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In search of public land

Dear editors,

I am approaching this from the standpoint of a regular working man driving north from Durango with his family, taking the kids to the river to have a good time. But, I’m noticing a big problem – we can’t get to the river. It’s all PRIVATE PROPERTY - KEEP OUT. Nothing to do but keep driving, we finally get to the Trimble Lane bridge and the kids can jump out and actually get their feet wet. But, it’s no place to picnic; it’s just a parking lot and river put-in, a swath through the brush, existing only because of the generosity of Durango Construction, owners of that private land. OK, we continue our trek further north, private, private, private, keep driving. Eventually, getting to Baker’s Bridge. What a beautiful spot to spend a summer day with the kids, but no, PRIVATE PROPERTY - KEEP OUT. As we continued our search for a nonexisting welcoming picnic spot by the river, the kids break into a hilarious rendition of “This Land is Your Land, This Land is My Land.” They are thinking it’s a joke. “Hey Dad, so where is this land that’s supposed to be ours?” “OK, forget the river, I’ll show you some place that is your land. We’re going to Haviland Recreation Area – it’s been set aside forever and protected so that some day you’ll even be able to take your future children there, to play. That was the intent of the representatives who made the law, to set aside that piece of land, and by god that’s how it is.”

Yet, upon arriving at Haviland Recreation Area, we discover that Tamarron Properties Associates can’t keep from lusting after their neighbors’ land with absolute disregard for the greater public need. They are actually attempting a hostile takeover – using the bribe of two other parcels of decent land, though nothing near the value of the Haviland Recreation Area section. Besides, those are parcels that can and should be acquired, but through legitimate means, not by ransoming off a far superior parcel with a long history of being a wonderful refuge for the American public.

We constantly hear about bad government and a good, free marketplace, yet here we have another example of the utter contempt free market corporate leaders, blinded by their avarice, have toward the greater good. This organization is already set up for 82 luxury homes,

37 luxury cabins, 36 luxury townhomes, with 27 holes of golf. But, too much is never enough, thus they now feel a need for this hostile takeover attempt of our public recreation area. And for what? Another nine holes of golf and yet more luxury mansions? Can one get any more frivolous?

Now the important question is, are We the People, regular working folk, who have treasured that spot for so long, going to roll over and allow TPA to bulldoze its way through the National Forest Service bureaucracy and then the beautiful land and watershed area? Or, are we going to step up and say NO? The time is right now, without delay, the deadline for your comments is the first week in August.

Remember, money don’t talk, it screams. If, We the People want to stand up, we need a whole ton of people politely screaming back with their objections to this plunder. Please, long or short, doesn’t really matter, just let them know of your objections. Send your comments to the NFS, Attention: Cindy Hockelberg, P.O. Box 439, Bayfield, CO, 81122, FAX 970-884-2428 or e-mail: chockelberg@fs.fed.us.

For information check out www.savehaviland.org.

– Sincerely, Peter Miesler, Durango

Who’s in charge in Silverton?

(Editors’ note: By way of background, the Silverton Town Council agreed on June 25 to pay Bill Alsup more than  $105,000 as repayment for a construction loan for the Kendall Mountain ski lift.)

Dear Durango Telegraph and readers,

The Silverton ski lift dispute has finally been “settled,” with the Town Board paying Mr. Alsup $106,267.56 on Mon., July 2, 2007. In an ad on page 5 of the July 6 Silverton Standard and the Miner, Mr. Alsup invites those who did not support him in this dispute to “please observe the mistletoe attached to my shirttail.”

The issue hasn’t really been settled, because the underlying question remains unanswered. Mr. Alsup, the Public Works Department and the Volunteer Fire Department originally installed the ski lift without formal authorization from the elected officials who are supposed to be running the town. This is technically an illegal act. Worse, it is government without the consent of the governed. The issue was resolved the same way all disputes in Silverton are resolved, “Who can sustain the loudest and most convincing temper tantrum?” The Town Board paid off Bill Alsup not because it was right, but to shut him up and to avoid an expensive lawsuit.

Throughout the negotiations, Mr. Alsup repeatedly threatened the Town Board members with a recall, his own hurt feelings, insults, a lawsuit and removing the equipment from town property. Now that he’s got his way, we can all kiss rear end.

The unanswered question for me is, “Who is really running this town?” Is it our elected officials, Bill Alsup, Public Works employees or the Volunteer Fire Department?

– Earle Horton, Silverton