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

Pedaling toward the future

Dear Editors,

The Bicycle Friendly Task Force would like to take this opportunity to inform the community of our progress. In March 2008, we submitted an application for Bicycle Friendly designation to the League of American Bicyclists, and in May 2008, the League designated Durango as a Bicycle Friendly Community at the Silver level. The Bicycle Friendly review team “was impressed with the potential and commitment to make Durango a great place for bicyclists.” The designation was greatly enhanced by a strong surface trail network and included recommendations on how we could improve our road infrastructure, maintenance, education and enforcement.

The first-annual bicycle summit was held May 8, where focus groups discussed and made recommendations on issues of cycling safety, accessibility and inclusion of multi-modal needs in future transportation plans. The recommendations of the focus groups together with the official feedback from the League in designating Silver status were presented in July 2008 to city and county officials.

Although proud of Durango’s designation, we appreciate the concerns raised in Wade Nelson’s letter dated Aug. 14 (Durango Telegraph) questioning Durango’s worthiness of Silver designation as a Bicycle Friendly Community. The Silver designation represents increased awareness of the concerns and need for improvement as well as a commitment from citizens, community organizations including Trails 2000, Safe Roads Coalition, Healthy Lifestyle La Plata, and city and county officials regarding multi-user needs. We acknowledge that although Durango has great potential, there are many unresolved issues. The task force was created, in part, to address these issues.

The momentum in this community regarding bicycling as a true alternative mode of transportation has never been greater, and the task force wants to continue to address and solve well-known concerns. Slowly but surely we believe we are seeing changes. We are working with city and county officials to create a full-time bicycle/pedestrian coordinator to promote multi-modal options throughout La Plata County. We invite all concerned to review our multi-modal transportation recommendation report at4 www.saferoadscoalition.org and www.trails2000.org. As a result of the bike summit, we know that the community is solidly behind these efforts to encourage multi-modal transportation and to improve conditions for all users.

– Sincerely, Bicycle Friendly Task Force members Drew Bourey, Lauren Delle, Kendra Holmes, Jeanine Justice, Mary Monroe, Wade Moore, Mary Oswald, Jenny Wrenn

Challenges for the candidate

Dear Senator McCain,

I have some observations and questions to share. You speak much of experience, and you present yourself as a certain statesman. Yet, you resort to sneering contempt and petty emotional sarcasm – it would be better to hear you seriously discuss challenges facing the USA.

For instance: Gas Prices go up. Your experienced answer: “Drill for more!” Never mind the financial manipulation behind the price spike. Never mind that peak oil is a real world phenomena. Production and reserves are leveling off, while consumption pressures continue to rise. The fallout from this clash will increasingly disrupt our way of life. Yet, your, and the Republicans’ response is one of willful ignorance toward the fact that humanity is going to have to learn to survive on less and less and less oil. How will you wrestle with that challenge when you steadfastly ignore its validity?

When crisis strikes, will you repeat President Bush’s immortal line: “No one could have imagined such a thing happening!” Remember that? It was Bush referring to the Reagan legacy levees that failed after Hurricane Rita passed through New Orleans. The same dubious levees trained engineers had been warning about for decades, it’s documented. Incidentally, Roosevelt’s New Deal era levees held fast – it can be done.

Your website boasts: “Learn about John McCain’s consistent position on succeeding in Iraq.” There it is; month after month after endless month, you have been pleading

for nothing but more weapons and troops. Haven’t you ever wondered about underlying causes? Or, do you believe America is above international considerations? Or, do you actually believe it’s us or them? Is it a question of we’re right and they’re wrong ... and, if we need to blow up the whole world proving it, so be it? An eye for an eye until the whole world is blind. Is that it?

For example, look at Russia’s aggression into Georgia. You know, they also proclaim it’s in self defense. Russia’s wanton aggression in the face of worldwide denunciation couldn’t have happened had not the Bush Administration eviscerated the developing notion of a worldwide standard of behavior. Russia is only emulating the Bush/Cheney doctrine that “My interests are the only ones that matter.” Sen. McCain, will we ever hear you speak to that open wound?

Sen. McCain, remember when the USA was the world’s beacon of hope? Why was the Republican’s New American Century (neocons) sect allowed to transform what should have been a considered and decisive police action against a group of terrorists into an endless hate-breeding, resource-squandering, bloody embarrassment of a Byzantine war? I wonder: are the corporate profits really worth it? Sen. McCain, do you appreciate how our standing has been reduced to the world’s bully – everyone knows they must deal with us, but no one trusts us any more. How will you restore the wreckage of America’s once-proud worldwide moral authority? By sending in more weapons and troops? Sen. McCain, what about our biosphere, that web of biology, air, water and earth. You know, that over-reaching organism that makes life possible on this planet. In fact, what we humans are a part of. Does its health matter to you? Show us: explain how you see earth’s current condition, and how you envision future challenges? Are you capable of looking beyond Wall Street’s ledger-sheet mentality?

