Give Daley and Diebold the boot

To the Editors,

County Clerk Linda Daley has lied to the voters of La Plata County. She lied during the League of Women Voters debate last Friday night when she said our electronic voting machines are not being “de-certified” on Nov. 8. She is hoping to make it through the Nov. 7 election before the citizens find out the truth on Nov. 8.

The expensive-to-buy and very-expensive-to-maintain, voting machines that Daley recently bought with tax dollars, will not be allowed in future elections. The judge in the recent Colorado court case has declared the machines not secure and blocked their use after Nov. 7. The State must create and prove to the court that these machines can properly secure our vote and protect the final vote from being altered. Diebold, the maker of our voter machines, has had years to do exactly this and has never been able to do so. Some election officials in other states have stopped payment on these machines, while others are filing lawsuits to get the taxpayers’ money back.

Not telling us the entire truth is also not acceptable for a public official in a position of trust. Linda Daley has never told us about the really serious problem with our voting machines in the last primary. An election judge used a key card to close down one of our Diebold machines. But the machine refused to shut down. An administrative program came up on the screen. At this point, the poll worker could have transferred votes from one candidate to another. Linda was in denial – it could not be happening. But it happened. This is a huge breach of voter security, but Linda never informed us.

Daley has also farmed-out our county voter registration information to a shadowy private company called LEDS. They have no accountability to “We the People” and their “False/Negative” results on their reports is one of the highest bad ratings at 25 percent of errors. They have had the contract since before the 2004 election, and this may explain why so many legitimate county voters were wrongly removed from the voting rolls.

The citizens of La Plata County pay Daley’s salary, yet she has greater loyalty to the voting machine vendor who has bilked the local taxpayers than she has for her voting citizens. She has made choices against our best interests. Vote her out of office on a paper ballot on Nov. 7.

– Luther Troen, Concerned Citizens of La Plata County

A look at influence peddling

Dear Editors,

I’ve heard Republican County Commissioner Sheryl Ayers try to distance herself from the sinking ship known as the Republican Party several times this campaign season by promoting herself as a “nonpartisan commissioner.” While that sort of rhetoric might be timely, it rings a little hollow when her campaign is financed by fellow Republican Commissioner Bob Lieb.   Not only has Bob Lieb used the influence of his position to protect his self interest by actively opposing the financing of the Fire District, it appears now that he is trying to purchase even more influence by donating over $6,000 to fellow Republican Commissioner Ayers.   Make a difference this November 7th by casting your vote for Joelle Riddle. Joelle is the people’s candidate and is the only one in the race that will represent those of us that are not as wealthy as Bob Lieb and can’t afford to purchase our own commissioner.

– David Burke, via e-mail

Show humanity on Election Day

Dear Editors,

Whether you approve or not of same-sex couples, the reality is that these couples exist in our communities. As such, they deserve the respect and protections that we can legally offer them. This is what Referendum I provides. These couples should have the right to visit each other in the hospital, make medical decisions for each other, inherit each other’s estates, share in the benefits of each other’s insurance, and have all of the other rights and protections that two consenting adults who have entered into a loving and committed relationship possess. We have all heard that they can obtain all of this by visiting lawyers and drawing up power of attorneys, wills, medical directives, etc., but is this truly fair to our neighbors and friends? In this day and age, when the divorce rate is well over 50 percent, we should do everything in our power to help strengthen these loving relationships. And if these couples decide to bring a child into their home and create a stable and nurturing environment for the child, is it not our responsibility to make sure these children are offered the protections of our society? Those on the other side of this debate say that offering domestic partnerships undermines marriage. To me it seems that it does the exact opposite. It demonstrates the love and commitment that two adults have made to each other – the commitment to share their lives together for the betterment of their families and communities. Proponents of domestic partnerships use the tag line, it is basic legal rights, for me it is more than this, it is the right thing to do for our neighbors, friends and community. I urge you to vote yes for Referendum I and show these couples and the rest of the nation, the true humanity of the voters of the State of Colorado.

– Greg Weiss, Bayfield

A sportsman for Ritter

Dear Editors,

As a quarter-century resident of the San Juan Mountains and a passionate elk hunter (this time of year, my wife calls me Elkheart), I believe it’s the duty of every thinking hunter and angler to help protect the places we increasingly depend on for quality hunting and fishing and democratic access – our National Forest and BLM lands. Don’t be fooled by NRA rhetoric, as NRA does not represent our true needs: What good are extravagant gun “rights” if our public wildlife habitat and hunting grounds continue to be mutilated and4 destroyed by gas and oil production, clear-cut logging and uncontrolled ATV abuse, all of which NRA overtly or covertly supports? As an expert angler and one who supports the public right to own sporting firearms, Bill Ritter understands and articulates that when it comes to assuring a happy and democratic future for hunting and fishing, the three most critical issues are habitat, habitat and habitat. While his opponent has consistently voted to open pristine public hunting and fishing lands to more and more devastating commercial development, Bill Ritter puts regular folks, not industry, first. Bill is a sportsman-conservationist and thus one of us. If elected, Ritter has promised to keep Colorado sportsmen’s and needs and views firmly in mind throughout his administration. No matter our previous party affiliations, if we want our children and grandchildren, tomorrow and tomorrow, to share the same democratic access to quality outdoor recreation that we are blessed with today, we will vote Bill Ritter for Governor.

