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

A growing list of disasters

Dear Eds,

The list of disasters that’s resulted directly from the current Bush Administration is vast and still growing. If only we had had some foresight and seen the signs earlier, maybe the current mortgage crisis could have been prevented? Ehh, sounds like Monday morning quarterbacking. What if back in 2005, faced with troubling signs in the housing market bank, we had some words of wisdom from experts in this area. Would we listen? What if …

- Regulators told bankers exotic mortgages were often inappropriate for buyers with bad credit.

- Banks would have been required to increase efforts to verify that buyers actually had jobs and could afford houses.

- Regulators proposed a cap on risky mortgages so a string of defaults wouldn’t be crippling.

- Banks that bundled and sold mortgages were told to be sure investors knew exactly what they were buying.

- Regulators urged banks to help buyers make responsible decisions and clearly advise them that interest rates might skyrocket and huge payments might be due sooner than expected.

- Federal regulators were especially concerned about mortgages known as “option ARMs,” which allow borrowers to make payments so low that mortgage debt actually increases every month. Brilliant.

 Well, that’s exactly what did happen. Bowing to aggressive lobbying along with assurances from banks that the troubled mortgages were OK, regulators delayed action for nearly one year. “These mortgages have been considered more safe and sound for portfolio lenders than many fixed-rate mortgages,” David Schneider, of Washington Mutual, told federal regulators in early 2006. Two years later, WaMu became the largest bank failure in U.S. history. David still gets a huge bonus.

“An open market will mean that different institutions will develop different methodologies for achieving this goal,” Joseph Polizzotto, counsel to now-bankrupt Lehman Brothers, told U.S. regulators in March 2006.

Many of the banks that fought to undermine the proposals are now either out of business or accepting billions in federal aid to recover from a mortgage crisis

they insisted would never come. This larceny will cost taxpayers trillions. But this is not Bush’s last disaster. It’s his most recent. What’s Bush up to now?

– Thanks, Bill Vana, Durango

A Hero of Sustainability

Dear Editors,

Most of us know that the Durango area has a lot of terrific citizens who might be mistaken for ordinary people. One of them is Katrina Blair, who founded and operates Turtle Lake Refuge. In October, this remarkable young woman received the statewide Hero of Sustainability Award in the nonprofit category from the Alliance for Sustainable Colorado (www.sustainablecolorado.org).

This accomplishment is not surprising given Katrina’s level of achievement in her chosen field: the intersection between personal health and wild lands. Among the many activities that occur at Turtle Lake Refuge are supplying locally grown, organic greens to all Durango public schools through the Farm to School Program; running a bicycle-operated blender and juicer at the Durango Farmers Market; and operating the Turtle Lake Organic Farm School, which teaches students about an enlightened method of gardening called Permaculture, as well as about wild foods and sustainable agriculture.

Katrina also teaches a course on sustainable development at San Juan College in Farmington and at Fort Lewis College in Durango.

In a dawning era that will find successful communities returning to the production of more and more of their own food, Katrina Blair is a walking library of information and experience who helps put our region ahead of the curve.

The Sustainability Alliance of Southwest Colorado congratulates Katrina Blair on receiving this prestigious award and celebrates her ongoing efforts in our community.

– Rebecca Koeppen, Ignacio

A bittersweet election

Dear Editors,

The election results are bittersweet: while I am excited about our country’s new leadership, I am disheartened that Amendment 51 did not pass, even with the bipartisan support it generated. Over 10,000 Coloradoans with developmental disabilities will be waiting years for basic services, and the waitlist continues to grow. My brother, Marty, is 46 years old and developmentally disabled. This is his story …

Marty was born with congenital heart disease. At the age of 1, he underwent open-heart surgery to close two holes in his heart. He received too much oxygen during surgery, and his brain was permanently damaged. Marty is partially paralyzed on his right side and is prone to respiratory illnesses and lockjaw. He takes three different medications three times per day to control his grand mal seizures. At times, these seizures have rendered him comatose. He has developed osteoporosis and cannot be removed from the medication that caused it.

While Marty needs daily personal care to ensure that his medications are taken, his diet is followed, he gets enough sleep and he dresses appropriately, he also needs: speech therapy because he is difficult to understand; employment services so that he can be supervised while doing meaningful work; recreational and therapeutic programs in which he can participate; and transportation that takes him directly to and from where he needs to go. As Marty ages, he will need more supported living services due to his seizure activity and his osteoporosis.

Individuals with developmental disabilities are living longer, and many of them are living with caregivers over the age of 60. Funding and support for individuals with developmental disabilities need to happen now. As Charlie Lakin stated in 1998 when he wrote, “On the Outside Looking In,” an article on the developmentally disabled and waiting lists, “Nothing seems more futile than waiting without a sign that people remember you are there.”

My sincerest thanks to all of you who voted “yes” on Amendment 51.

– Marsha Unruh, Marty’s “big sis” and legal guardian, via e-mail

Join the resistance

Dear Editors,

’Tis the season to be jolly. (Unless you live in Iraq).

’Tis the season for compulsive and excessive greed. (If you live in the USA).

By now you should know that the new president is not going to get us out of Iraq if you are one of the few people paying attention. Americans should be outraged at having been tricked (again), but not a peep from anyone. Those self-centered holiday plans are such a distraction, aren’t they? It doesn’t matter that crimes against humanity are still being committed in our name, can’t miss all the savings at Wal-Mart right now.

If you are feeling betrayed by Obama, don’t feel bad. He wasn’t supposed to change anything except the face. Someone was needed to make the war look more positive after the mess Bush made. The War in Iraq is supposed to be long and protracted, just like the Vietnam War. Bush was making everyone hate the war, and now it is Obama’s job to make us like it or at least accept it. There are many comparisons between the two wars as any history major can tell you. What isn’t known is why we are in Iraq.

America is in Iraq for the same reason our manipulated economy collapsed. This is part of the plan of the New World Order that Bush senior finally admitted exists. The so called “terrorists” in Iraq and Afghanistan are patriots trying to protect their country, which is what we should be doing instead of shopping on credit. The murder of Americans in India would indicate that everyone knows what is going on. Everyone except us, that is.

How bad do things have to get before Americans wake up and join the resistance? Will we wait until U.N. troops begin destroying our country? I don’t know if we will have another chance, but our first step is to get rid of the Republicrats who serve the World Order and elect third party candidates. Can you imagine what could be accomplished with Ron Paul joining Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader? Or we can keep looking the other way and go buy Chinese crap (on credit). Anyone not fighting back deserves the enslavement we are racing toward.

– Happy holidays, Doug Quinones, via e-mail



In this week's issue...

January 25, 2024
Bagging it

State plastic bag ban is in full effect, but enforcement varies

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