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

The real victims of immigration

Dear Editors,

I would like to respond to Will Sands’ article about immigration reform. To quote some of the people he interviews, “victims are getting victimized again and again.” From the tone of his article, I must assume they are talking about illegal aliens, so from the very nature of these words the only “victims” we should be talking about are the legal citizens of this country. They should come with me on one of my trips to the border and see the impact this invasion has on U.S. citizens firsthand. They also allude to “immigrants’ civil rights,” come on, do I really have to say it? Illegal immigrants don’t have civil rights guaranteed by the Constitution that U.S. citizens have! Mexico rightfully does not guarantee my family and I civil rights when we are there, which is quite frequently. They also say, “you have people, who through no fault of their own, are being punished.” I will agree, you can’t hold the children responsible for the actions of the parents, but you can hold the parents responsible for violating our laws and the sovereignty of our country. While this is a very complicated issue, I feel we can no longer just look the other way while our laws are openly broken without grave repercussions to this country. And lastly I wholeheartedly agree with the quote, “It is time for this issue to be heard,” but I have and will continue to be involved with “marches, rallies and mobilizations,” but from the other side.

– Respectfully, Steve Kirby, Olathe

Disingenuous at best

To the Editors,

Re: “Roger Cohen Fires Back,” Telegraph Feb. 22, 2007

Mr. Cohen’s statement that his lecture had at least started discussion on the premise that human-induced emissions of C02 are not a primary factor in global warming is disingenuous at best. I consider an essential element of discussion to be a conflicting of opinions, and I would love to encounter any supporter of Mr. Cohen’s ideas, for that purpose. I’m still looking for evidence that such a creature exists.

Mr. Cohen is rapidly becoming a martyr for Exxon – a voice crying out in the wilderness. One wonders if his expertise in physics and engineering was previously4 applied to the development of Exxon’s single-hulled oil tankers when prudent consideration dictated double-hulls. Just look at the bottom line.

As oil company zealot, any amount for ink and paper used trying to convince him of the globally evident truth will only be wasted. He is walking a lonely road, hoping to stumble across a truth that is not there. Meanwhile, truth is raining around him in buckets if he would only look up. “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason,” (Jerry Seinfeld).

Thankfully, despite Mr. Cohen’s “ignore-ant” point of view, there is no discussion. There is agreement – we’ve got serious energy problems and rapidly mounting climate problems, both due largely to human use of fossil fuels.

Maybe we could send up a mirror 800 miles across to reflect sunlight away from Earth. Or maybe we could save the mirror we already have – the ice caps and ice sheets. Whoops! Too Late.

– Sincerely, John Carter, Durango

At the vanguard of change

Dear Editors, 

I have worked with Michael Rendon on and off for almost six years: I was a board member of the Environmental Center (EC) when he was coordinator, and he was a board member at Oakhaven Permaculture Center. Michael works very well in a group. He is very creative, and he knows how to draw people out – both to get their ideas but also to get them to participate. During his 5½-year tenure as the coordinator of the EC at Fort Lewis College, he was a leader in getting the college to make sustainable choices that got the EC noticed nationally and saved the college money as well. In two of those years, the EC received awards in recognition of their accomplishments.

With Michael’s encouragement and leadership, an FLC student completed an inventory of energy use on campus and documented the potential savings that could be realized by switching out incandescent bulbs for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Michael then provided guidance to help the student sell the analysis to the school. The change-out resulted not only in major energy savings but also reduced the maintenance costs involved in replacing bulbs because the CFLs have 10 times the lifespan.

Michael helped to create the FLC President’s Advisory Council on Environmental Affairs and was on the council for his full tenure at FLC, serving as chair for his last two years. During his first year the council “greened” the 30-year master plan for the college and created an official environmental policy for the school.

Under Michael’s leadership, James Ranch beef was brought into the school cafeteria, along with fair-trade coffee and tea. The EC also organized a Sustainable Grazing Conference, which brought ranchers and environmentalists together around common goals and values.

Michael Rendon is a leader at the vanguard of change. He gets things done; gives credit to those who do the work; and supports growing Durango’s economy by building strong, locally owned businesses. He needs to be on the Durango City Council.