– David Petersen, via e-mail

Fire issue needs translation

Dear Editors,

I think frequently about the late writer Ellen Melloy and how her serious writing about the Southwest was often peppered with wry humor and analogies that caught me off guard. At voting time her memory always makes me chuckle because she stated: “Voting is like picking your nose; it’s your nose, it’s your job.”

Remember that, but bring a tissue to the polls. And maybe a piece of paper on which you’ve jotted down, “There’s hope in regime change!” and notes to yourself about the daunting list of amendments, referendums, measures, initiatives. Whatever they’re called. Some seem to require an interpreter because, I suspect, they’re really written in French by a recently transplanted Senegalese scholar. But it’s worth the time to translate them into English.

If you’re a city resident, maybe you’ve found the fire district ballot issue confusing. Voting against it seems akin to drowning puppies, except when the issue is studied. Approval of the measure would exempt the Durango Fire and Rescue Authority (DFRA) from voter oversight and Tabor’s spending limits. The city already contributes $2 million annually to DFRA. If the measure loses, the city will continue this funding. If it passes, there will be no change in services, but all residents will experience a 6.3 mill levy increase to property taxes. How much sense does this make?

City Council adopted a nonbinding resolution to reduce the 6.3 to 4 mills by eliminating the current 2.5 mill property tax, an act obviously meant to bolster the ballot measure, but this 2.5 mill property tax is the only stable source of revenue the city has for general funds use. Sales taxes, also allocated to general funds, are vulnerable to economic downturns and unpredictable events. This really makes no fiscal sense!

People on fixed incomes will have added tax expense, for what?  If they’re renting residential or commercial property, the increase will inevitably be passed on by landlords.

In French or English, this measure needs a re-write!

– Nancy Jacques, Durango

Short-term memories

Dear Editors,

Remember in November:



Tom DeLay



No Child Left Behind

“Healthy Forests”


Tax breaks for wealthy

CIA torture

Assault on our private and public lands



Gas prices/profits

Largest deficit in history

Rep. Foley and cover-up

$4 billion per month for war

We must refuse to live with anger, fear, vengefulness and greed. Instead, I choose nonviolence, compassion, justice, understanding and love.

– Brian Abel, Pagosa Springs

Peace begins at home

Dear Editors,

I believe that government has a function to help provide services that we use collectively. This is one of the reasons that I will vote for all Democrats in this election. The Democrats have a slate of candidates that believe our tax dollars should be invested in human services, education, health care, preservation of environment and infrastructure. During this administration, war and industries that profit from it have been their budget priorities. Yes, most of the offices are state and local, but if we change local government, it will help send a message nationwide that we need real change.

President Bush has said that we are naïve if we are not seeing the War on Terror the way he sees it. I, however, prefer Roosevelt’s slogan when we faced a much larger war involving armies on a global scale. He said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Dick Cheney was much more naïve when he said, “We will be greeted as liberators by Iraq.”

I was in a hold so full of powder canisters I could not stand up when I closed the hatch on a destroyer during my first combat mission in Vietnam. Destroyer crews were known as “tin can sailors” because the 200-man crews were packed like sardines on a ship whose main cargo was high explosives and fuel oil. The ship was built in 1945 without armor plate so it could go fast in the open sea. After three years in and out of Vietnam, I had no illusions of a cordial greeting waiting for us when we steamed in Haiphong Harbor. Since it was a harbor, we could not use our speed advantage,4

and we were repeatedly hit from shore artillery. I remember the airbursts rained shrapnel down overhead that sounded like hail on a tin roof, and the bridge was directing damage control to the places hit to make patches and man the pumps and hoses.

We can have peace, and it starts at home. I will be voting early, and I urge others to vote.

– James Mooney, Durango

Don’t give Big Brother your vote

Dear Editors,

Amendment 41 is a constitutional amendment called “Standards of Conduct in Government”: Sounds good, right? Why then would the League of Women Voters of Colorado oppose it?

Though honorable in purpose and containing many good ideas, Amendment 41 is too broad and too detailed. Amendment 41 extends coverage to counties and municipalities, to public institutions of higher learning like Fort Lewis College, and includes government employees and independent contractors, and their families. Local governments currently have authority to handle ethics issues. Home rule counties or municipalities, such as Durango, would not be affected if they have already addressed the issues raised in this proposal or if they adopt requirements at least as stringent as Amendment 41. Since La Plata County is not a home rule county, it would fall under the jurisdiction of the proposed ethics commission.

The proposed ethics commission has too much power with essentially no oversight of the commission itself. The ballot language contains no requirements for qualification of the five members, other than party affiliation, for four of the members. The fifth must be a local government official or employee. With no requirement for geographic distribution, it is theoretically possible that a commission, all of whose members reside on the Front Range, could stand in judgment of one of our local county commissioners.

