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

From Durango to Americus

To the Editors:

To most, the mention of Kendall Blanchard’s name must bring up painful memories of the tumultuous three years he served as president at FLC. Sadly, he is now our burden to bear. Blanchard is now president of Georgia Southwestern University in Americus, Ga., and we are his latest victims!

The parallels that exist between FLC and GSW Universities are uncanny. In our case though, we also stand to lose a beloved 9-acre greenspace. This greenspace has been in constant use for the last 38 years benefiting the citizens and students of our community. Our group, saveGSWgreenspace has collected hundreds of signatures in favor of saving the greenspace and submitted them to Blanchard. His only response was one meeting that served no purpose but his own. We could not understand why his response was so self serving until we were made aware of his past at FLC. At that point it became clear, Blanchard does not listen or respect his community, at least the ones that disagree with him!

Our ultimate vision is to turn the greenspace into the “Jimmy Carter Peace Park,” a quiet place where people from all over the globe can come to meditate and celebrate peace. We can envision a self-guided tour with informational stops along the way. Also, a welcome center and fountain to relax by. GSW could hold a worldwide contest inviting artists to design the fountain. Some of you might know that President Carter is an alumnus of GSW, but there is nothing bearing his name on campus. This would be a wonderful and fitting tribute to a man who has won the Nobel Peace Prize and devoted a large portion of his life to circling the planet to bring peace to us human beings.

We need your help now! Call our governors office at: 404-656-1776 and ask for Angie Allison. Tell her you support saving the GSW greenspace and support the Jimmy Carter Peace Park. Also, go to our website, saveGSWgreenspace.com to voice your support of saving the greenspace. When there, also mention your support of the Jimmy Carter Peace Park. Click on the email link that will send your message to President Blanchard and others who could make a difference. In addition, if you have your own stories of Blanchard, please contact Jeff Branum at (229) 928-9092 or email: jeffnancy@mchsi.com.

Your voices are needed to send a message to “serial” university presidents like Blanchard that history does not need to repeat itself!

– With much gratitude, Jeff Branum & Nancy Spice, Americus, Ga.

Sunset over Durango

To the Editors,

Our local Business Improvement District (BID) is funded with a special mill levy and will “sunset” unless extended by voter approval this fall. The downtown is responsible for the majority of the sales tax upswing we’ve seen in recent months, and BID is integral to maintaining that health and vitality and helping Durango with economic recovery. The many events and fund-raisers that take place in our beautiful downtown benefit as a result of BID and that organization’s collaboration and funding of them.

Local nonprofits, including the United Way Brew Fest, the Adult Education Coffee Festival, the July 4 Kiwanis celebration, the Durango Art Center Fall Arts Festival, the Cowboy Poetry Gathering, Showcase of the Arts, to name just a few, have benefited from the work and funding of the BID. Please vote to continue this extremely important organization and to the slight rise in the mill levy.

– Connie and Richard Imig, Durango

Tipton needs to do his homework

To the Editors,

I attended a retired state and school employee meeting in Cortez in May and found Scott Tipton was going to speak. Senate Bill 1 had been passed recently and was a topic that most state employees were very interested in. Mr. Tipton told us that he had voted against the bill because the process of adding Denver Public Schools to PERA would cost PERA recipients too much. He did not know that Senate Bill 1 really had nothing to do with the merger, since the merger legislation was enacted in 2009. He was questioned on his error and was told that PERA had set up a fifth member division with a separate trust for DPS and their liabilities were not going to affect the existing Divisions (and vice versa). He then said, “I must have been misinformed.” My thoughts were, “Why would you allow yourself to be misinformed on the most important legislation of the session?” I also wondered if he had read the bill before voting on it.

Mr. Tipton was then asked if he would support PERA’s defined benefit plan vs. a defined contribution plan. He commented that he did not want to discuss it, but the audience forced him to reconsider the question. He then asked for a further definition of the question. It was obvious he did not know the difference. It was then explained to him the difference between a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan. After further explanation, he told us he favored moving public employees to a defined contribution plan.

