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

Splicing genes

To the Editors:

There was an article recently about GMOs in the “Flash in the Pan” column by Ari LeVaux, and I want to acknowledge that writer and also theTelegraph. That was a great article!

I have been interested in the issue of unlabeled and untested GMOs since they first came to be used-as rBGH shot into cows (bovine growth hormone, or Posilac) in the ’90s. From growth hormone for cows, we went onto corn, canola, soy and cotton. GMOs are in almost 90 percent of all processed food in American grocery stores and most people do not even know this or they would not eat these foods! Unlike transfats, protein, sugar, fat content and pretty much everything else, these GMOs are not labeled. The reason for this is that these foods were “found” to be “substantially equivalent” (by the companies which invented them and dictated food policy) to conventional or organic foods that do not have this gene splicing. This is not true! In many independent tests, these toxic crops caused changes in the digestive systems, reproductive systems, hormone systems and even the way insulin is taken into the body. In short, they are not substantially equivalent yet still not labeled!

This is an outrage. The means for making GMOs has nothing to do with sophisticated hybridization techniques – GMOs are made by inserting foreign materials from other plants or animals into the plant, which would never occur in nature – in short, playing God. We are taking part in a gigantic, absurd food experiment, as guinea pigs, just so Monsanto, et al, can line their pockets while we all get sick and our pure foods get ruined.

I want to start a movement from the ground up in the Durango area. We have been let down by the Obama White House and Tom Vilsack, head of the USDA (Governor of the Year, named by Monsanto while flying around in their private jet). Recent GMO crop approvalsjust in the last several weeks include GMO alfalfa (the biggest outrage, which could be the start of the end of all organic foods); GMO bio-fuel corn (which will inevitably contaminate the corn we all eat); and GMO sugar beets. GMO salmon is right on the horizon, a fish that grows twice as fast as conventional wild salmon and could be the end of the entire conventional salmon fishing industry once these fish escape.

What we want is labeling! People have the right to know what they are eating. I am looking for locals here in town to help me with this project and take action steps. There are dozens of things we can do. We need to make the public aware. Please excuse the oversimplification of this topic, there simply is not time to discuss the science of this and also the environmental damage that has already taken place. GMO crops are not invented to “feed the world” as Monsanto and Bill Gates would have you believe. They are invented to sell huge quantities of toxic Round-up and line the pockets of Monsanto. Anyone interested in this topic please contact me at juliecmeadows@gmail.com.

– Julie Meadows, Durango

Why Wisconsin matters

Dear Editors,

As happy and excited as I am for the people in the Mid East toppling their governments and demanding democracy, I’m equally saddened and fearful that we’re losing ours here in America.

Thanks to favorable tax policy (to the rich), globalization and corporate control of government, we now have a larger gap in the distribution of wealth than the massive chasm that helped fuel the Great Depression. TheWall Street Journal reports that the top .01 percent, or 14,000, American families hold 22.2 percent of wealth – the bottom 90 percent, or more than 133 million families, just 4 percent of the nation’s wealth. The United States now has a more unequal distribution of wealth than traditional banana republics like Nicaragua, Venezuela and Guyana. Good for the few, bad for the many.

Last year, the Supreme Court tipped the balance of power in this country even more in the direction of the money bags in the Citizens United case. A 5-4 majority held that corporations could spend unlimited amounts of cash to influence election outcomes. Without adequate reporting and disclosure rules, we don’t know exactly who spent what in the election. One hundred and fifty groups outside of the political parties reported spending nearly $300 million to influence the 2010 federal elections. Not surprisingly, by a 2 to1 margin this cash went to Republican candidates.

What’s happening in Wisconsin could signal yet another nail in the coffin of democracy. Following Washington’s playbook, the State of Wisconsin’s Republicans have voted for huge tax breaks for business and corporations that need to be paid for with pay cuts and sacrifice from the middle class. But the really big story is public employee unions will lose the right to collective bargaining. This essentially makes them impotent. In case you forgot, unions and collective bargaining gave Americans decent wages, a 40-hour work week with OT pay, safe working conditions, paid vacations, and numerous other benefits – obtained only through a very rough struggle in which many people were killed. Unions are also the biggest contributors to the Democratic party. It’s easy to see why big business and their pawns in the Republican party hate unions and carpetbaggers like the Koch brothers want them crushed. Things like safety, benefits, good pay and environmental regulation all eat into the massive profits business so greedily craves. This explains the corporate popularity in shipping jobs overseas to avoid such annoyances as OSHA and the EPA. Wisconsin is a test case with other states looking at similar union-busting legislation. If the unions dry up, so will the money and support needed to elect true democratic leaders.

With money comes power. The more money the more power. If the Democrats can no longer compete, we’re down to a one party system in this country. That puts us in the company of strong democracies like the Peoples Republic of China, Cuba, Vietnam and North Korea. Just how bad do things have to get here before millions of Americans retake our government like the brave people in the Mid East?