The ethics commission has the power to hear complaints, issue findings and assess penalties. Members of the commission have power to subpoena documents and witnesses. No appeals process has been specified. Our state constitution should be clear, concise and free from detail. While we support limiting gifts to legislators, especially from lobbyists, and we support the two-year waiting period before former legislators can become lobbyists, we believe such details should be covered in statute.

The initiative may have the unintended consequence of creating a “‘Big Brother is Watching You”’ atmosphere over relations between state and local government, something we abhor. We encourage governments at all levels to review their ethics standards and to codify appropriate standards in statute or ordinance.

Vote No on Amendment 41.

– Marilyn Brown, Board of Directors, League of Women Voters of La Plata County

All the things this district needs

Dear Editors,

I am a Democrat and a friend of Republican Ellen Roberts. I have known her for many years. I value our personal talks about raising families, spiritual paths,

health issues and the “where-do-I-fit-into-life” queries. I met Ellen shortly after her father died and watched her translate her concern for care of the dying into volunteer and advocacy work in Hospice that later became advocacy for better health-care delivery in general.

Our conversations included how to support the economy, education, immigration, poverty, the environment. Ellen wanted to make a meaningful impact. She partnered with Mark Larson who helped model how public servants can enhance the quality of life for citizens. While Mark helped Ellen, Ellen also helped Mark.

She’s been criticized on one hand for not being Mark Larson, and on the other for not being able to hold her own. Interesting. But do not be deceived by her wonderful composure. It comes from in-depth researching of topics; from a passion that motivates her to be ethical and true in her speech. She is a skilled lawyer, and an articulate, compassionate person who values a healthy exchange of ideas and collaborative efforts.

During this campaign, outside entities have mistakenly used negative campaign information about her opponent. Ellen has categorically denounced them. You cannot know Ellen Roberts and connect these ads to her. Look closer at the information her campaign distributes and address questions to her personally.

Since Ellen has not run for public office, some have questioned her preparedness. If you don’t think she has enough community experience talk with some of the people on the Mercy Board, Citizen’s Committee for a new Library, Hospice, Poverty Round Table, Rotary, Southwest Colorado Bar Association, Club 20, Presbyterian Church, First National Bank … etc., etc.

I am a Democrat and a friend of Republican Ellen Roberts. On Nov. 7, I will vote for Ritter-D, Isgar-D, and I will proudly vote for Roberts-R because she is all the things this district needs.

– Thank you, Julie Madden, Bayfield

Colgan has been swiftboated

Dear Editors,

The tactics of the Homebuilders through their PAC, Committee for the American Dream, have become all too familiar in this age of slash and burn Bush/Rove politics. I considered Ellen Roberts’ belated denunciation to be gracious until I learned that her husband is in the homebuilding business. A coincidence? Hmmm?

Joe Colgan is a kind, caring and sincere person who has considerably more experience than Ellen Roberts. His community service and involvement span decades. His priorities are Durango citizen priorities, not the narrow priorities of the developers. Joe sees the big picture. Joe understands the true American Dream.

Please reject the nastiness of his adversaries and vote for the more qualified and respectable candidate, Joe Colgan.

– John Cole, Durango

Keep La Plata Canyon pristine

Dear Editors,

Many hundreds from Durango, Aztec, Farmington, Bayfield, Mancos and Cortez have visited Oakhaven Permaculture Center. You have toured our greenhouse and gardens; attended our workshops, courses and Swadeshi Festivals. We now ask for YOUR support to prevent environmental harm from the Wildcat Mine in Mayday.

Our primary concern is the La Plata River. We stand with Dr. Vandana Shiva for Earth Democracy – everyone’s right to clean air and clean water. We stand for land stewardship – rather than ownership – thinking beyond our own generation to seven generations into the future.

By its nature, all water is connected. Any toxins flowing into the La Plata River first affect irrigators on the Dry Side, then flow through Farmington into the San Juan and Colorado rivers. A river is a living thing – it flows, seeps and leaches. It belongs to no “one” but to us all. The possibility of harm down river suggests that we apply the Precautionary Principle.

In a nutshell, it states that: “When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically. In this context the proponent of an activity, rather than the public, should bear the burden of proof … It must also involve an examination of the full range of alternatives, including no action.” 

We stand for keeping the canyon pristine. Generator noise, excessive traffic, road building and forest destruction are severely disruptive to us and wildlife. The strong winds in the canyon would carry mining dust over ours and others farms.

We call for a conscientious choice, a precautionary approach to minimize harm, and co-operation in restoring harmony both with the land and its living beings – human and wild. Earth Democracy – clean air and water for all.

We ask for your support at the “Neighborhood Compatibility” meeting at 6:30 p.m., Nov. 8, in the Florida Room at the Fairgrounds. Stand with us and be heard!!!

– Tom Riesing & Christie Berven, Oakhaven Permaculture Center, La Plata Canyon


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
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January 26, 2024
Paper chase

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January 11, 2024
High and dry

New state climate report projects continued warming, declining streamflows