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


Language lessons

Dear Eds,

I appreciate Mr. Black’s comments on providing ballots in other languages and understand his point of view. However, along with my letter to the Telegraph, I provided a photo showing polling place direction signs not only in Spanish, but in several Southeast Asian dialects. Again, why should we print ballots in Vietnamese if the requirements to be a naturalized citizen includes a basic understanding of the English language? As a point of reference, the maternal side of my family tree was there to meet the paternal side when they landed at Plymouth Rock.

– Dennis Pierce, via email

(Editors’ note: TheDurango Telegraph does not publish photographs to accompany letters in the “Soapbox” section.)

Not so enchanting in Farmington

Letter to Editors,

I have a simple question to pose. What is the objective of the Farmington Planning and Zoning Commission? I’ve always assumed one of its duties was to listen to the concerns of the citizens. After attending two meetings to learn more about the process, I’ve observed this is not the case for Mr. Ken Shields, as he seems to gain more enjoyment intimidating and belittling anyone who is willing to speak his or her mind at the podium with his own views and wise-cracking remarks. I can say this because I had a first-hand experience with this man when I tried to express my concerns at a Planning & Zoning meeting on Feb. 14 regarding a project that will impact my neighborhood. I have many concerns: most important to me is the outcome of a red-tailed hawk that I believe lives on the property to be developed. It is not that I am totally against this project or that I want to cause delays. I’m against the lack of respect this man showed to me when I brought up this detail at the podium. His quick response to my concern was a thoughtless, ignorant comment that appalled me. Alluding to taking care of the bird with a shotgun, I found the comment to be inappropriate and disrespectful. So dismayed by his comment, I could no longer stay at this meeting to listen to the outcome.

Now I ask myself, “Will I ever go to another meet ing?” when this is the type of reaction a commissioner gives to suggest to a person that is willing to take the time and energy to express his or her opinions, even if it was just about a bird. I would think, as a business owner, he would be professional and courteous by listening to the views of those of us who are willing to speak at these meetings. I understand in this serious world we all need to keep our sense of humor, but not at the expense of others with concerns and questions. I hope that in the future this commissioner thinks about his remarks before he hurts others with his words.

– John Silva, via e-mail


Painful realities in Iraq

Dear Editors,

When Bush launched his illegal War on Iraq nearly five years ago we were told that the total cost of the war would be no more than $200 billion. But this estimate was dismissed as “baloney” by Donald Rumsfeld and the other liars. Their estimate: $50 to $60 billion. Was that per month?

Nobel laureate of economics and former chief World Bank economist, Joseph Stiglitz, and Linda Bilmes, of Harvard University, say the Bush Administration has repeatedly low-balled the cost of the war – and even kept a second set of records hidden from the American public. According to them, it looks like the true cost of this war will be closer to $3 trillion. Please see www.democracynow.org for more info on this.

Stiglitz and Bilmes have added up the true operational costs (troops, equipment etc.), “no-bid” contractors like Blackwater and Halliburton and also the costs of disabled veterans’ health care – that will total hundreds of billions over the next decades. Is it coincidence that Halliburton’s profits and those of the oil companies are through the roof?

After the U.S. invasion, the unemployment rate shot up to 60 percent. In order to “win the hearts and minds” of the Iraqis, the war profiteers should’ve been hiring Iraqis. Instead they brought in foreigners, because they were cheaper. This, combined with the fact that we didn’t protect the caches of arms, ended up feeding the insurgency.

Amazingly, when a soldier signs a three-year contract to serve his country, if he’s blown up after one year, he has to pay back the money because he hasn’t fulfilled his contract. Also, if he loses his helmet after a severe injury the army sends him a bill to replace it. I’m not making this stuff up!

This ridiculous war is totally financed by deficits. Never have there been tax cuts during a time of war. John McCain has said, “It’s fine by me if we stay in Iraq for 100 years” and also “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” We’ve seen the damage done when a fool is elected president. Please don’t make that mistake again.

Read, think, vote,

– Bill Vana, Durango


A picture-perfect ticket

Dear Editors,

I watched the last Obama/Clinton debate before Super Tuesday and “recame” to a conclusion I’ve had for months now. That these two comfortable, attractive, vibrant and in my book politically healthy, well-educated (Harvard and Wesley respectively) professionals remain the picture perfect Democratic ticket, period. Surely any serious observer can see this. And no 100-year war John McCain will be able to come close. Of course, the mutual Superegos (understandable) will have to be submerged and/or somehow put aside for the sake of both their party and the people they claim to represent.

The coolest of cool Democratic heads must facilitate this by any means necessary. It is called being P-R-A-G-M-A-T-I-C and it is called winning the White House in November. Hey Barack and Hillary, get pragmatic and get pragmatic soon please ’cause we sure are counting on ya.’

– Grant D. Cyrus, via e-mail


Fat Chance

While paying the cab driver and

Grabbing the carry-on…

Suddenly, out of nowhere you hear your name being called.

You turn around

And “smack dab” in front of you

Is an old lover!

“Fat chance seeing you here,” she laughs.

“Small world isn’t it,” you reply startled.

A storm of emotions sweeps over you:

A combination of excitement, heartbreak, nostalgia, and embarrassment.

She draws on her cigarette in a deliberate manner.

You stare at the lipstick trace on the filter.

She turns and exhales to the side while sweeping back her bangs.

“You’re looking pretty good after fifteen years,” she smiles surreptitiously.

“You too, well … I guess we have planes to catch,” you quip nervously.

You move off into the belly of the concourse.

You stop to look back. She has already become invisible.

You look at your watch. You say to yourself, “A two-hour layover.”

Odysseus moans.

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio