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

Making educated choices

To the Editors,

In this general election, to be held Nov. 2, Colorado voters will be asked to vote on nine statewide ballot issues. Several, if passed, would result in dramatic changes to the Colorado Constitution and should be afforded careful analysis.

In addition, La Plata County will have two ballot questions, to be voted on only by the residents of the affected areas. For example, the question regarding the 9-R School District mill levy will appear on the ballots of 9-R District residents only.

It will not be easy for voters to sort through the pros and cons of these measures. To help you make an educated choice, the League of Women Voters of La Plata County will be holding Ballot Issues Forums, where League members will present descriptions and pros and cons for each ballot measure. The forums will be held in Durango City Council Chambers, on Thurs., Sept. 30, 5:30-7:30 p.m.; the Bayfield Town Hall on Mon., Oct. 11; and the Ignacio Library on Wed., Oct. 13. The latter two run from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Our Speakers Bureau is also available after Sept. 25 to present this information to your group – contact Marilyn Brown, 259-3593 or marilbrown@aol.com.

We will also distribute our state Ballot Issues pamphlets, in English or Spanish and underwritten by a grant from the LPEA Round Up Foundation, to many venues around the county, including city and town lalls, libraries, the County Courthouse, various banks, and others.  

To vote in this election, you must be registered by Mon., Oct. 4. Mail-in ballots to those who have requested them will be sent out starting Oct. 12, and

early voting begins Mon., Oct. 18. To find your precinct and polling place, call the County Clerk at 382-6296, or go to their website at http://co.laplata.co.us/clerk/election.htmThe League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that neither endorses nor opposes candidates or political parties. Please exercise your right and obligation to cast an informed vote. Our4

complicated issues need the thoughtful input of every Colorado voter, especially this year.

– Marilyn Brown,

League of Women Voters of La Plata County

Extremely bad public policy

To the Editors:

This letter is written in opposition to three fiscal ballot issues, 60-61-101, that will be on the November ballot. The League of Women Voters is recommending that voters in La Plata County vote NO on each of these measures. The League is a nonpartisan organization that never supports or opposes any political candidates. But, we do take positions on policy issues after careful study and consensus at the grassroots level by our members, and this year, Colorado Leagues are united with numerous statewide organizations representing a wide spectrum of our community in strong opposition to these measures.  

Sixty and 61 are amendments to the Colorado Constitution, and are impossible to modify should unforeseen conditions, like the current recession, make flexibility necessary; Proposition 101 is a change to Colorado law. While appealing to some because of their tax-cutting elements, these measures will, if implemented, not just decrease government but, over time, disable it, and in the process negatively impact our quality and way of life. Taken together, they damage our communities by drastically cutting revenues at all levels of government including the state, county, city, fire departments, police departments, water and sewer districts, school districts, library districts, and all other government entities. They will impair the ability to provide fundamental services on which we depend: fire and police protection; road construction and repair; law and order through our justice system; safe water delivery and sewage disposal; Human Services such as child protection; and more. By eliminating any state borrowing, and severely restricting borrowing at the local level, infrastructure such as state roads and bridges cannot be built, and there will be almost no capacity to build schools, libraries or other necessities that we may want in our local community. By overturning local elections, they take decision-making from local voters and move it to a one-size-fits-all mandate at the state level.

From the League’s perspective, these measures are an extreme example of bad public policy and they bring to mind the expression “Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face.”  Please don’t hurt La Plata: vote NO on 60-61-101.

– Ellen Park, League of Women Voters of La Plata County

In the dark at Lake Nighthorse

Dear Editors,

Yesterday (Sept. 17), I saw a motorized boat skimming across Switchhorse Lake. Quite beautiful, I must say. But it disturbed me because it was near the dam and the BoR stated in a recentHerald article that the area near the dam would be off limits because of Homeland Security requirements, so I felt it necessary to call the BoR. No one answered the phone, so I called 911 to report a possible terrorist near the dam. Not that I thought it was a terrorist but that it might possibly be. An officer from the La Plata County Sheriff’s Department called, and I repeated my story. He told me that they get calls every day from the security company that was hired to keep the public from walking on the public lands that surround the lake. As he put it, “We get calls every day from BoR, reporting trespassers,” so I asked if it was possible that the person in the boat was a trespasser and he said he would check it out. I never heard back.

So here we (the public) are in this “you build it and they will come situation.” When Sen. Isgar took the money to build the boat ramp with the stipulation that motor boats be allowed to operate on the lake, he had to know that there are important environmental concerns, such as petroleum contamination, the introduction of harmful species carried on the hulls of boats, and the huge increase in evaporation rates when water is sprayed in the air as the wake of a speeding boat. He had to know those simple things but yet there was no environmental impact study as far as I know.

We (the public) should require the BoR to return the $3 million given to the project by then-Sen. Isgar, in order to avoid environmental problems. The tribes who own the water should insist that evaporation be maintained at the lowest level possible. The water is their asset.

