 million kids, including the kids in La Plata County. I’m also a mom and want the best for my two children. For both of these reasons, I have endorsed and am strongly supporting, along with the Colorado Children’s Campaign and the La Plata County It’s About Kids network, Referenda C&D.

For many, Colorado is a wonderful place to live. But many have faced tough times over the past few years. Those with a child in college or with a disability or mental illness have most likely felt the impact of tuition increases or the loss of a visiting nurse because of deep cuts in the state budget. Overcrowded classrooms and overwhelmed teachers don’t have the resources to meet the needs of their students.

On Nov. 1, Coloradans will have the opportunity to vote on Referenda C&D, measures that will have important implications on our state and our children. A “yes” vote will give our state the ability to make investments in proven programs that are vital to kids.

How will C&D help our kids?

Colorado kids are falling behind. We currently rank 44th in the nation for childhood immunization rates. Forty percent of our students do not complete high school. One out of seven kids has no health insurance. There are important challenges in La Plata County as well, with about 24 percent of children eligible for free or reduced lunch and almost 29 percent of children born to single mothers … both indicators of vulnerable children.

While the causes of these problems are certainly complex, we believe that the deep budget cuts we have made in kids programs have had a profound impact on our children’s well being. C & D will help us to restore

some of these cuts and to make real progress in our kids’ health and education.

Our mission at the Colorado Children’s Campaign is to provide hope and opportunity, not just for some children, but for all children in our state. A small

investment in the lives of children today can provide enormous returns to the health and well being of our state for years to come.

– Sincerely, Barbara O’Brien,

president, Colorado Children’s Campaign4

The future of local education

Dear Editors,

I would like to make a plea to Telegraph readers to cast votes for Chris Paulson, Jeff Schell and Melissa Yousef in next week’s election for the 9-R school board. Yes, you can vote for the school board, even if you don’t have children in school. And your vote might make a huge difference over the next four years. These three candidates (Schell, Paulson and Yousef) have demonstrated they have what it takes to represent us well on educational issues. They are savvy, committed, bright people willing and able to make the time to make a difference and most important, they believe in creating a democratic process for public input. But especially, it is Chris Paulson, the incumbent, that those of us tracking 9-R politics believe will be needed on the board in efforts to restore and develop trust!

Telegraph readers tend to be sophisticated citizens who care about issues of equity and social justice, but many busy concerned people in Durango are still pretty clueless about who the current 9-R school board members are, what they do, and why 9-R matters to people who don’t have kids in the school system. Well, all of it matters – because the way we come together to educate our children defines the sort of democracy we are going to be living with in the future.

Under the sponsorship of ACE, and in an effort to make the 9-R Board more open to the public, I began videotaping their meetings last year. As a result of sitting through entire meetings and then reviewing hours of videotape, I can document a clear pattern that emerged: citizens of all kinds repeatedly made the effort to bring serious concerns to the board but were turned away with admonitions that they were out of line, irrelevant or that board members find them repetitious.

Some of us have been advocating for two years for changes in the way we get to talk with school board members. There are profound issues to address together if the board would invite us in – what impact is No Child Left Behind having on teaching? Could the climate at DHS be improved? What are our real graduation/drop-out rates? What’s really caused the surprising decline in 9-R enrollment, etc.

Because of her past performance, Chris Paulson has built a constituency of trust across the community making her the logical bridge builder to restoring the trust that a recent 9-R consultant said is missing. Having demonstrated for four years that she listens respectfully to citizens and seeks opinions from diverse sectors of our community, Paulson has earned our respect.

Go find that envelope the county clerk sent you and mark it for Paulson, Schell and Yousef, and mail it or better yet, walk it in to the La Plata County Courthouse on Second Avenue! It must be received by Nov. 1 before the polls close at 7 p.m.

Your one vote could make a big difference.

To read more about school issues check our all volunteer website: http://durangoschooltalk.org/  or join a virtual forum on 9-R at


– Bliss Bruen,


Born-again supreme justice

Dear Editors,

The historic question of the moment is: What’s wrong with a “born-again” evangelical Christian sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States? To begin with: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America.” Anyone sitting in judgment of the laws of this United States with its pluralistic population must have that oath first, and foremost, at heart.

