Elect a ‘rock star’ as treasurer

To the Editor,
I strongly encourage all citizens of La Plata County to elect Allison Morrissey as your County Treasurer. I know from experience that she has the skills, abilities and passion to significantly improve results in this professional financial office. You can count on Allison to provide you with ethical and effective services. She will manage the County’s money, “your money,” as if it were her own.
As Morrissey’s manager at my global consulting company, I was repeatedly impressed by her incisiveness and ability to drive quick results on very complex projects. In one project, she was the project manager on the annual budgeting process at a multinational technology firm.  She had to bring together a cross-functional, global team of executives to produce a strategic plan for the CEO of this technology company. Stakes were high as the proposal this team put together determined their annual budget and funding they would get for research and development. They were in competition with other business units for this money. Her clients called her a “rock star,” getting the funding they needed.
The county treasurer’s job may not be as complex as this project was, but you never know what is coming ... Allison has deep experience and competency with project planning, conflict management and obtaining consensus. She is resourceful and always finds a way to deliver great results. Allison is also a great human being: personable and fun to work with and be around. Again, I strongly urge you to elect Allison Morrissey as your next county treasurer. You will be glad you did!
– Peter Rogers, Atlanta4

McLachlan will protect state water

To the editor,
After a careful analysis of both candidates’ positions on rights for hunters and anglers for House District 59, I have decided to give my support to Mike McLachlan.
My research revealed Mike has worked hard to protect stream flows that fish need to survive through his co-sponsorship of Senate Bill 23. The bill, which is yet to become law, will incentivize farmers and ranchers to modernize irrigation practices, which in turn will provide more water for recreational purposes, including fishing. Through Mike’s leadership on this issue, a unique coalition of stakeholders including farmers, ranchers and anglers have come together to make the right choice about the future of our beautiful landscape.  
Some of my most cherished memories of fatherhood have been to watch the joy of my sons catching fish in Southwest Colorado’s legendary waterways: the Animas, Uncompahgre, Piedra and the Gunnison. Mike’s Senate Bill 23 would better protect these and other waterways of Colorado.   
Mike builds coalitions and delivers common-sense legislation that meets our challenges while representing the values of all who live in Southwest Colorado. We need to re-elect Representative Mike McLachlan, Colorado House District 59 so he can continue to represent us and ensure our waterways remain healthy.
– Sincerely, Dave Dillman, Durango

Speak out now on oil and gas

To the editor,
Is our regulatory system hopelessly lost to moneyed interests? We’ll see this week. Gov. Hickenlooper’s Oil and Gas Task Force is meeting here in Durango on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 9-10. Ostensibly, this is an opportunity for the Task Force to hear from Western Coloradans who have been directly affected by decades of oil and gas drilling.
As usual, those who profit from the status quo are already working hard to hijack our meeting. From robo calls funded by the American Petroleum Institute to multi-national energy companies paying employees to pack the meeting, every stop is being pulled to drown out authentic local voices in favor of those businesses that command the almighty dollar.
Do not let them win. Public comment is accepted between 5 and 7p.m. Thursday evening at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Suites, on Highway 160 W. Grab a friend. Bring the family. Come to this meeting and make sure your voice – the voice of the community – is heard. For more information and talking points, visit www.sanjuancitizens.org.
– Dan Olson, executive director, San Juan Citizens Alliance

Did horse packers get the memo?

To the editor,
Last week I came out of the Weminuche Wilderness area (Ute drainages by Rio Grande Reservoir) after a weeklong group backpack up to the Continental Divide. After reading last weeks’ articles in the Telegraph about wilderness and LNT ethics, I wonder with the amount of trash we found in the Weminuche from horse packers, that they missed the memo on LNT.
Yes, I know it’s not ALL horse packers, but it is primarily from horse packers as evidenced by the type of trash, like Carhartt jackets, canned food stuffs, tents ... all of a variety too big and bulky for backpackers. I guess when you don’t have to carry it, it’s not a problem to leave behind? Personally, I don’t get it, just put it back on the animal that hauled it in.
And then there’s the damage that heavily loaded pack animals (mostly during hunting season), or riders on horseback can do to trails.  Iron-shod animals tear up wet trails, rut them, break down the outside of the trail on side hills, and introduce noxious weeds. And the camps that are set up for commercial hunting in wilderness areas are, to say the least, not LNT – having large established fire rings, cut logs for firewood, wall tents, and seating. Not to mention horse impacts near the camp areas.
So for all those hunters on horseback, either commercial (the largest registered guiding group in Colorado), or private, please consider trying to use LNT practices for your outings. It’d be nice if the Forest Service/CO Parks & Wildlife folks put some of their budget toward either repairing some of the damage the commercial users cause, or added a resource fee to their guides license to do so. From what I saw in the Weminuche, the “last frontier” mentality is still around, and education and behavior change such as LNT suggests, is slow to come – usually at the expense of the environment.
– Tim Thomas, Durango

