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

Asking the hard questions

Dear Editors:

Thank you Council Person Renee Parsons:

- For asking the simple, honest questions that many other citizens are also asking.

-For raising the issue of waiting for the new Comp Plan before approving extensions of city services to areas currently outside of the city.

-For questioning the rush for approval for these projects with limited public input.

-For questioning a vague reference to a promise of city sewer to the Kroeger Ranch property made in the 1980s.

-For asking Greg Hoch, our city planner, why his staff recommended extension of city services to these 4 parcels and actually expecting him to answer the question.

-For questioning the incredibly inadequate method for evaluating one of our highest-paid and most influential city administrators, City Manager Bob Ledger. He may be doing a great job, but why not do a real evaluation of his work, as many of us in much less important jobs experience.

-For speaking up and asking common sense questions amidst an unnecessary hostile and contentious atmosphere.

I hope Council Person Parsons will continue to ask questions and expect answers.

– Sandy Burke, Durango

Fighting for our public lands

Dear Editors,

As a former Air Force officer and a member of the Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, I am concerned about the ongoing efforts by the Bush administration

to exploit and sell off our public lands. For example, over the past five years the BLM has shown a dogged determination to open nearly every last unprotected

public acre to oil and gas drilling, at the expense of wildlife and water protections and public recreation.

The Bush administration also recently detailed its proposal to sell more than 300,000 acres of national forests and other public lands. The proposal follows a failed GOP move last year to allow the sale of potentially millions of acres of public lands under the auspices of mining claims, which followed a plan by Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Calif., to sell off 15 National Parks.

U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo., has introduced a bill with a dozen original GOP co-sponsors that would require the federal government to quickly sell 15 percent of national forest lands and 15 percent of lands managed by Interior Department agencies. As Ansel Adams said, “It is horrifying that we have to fight our own government to save the environment.”

I grew up with woodlands, wildlands and public lands at my doorstep, and I can name a hundred places where I can no longer camp, hunt, hike, bike, canoe or climb because private landowners closed off access. That makes public lands increasingly important. It’s the ultimate property-rights issue. Let’s not let those currently running our government dismantle our public lands heritage and birthright.

– David Lien, via e-mail

Too much is never enough

Dear Editors, The Denver Post printed an important article by Mike Soraghan, (Feb. 5, 2006): “Wolf Creek development tangled with political ties.” It chronicles the influence peddling of “Red” McCombs and his associates in their effort to build a monstrous housing and commercial complex near Wolf Creek Pass (elevation 10,850 feet). I found it compelling enough to share some excerpts:

-“McCombs ... and his partner pushed to have Mark Rey, a longtime timber-industry lobbyist, appointed undersecretary of agriculture, overseeing the Forest Service.”4

- “In an interview, Honts (McCombs’ main spokesman and development partner) acknowledged the lobbying campaign. Honts said he and McCombs backed Rey because ‘We were advised by people who’dbeen working for Village at Wolf Creek that he’s a very good guy.’”

- “Documents obtained by The Denver Post show Rey has met repeatedly with key proponents of McCombs’ project, and his deputy, David Tenny, has kept tabs on it.”

- “After Rey’s appointment (as undersecretary of agriculture), Honts got access to him at key steps in the process of reviewing McCombs’ proposal, according to Rey’s calendars. The first of three meetings was Nov. 28, 2001...”

- “In February 2003, Rey again met with Honts to discuss access to the site of McCombs’ project. It was two weeks after McCombs had given $25,000 to the National Republican Party.”

- “Also, at the meeting was Honts’ lobbyist Steve Quarles, chief litigation counsel to the American Forest and Paper Association, where Rey was an executive in the early 1990s.”

- “McCombs has paid Quarles at least $40,000 a year and documents indicate that Quarles supplied the language for an important Forest Service letter that defined McCombs’ access to his property.”

- “Last June, Rey met once again on Wolf Creek, this time with McCombs himself. They had an hour-and-a -half ‘working lunch’ in the secretary of agriculture’s dining room.”

- “McCombs’ dealings with Rey and his deputy are one front of his fight to build his village. The Texan, a longtime contributor to political campaigns at the state and national level, also has tried to sway powerful members of Congress.”

- “McCombs is a longtime donor to Republicans and a friend of the family of President Bush. He’s given more than $475,000 to congressional campaigns since 1989, 91 percent of it to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.”

- “McCombs is a San Antonio car dealer who co-founded Clear Channel Communications, the nation’s largest radio company.” (Incidentally, Clear Channel is a driving force behind the corporate push to monopolize American media.)

- “McCombs proposes to build more than 2,100 housing units, enough for 10,500 people, plus hotels and 222,100 square feet of commercial space on a 288-acre parcel surrounded by the ski grounds.”

End of quotes.

It’s been said before: “Money don’t talk ... it screams!” I know I’m poor, thus pretty much impotent to effect current transactions regarding Wolf Creek Pass. Still, I am a thinking, feeling person, a part of God’s unfolding pageant and proud American, thus I can’t help but be affected by the sins being perpetrated around me. Therefore, I share these thoughts.

Why do such issues disinterest so many citizens? Can we not see what corporate – and our own – avarice is doing to our nation, not only its natural resources and beauty but its people? We set out to “tame” this country, now we’ve become so habituated to ever multiplying consumption that we refuse to notice its limits. “Too much is never enough” seems to have become our unspoken national mantra. Do you believe this can actually continue?

The above-mentioned Clear Channel connection highlights a great hypocrisy of the day. While their radio station monopoly broadcasts pretty yet hollow words of God, faith and the American way, its founders are going behind closed doors to strong arm our National Trust simply to increase their own already vast earthly wealth.

If anyone reading this happens to know “Red” McCombs, please ask him: “What is it about your religion that compels you to consume everything you desire? Why won’t you people leave some of the remaining gems of our American Commonwealth relatively unspoiled for our grandchildren and their grandchildren? Why not find it in your collective hearts to leave Wolf Creek Pass alone? Will greed or wisdom carry this struggle?”

– Sincerely, Peter Miesler, Durango

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January 25, 2024
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January 26, 2024
Paper chase

The Sneer is back – and no we’re not talking about Billy Idol’s comeback tour.

January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows