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Silver linings

To the Editors,

Allen Best’s article on “New power for the San Juans” was a nice “silver lining” on a less than green (some would say black) hydro project in its own right. Namely, that the “canal water” Allen cites from McPhee Reservoir came at the cost of the Dolores River and much federal spending back in the early ’80s. So heck yeah, the damage is done, why not try to reap some good from it (and more federal government money) and go for hydro!   Here’s an idea, last I checked, the ALP-Lite project pumps water at a large federal expense (taxpayer subsidy) uphill to sit in its main sponsor’s reservoir to then run downhill back to the Animas several miles downstream. So how about a hydro project on that downhill run water – and another silver lining?

– Tim Thomas, Durango

The straight dope

(Editors’ note: The following letter is in response to an op-ed piece by Durango City Counselor Paul Broderick which ran in the Aug. 29 Herald).

Dear Editors,

Counselor Broderick is like the blind man trying to describe an elephant. His attempt to disparage Amendment 20 and those who voted for medical marijuana reveals that to be the case. He states, “Amendment 20 was essentially a fraud.”

He seems to imply we are blind and he has the vision for all of us “fooled” voters. Several assertions in his diatribe are clearly false and specious. “We have spent decades establishing the Durango brand as a family friendly environment.” Seriously? Counselor B.

should visit the river as it flows through the city on a hot July float. How “family friendly” is the motorcycle parade that includes black leather-clad (with contrasting pink feather boa) riders on mechanical horses setto thunder pitch, Mr. B?

Stretching the facts does not make it truth, Mr. B. No one “next door” is growing “scores of pounds of medical marijuana” as you assert. The counselors have the4

ability and means to control the operations and the process is in place.

The article in the Herald smacks of pandering and fear mongering at the expense of the same people he initially shows empathy with … “people suffering pain and end of life.” I wonder if or how Counselor B. voted in 2000 for the alleged “ruse” he maintains was perpetrated on the voters of Colorado.

Counselor B. states that the distributors present a “danger” to the neighborhoods in which they locate. Is not the same true then for all the retailers in the neighborhood? This logic states that a liquor store on College Drive is a target for “people who like to get money the easy way.” How did Counselor B. vote to allow liquor sales near a school or at a college? Is his vote contributing to the “danger?”

Let’s abandon the rhetoric of uninformed “leaders” who ignore the will of the voters. Counselor Broderick is being disingenuous in his final assertion: “I am not arguing for or against (Amendment 20).” Really, Counselor Broderick? Then why the dissemination of half-truths and complete falsehoods? E.g.: You state that “statutes could be enforced” and we “may have another administration.” These are your opinions. Stick to keeping the streets clean and safe during the winter snow. If only.

– Will Parallel, Durango

Wake up and listen to the pipes

To the Editors,

Marlon Brando, Lee Marvin and Dennis Hopper are dead. Peter Fonda is in his 70s and so is Sonny. The average Harley rider is eligible for membership in the AARP and rides a $25 grand Bagger. Your town leaders are stupid, and the business community suffers. Durango sponsors many downtown community events and closes parts of Main Avenue yet does nothing to attract the older tourist who arrives on a motorcycle. What are ya worried about? These senior citizens are going to rape, pillage and destroy? You go all out for some stupid bicycle race that attracts proven drug users, including Lance! I bet if you have a hundred Harley riders and a hundred bicycle racers piss test, the bikers will have a high percentage of alcohol in their test and the bicycle riders a high percentage of illegal drugs. Yet Durango romances the bicycle druggies. These older tourists on motorcycles living their fantasies might make some noise and talk loudly, but their AMEX, VISA, DISCOVER cards have higher limits than any carried by bicyclists and they spend more per capita. They tend to spend more enjoying better hotels and eating in better restaurants and buy higher priced souvenirs. In this poor economy, the tourist industry should pressure the stupid city leaders to see the light.

– C. Metzger, Pensacola, Fla.

An inspiring choice

To the Editors:

Sometimes, we are asked to get out and vote for a candidate we know little about, or who simply does not quite live up to our hopes and expectations for what a congressional representative should offer. Fortunately for us, the current race for State Representative from District 59 presents an exciting opportunity to elect someone we can enthusiastically support. Brian O’Donnell communicates a solid coherent stance on the local, regional and national issues of the day, and demonstrates a commitment to working across party lines to actually accomplish something rather than contributing to the kind of partisan stalemate that has weakened our state and federal governments.

