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

A credible process?

Dear Editors,

On the morning of  Monday, Nov. 10, I sent the City Manager Ron Leblanc an e-mail stating that I had just become aware that he had once been in the employ of Rich Caplan, the fiscal consultant who was recently awarded a sole source contract to review the Twin Buttes applicant’s fiscal analysis.  

In that e-mail, I suggested to the city manager that he disclose that fact at the public hearing on Twin Buttes scheduled to take place that evening.  

Mr. LeBlanc, to date, has not responded to that e-mail nor did he make any such disclosure that evening.

On the evening of Wednesday, Nov. 12, the city manager again failed to reveal his relationship with the consultant and at the very end of that meeting, I took the opportunity, in the interests of openness and transparency, to mention that information.      

What I thought might be of special interest to the public was the fact that the week earlier, Mr. Caplan and the Twin Buttes fiscal consultants met in Durango and collaborated with the result of a significant reduction in the estimated cost of the Twin Buttes project to city taxpayers.  

Given that meeting of the minds, it was my view the city manager had a responsibility to let the public know of his longtime relationship with Mr. Caplan. In a matter of such importance as the annexation of 600 acres at Twin Buttes, the credibility of the numbers depends on the credibility of the process by which the numbers were computed.  

City residents may decide for themselves if my effectiveness is reduced to zero by viewing the City Span 10 replays of the Nov. 10, Nov. 12 and Nov. 17 council hearings regarding the Twin Buttes annexation and development plan.  

– Renee Parsons, Durango

(Renee Parsons is a City Council member and current the mayor of Durango.)


Kick the plastic habit

Dear Editors,

As a concerned citizen and a Fort Lewis College student majoring in environmental studies, I am writing to ask my fellow citizens of Durango to wake up and smell the plastic! Each year the United States consumes 30 billion plastic bags (http: //igotmybag.org/why.htm) resulting in landfills filled with plastic, 100,000-plus marine animal deaths and an extreme amount of fossil fuel energy wasted to produce the bags. With the4

beautiful La Plata Mountains as our back yard, I know the people of Durango to be more environmentally conscious than your average American, which is why I’m asking you, fellow citizens, to participate in a Fort Lewis College student project. A group of environmental studies students at the Fort are working to promote the NONuse of plastic bags – researching the cons of producing and using them as well as making effort to propose a tax or “ban” on them, which has been incredibly successful for other governments around the world.

Please help support our cause by using your own canvas or reusable bag next time you’re at the grocery store and check out the event my Environmental Symposium class is hosting at the Abbey Theatre on Dec. 2 at 6:30 p.m. – the showing of two great and informational documentaries focused on the issue. Thanks Durango! Think Green!

– Amy Loeb, Durango


The ‘no growth’ label

Dear Editors,

The first step, to populate Twin Buttes, was taken Monday night. During the summations by the council, those who had opposed the project were labeled as “no growth” advocates (the last is my term). This came, even as councilors decried the labels they described as given to developers. The “no growth” remarks also occurred when the project’s counsel gave his summation. I don’t recall any of these detractors having knowledge of how I feel about “managed, smart or sustainable” growth. I took part in the long hours of discussion on Twin Buttes because I believe in the democratic process, had a right to give my opinion and felt that I had something to offer. In my statement during the public comment period, I stated that I felt that many of us did not have enough information from the city staff to fully evaluate the ramifications of the project. I did not have knowledge from a city impact perspective to weigh against all of the subject matter presented by experts hired by the project developers. Anyone who has lived in the West for most of his or her life knows that a town must be innovative, protect its environment and have growth, or it dries up and blows away. Durango is a miracle, in that so many people care so deeply about its beauty, resources and warts. I hope that never changes. The City Council did some a disservice this evening, by labeling a portion of its citizens. We will be at many meetings in the future and will speak freely. Please respect our rights.

– Mary Karraker, Durango


Kicked off the island


Thank you for printing Riley Neugebauer’s letter regarding activism and 4CORE.

I have hired Ms. Neugebauer twice, to work on various energy-related projects, and have found her to be bright, capable, dedicated, of very high integrity, and, most importantly in this context, coachable – willing to learn. As an example of her professional credentials in the area of renewable energy, she co-authored the outstanding report on economic and energy alternatives to the proposed Desert Rock coal-fired power plant recently published by Diné CARE and San Juan Citizens’ Alliance.

Even without knowing the whole story, if Riley says she was treated unfairly, I don’t doubt it. Even in an at-will employment state like Colorado, I think employees deserve better treatment than Riley apparently got.

Because 4CORE is an important enterprise, and because 4CORE is still in a somewhat fragile, developmental phase, it is important that they remember, in a small community such as Durango, that every person matters; and every person deserves to receive fair, equitable treatment from our institutions – not just what the law requires, but also what decency and kindness require as well.