It appears that legislators seldom read the bills they vote on. That is bad enough. But, to vote “no” on the most important legislation of the session without knowing what it said or how it might affect more than 400,000 state and school employees is inexcusable.

Mr. Tipton did not do his homework or he would have known this. It is plain to see that Mr. Tipton voted as some in his leadership told him. Kudos to Sen. Penry and Rep. King for doing their homework.

– Roger Fulks, Colorado School and Public Employee Retirement Association, via e-mail

The stuff of great leadership

Dear Editors,

During my time at West Point and five years of service in the Army (including a year in Iraq), I served under several great leaders. While each approached leadership in a unique way, all shared several common traits: each was keenly intelligent, displayed impeccable integrity, and was genuinely dedicated to those he or she served with. I learned that great leaders serve because they want to make positive differences in the lives of others.

In our current, poisonous political climate, this kind of positive leadership is acutely lacking in many of our elected representatives. Instead of electing people who want to work together to solve problems, we are forced to choose between extremes. Rather than voting for someone to represent us and help make our lives better, we have to choose which set of sound bites is least offensive.

Fortunately, in Southwest Colorado, we have a leader who is running for our State House seat who defies this trend. Brian O’Donnell possesses all of the traits of the great leaders I served under while in uniform. Brian is intelligent, honest and dedicated, and most importantly, he is running for this seat for the right reason: he wants to get things done to make Southwest Colorado an even better place to live. Brian will place the needs of the 59th District ahead of partisan politics. Brian isn’t interested in scoring cheap political points by engaging in the usual bitter-filled dialogue that too often passes for political discourse in this country. Instead, Brian will work to ensure the people of the 59th District are fairly and honestly represented. Brian possesses the right temperament to genuinely engage those with whom he disagrees, find areas of commonality and develop solutions. Brian has substantial leadership and management experience and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Conservation Lands Foundation, a Durango-based nonprofit that works to safeguard many of our nation’s most important cultural, natural and historic resources.

A vote for Brian O’Donnell is a vote against politics as usual. Please visit Brian’s website www.brianodonnell.org to learn more about this great leader.  

– Respectfully, Heath Nero, Durango

Reading between the lines

To the Editors,

Immediate tax relief! Restrictions on borrowing money placed on our cities and state! Both of these statements may sound good but will be destructive to our state and more importantly, to those services that we now take for granted. The passing of Amendments 60 & 61 and Proposition 101 will collectively and individually result in reducing or eliminating the state’s ability to provide essential services to those individuals living in Southwest Colorado who rely on funding from the state.

Community Connections, Inc. provides services to more than 200 individuals with developmental disabilities including babies who are born at 28 weeks old and struggle to survive, babies who are born with chromosomal abnormalities and those who simply struggle to reach developmental milestones. This program would eventually cease to exist as state general funds become depleted. Seventy-five children and their families would be without critical services to help them through the heartbreak of raising a child born into this world with sometimes extreme challenges.

CCI is the fourth largest nonprofit in Southwest Colorado. Thousands of individuals in the past 25 years of operations have benefited from our services. Our revenues from the State have been reduced in the past year by more than $400,000, with no relief ahead. If these initiatives pass, we are headed toward not only the elimination of our Early Intervention Program but state funds for our Family Support Program and services to 55 adults who are vulnerable and need these essential services to be productive.

Our society is a direct reflection of our values. Our values and beliefs about what is and is not essential in government must be addressed. Is it up to us to determine who is left behind to struggle because of reduced or no services and who and what programs will be supported. Eliminating services to those individuals who are the most vulnerable will not solve the problem of taxation but will place a heavier burden on the families and adults we serve to survive. Be part of the solution and vote NO to 60, 61 and 101!

