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Commissioner Riddle fires back

Dear Editors,

Ms. Anderson, I am responding to you via the newspaper since apparently this is your chosen vehicle for communication after you canceled our appointment to discuss the hydraulic fracturing resolution of July 14. Because I propose a strategy of a more long-term, science-based solution to what could be a public health threat, you have inaccurately concluded that I do not care about the health and well-being of my community.

Since before I was elected, and for years prior to that, I have been a strong advocate for public health. I serve on the State Board of Health, the San Juan Basin Health Department Board, the Health Services Steering Committee and I was a strong proponent of SB194, now known as The Public Health Revitalization Act. I have spent countless hours working on public health and health-care issues. I continue to see tremendous potential for improving health care in our community, and I am determined to continue my work toward that outcome.

Rep. DeGette has introduced her hydraulic fracturing resolution several times in Congress over the years, and each time it has been introduced, the outcome has been the same. Congress, driven by partisan politics, has merely paid lip service to this issue. This is precisely why I believe we need a new strategy; one that is rooted in science-based fact so that when regulations are written they will stand a court test.

Rep. DeGette is working to bring industry and regulators to the table for discussions. Scientists across the country are now studying the effects of hydraulic fracturing methods and the chemicals used in the process on groundwater, drinking water wells and aquifers. Events unfolding in Pavillion, Wyo., and the outcome of an investigation by federal agencies, bear watching closely, and I am.

What the public debate over hydraulic fracturing has unlocked for me is the immediate need for county4 

4police at both ends to write tickets. First offense $100; repeat offenses $300. Wow, with all the big diesel trucks in town, think of the revenue this would generate while reducing obnoxious noise and (diesel) exhaust. The quieter, more hospitable environment will boost tourist-spending tax dollars. Plus this will give our police force, who are now facing furloughs, something to do besides arrest people (including tourists) for having a beer while tubing the river, getting rowdy at an outdoor concert (after multiple tazings), or leaving town at a police-state road check after having some beers at a Durango business. This will also increase long-term revenues since tourists won’t find out how unfriendly our police really are and decide to spend their money in other, more friendly towns in Colorado.   

– Dave Mehan,


True terrorism

Dear Staff,

To be kind, I could just say George W. Bush was the worst president this country has ever endured. But that’s weak.But to be honest, I’d have to say Bush was one of the worst terrorists this world has ever endured.Here’s why I can say this. Former Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge just revealed in his new book how Bush terrorized the U.S. population for political gain.

Ridge writes, “There was a strong disagreement about whether or not to raise the terror alert level just days before the election.” Ridge continues, “(Attorney General John Ashcroft) strongly urged an increase in the threat level and was supported by (Secertary of Defense Donald) Rumsfeld. But there was absolutely no support for that position within our department. None. I wondered, ‘Is this about security or politics?’”

Post-election, analysis demonstrated a significant rise in Bush’s approval in the days after the raising of the threat level. Remember, Bush won another slim, painful victory.Attorney General Eric Holder has just named a special prosecutor to investigate whether CIA interrogators and contractors violated the law by using brutal tactics to pry information from prisoners. Many CIA officials see water boarding as a poor interrogation method because it scares the prisoner so much you can’t trust anything he tells you.Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a POW during the Vietnam War, says water boarding is definitely a form of torture. Hypocritically in 1947, a Japanese soldier who used water boarding against a U.S. citizen during World War II was sentenced to 15 years in U.S. prison for committing a war crime. But it’s ok if we do it.

If you follow the timeline of events, you’ll see that at about the time Bush, Cheney, John Yoo and the rest of the subversives in the White House changed the rules of war to include these harsh EITs, the public support of the war was tanking, big time. We were finally starting to learn there were no WMDs in Iraq. Bush needed another reason why he invaded this country that did nothing to us. Nothing, except to attempt to kill his daddy.Bush was desperate for some game-changing info and would do anything to get his numbers up. Face it, if it took 183 uses of waterboarding to make Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to spill the beans, then waterboarding is far less effective than the CIA would like us to believe. Obviously, this is not an efficient (or humane) method for getting good intel or even the truth, but it’s a great way for getting someone likeKSM to admit that there was a connection to Iraq with Al Qaeda or that Iraq did have something to do with the 911 attacks. In other words, victims of this technique will say anything to make it stop. The whole ticking bomb scenario doesn’t apply here. So why did they do it? Bush tortured to cover his butt - not to keep us safe.

To investigate only some low lifes for doing what they were told to do is a diversion,an appeasement. The real monsters who brought us the Iraq war and then murdered and tortured people to try and justify the reasons are free to play golf, make millions at speaking events and write books. Weak.

– Thanks, Bill Vana,






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