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

Turning a blind eye

Dear Editors:

I am so thrilled that the Chilean mine workers were rescued! How amazing our human spirit and our technology is!

But I just cannot help but wonder how it is that the whole world can become so galvanized behind 33 people who are trapped beneath the Earth for 70 days, while at the same time totally ignoring the hundreds of thousands of innocent people our own government has killed in our “War Against Terror” and our “War Against Drugs.”

How is it that we can be so incredibly compassionate, caring human beings with such huge hearts? We, who contribute to help local causes daily, both with volunteer work and hard-earned dollars … we, who so love the amazing gift of our beautiful environment and contribute in so many different ways to show our appreciation for our environment and understand that each environment influences the whole world’s environment on some level.

So, how is it that we can so ignore the fact that there are little girls being sold into prostitution all around the world, even within our own country? And how can we ignore that American drone bombs are murdering and disabling innocent families in Afghanistan, and that we have killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people or ruined their lives in Iraq, riveting hatred for America in the whole Muslim world?

What if another country was dropping bombs on us? Would we sit silently by, accepting the fact that a few bad people from our country had done something horrific, and so our entire nation should simply accept the

repercussions, even though we are just simply trying to live our day-to-day lives, with absolutely no knowledge of what a few evil people, like Timothy McVeigh in ourown country, were doing? Did we go bomb innocent people in Oklahoma? How do we possibly justify the way we are dealing with very real problems in our world?

The people of Afghanistan did not create 9-11, so why do they have to suffer for what a handful of people who did? Iraq was not even involved in 9-11, so why have thousands of American soldiers and so many hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and in Afghanistan, and God knows countless other countries, have to die in an endless war or live the rest of their lives disabled as the endless war goes on – not to mention trillions of dollars in totally wasted taxpayer money.

Unfortunately, it all has to do with big corporate money and the oil industry; and basically, a handful (globally speaking) of truly ugly, selfish, power-hungry people who have an incredible innate acumen to manipulate all levels of the media, (having bought it all up over the last 30 years – exceptThe Telegraph!), so people don’t even understand they are being brainwashed because it’s basically the only message they hear.

Oh, well … the sun is rising, turning my valley golden in the autumn morning light. What about focusing on working together? What about focusing on peace? I know that peace is a dirty word in a lot of political jargon these days, but what if we really did focus on peace instead of anger and blame and lack? How about focusing on the abundance that is available all around us? How about focusing on the love that is spilling over from all of our hearts? How about growing up out of the adolescence of insecurity and fear and into the maturity of all possibility? How about that?

It’s just a thought.

– Susan Urban, Durango

A career in credibility

To the Editors,

Why am I endorsing Bruce Whitehead to continue as the senator from Senate District 6? When I left the State Senate last year, the comment I heard most often from those who follow legislation in Denver was, “Who will take your place on water issues?” They knew, as did I, that there wasn’t anyone currently serving in the Senate that could. It was a great relief to me and others who follow water that Bruce was appointed. He didn’t have to work years to gain credibility, he brought it with him. His whole career has been in water, from the State of Colorado to local water districts. Bruce also owns an irrigated farm in the San Luis Valley and has water rights at his home near Breen.

Despite the many water issues that we dealt with over my eight sessions, many more remain unresolved and will need the knowledge of Bruce as well as his ability to bring opposing sides together to find compromise. The “right to float” issue that was brought forth last year has not been resolved and will be back. I compare it to the recreational-in-channel diversion issue that took a year of negotiating before we were able to find a compromise. The other elephant in the room is how much water is left to develop in the Colorado River Basin, and how and where will it be used.

In addition to legislation, there is the funding issue. There will continue to be efforts to divert funding away from the Colorado Water Conservation Board, which funds water projects; Water Roundtables; and many other annual funding requirements that help us manage and protect our water. There will probably be another effort to charge for administration of water rights. It doesn’t work, and Bruce can tell them why.

In summary, let me say that our water is not a partisan issue. Bruce has the respect from those on both sides of the aisle. If Bruce doesn’t return to the Senate, our water policy will be determined largely by lobbyists who really aren’t concerned about Southwest Colorado.

– Sincerely, former Sen. Jim Isgar, D-Hesperus

A good fit for Southwest Colorado

To the Editors,

There’s an important race for House District 59 between two very different candidates. I will be supporting Brian O’Donnell. Brian is a good fit for Southwest Colorado. He’s an independent thinker, he’s thoughtful, and he will represent all of us in the State House. On the other hand, his opponent holds extreme views that don’t seem to leave any flexibility or room for common sense. At recent debates, J. Paul Brown has said that the UN is going to take away our guns which will lead to civil war; that corporal punishment is appropriate in all grades in school; and that the state should do nothing in response to climate change. We are all entitled to our opinions, but I for one want a representative who is open to finding common sense solutions that respond to all of our needs. That’s why I’ll be voting for Brian.

– Anna Peterson, Durango

In Memory of Brad Buckley

If life is liken to a dance

Why don’t I get to choose

A fast one or a slow one

That marks these days I lose.


The passing of another

Who danced across my life

With gentle peace and joyful grace

No one would dare deny.


I never saw his sadness,

His anger or his pride

But only light and gentle strength

That touched me deep inside.