– Tom Riesing, Oakhaven Permaculture Center

An endorsement for Rendon

Dear Editors,

I strongly endorse Michael Rendon for City Council. Michael and I have worked together for years on various win-win initiatives throughout Durango. He ran the Fort Lewis College Environmental Center for five years and has an excellent understanding of how to make local policies work for us here in Southwest Colorado. Michael will do an excellent job in bringing people together to fashion realistic policies for open space, affordable housing, local businesses, energy efficiency and environmental protection.

– Jeffrey A. Berman, via e-mail

Roadless areas deserve better

Dear Editors,

I am writing to express the Colorado Backcountry Hunters and Anglers’(CBHA) opposition to the Owens’ Roadless Petition, which, although having many admirable points, we feel is flawed in several significant ways and consequently detrimental to Colorado’s wildlands and wildlife, and hence hunters and anglers.

Coloradans want our wild, roadless public lands to stay that way. This was demonstrated unequivocally by the outpouring of support for the 2001 Roadless Rule. During public comment on this rule, over 28,000 of us submitted comments to the U.S. Forest Service, and 26,000 of them, or 92 percent, requested the complete protection of all roadless areas in Colorado.

Despite broad public support and the importance of these areas for outdoor recreation, fishing, hunting and family outings, the Bush administration attempted to repeal the Roadless Rule and replace it with a state-by-state petition process. In response, as you know, the Colorado Legislature established the Roadless Areas Task Force in 2005. However, it should be noted that in 2004, over 60,000 Coloradans wrote to the Forest Service asking that the 2001 rule not be reversed and substituted with a state petition process.

With this in mind, we believe that the Owens’ Roadless Petition is not acceptable, in particular with regard to coal and ski lands losses and wording that seems designed to facilitate the expansion of commercial backcountry logging under the guise of disease and fire control. For example, the petition removes protections from some 82,000 acres for development of ski areas and coal mining, both of which can be sufficiently accommodated under the 2001 Roadless Rule provisions. Protection is also removed from approximately 300,000 acres of roadless areas because of inventory discrepancies.

Mark Konishi, deputy director of the Colorado Division of Wildlife, said the position of the DOW was that designated roadless areas should be maintained at the status quo. Specifically, DOW’s report said: “It is the consensus opinion based on science, local expertise and sound knowledge that all inventoried Roadless Areas in Colorado should be protected.”

In addition, when the final compilation of public comment was tallied by the Roadless Areas Task Force, an overwhelming 91 percent of Coloradans declared support for keeping our roadless areas free from injurious road construction and motorized access. One little girl sent a drawing of a truck driving over trees and wrote, “I don’t think the forest should be destroyed.” Neither do we.

There are 14.5 million acres of Forest Service land in Colorado. Wilderness areas account for 3.3 million of those acres, roadless areas 4.4 million, and the rest is open for mixed use, including off-road recreation and energy exploration. Without protection equivalent to, or greater than, the current 2001 Roadless Rule, deer and elk ultimately will be pushed farther back into dwindling sanctuaries and vital native trout habitat sullied by erosion, further degrading Colorado’s already tarnished wildlands heritage and image.

It’s time for hunters and anglers, climber and hikers, outdoorsmen and women and everyone who values what little remains of our wild public lands to take a stand. As one concerned hunter, Ian Reid, said: “For me, it’s not enough anymore to simply hunt and fish and consume natural resources; I must speak up for them.” So must we all.

– Sincerely, David A. Lien, via e-mail

The Walk Home

I remember as an adolescent,

Walking home from school

And seeing a little girl,

Burdened with books

Limping ahead.  

A disheveled, pudgy

Club-footed third grader

With “coke bottle” glasses,

Shivering in the drizzled slush.

A January day, as fate would have it,

And I, on one side of the city avenue, and

She, on the other.

It so happened that some teenage ruffians

On my side of the street

Decided to pummel her with

Icy snow balls as some

Heedless, sadistic game.

As she tried to run

She fell in the icy slush

Whimpering. She got up,

Tried to restore her dignity

By brushing her coat of snow,

To no avail.

I was afraid to help her

Knowing I would be the next victim

Of their cruel bombardment.

But then I saw her cry out

And rage built from within

And I ran toward her.

To this day, I can still remember

The fear in her eyes. She thought

I was one of the accomplices.

I lunged to shelter her,

She screamed and tore herself away.

I felt the swift crack of snow

Hitting the back of my head.

I felt the warmth of blood

I watched her stumble and run,

Run and stumble

Into the distance.

The next barrage would follow.

– Burt Baldwin


In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

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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