On this spaceship earth, there are no lifeboats. And we can’t afford to be kicking bright people like Riley Neugebauer off our “island.” It’s hard enough to get anybody to care about renewable energy, so when somebody like Riley Neugebauer cares enough to dedicate her life to helping our community, we would be well-advised to try to take care of her and others like her.

If Riley’s enthusiasm for the renewable energy opportunities facing the Durango region was somehow perceived as inconsistent with 4CORE’s mission, then I would venture to guess that 4CORE needs to be more courageous and less hasty to muzzle its youthful supporters. With a mission as audacious as 4CORE’s, they need all the help and enthusiasm they can get.

– Paul Sheldon, via e-mail


The Durangatang

Dear Editors,

There is nothing slithy about a Durangatang. Lewis Caroll could’ve never been in  Tanzania or Durango for that matter, but he would have appreciated a Durangatang.  Durangatang is a morphed portmanteau. The words Durangoan and Orangutan, seeming worlds apart, in reality have a lot in common. What really matters is what something is, not what it is called. Tis a slithy proposition for some, but the locals understand.

Descriptions of a Durangatang are wide ranging. Younger people have a narrower, biased view while older folks take a holistic, homogenous approach. The Durangatang is like a hippie, only with  bicycle wheels, who hates Texans. Or the Durangatang is someone in touch with nature and the outdoors; someone who likes to ski. Long hair or not, in the trees or on the road, the Durangatang seems to roam around unmolested without worry; one with nature. Sharp like a tack, earthy in style and approach, they inundate slopes, trails, coffee houses and community with affluent but conservative ways. It seems that these cultural beings are a direct product of the environment in which they live. They are one and they are with it.

The incubation period for the average Durangatang is unknown but would have confused Darwin to the point of throwing out the theory of evolution. Like in Genesis, for the Durangatang, there is no beginning and no end, there is only another day of easy going and usually tolerant understanding for those around them and their desire to live in a laid back and simple natural environment.

– Jim Verce, Durango


Unlock the UFO secrets

Dear Editors,

As we celebrate the victory of President Elect Obama, (our victory, too!) it is time to seize a special moment of opportunity to address an issue of great concern to all. Stephen Bassett, of Paradigm Research Group online, the one lobbyist for the release of extraterrestrial information/technology to the public, has initiated a program, “Million Fax on Washington – Seventy-Seven Days to Change the World,” to the new president-elect for the disclosure and release of extraterrestrial truth and technology to the public, to address our oil-fueled environmental crisis with already existing ET technology being kept secret from the public.

People have a right to know when decisions are made that affect the well-being of everyone on the planet. If your government had lied to you for decades using the excuse “for reasons of national security” or “a need-to-know basis” would you want to know about it? If termination of that secrecy held the key to ending the use of fossil fuels and turning the tide on a looming global environmental catastrophe, would you want to know about it? If a few key individuals within the military-industrial complex had accepted payoffs from big oil to keep clean and free energy technologies secret and suppressed, would you want to know about it? Would you then want to demand of our government leaders the release of that technology to apply it to the environmental and economic problems that confront our generation and generations to come?

Over 400-plus courageous men and women have come forward to give and document their testimony concerning the involvement of our government with extraterrestrials and their technology, in Dr. Steven Greer’s “Disclosure Project.” This is available to view on Google video. Another excellent Google video is “How UFO Secrecy Has Damaged American Society” with historian Richard Dolan. Search Google Video for these titles to watch them.

I am not in either of these videos, but I have witnessed this technology peripheral to my own experiences while in the military. For years, I was afraid to come forward, on one hand afraid of serious repercussions from the government or military, on the other hand for fear of being ridiculed and ostracized by my peers. So, I told only a few friends and kept quiet for the most part, except for an interview on a documentary done years ago where my identity was – badly – hidden, increasing my fear and causing me to shun any further interviews or appearances, until now. 

In light of recent newscasts on CNN and shows like “Larry King Live” covering this material, and the Vatican’s May 2008 announcement that extraterrestrial life most probably does exist, people need to hear about this phenomenon from those who have experienced it firsthand, and not leave such an important disclosure to the government, a government with a very poor track record for telling the whole truth, or telling the truth at all.

I can keep quiet no more about such vital information. Today, I’m proud to be standing with others like myself and doing my part to bring to light information that every American and global citizen has the right to know. We need to know this to keep our lives free and make educated and aware choices about the leaders we choose. The political pressure we bring to bear on government could end the control of oil corporations and usher in a new era of clean energy that can restore our world’s environment and re-create a better and more stable economy. And the people especially need to know in the ever more likely event that open public contact with extraterrestrials occurs in the next few months or years.

As you consider testimony you may view in the future, please keep in mind, those of us speaking out have little to gain and a great deal to lose by doing so.

– Niara Isley, Durango



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