Of course my mind it seeks to know4

How this is just or fair

That he should leave us far too soon

Brings sadness and despair.


So close the doors and draw the shades

There’ll be no dance today.

My feet as heavy as my heart

Choose stillness, so I’ll stay.


Until these tears will cease to come

And once again I’ll go

Back to the joy that waits beyond

Life’s music sad and slow.


I’ll start to sing and beat my drum

Until my heart is filled

With what remains of my own life

The memories to come still.


For life is as a river flows

It cares not what I feel

Or what I think is right or wrong

Or friends I hold most dear.


And if I am the next to go across that Great Divide

My fear does ease because I know

A dear friend, Brad, is dancing free

Just on the other side.

–Vanessa Morgan, Durango

Double standards

To the Editors,

I think we – Republican, Democrat, Libertarian, Tea Party, Unaffiliated – can all agree on a couple of basic concepts about those who are running for office: voters should know as much as possible about a candidate’s core values, and that double standards in a candidate are not good core values. When it comes to the core values issue, voters should know if a candidate’s stated values are just so many words or are they consistent with the candidate’s actions; does the candidate practice what he preaches? If the candidate does not practice what he preaches, we can all agree that is a double standard.  

Here is an example of such a double standard: A candidate is adamant that government subsidies that help businesses or industries establish themselves or be more competitive are wrong, because the free marketplace, not the government, should be the sole determiner of an enterprise’s viability. When that candidate then helps himself to as many government subsidies as are available to him, saying it is tax dollars that keep him in business, that is a double standard.That is J. Paul Brown’s standard.

Over the years, the USDA and La Plata County have been very good to J. Paul Brown, extending to him hundreds of thousands of dollars in benefits through commodity subsidies, conservation programs, disaster payments and predator control programs. I have little problem with people using these programs for assistance; if it is necessary for our agricultural sector to get government money in order to provide our nation with food and fiber, I consider that a valid use of tax dollars. I do have a problem with the hypocrisy of being first at the government trough and saying, “Nobody but me should get subsidies.”

“If it’s mine, it ain’t pork” is not a core value common to our part of the state and is not a standard an elected representative from Southwest Colorado should bring to Denver.

I encourage you to vote for Brian O’Donnell for representative from Colorado House District 59 for straight talk and solid standards.

– Josh Joswick, Durango

Ignacio takes on 60, 61 & 101

To the Editors:

Colorado voters in the Nov. 2 election are facing ballot issues 60, 61 and 101, allegedly with the support and financing of one Douglas Bruce, the father of the TABOR Amendment to the State of Colorado Constitution. Since the early 1990s, it has severely restricted the state’s ability to raise revenue, thus forcing our state from the top rankings for primary and secondary education, roads, employment, health and youth services toward the bottom of rankings. These three ballot issues are written well to play to the ear of fed-up taxpayers, but beware what you ask for. Extensive evaluations of the three issues and their effect on our already struggling budgets could lead to cutbacks in services that all our communities have become accustomed to, such as around-the-clock snow removal, fee-free spring and fall clean-ups, street lighting, park maintenance and police patrolling. Here in Ignacio, we are quite proud of accomplishing as much as we accomplish with the very limited ability to raise revenue via the limited taxing route and many grants. The Town of Ignacio Town Board of Trustees, after much review of the issues and in the best interest of the community, has bravely and unanimously approved a resolution opposing 60, 61 and 101 and is urging you to do the same on Election Day, Nov. 2. Please vote “no” on Amendments 60, 61 and Proposition 101.

– Balty Quintana, Town Manager, Ignacio

Committed to local communities

To the Editors,

I am writing to encourage voters to re-elect John Salazar to the U.S. House of Representatives in November’s election. In his tenure in Congress, Salazar has proven himself to be a reasonable, practical lawmaker who operates with integrity and in what he perceives to be the best interest of the Third Congressional District. This has at times meant that Salazar has taken positions that certain constituencies do not support, but the philosophy behind his votes has been consistent: He wants the best for a broad and diverse district.

In order to reach that goal, Salazar has supported and facilitated conversations among his constituents about how to address shared values from what can sometimes be divergent positions. From those conversations has come consensus built on relationships that might not have otherwise developed. The recommendations for protecting the Hermosa Creek watershed, which evolved over a two-year stakeholder process, are one such example of Salazar’s engagement with the communities he represents. His commitment to pursuing legislation that codifies those recommendations is an inspiring demonstration of democracy in action. Salazar believes in solutions that originate in or are appropriate for the communities he represents. That philosophy makes him a lawmaker who is in touch with his constituents in a meaningful way. His style of governing is not so much steeped in ideology as it is accessibility, pragmatism and an underlying concern for the people and resources of the Third Congressional District.

His record shows Salazar to be a legislator committed to protecting our region’s environment: He opposed the construction of a third coal-fired power plant in the San Juan Basin, he supports protection of the roadless core of the HD Mountains, and has been an original co-sponsor of a measure to reform the 1872 Mining Law. These are issues important to Salazar’s constituents and the communities he represents.

I will be voting to re-elect John Salazar on Nov. 2, and I encourage you to do the same. He is a proven leader whose commitment to the Third Congressional District has produced significant results.

– Megan Graham, 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