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Let’s get the facts

Dear Editors,

Durango Telegraphplease give us the facts. TheDurango Herald’s recent Opinion pieces, Letters to the Editor, and Sunday’s article regarding Open Space leave me with far more questions than factual information. Sunday’s article’s premise was that Open Space requires compromise. We all know that. Overcoming the need to compromise ourselves out of any open space was why Durangoans passed the $136-million Open Space, Library and Safety Referendum tax increase in 2005 for, among other things, open space preservation.

City councilors please tell us your plan for fulfilling our open space expectations. Residents want to know where the millions of dollars are going that we expect to be budgeted and spent on open space. Durango’s 2008 budgeted amount for open space is a paltry $100,000 and is not currently budgeted to change for at least the next three years. With real estate prices continuing to skyrocket, one wonders if we Durangoans have been snookered. How much open space protection can be bought for a few hundred thousand dollars?

The current proposed City of Durango Budget 2007-2011, shows where some of our open space money might have gone. $1.3 million from the parks, open space and trails portion of the tax increase is slated to be used to pay for a pedestrian overpass (bridge) to attach the new sidewalk on one side of the widened Goeglein Gulch Road with the new sidewalk on the other side. While only budgeting $100,000 for open space preservation, our current city councilors voted in December to budget $1.3 million to complete the road-widening project by calling the pedestrian overpass a “trail.” (City Budget, p.160) What public process made this a public priority? If an overpass “trail” is needed in Durango for safety reasons, it is to cross Camino del Rio.

An investigative report that presents facts rather than opinions is needed to help us understand why our City Council is not working more effectively to fulfill the public’s tax-driven mandate to protect open space.

– Rose Chilcoat, via e-mail

Of gods and climate change

Dear Editors,

Roger Cohen’s heralded Jan. 25 “Global Warming” lecture deserves scrutiny because of his publicized complaints of being unfairly censured by the Fort Lewis4College Administration. After listening to Cohen’s lecture, I can well understand why he wasn’t invited into a serious classroom setting, and I applaud FLC for sticking to its academic standards.

Mr. Cohen’s lecture was a classic example of a rhetorical shell game and not the serious attempt at education he promised us. First, Cohen put us at ease by acknowledging the scientific basics regarding global warming. Then, he spent nearly a half hour trashing the media with its tendency for sensationalistic not-quite-correct claims. Then, by rhetorical slight of hand, Cohen pasted that condemnation onto the entire scientific community, especially the IPCC – never acknowledging that the press has been known to report things that the scientists hadn’t actually implied. Then, he showed half a dozen selected graphs, ignoring literally thousands of others, to make his point that the science behind this is nothing but a cynical money-making scheme for scientists. He neglected to give his graphs the full background airing they deserved. Nor did he ever describe the complexities of the science, the array of new sophisticated instrumentation going into service, or the scientific learning curve that’s admittedly happening in this field.

Mr. Cohen also resorted to some baffling logic. Case in point, using studies that indicate our sun’s output is warming up as an excuse to justify disregarding the record of ever-increasing society-produced greenhouse gases – the logic escapes me here. Shouldn’t that solar information double our concerns?

What I found most disturbing about Cohen’s lecture were his comments about Europe. I heard some implications that must be looked at directly. Cohen explained that Europeans are the most secular of nations and that they are diverting their lack of faith into a new global-warming religion out of sheer spiritual loneliness, or something like that. It happens that I lived in Germany and Switzerland for three years. By virtue of family, being fluent in German and working full-time most of that period, you can say I

was embedded in their society, so I speak with first hand knowledge. To begin with, Europeans aren’t anywhere near as godless as some maliciously imply. They do, however, believe religion has its place – and that place is not within modern science or government. Just like our American founding fathers believed.

What Europeans do have, in a way that no homegrown American can imagine, is a deep appreciation for “the plurality of humanity.” Among other things, they have a gut level understanding that basically we’re all schmucks with blind spots, greed and a tendency to put our personal wants and illusions above all others. They have digested that truth into an inner acceptance that no one side has all the facts, or answers, not even my own. They understand that a mentality that believes in “One Way Only” has always, will always, and can only lead to a path of destruction. Review the march of humanity; show us where it hasn’t been so.

There was another drift in Cohen’s remarks, along with the substance and style of his delivery, that compels me to add the following. The damage taking place in our atmosphere, oceans and land is verifiably real. And, those that want to believe this planet was created 6,000 years ago and that god’s just chomping at the bit to befall his creation with a destructive Armageddon really need to excuse themselves from the global climate discussion! What cause have they to be here? Their god is a trickster and no help in the current dilemma. I apologize for my bluntness, and I don’t mean to be unkind, but this Earth, and all in and on it, are the creation of a god of substance and consistency. And, it has taken billions of years, one day at a time, to get here. If you can’t believe that much, you’ll never understand, or appreciate, the complexities and interdependencies that are involved with our biosphere, its atmosphere and weather – let alone the society nested within it.

– Sincerely, Peter Miesler, Durango

­Bring our heroes home

Dear Editors,

Did we not learn anything from Vietnam?

How many more of our best & bravest must die before George W Bush wakes up? My heroes did their job way back in 2003! The mission was to get rid of Saddam. My heroes completed the mission on Dec. l3, 2003!!! That was the day my heroes captured Saddam. That was the day they completed their mission. That was the day George W. Bush should have ended this nightmare! That was the day our best and bravest should have started to come home to their friends (like me) and their loved ones. That should have been the end of the Iraq War (also known as Gulf War 2). Now Saddam is dead and buried. Problem is, so are 2,600 of our country’s best and bravest, and some of them were my friends, from Fort Riley/Junction City, Kansas. One of them was my very best friend, murdered by George W. Bush and his Republican lap dogs such as U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and U.S. Sen. Wayne Allard, R-Colo. While living in Junction City, Kansas, home of Fort Riley, and running three businesses, I closed my businesses so that me and my small group of workers could attend 56 memorial services at Fort Riley, including my best friends!

As long as this war continues and my heroes are in harm’s way, I will not vote for or support any Republican, for any office, from dog catcher to president of this great country.

What I have been doing and will continue to do as long as my heroes are deployed is to send cards and letters, as well as care packages, to show them my support and respect, something George W Bush & Co. do not deserve and will, until my dying days, never receive from me.

Bring our troops home to defend Americans in America! Then impeach Bush and Cheney!

– Philip Spotts, Durango