Time to end McCombs’ charade
To the editor,
The following is an excerpt from the Draft Environmental Impact Statement - Village at Wolf Creek Access Project ... “1.7.3 Validity of 1986 Land Exchange: Several commenters questioned the validity of the original 1986 land exchange that resulted in the current private inholding. It is not the function of this EIS to evaluate the past federal actions that allowed the land exchange.”
I can’t fault the Village at Wolf Creek - Draft Environmental Impact Statement for taking this stance. It was a long time ago and actually the Rio Grande National Forest made a somewhat sweet deal. The parcels Mr. McCombs traded were nice (I’ve been there, I’ve looked at the land).
And besides, Rio Grande National Forest officials were trading under the understanding that Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture was intending to build a small exclusive get-away with a couple hundred cabins maybe.
But then it all went sour. Before anyone knew it, there was nothing but fast talking and suddenly it was pie in the sky and a luxury village for 10,000 rich folks come hell or high water. This in Alberta Park, 10,300 feet in elevation and the heart of the headwaters of the Rio Grande River Basin?
I bring this up because there is a lot of talk about Mr. McCombs’ private property rights. But, there is also an American tradition of integrity and sticking to one’s word. Mr. McCombs, you did not do that.
Protect it with all the lawyers he wants – the bottom line is Leavell-McCombs Joint Venture was not true to its own assurances and promises that were made to the community and Rio Grande National Forest (in order to secure the deal) at the start of this real estate adventure back in the ’80s.
Decades have rolled by, and his deceit has brought Mr. McCombs nothing but grief in these parts. The dream that made sense once is like the lost soul who’s train has slipped the station, never to return. But life 4 goes on! We need to move on.
When will the Rio Grande National Forest powers-that-be facilitate an end to this charade?
Mr. McCombs please allow this land to return to its fold, protected within the Rio Grande National Forest.
– Peter Miesler, Durango

12 cents a day a heck of a deal
To the editor,
I am responding to the Aug. 12 letter to the editor in the Durango Herald from Jordan Golson. Golson forgot the City of Durango will not only  have a $600,000 loss of revenue today to the budget but also a million dollar loss of revenue per year for the next 20 years from the LPEA franchise fee.
The City Council had numerous meetings listening to residents after the April LPEA franchise vote. No one said cut city services or layoff policemen and street workers. What I heard was “come back with a vote on the franchise fee. Do a better job of explaining what we get if the vote passes in November.”
This is what I know. The City Council wants the fee based entirely on the energy that a household consumes not on the base rate charged by LPEA. You are in charge of your electric usage, therefore you can control the amount of the fee. All residents will be able to vote in November on the fee with the new city charter change.
From LPEA staff, the fee would be $.12 a day for the average household. For $.12 a day a resident can have streets and alleys paved, sidewalks and downtown infrastructure repaired. One provision of the agreement, “remote net metering,” would permit residents to participate in solar farms therefore lowering their electric bill even more.
By restoring the franchise agreement and revenue, city personnel will not be laid off because a large part of the budget is in workers that take care of garbage, snow removal, street repair and public safety.
I spoke with Fred Kroeger, former councilor from the ’50s, and Mickey Hogan, former councilor from the ’70s. Both said the LPEA fee had been around forever and the councils used the money in the city budget for the benefit of the residents. LPEA is the only utility that does not have an agreement with the city.
For $.12 a day, city residents will get a heck of a deal!
– Sweetie Marbury, Durango City Council

A crime by any other name
To the editor,
On Fri., Aug. 24, I submitted the below correspondence to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Tips and Public Leads at https://tips.fbi.gov/ :
Hello FBI,
The American people are severely deceived by omission. I reckon that this may be criminal behavior (see last below) – I write firstly to ask you to investigate for criminal behavior. I write secondly to be sure that the FBI does have the information allowing it to be the exception to this status quo.
For a fast intro./summary, please see my page: http://showrealhist.com/yTRIAL.html
For elaboration, please see my recent letter here (the second one of the three): http://www.durangotelegraph.com/index.cfm/archives/2012/june-28-2012/news1/soapbox/
The last two sentences include my legal understanding: “I am no attorney, so I offer this understanding of mine just as food for thought. Federal felonies include fraud, which includes false advertising, which includes deception by omission.”
– Ed Hamilton, Durango

Caught in the Storm
I watch my dog cower from the rumble of distant thunder.
He runs to sanctuary between my legs,
and whimpers pitifully at the foreboding expanse.
His pants and howls arouse ancestral instincts.
I listen with sympathy to his
whines through the wind lashed grasses
as the emergence of those primordial fears
take precedence over an,
 “It’s o.k. boy!”   
 “It’s o.k.!”
I now begin to understand his deep bewilderment
and that I, too, am hesitating  fearfully
after this useless assuagement.
In this quickening darkness moments hold no gravity.
Bent by shifting winds, I become acutely aware
that something surely dies deep within
before the coming of rain.
Drops spatter and a bank of grey shifts toward the east.
Leaves are guided above, spinning in whirling gusts.
Instantaneously, the skies part in an echo of ions and suddenly__   
the cacophony of God’s pounding timpani explodes overhead!
It is at this precise moment that I recognize the nature
of humility as the torrent now showers what has ached
but refused to bleed deep within.
Saturated and trembling,
I call the dog and we run,
run breathlessly
under a crescendo of absolution
toward shelter and home!

– Burt Baldwin, Ignacio