– Thanks, Bill Vana, Durango

The price of clean air

To the Editors,

I am an artist. I believe my Diné clans and Hopi heritage have innately endowed me with such divine gifts from a Creator that many indigenous people believe in. As I state this, I may be dismissed by many, for as I see it, the majority of American society does not hold much regard for artists, or indigenous people, but I am happy about these facts of my life.

As an artist, I believe the human senses are heightened, so it seems I am often very aware of my immediate surroundings, this includes the environment, especially the air I breathe as I daily walk to find my inspiration. As I compose this letter, it is an unfortunate fact that the San Juan Basin is heavy-laden with poisonous toxins in the air. To me, taking responsibility for cleaning up the air we breathe on a daily basis should be a no-brainer. Emissions reductions would seem to be just a small amount for PNM to pay as they make millions on a yearly basis. As I see it, greed and self-centeredness have those corporate suits in a tizzy.

Those in the coal-fired power plant business should know what they must do. Even the little children are taught to “clean-up after themselves.” So I ask those individuals who sit in the lavish offices above the smoke stacks, in the most humble way, “Why don’t you want to clean up the air in the San Juan Valley? Don’t444believe in the human right to clean air? Don’t you think the livelihood of the residents of the area is worthy of clean air.” You make so much money, just pay and give us a chance to breathe clean air.

– Venaya Yazzie, Huerfano, N.M.

Running on about union dues

Dear Eds,

If the public service union executives and staff took a pay cut and these same unions no longer gave 92 percent of their dues to Democrat candidates and they initiated a reduction in the amount members pay in union dues, teachers would probably be able to pay for a modest increase in retirement and health-care funds asked for by the state and still have money left over.

– Dennis Pierce, Durango

‘Standing up for Durango’

To the Editors,

Have you noticed all the “Sweetie Marbury for City Council” signs all over town? That’s because Sweetie is on top of things, and that’s why she will make an excellent city councilor. Sweetie (a nick name for Anita in case you were wondering) has been a regular at City Council meetings since the 1980s. Last week, she was the only resident asking questions at the Budget Hearings. She knew the issues and understood the problems in depth. Sweetie has an impressive resume of involvement on both city and county boards and commissions, giving her the background necessary to serve effectively from day one.

Equally important, Sweetie Marbury is a problem solver. She is credited with pulling people together to save Brookside Park from private development. She noticed a lack of downtown handicap parking and championed more ADA compliant spaces. She realized that smart growth in Durango would involve “infill” of building auxillary residences (aka mother-in-law apts.) She dove in and got involved resulting in design guidelines for established neighborhoods.

She does all this while being a teacher for more than 30 years. Her slogan “Standing up for Durango” portrays what Sweetie has done for years and will do for us as a councilor. When your ballot arrives in the mail in mid-March, join me in putting Sweetie Marbury on City Council.

– Laura Godfrey, Durango

Casting an informed vote

To the Editors,

The City of Durango will conduct a mail ballot-only election between March 18 - April 5 to elect two at-large Durango city councilors for the positions currently held by Michael Rendon and Joe Colgan. The League of Women Voters of La Plata County invites you to meet and question the candidates on Wed., March 16, from 6 - 8 p.m. in City Council Chambers, 949 E. Second Ave.   

This is a mail ballot-only election. Ballots will be mailed to active, registered Durango residents by March 21. Ballots must arrive by mail or in person at the City Clerk’s Office by 7 p.m. April 5. An active voter is one who voted in the November 2010 General Election. You will not receive a ballot by mail if you did not vote in the November 2010 election. An eligible elector is one who voted in the November 2006 or 2008 election but did not vote in 2010. Those voters may pick up a mail ballot at the Durango City Clerk’s Office from March 22-April 5. If you have not voted in a November election since 2005, you will need to register by March 7 at the La Plata County Clerk and Recorder’s Office, Bodo Park, Durango. Voters can verify their registration status online at www.govotecolorado.com or by calling the City Clerk’s office at 375-5010.

Mail ballots are not forwarded by the post office, so if you have moved into or within the City of Durango and have not updated your address, you must re-register by Mon., March 7.

The League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan organization that never endorses or opposes candidates or political parties. For more information on this forum or other LWV events, visit our website at www.lwvlaplata.org. Please plan on attending, bring your questions and exercise your right to cast an informed vote on or before April 5.  

– Stephanie Huss, League of Women Voters of La Plata County

A good choice for Durango

To the Editors:

How nice to hear that Connie Imig is running for City Council. Good choice!

Connie Imig and I started working for Habitat for Humanity of La Plata County on the same day in 2005. She helped build the nonprofit to a budget of more than $1 million, and more importantly, helped build homes for seven families right here in Durango. She managed potential home owners, employees, volunteers and board members with empathy, warmth, integrity and fact-based decision making. She was a fair leader, looking at all sides of situations, as well as the larger picture.

Connie has since gone on to become a local business owner, and there is no one I trust more in the position of city councilor. She is on several boards fromthe City’s Open Space to Durango Arts Center and just recently finished a stint on the Regional Housing Alliance board as treasurer. She will represent us well and has the experience to make good solid decisions.

Please vote for Connie Imig for City Council!

– Sincerely, Jean Smith, 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