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

Real results for Western Colorado

To the Editors,

The people have spoken and the result is that we will be losing a valuable member of the House of Representatives, Congressman John Salazar.

Congressman Salazar has spent the last six years navigating the hallways and hearings in Washington, ascending the leadership ladder to positions where he brought real dollars and results for Western Colorado, and had a direct line into decisions being made at the Department of the Interior. Valuable leadership and expertise will be gone at a critical time in Colorado’s history.

From my vantage point of working on land and water issues in La Plata County and for the last 18 months of working here in Washington, I have had the opportunity to work directly with Congressman Salazar on water, land and natural resource issues. I have watched and learned from the congressman and have a few observations that I want to share. First off, John was always fighting for his constituents – they were always number one in his decision process no matter what party they belonged to; secondly, he was one of those rare individuals who could see the decisions he legislated on had two parts – the short-term political expediency and the long-term legislated policy and public resource implications. The majority of the time the congressman focused on the long-term implications and importance to his constituents rather than the short-term, politically safe decision or the sound bite that would get the press. He took his lumps for this approach and ultimately paid the price at the voting booth. Knowing John, he would continue to fight for the people of Colorado rather than for the politics du jour. I developed respect for the man based

on his approach for the people rather than submitting to the political gamesmanship that seems to get the press.

The greatest loss for Western Colorado will be the knowledge that the congressman brought to Washington on Western Colorado land and water resources. He knows that Western Colorado faces a large challenge as the water supplies of the Colorado River basin diminish and the threat from downstream politically powerful states ramp up to attack our most precious resource. John Salazar, from his tractor on his San Luis Valley farm to his presence in blue jeans and cowboy boots on the floor of the U.S. Capitol, fought every day for Colorado. Thanks for your passion to your constituents, for protecting the resources of Colorado, and for your vision to the future. Washington is a hard and nasty place to work, and you gave it your all, worked across the aisle, provided real leadership. At the end of the day, Colorado owes a huge thanks to you, your family and your staff. You made a difference.

– David Wegner, Durango


In the name of diversity

To the Editors:

The following is a statement from the Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity concerning Alray Nelson resigning as Student Body President of Fort Lewis College on Nov. 17 after it was alleged by law enforcement officials and confirmed by Mr. Nelson that he filed false police reports concerning anti-gay and anti-Native American threats toward him. While these allegations are extremely disappointing and shocking, it should not color the tremendous work that the Fort Lewis College Campus and the surrounding communities have done over the last few months to promote the acceptance of diversity and peace within our communities. The Peace Rally held last week at Fort Lewis College was in response to a publicized protest by Westboro Baptist Church out of Topeka, Kansas. The 1,400 students, staff, faculty, government leaders, religious leaders and community members that marched peacefully across campus and rallied at the FLC Football Stadium did so to demonstrate that hate of any kind is not welcome here. We stand together in support of one another regardless of our differences. We must not forget that there are many people across the world that are struggling with their identity, whether sexual, racial or ethnic, and that many of them see suicide as the only answer to their struggle. We must continue to support these individuals. While it is extremely sad that many of us are feeling betrayed and angry by the actions of one person, we must not let these feelings deter us from our ultimate goal. We must continue the fight for true acceptance of our differences. We must stand in unity with the students and administration at FLC College, especially our friends in PRISM, as they work through the events of the last few days. We will get through these times and learn from them. Thank you to everyone that has attended rallies and spoken out against hate. We will continue to make this a better and safer world for all.  

– Greg Weiss, board chair, Four Corners Gay and Lesbian Alliance for Diversity


A vote of confidence

To the Editors,

On behalf of the Durango Business Improvement District Board of Directors, I would like to sincerely thank the constituents of the district for their vote of confidence. As was publicized, the mill levy that funds the district’s activities was renewed in the recent special election. As a board, we don’t take this vote lightly and will continue to do our very best to help sustain the district and its businesses, as well as protect our economic viability as a community. In coming months we will closely evaluate, and ultimately implement, additional or new marketing, advocacy and downtown improvement efforts, all the while being fiscally responsible with our constituents’ money.

As a volunteer board, we are always interested in hearing from our constituents with ideas and suggestions, and that has never been more important than today. We look forward to developing stronger working relations not only with property owners, but business managers to provide the greatest benefit to our constituents.

Thank you again for your support.

– John Wells, presiding officer, Durango Business Improvement District


In the name of Homeland Insecurity

Dear Editors,

I am just so excited about my vacation coming up. I can’t wait to explain to little Johnny that it’s really OK if that man in the uniform touches your junk. And little Susie, well, if the man in the uniform wants to touch you “there,” it’s OK! It’s OK to be groped by a strange man or woman. After all, it’s in the name of Homeland Insecurity.

Maybe it would be better to do the full body scanner, which shows “cellulite and love handles?” Or be exposed to unknown levels of radiation and have that image saved in a data base?! Hmmm? What will you choose? Groping or radiation poisoning?

Really, people, it has been proven that this type of searching does not make us safer. This is a full violation of our right to privacy! Not to mention the assault on my mental and physical well being.

– Heather Snow, Durango


Maintaining the heart of downtown

Letter to the Editors:

Recently, some questions have arisen regarding the lack of transparency of our county commissioners and county manager. The Durango Business Improvement District has quite a different perspective, and, as such, the BID would like to publicly thank the4

commissioners and county manager for their ongoing communication and dialogue regarding the need to relocate some departments now housed in the courthouse to make room for a federal court presence in the downtown.

The Business Improvement District is very concerned about and has openly advocated for maintaining as many civic offices in downtown as possible for the long term viability of the “heart” of our community. Knowing this, the commissioners and county manager have met regularly with the BID board, explaining the office space constraints. The BID applauds them for the purchase of the property at the corner of 11th St. and E. Second Ave., which will enable future expansion of county facilities, including parking downtown. The BID is pleased they have issued a public request for proposals for office space. The BID will continue to encourage the county to keep those office uses downtown.

Studies from around the country have shown the economic need to keep civic uses, and in turn the ancillary businesses that support civic departments, centralized in a downtown. The BID, on behalf of its constituents, continues to advocate for this, and appreciates the on-going efforts made by the county to listen and accommodate the wishes of the district and the community.  

– Bob Kunkel, Durango


Plein Air, 1890

It was mid-summer

When you ambled into

The fields

For the last time,

The palette and canvas

Under your left arm.

Finding the right angle of light,

You stationed yourself

And began nervously,

Those impasto strokes of

Turbulent yellows, blues.

A smudge of green

On your forehead,

A pistol almost forgotten

In your belt,

While crows moved down wind

To meet the far horizon.

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio




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