Turf wars in Suburbia, Durango

To the editor,
“I’m telling!!!” I thought I was done hearing this when I was 8 years old. Now I am over 50, and my neighbor shouted this to me this morning.

I live in Suburbia, Durango. My neighbor’s lawn flaunts a surreal carcinogenic LSD-green turf. My lawn, however, flaunts an aire of organic chaos: 4-foot tall grasses, dandelions with clouds of seeds lofting into the sky, thistles, weeds, trees, and branches. My neighbor, like many people in suburbia, spends her days trying to perpetuate the illusion of a changeless, sterile world. Her lawn is a metaphor for this. Plastic, unchanging, predictable. Along with the Scotts K-lawn Club there should be a contest for the least meaningful life possible. My neighbor surely would be a podium finisher. My lawn is the antithesis of my neighbors: it embraces the random mess that reflects reality. I like to think that this also means my life is more meaningful than hers. I know, at least, that I am not spending my days distributing toxic liquids onto the earth beneath me, wasting my life hours mowing and preening a sick soil.

She was once again threatening to call THE CITY (chills are going up my spine) as a result of my “radically eccentric” front yard, which prompted me to do this:

I ordered an XXL, 20-foot tall inflatable Santa Claus. It should arrive mid-July – just when the dandelions will be in full bloom in my front yard.

When my Santa arrives I will grab my machete and place it squarely in the center of my front yard. It will loom over my neighbor’s perfectly green, perfectly mowed front yard, and stare her straight in the eyes whenever she comes out the door. Hopefully, this will offer my neighbor the variability and uniqueness that she seems to desperately need in her life. Perhaps this will encourage other suburbia neighbors to also rebel against the stagnant, unsustainable, toxic lifestyle that many now cling to. Order your Santa today!
– Betsy Richards, Durango 4

Of wackos and whack-o-mole

Dear editor,
I’d like to thank you wacko knuckleheads for the delicious juxtaposition of Shan’s “Re-tooned” feature with Susan Urban’s thoughtful letter in the (typically groovy) June 19 edition of the universally acclaimed Telegraph. Both features may be construed as indicative of the bizarre course chosen by the scum-sucking, incalculably inept military/industrial command structure of the United States of America to “go South” in Iraq (and Iraq, and the ‘nam, and the-fill-in-the-blank-with-your-particular-favorite-Berserkistan, etc.)

As ever, the finest and most dedicated soldiers in the history of history can only swelter and bleed and get blown to smithereens and shake their heads at the REMF’s so incalculably stoo-pud as to go to war without a semblance of a mission or goal, or a scintilla of strategy or tactics. “Never the ones to fight and to die,” their behavior goes far beyond the criminal and deeply into the realms of pathological insanity. Personally speaking, I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and that is why I hold “The Command” in utter contempt. Were I of that age, I would surely and thoroughly question any contemplation of entering into service beneath the mantle of such inchoate madness. A little history goes a long way –  except when completely, willfully and deliberately ignored.

Welcome back, Susan; Ron smiles down.

Oh, and Shan? Nobody goes left on Camino.
– Respectfully submitted, yer buddy, Davitt Armstrong

Unaffiliated get second-class status

To the editor,
Two weeks ago,  approximately 64 percent of “active” registered Colorado voters received primary election ballots. Although I am “active,” I did not receive a ballot. As one of the 35 percent of Colorado voters “unaffiliated” with either major official party, all I received was a letter stating that I need to “affiliate” in order to vote.   

The U.S. Constitution and the Colorado Constitution both guarantee “freedom of association” – the freedom to associate with whom we please, which necessarily includes the freedom NOT to associate – to DECLINE to associate with certain persons or organizations. The U.S. Constitution and the Colorado Constitution also provide for such rights as “due process” and “equal protection,” which guarantee the right of citizens to participate equally in the political process.

Colorado law, however, requires me to be a member of a political party in order to vote in the primary election. In order to exercise my right to participate in the political process, I must give up my right “not to associate.” In effect, I have to choose between 1st Amendment and 14th Amendment rights. 

Compounding the problem is that the primary is funded by the State of Colorado using tax dollars.  While the 35 percent of us who are “unaffiliated” are not allowed to vote in the primary, we are required to help pay for it. We are first-class taxpayers, but second-class voters. 

Recently, a lawsuit was brought in U.S. Federal Court in Newark by a coalition called “End Partisanship” on behalf of eight New Jersey voters, IndependentVoting.org and the Independent Voter Project. The suit challenges state funding of closed primaries and demands that every voter have an equal and meaningful vote at every stage of the state-funded election process. Independent / unaffiliated voters throughout the country are watching the case closely.

If you would like to know more about the efforts of unaffiliated voters to bring full voting rights to Colorado residents, please contact me at giballard@Q.com.
– Gwen Ballard, Coalition of Independent Voters in Colorado (“CIVIC”)  

Sweetie doesn’t sugar coat it

To the editor,
I read the “Ask the Diver” question concerning my name and thought I would share with you the origin of my name.

My mother and father had been married for seven years before they had their first child. My father was so excited by the news he started calling the unborn baby his “Sweetie.” I arrived and was given a legal name but always was called Sweetie by my family.

In my neighborhood growing up, school, college, friendships, my name is Sweetie. If you call my house and ask for the girl with my legal name I automatically know you are a stranger.

Yes, it is unusual but so is life. I consider my name a gift from my father. I was loved and wanted by my family. When my brother was born, he was not given any chance to live. The surgeon told my mother he would perform surgery on the tiny baby, but there was little hope. I remember my mother coming home from the hospital without the baby. After six weeks a tiny, thin bundle arrived, swathed in medical bandages. I could not say “baby brother” so I gave the boy his name that has lasted a lifetime. Bubba is 6’3” and  is the nicest, kindest, funniest brother in the whole world.

There’s more. My grandson named his baby sister before she was born. My grandson loves Peter Parker, aka Spiderman. The unborn baby was called Parker by the big brother. Well, she was named Parker and will have an interesting story to tell one day about her name.

Every family has a story. What’s yours?
– Sweetie (Anita) Marbury, Durango

Editor’s note: Sweetie Marbury is the current mayor of the City of Durango.