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

A whole lot of C-notes

Dear Editors,

I was reading an article the other day about U.S. military spending, and the number $400 billion came up. I thought WOW, that sounds like a lot of money, but I couldn’t really visualize just how much that was, so I got out my calculator. I started by visualizing a nice, crisp $100 bill because that’s the largest denomination bill I’ve ever actually held in my hand, and I have a pretty good idea what I can purchase with a C-note. I imagined a person sitting at a table counting out a $100 bill every second. In just one minute, the pile was up to $6,000 ... cool, enough to buy a fairly decent used car. After only an hour, woohoo, $360 grand, or enough to buy a two-bedroom fixer upper in Durango! I multiplied this by 24, and the total was an impressive $8,640,000, now we’re talking penthouse apartment in New York City, in just one day. How about a week? OK times seven, yikes: $60,480, 000 ... let’s see, NICE house in Durango, N.Y. penthouse, mansion on the water in Miami, a couple of Hummers, a Lear jet to go back and forth, AND enough left over for a small down payment on the politician of my choice! How about a year? At $100 a second, 24 hours a day, 365 days … Damn, it’s only $3.15 billion. At this rate, it will take 20 years to catch up with the Gates Foundation, and an astounding 127 years to come up with enough to invade a small country like Iraq, and  who knows how long to bring freedom and democracy to the rest of the world.

– Denny Finn, Arboles

Get informed on the issues

Dear Editors,

Election Day is Tues., Nov. 7. There are 14 referenda and initiatives on this year’s ballot. Confused about the issues and want to learn more? The League of Women Voters (LWV) of La Plata County, a nonpartisan organization thar promotes informed and active participation in government, has formed a speakers’ bureau to educate the public about the ballot issues. Speakers are specially trained to provide information about these topics and to answer questions. An informational forum to present ballot issue pros and cons will be held on Tues., Oct. 10 from 6: 30-8:30 p.m. in Durango City Council Chambers.

This forum will be broadcast live by radiostations4KDUR (FM 91.9 and 93.9) and KIUP (AM 930), and on City Span Channel 10, where it will be rebroadcast several times. LWV speakers are available to speak to groups and organizations, and a DVD of the Oct. 10 forum will be available for check out. To request the DVD or a speaker for your organization, please call me at 259-7263.

– Stephanie Huss, Durango

Irony on the airwaves

Dear Editors,

Did anyone else catch the irony of KSUT’s Grand Prize drawing during their recent fall fund-raiser? A 50-something-foot house boat towing a 19-foot power boat on Lake Powell for a week. Wow! Talk about acting locally and consuming globally. Didn’t our very own George W. Bush not too long ago ask us to conserve on our oil consumption? Yep, that’s what I’m saying, that houseboats and powerboats chew up the fuel. On average, a 50-plus footer with two engines will consume between six and eight gallons per hour, averaging a gallon per mile (not counting the generator for electric...).

Not sure what the power boat uses.

And if that’s not enough, then there’s the legacy of houseboats and powerboats and Lake Powell marinas. In 1993, two companies licensed by the National Park Service to operate marinas on Lake Powell were fined over a million dollars for dumping used lead batteries, and thousands of barbeque grills, propellers, anchors and steering cables into the lake. So in light of all this and our current national as well as international need to cut back on fuel consumption and pollution, why didn’t KSUT offer say a week’s sea kayak rental for four, or a week’s stay in a rental house at Lake Powell? I’d like to think that my support for my local radio station does not encourage or promote wasteful practices, or gifts.

– Tim Thomas, Durango

Vote for a quality public library

Dear Editors,

If you are a registered voter residing within the Durango city limits, your ballot for the November general election will include a referendum measure 2A. It will be near the end of numerous other referenda and initiative measures on this fall’s ballot. The so-called TABOR amendment to the Colorado constitution requires the city of Durango to obtain voter approval to sell bonds necessary to finance the construction of a new public library, thus the 2A measure. Please note: this measure is not a tax increase. Last year voters approved an increase in the local sales tax; revenues being generated by that sales tax will be used to repay the library bonds. We all want, need and deserve a quality public library. Voting for 2A is the means to achieve that. Remember, 2A is not a tax increase. Please vote for 2A on your November ballot.