With declining funding for our schools and Colorado’s recently failed request for a Federal education grant; increased unemployment; the need for a balanced approach to preserving agricultural lands, regional water supplies, open space and the environment; and the critical social and economic implications of our changing energy demands, among other important subjects; we could all benefit from electing someone as thoughtful and well-informed on the issues as Brian O’Donnell.

Learn more by visiting his website; seek him out at public appearances; read and pay attention to what others are saying about him, but don’t take anything about this election for granted. Get out and vote because voting in and of itself is critical to our democracy. Get out and vote to preserve a majority that has become more and more necessary these days to move the issues we care about through Congress and into law. Get out and vote confidently for Brian O’Donnell and be grateful that we have such a strong candidate to put our valuable support behind. I am confident Brian will return the favor.

– Geoff Hickcox, Durango

Confessions of the Durangotang

To the Editors:

It is time to come out of the closet.

Yes I must admit, I am the original Durangotang. I am not bragging, simply telling the truth. Certainly it is a privilege. But not without consequences.

I will explain the reason.

The term originated about 1978, from Charlie Savage who ran a T-shirt shop on Main. His shop was either in the building that Skinny’s used to occupy or somewhere nearby. Charlie specialized in original design silkscreened T-shirts with clever cartoons and captions.

He made his fortune on the shirt “You Meet The Nicest People In the Mountains” As I recall, other efforts included “I’d Rather Have A Bottle In Front Of Me Than A Frontal Lobotomy,” “Be Alert, Colorado Needs More Lerts” and of course the ever-popular “Smokey’s Friends Eat Their Roaches.” All with appropriate cartoons.

Charlie got a commission from a group or a shop in Ouray for an original design. He came up with the4

idea for a shirt labeled “Ourangutangs,” featuring a cartoon Orangutan. He figured out he could use the same graphics here, but change the caption to Durangotangs. Charlie told me that he would have liked to have sold the T-shirts in more places, but Ouray and Durango were the only towns where the name worked. (See for yourself; “Telluridutangs?, Denverutangs?, Silvertonutangs? Nope, only Ouray and Durango.)

At the time, I was working in the mountains running chainsaws and coming back to Durango on the weekends to partake of its sensual pleasures – chiefly mornings at the New York Bakery and evenings at Farquarts across the street. One didn’t even need to leave the block. Toby at Farquarts ran one of the great bars of the West, but that is a different story.

At any rate, on the morning in question I was walking down Main when Charlie came up to me very excited. He was doing a publicity photo shoot for his T-shirt shop and asked if I would help. Of course I agreed.

Charlie gave me one of his first Durangotang T-shirts and had me pose on Main Avenue on a busy Saturday afternoon with a very beautiful girl from the Diamond Belle Saloon. She, of course, was scantily dressed in the bustier and net stockings with plenty of cleavage. Being of fair complexion, the picture shows a very embarrassed me, with my face various shades red. But that is not the alarming part.

Being the ’60s, well technically the ’70s but Durango was always 10 years behind the times, I had long hair. But I also had a beard. Sort of. Maybe “beard” was too grandiose a word for the hair growing on my face. Maybe you could call it chin hair, as I had no mustache and the whiskers grew mostly underneath my chin. All of which combined to produce a rather elaborate set of unmanaged sideburns. Colored bright red, of course.

Which meant I resembled the cartoon Orangutan on Charlie’s T-shirt far more than anyone could possibly be comfortable with.  

Somewhere out there is photographic proof that I am the Original Durangutang. Which is sort of like the story Abraham Lincoln told of the man being run out of town on a rail. Said he: “If it wasn’t for the honor, I would just as soon walk.” So, while I am honored to be the Original Durangotang, if anyone has a copy of the picture, I will pay good money for it.

And more, far more, for the negative.

– Original Durangotang, Hermosa

Easy steps to assimilation

To the Editors,

The federal government, working with the border states, should provide the personnel and resources to secure our borders.

Over the years tens of millions of immigrants from Europe and other continents entered the U.S legally through Ellis Island and other locations. They learned English, studied U.S. history, and took a citizenship examination to qualify to become citizens.

Currently we have approximately 11 million illegal immigrants in this country who do not qualify for citizenship. They committed an illegal act when entering this country. We are a country of laws, and the 11 million illegal immigrants broke our laws, and should be deported over an extended period of time to their native countries.

These potential immigrants can then go through the established application process, become proficient in English, and obtain knowledge of U.S. history and our government, and then qualify for citizenship.

By following our current immigration laws the immigrants will find it easier to be assimilated, and our country will be stronger.

– Donald A. Moskowitz, via email