Finally, I would really like to see at least a simple Pelton turbine installed on the discharge side of the dam so that some symbolic amount of electricity could be captured to compensate slightly for the huge amount of electricity required to pump water 2 miles uphill from the Animas River to Lake Switchhorse. Even symbolism has value these days. We (the taxpaying public) should have access to public lands. We of course need to wait for the completion of construction and the completed filling of the lake, and we should all pledge to protect this beautiful “unnatural” resource as it also has major

economic and recreational value to us all. With freedom comes responsibility. A responsible approach to recreation at Switchhorse Lake would include fishing from “wake-less” boats. Perhaps a simple solution would be to impose a speed limit on the lake that could be no faster than a person could row a canoe. And we also must consider the lake in its frozen state – will snowmobiles be allowed to race around the lake surface and throughout the park? I, for one, hope not.

– McKenzie Musick,


A tireless community servant

Dear Editor,

It’s simple economics. Increases in taxes and fees hurt business, affect the number of jobs available, depress the economy and hurt the citizens. We all know that businesses must pass on their increased costs to the consumer and many times must additionally reduce the number of their employees. A demonstrated pro-business attitude invites companies to come here and stay here, providing more jobs for our citizens. A business-friendly environment provides incentives and eliminates punitive taxes and fees.

J. Paul Brown has a keen understanding of this. As a successful rancher in Southwestern Colorado for 34 years, he knows what it takes to create jobs and meet payroll. He is a strong supporter of free enterprise, private business and personal property rights.

A tireless community servant, J. Paul Brown has held numerous positions, including 12 years on the Ignacio School Board, three years on the planning commission and four years as county commissioner. Additionally, he has served on the boards and advisory panels of many organizations. He is well respected locally and statewide for his integrity and sound understanding of the needs of the Western Slope. He is an energetic advocate for the people he represents.

J. Paul Brown … experienced, principled, educated, approachable. For more information on his impressive list of qualifications and endorsements for the Colorado House of Representatives, go to www.JPaulBrown.com. He is the right one to represent us here in the 59th District.

– Sandy Wallace,


10 Benefits of Affordable Care Act

Dear Editors,

Six months after passing the Affordable Care Act, we are now seeing the first benefits for consumers. Because of apparent confusion and misinformation surrounding provisions of the health-care reform, nurses around the country are educating the public about the following changes:

As of Sept. 23, 2010,

1. Insurance companies cannot drop paying customers from coverage after they get sick.

2. Children can stay on their parents’ insurance plan until age 26.

3. Routine immunizations for children are provided without cost.

4. Children with pre-existing conditions cannot be denied coverage. Adults in Colorado have the option to enroll in the Pre-existing Insurance Plan.

5. Preventive care screenings, such as mammograms and cholesterol testing, are free of charge to people with health insurance.

6. Health insurance benefits cannot be limited by lifetime maximums and annual caps are phasing out.

7. Seniors are entitled to a $250 rebate check when reaching the “donut hole” in Medicare’s prescription drug coverage.

8. Patients may now choose any primary care provider.

9. Obstetric and gynecologic as well as pediatric services are now handled similarly to primary care visits.

10. Emergency services must be covered regardless of network status.

For more information please visit http://www.healthcare.gov/.

– Sincerely, Nora Flucke, via e-mail

Going to New York City

Dear Durango,

Today, 09/30, I’m on my (one!) way to NYC to pursue a career in comedy. I just wanted to say thanks, Durangotangs, for seven great years! Thank you, Home Slicers; thank you, Lost Doggers; thank you, Palatial facials; thank you, Cosmonauts; thank you, Moe & The Starlight Loungers; thank you for letting me do stand-up at the Abbey Theatre; thank you Raider Ridge; and thank you, KDUR! Your MEDS prescription will be refilled in Manhattan! Real DJs use real vinyl, son! Peace & love to all my friends! Niffs!

– Jonezy Ankarcrona, via e-mail

A clear choice

Dear Editors,

Bruce Whitehead is the clear choice for the Colorado Senate. In his service in the Senate, he has demonstrated his ability to quickly understand complex issues and to work with multiple stakeholders to come up with solutions that work well for all interests. Bruce is recognized as THE water expert in the Colorado Legislature, and he has used that standing and expertise multiple times to ensure that Southwest Colorado has the water resources that it needs to continue to improve our economy. Bruce also understands the need to protect the natural beauty that keeps so many of us living here in the best part of Colorado. His recent success in increasing the requirements for use of renewable energy by investor-owned utilities and cleaning up power plants will benefit all of Colorado and the nation in the long run.

Let’s keep Colorado and our nation moving forward by electing a senator who has proven he will protect our resources while providing for a thriving economy. Ballots will be in the mail soon, with Election Day on Nov. 2 – be sure to vote!

– Gary T. Skiba, Durango




In this week's issue...

May 11, 2023
Digs for dirt bags

New hostel offers hikers, skiers and other frugal fun hogs place to hang their hats

May 4, 2023
Saving the cemetery

Proposed apartments spur efforts to preserve historical burial grounds

May 4, 2023
Rico reprieve

Small mountain hamlet to remain resort-free, for now