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

The view from Mirador

Dear Editors,

“We understand the visual impact,” declared Daryl Crites, when interviewed about his new Mirador Townhouse development looming over downtown Durango. Then I guess he should understand the question: “Have you any conflicts of interest when serving on the City’s Open Space Board?”

Crites’ and Bob Wolff’s (of River Trails Ranch fame) development is full of ironies, not all of them exclusive to these developers. The ironies are issues the public should consider.

In 1997, the Durango Comprehensive Plan was released stating: “Durango residents see open space as a key factor in determining quality of life for themselves, their neighborhood and community in general.”

In March 2001, the Parks, Open Space and Trails Plan was published. Of open space values identified therein, the number one item is scenic vistas/visual open space, with the “premise that areas that are visible from multiple locations are more important to preserve.” It seems Crites, having five years to read the plan, knew well he was disingenuously applying for the board.

Replacing a wildlife biologist with Crites, Councilmen Doug Lyon and Tom Howley heartily endorsed this developer to serve on the board. It’s time for them to spearhead asking Crites to step down. They made a bad mistake.

Then maybe Council should consider something else the public has requested for about a decade: a ridge-top development ordinance.

“Viewshed” is part of the definition of open space. The public voted themselves a sales tax increase to help preserve open space, a significant and unusual act in itself. As it stands now, taxpayer dollars will be used going after preservation of open space, while council refuses to pass ordinances protecting from development the very thing we’re paying to protect.

Here’s another irony: Hasn’t the city been heavy into updating the Comprehensive Plan, with citizens giving hours of their time helping, again identify those values important to us? What comes up every time, besides open space? Affordable housing.

The “large green construction fence” aside, staring down at everyone from a promontory visible from multiple locations will be 2,000-3,000-square-foot, $700,000 townhouses.4

Instead of thinking of Mirador Townhouses as a tragedy, a thumb-on-the-nose project, with
developers’ fingers wriggling at all of us, let’s turn this lemon of a monolith into lemonade. It should become the example of viewshed destruction and projects without social conscience the city is never allowed to do to its citizens again.

– Nancy Jacques, Durango


A well-thought-out plan

Dear Editors,

I want a state representative who listens to my needs, then responds with a well-thought-out plan. I have listened to the three candidates running for the 59th District state representative and feel that the most open, intelligent, and down-to-earth candidate is Jeff Deitch. He is a leader with talent, vision and fresh ideas, with the energy and enthusiasm to implement them! He holds our rural way of life very close to his heart.

His plan for an effective, low-overhead health-care system for Coloradoans includes private providers, patient choice in practitioners; and preventative, prenatal and mental-health care.

Protecting our environment, water and energy sources are part of his reuse, recycle conservation plan, which includes responsible economic development. Local farmers could grow fuel crops to produce biofuels; tax credits given to homeowners and businesses that install solar energy panels. No new coal-fired power plants should be built; people are sick who breathe that pollution. Our water needs to be kept pure and available for our local use. Public transportation limits the use of personal vehicles and the production of air pollution.

Small class size, high standards, plus higher pay, better conditions for teachers will improve the learning of our children. The No Child Left Behind, with its testing, has literally left children behind! Let local schools determine their needs.

Quality programs and teaching children to adopt high standards is the best preventive step for drugs. Kids challenged in their learning and participating in quality activities will stay in school, stay focused on their goals and remain true to their own, high standards.

Respect and necessary assistance must be provided for the elderly and those with disabilities. Assessable public transportation, acceptable housing and health care are mandatory for their needs.

The No-Fault Automobile Insurance needs to be reinstated so that victims are not left with medical bills and the medical practitioners get paid quickly.

Caps must be put on credit card interest.

Jeff and his wife reside in Durango, where he serves the community as a trial attorney and adjunct college professor. He is my choice as the state representative in the 59th District. More information and questions? http://www.jeffdeitch.com

– Cherry Miloe, Bayfield


Standing up to corruption

Dear Editors,

I teach a class in leadership and ethics, and recently my guest speaker was a former lobbyist for Wal-Mart. A personal friend of mine, I jokingly introduced him as the son of Jack – Jack Abramoff. After an informative four hours of lecture and discussion, my students understood that the problem with our government is not lobbyists. The problem is campaign contributions. Our politicians are controlled by special interests, in part, because obscene levels of money are spent in political campaigns.

Joe Colgan is the only candidate running for the 59th congressional district that has accepted campaign-finance limits – voluntarily limiting spending to less than $65,000. Something is wrong when people have to raise more than $65,000 for a $30,000 job. We have seen what big money did to campaigns in 2004. The Swift Boat group, financed by a couple of right-wing multimillionaires, was very effective in smearing John Kerry’s combat record. We now know everything they said was false, but the damage was done.

Since February, advertisements for one of Joe’s opponents has included radio ads and mass, pre-recorded phone calls that conclude: “paid for by the Trailhead Group.” Ironically, one ad ends by telling us that the Trailhead Group candidate will fight for Southwest Colorado interests against Denver interests. Funny, that is not what the Trailhead ads say for candidates running in other parts of Colorado, particularly those candidates from the Front Range. I guess they think voters are just stupid.

The Trailhead Group is several multimillionaires who live in Denver that want to return control of the Colorado Legislature to the nuts from Colorado Springs. Joe Colgan and Jim Isgar won’t let that happen.

Joe campaigns the old-fashioned way, getting one vote at a time, personally, by walking and shaking hands with the voters, listening to real people with real issues, with worn shoe leather; thousands of miles on an old Jeep station wagon; a person with stamina and integrity. Joe Colgan is the best choice for the 59th.

– Jim Callard, via e-mail

In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

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