Sen. McCain, what kind of leadership can you offer the next time our nation is struck with a mega natural disaster. How rapidly will you be able to assimilate unprecedented suffering, data, develop, communicate

and execute a response? After that work is under way, go out and address the American people ... and the world, in a way that reassures, educates and prepares our citizens for the challenges at hand. Then, get up after a couple hours of fitful rest and do it all over again.

Sen. McCain, I mean no disrespect, I’m old enough to remember your Vietnam heroism and some of the praiseworthy highlights along your distinguished political career. You are an American of the highest caliber, sorry that’s not enough for the next president. The coming years will demand someone with an up-to-date intelligent, agile mind. You must admit, Sen. Obama, with his young family, has more at stake in the future than we over-the-hill codgers. Don’t underestimate Obama’s learning abilities, competence or patriotism – nor his stamina and heart to handle challenges we haven’t even guessed at today.

– Sincerely, Peter Miesler, Durango

Blurring party lines

Dear Editors,

I take great offense at Diane Morazen’s claim that registered independents are really “inactive” and “sitting out the process.” I reject her idea that we should “pick a team.” I am an independent thinker, so I don’t vote strictly the party line, as both “teams” would have me do. I look at issues and candidates independently of the party. In fact, I wish local and county politics were party-less and more issue-based. That’s why I can support stellar candidates like Joelle Riddle (a Democrat) and Ellen Roberts (a Republican). If my elected representatives vote outside of the “party line,” I don’t immediately condemn their actions. Instead, I look at whether they are acting in my best interests. Isn’t it great that we live in a free country and can choose to reject labels of any kind?

– Mandy Mikulencak, Durango

End the silence

Dear Editors,

I just want to take a moment to applaud the powerful and far-reaching work of Sexual Assault Services Organization (SASO) here in Durango. This spring I had the privilege of working with SASO as a community outreach volunteer, and it was an amazing experience.

SASO staff members and I visited local schools here in Durango and as far away as Silverton, talking with middle school and high school students about the difference between being a bystander who watches abuse take place (thereby unwittingly offering approval through silence) and being a bystander who recognizes abusive behavior and makes an active choice to take safe action that helps the victim.

The students we worked with had thoughtful and insightful ideas and questions to offer, and were aware of many warning signs of abuse. Sadly, as the statistics show (one in four women and one in 17 men in Colorado are subjected to an attempted or completed sexual assault in their lifetime), there is still a very real need for support for victims of sexual assault. I personally have family, friends and loved ones in my life who are survivors of rape, sexual assault and other heinous crimes. While I’d love to believe that it can only happen to someone else, somewhere else, the sad fact is that rape and sexual assault happen right here in Durango. And much of it goes unreported.

In light of this painful reality, it’s uplifting to know that SASO staff and volunteers are available to help us and our loved ones move through the pain and suffering toward healing and wholeness. Volunteering for SASO has been a powerful way for me to do just that, and I urge anyone interested in learning more to contact SASO at 259-3074 (office) or 247-5400 (24-hour hotline). It’s time to end the silence.

– Sincerely, Tim Birchard, Durango   

Signs of a controversial election

To the Editors,

Before the special election for the La Plata Archuleta Water District (LAPLAWD), there was a large “Vote Yes” banner on PRID director Bob Witt’s property on Hwy. 172 near Oxford. Afterwards, he hung a sign that read “Thank You.”

Question: What is Mr. Witt thanking you for? How does he benefit from the “Yes” vote?

PRID shareholders should ask themselves this question – especially in light of the fact that Mr. Witt is up for re-election in January ’09.

– Lynn Swanemyr, Allison

Pandering with Palin

To the Editors:

Ladies, we can’t afford to fall for it. John McCain’s pick of Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska for his running mate was not a feminist move.

In choosing her, he has made a shameless bid for the support of female Clinton supporters, who should be insulted that he thinks so little of their intelligence. He is banking on them latching onto her blindly as a glass-ceiling replacement, regardless of inexperience or whether her positions square with their beliefs. John McCain should have known better. Hillary Clinton is not just some token, interchangeable female.

Less than two years ago, Sarah Palin was the mayor of a town half the size of Durango. She is a first-term governor of a state whose population is significantly less than some American cities. If she were a man with identical credentials, she would never in a million years have gotten near a presidential election ticket. This is, plain and simple, an affirmative action choice. It’s pandering.

I would dearly love to see a woman ascend to either the presidency or the vice presidency. But not unconditionally. Not this one. Not a creationist who wants to take away our right to choose even in cases of rape and incest. Until there is a female candidate who wins my vote not because she is a woman but because she is the best person for the job, I will do the feminist thing: I will vote for Barack Obama in November.

– Emily Johnson, 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