– Ed Angus, member, Yes! For Durango Library Bonds Committee

Experience really does count

Dear Editors,

The idea that experience in the position of county commissioner is not important is, simply put, incredible. Statements like that (in letters to the editor) do validate the fact that a lot of people have no concept of the myriad responsibilities carried by this elected board. Example: How may elected positions in Colorado include legislative, (quasi-) judicial and administrative duties? Anyone who has held this office will truthfully tell you that a newly elected commissioner is not efficient, truly productive nor knowledgeable until towards the end of his or her second year … and they will also tell you that they really had no concept of the full responsibilities of the job when they were initially elected! It’s a very steep learning curve.

I was impressed when Sheryl Ayers ran for office the first time, and the fact that she regularly attended board meetings throughout her campaign to really learn what the job entailed. She has continually upgraded her education since, and has done a fine job. Her opponents in this race are probably nice people, I don’t recall them from my time in office as ever attending a meeting, and I’m unaware if they have ever served on any of the many boards or committees that help guide La Plata County. Maybe a good question to ask the next time you see one of them? How involved have they been?

Residents of the county benefit hugely from one of the lowest mill levies in the state, still under half of the statewide average. The needs of the county are also very large, and expenditures by the board in past years have been guided by the knowledge that our energy-fueled tax revenues are finite. Sheryl (with Bob Lieb) has maintained the vigilance necessary for our county budget expenditures and invested with an eye to the future. A $70 million budget deserves steady, experienced and concerned overview. Ask candidates about our budget and get some straight answers from them. It’s your money!

Experience doesn’t mean anything? Experience does count, and taxpayers do benefit greatly from that experience. I’m backing Sheryl Ayers.

– Fred Klatt III, Durango


Environment, Republicans do mix

Letter to the Editor,

I am concerned about the environment and the impact of global warming. I am also supporting Ellen Roberts for State Representative in District 59. So, I asked Ellen about her position and visited her website www.ellenroberts.com for additional information. She is a conservationist concerned about being a good steward of our natural resources. The movie “An Inconvenient Truth” has brought some questions to the campaign trail for Ellen’s response. You will be interested to know that Ellen focused on natural resource law at Cornell University and worked for the National Park Service for five seasons. She also has a brother who is a teacher in environmental studies at the University of Vermont, when Ellen asked her brother “Is the science solid in the movie?”  He said, “Not only is it solid, it’s stronger than it’s even presented.”

State government is just a small piece of the environmental pie; we all need to do our part in reusing, recycling and conserving our natural resources, and Ellen will do her part to help the environment as our state representative.

– Patti Zink, Durango

Vote for a big thinker

Dear Editors,

I would like to throw in my full support for Joe Colgan as our next state legislator. Like Mark Larson, he will represent all of Southwest Colorado’s citizens and not be beholden to any special-interest groups and will work well with both sides of the aisle.

He has strong leadership experience and can be trusted to mean what he says and do what he means. While an accountant and a college professor as well as former mayor of Durango, he has a pen ash for details. Colgan is also a big thinker and sees the larger picture. He has many good ideas and will be a leading voice in the House. His position on energy is an example of this because Colgan recognizes the vulnerability this country has in regards to energy, specifically oil. He will work tirelessly to help make Colorado a leader in alternative energy, for we have the wind, sun and land to do so. We also have a highly educated population with the smarts to evolve us beyond oil – plus a strong agricultural heritage.

State policy can do much to encourage not only individuals’ move away from oil, but to also encourage these new industries to set up shop here in Colorado.

Making Colorado an alternative-energy capital will be great for our economy; our environment and will reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Independent, Republican or Democrat, Joe Colgan will represent us all. Please join me in supporting him for House District 59 state legislator.

– Erich Bussian, Durango

Get to know Ellen Roberts

Dear Editors,

I am writing to ask for your help in electing Ellen Roberts to the Colorado State House of Representatives. It starts with getting to know her and most importantly ends with voting for her.

Many years ago, my first interaction with Ellen Roberts left me with a deep sense of respect. Since then I have been told of similar reactions from clients, business associates and those who have served with her on boards.

When I heard Ellen was running for the House, I was already convinced of her integrity and was anxious to hear about her views. I had the opportunity to do just that at a recent neighborhood gathering. We will all be well served by Ellen Roberts. She is versed in critical local issues and grounded in the realism of what it takes to get things done. As a committed and concerned citizen, Ellen got there by working with legislators on local issues. 

I encourage you to get to know her by going to a town meeting, reading about her or asking a friend. No matter what actions you take, I urge you to take the most important one; vote for Ellen Roberts. We will all be glad you did.

– Janalee Hogan, via e-mail