– Jackie Morlan, executive director, Community Connections, Inc.

An enviable record

Letter to the Editors:

I recommend that voters support Bruce Whitehead for Colorado Senate. He has voted for renewable energy standards, clean energy financing, health insurance coverage for maternity and reproductive services, water efficiency standards, new energy jobs creation, and green jobs training … all proposals that his opponent, Ellen Roberts, has voted against.

Sen. Whitehead has built an enviable record in a short time in Denver. His scorecard is 100 percent with the Western Colorado C3 Roundtable, the Colorado Farm Bureau and the National Federation of Independent Business. He deserves your vote to continue his excellent service to the people of Colorado.

– Bill Vega, Durango

An obvious choice

Dear Editors,

As Election Day approaches, it seems voters in District 59 have but one obvious choice for Colorado State House – Brian O’Donnell. His demonstrated ability to lead, his commitment to work hard for our district and his willingness to listen to and work with people of all stripes are the qualities that will make me vote for Brian.

The other guy? Consider his advocacy for spanking in schools, his gun-stealing UN paranoia and his claim that a “federal takeover of student loans” seeks to “control our kids.” Not to mention that he’s in favor of banning abortion for rape and incest victims, he denies climate change and insists that our Commander-in-Chief is mustering a private army. Nonsense! These views are too extreme for Southwest Colorado. The choice is clear – vote O’Donnell!

– Tim D. Peterson, Durango

Qualified and competent

To the Editors,

I am writing in support of Bruce Baizel for La Plata County commissioner. I have known Bruce for more than 15 years, so I have seen him repeatedly demonstrate qualities that would make him an effective public servant. I have worked with Bruce on a number of different projects that required him to navigate through a variety of opposing and often controversial viewpoints. Bruce always demonstrated patience and empathy for different views, as well as creative ways to reach collaborative decisions. He is as comfortable speaking with ranchers as he is with businessmen and politicians. Bruce’s vast experience in environmental law and public policy will be invaluable in his future role as commissioner. Bruce knows how government works. In particular, he is keenly aware of the unique role that county government plays in trying to manage the problems facing our community, while also working with local municipalities and tribal governments, as well as federal land managers and private property owners.

Bruce’s work with the Oil and Gas Accountability Project gives him much-needed experience and perspective in balancing responsible resource development with common-sense regulation. He realizes that haphazard and irresponsible resource extraction, while providing jobs and needed county tax revenue, is often harmful to our land, our wildlife and our public health. Bruce would not be afraid to stand up to the oil and gas industry, or any other entity, which would threaten our quality of life in La Plata County.

I’m tired of hearing candidates tout their lack of experience as an asset. Each candidate is probably a nice guy and a good family man. Those qualities alone are not good reasons to vote for somebody. This is an important election. We need the most qualified, most competent and capable people in our county government. I urge you to vote for Bruce Baizel for county commissioner.

– John Wickersham, Durango

Infesting America

To the Editors,

I condemn venal journalism for severely fooling the people – by hardly ever showing asset price histories that look like cocaine intoxications. See “Real Homes, Real Dow” at http://homepage.mac.com/ttsmyf/RHandRD.html. The big con infests America. Members of the Establishment are conpersons first.

– Ed Hamilton, via emai

Setting it straight

To the Editors,

Recently I received a slick, expensive flyer in the mail, that contained a pack of outright lies about Brian O’Donnell, and I want to set the record straight. Brian, a personal friend of mine, has dedicated his professional life to keeping our public lands healthy, productive and accessible. Brian knows the importance of intact landscapes for hunting and fishing, clean water, recreation and wildlifehabitat, and their vital importance to Colorado’s economy. Brian, an avid outdoorsman himself, is a pragmatic problem-solver who will work with all interests to keep our public lands heritage alive and well! That’s one of the many reasons I’m voting for Brian O’Donnell!

– Veronica Egan, Mancos



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