Evangelicals as a people are fine.¬†However, Evangelical tenets clearly proclaim the infallibility of their particular absolutist interpretation of the Biblical Story. Evangelicals proudly proclaim all who believe differently are tools of Satan and destined for eternal damnation. I have heard many preachers proudly hold the whole of humanity in contempt, a tool of Satan. What kind of foundation is this for a judge on the highest court of our land? Evangelical tenets are based on a two-dimensional caricature of life and history that tolerates no questioning. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence, such as in the Creationism vs. Evolution argument. I have listened to many Creationists challenging Evolutionary theory, their arguments are invariably hollow and contrived. They ignore or distort the mountains of documented evidence. Worst, they purposefully miss the point that God is in there. Just because the language of science keeps God outside its halls doesn’t negate an awareness of God. It’s as absurd as condemning science for being unable to mathematically prove love’s existence. The Evangelical wants you to believe God is something outside of our world and us when God is actually within and throughout – God is creation! Evolution is its awesome story: God’s creation made of countless layers, containing folds within folds of harmonic complexity, flowing down the cascade of time, resonating through and through with a harmony that sings of God.

Back to the responsibilities of the Supreme Court. In the face of mounting real world problems, the evangelical response is: “It’s ordained, read Revelations, the day of judgment is coming ... and none too soon.” It’s fine to believe that, if you want, but that being the case, please leave the Supreme Court for those who dare hope for the here and now future.

Most importantly, no one who believes they own all the correct answers is qualified for the United States Supreme Court. And all those who care, need to get off their duffs and do something to assert your objections before it’s too late.

– Sincerely, Peter Miesler,


Desperately needing Crossroads

Dear Editors,

During this last month of beginning classes, my staff and I have been very concerned with several students who have attempted suicide or have serious mental health conditions. Statistics at the Fort Lewis College Counseling Center reflect the nationwide trend of increasing numbers of students with very serious mental health problems. Working with these students with life-threatening psychiatric symptoms is made much more difficult when we do not have a regional inpatient facility to treat those who are in psychiatric crisis.

Lacking such a facility, the Southwest Colorado Mental Heath Center (SWCMHC) has been struggling to fill this void with its crisis team and Stepping Stone, the latter providing temporary respite and care for those in our community who are suicidal. I appreciate all that these mental health workers have done for our students and many others in our community; however, what any of us can do is severely limited by not having a psychiatric facility to treat those among us who have life-threatening mental health conditions.

I am writing in support of Crossroads, the planned new psychiatric urgent care facility that will be built on the Grandview campus of Mercy Medical Center. The facility will house a triage unit for psychiatric evaluation and placement, as well as a unit for psychiatric urgent care and a new detox unit. As a psychologist in our community, I am very eager for this facility to be completed since I know it will provide much-needed comprehensive care for our student clients with critical and often life-threatening mental health problems. I urge you to join me and many others in supporting Crossroads. Our community of Southwest Colorado desperately needs this facility.

For additional information or to make a contribution, please call Beth Utton at 259-2162, Ext 153.

– Susan McGinness, ED. D, psychologist,

director, Counseling Center,

Fort Lewis College  

Sew your pockets shut


I read the language of Referenda C and D to be the eventual elimination of TABOR. The politicians responsible for drafting these two measures were certainly laughing up their sleeves and must believe that the voters of Colorado cannot read. Obviously they think that the voters will not read the actual text of these documents. Perhaps that is why the title and text is not available until pages 25 through 29 of the 2005 Blue Book.

Referendum C may not be a tax increase, but it certainly takes money out of the taxpayers’ pockets. Passage of C will eliminate the refund of excess funds over the TABOR-mandated limit.

Taxpayers suffered the same money crunch during the recession as the state Legislature. We taxpayers had to learn to live with and adjust our spending to meet expenses during the money crunch. Why didn’t our legislators also adjust for the money crunch?

The sole purpose of TABOR, as I read it, is to force the politicians to live within their means, and that includes good times as well as the bad times. What guarantee do we have that the Legislature will use any of the funds gained by passage of C for each of the purposes stated? How will it allocate the funds? Will the allocation be equal to each of the four stated items, or will all the money go to one item, to the detriment of others?

D asks voters to guarantee payments of $3.225 billion, including interest. I doubt that many current voters will live to see the notes paid.

Why can’t our politicians be honest and ask the voters to eliminate TABOR entirely? This seems to me what they are trying to do by asking for a “Yes” vote on Referenda C and D.

Voters, please read the wording closely before casting your ballots. Sew your pockets shut and keep your hands on your wallets. All the pickpockets are not hiding in crowded bus stops and subway terminals.

– Paul V. Roberts,

via e-mail



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