Arm yourself with knowledge

To the editor,
The League of Women Voters invites all La Plata County residents to a forum for candidates for offices in La Plata County on Thurs., Oct. 9, 6-8 p.m., at the Durango City Council Chambers, 949 E. 2d Ave., Durango. The offices to be filled at this election are County Commissioner, Dist. 1; Treasurer; Sheriff; Coroner; Clerk & Recorder; Assessor; and Surveyor. Incumbents in the last three offices are running unopposed. Candidates for all these offices (except Surveyor) will participate in the forum.
Those attending the forum will be able to ask written questions of the candidates. For those unable to attend, the forum will be televised live on CitySpan 10, rebroadcast multiple times, and streamed on the Durango City website. The Durango Public Library will have a DVD copy for circulation.
Election Day is Nov. 4, 2014. This is a mail ballot election, with ballots mailed to all active, registered voters in the county the week of Oct. 13. Ballots may be returned to the County Clerk’s office by mail, or delivered to several ballot drop-off locations or Voter Service and Polling Centers. Go to the La Plata website (www.co.laplata.co.us) for more information and addresses and dates of operation of these locations.
The League strongly urges all eligible voters to educate themselves about the issues and candidates and vote. One vote can make a difference.
– Trish Pegram, Board Member, League of Women Voters of La Plata County

Brown no wild-eyed right-winger

To the editor,
We are in support of J. Paul Brown as Colorado State Rep. for District 59. We have known and done business with J. Paul since he moved to Ignacio. Our children attended school together, and they participated in the same 4-H club. Ralph has served on ditch boards with J. Paul for many years and we have been co- workers in many projects. We know J. Paul to be a God-fearing man and “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom … .”
His knowledge of issues affecting our community, the state of Colorado, and District 59 are unsurpassed. He has dealt with gas companies, the Forest Service, and local and statewide water issues. J. Paul runs a successful business. He has been involved in government as county commissioner, School Board member and state representative, plus he has been on boards for a wide variety of organizations.   
Though he is conservative in nature, he is not a wild-eyed right-winger.
J. Paul’s yea’s are yea and his nay’s are nay. You do not have to guess where he stands on any issue. Please join us in voting for J. Paul Brown, an honest, hardworking candidate, for the 59th State Representative District.
– Ralph and Gail Klusman, Ignacio

Smith full of empty promises

To the editor,
I attended the FOP Sheriff Candidate’s forum last Tuesday. I expected more! The forum appeared to be staged in Deputy Smith’s Favor. Questions were supposedly given to the candidates only minutes prior to the start. Yet Smith referred to lengthy notes on every question in a very well-rehearsed, perfectly timed manner. Additionally, Sheriff Schirard’s microphone was not working correctly. A woman approached the moderator and asked for it to be fixed. I heard frustrated people behind me because they could not hear the Sheriff’s responses clearly. It did not appear that the FOP set a fair and even forum. I expected more integrity from a police organization.
Smith made a lot of promises and does not have a clear understanding of the Sheriff’s Department decision-making process. The Sheriff’s Department is part of a larger county entity of which requires working relationships and mandated guidelines with federal, state, county, city and local agencies to accomplish any given goal. While Deputy Smith thinks purchasing $47,300 Toyota Highlander hybrid vehicles for his administrative staff to drive around in “to save gas” is “progressive and green,” it is not a decision he alone as sheriff can make. So as a newly elected sheriff, Smith would go out and buy expensive new cars for him and his staff? In this time of cutbacks, this is a luxury taxpayers can’t afford and I don’t support.
What concerns me the most though is how Smith stated that as sheriff he would enforce all of the laws as written. He then told a story of how he got out of a speeding ticket. He laughed while in court, telling the judge how he should just hire a deputy instead of having enforcement cameras. That way he could have obtained a warning from a cop instead of receiving a ticket in the mail and having to fight it in court. He was guilty, yet he got it dismissed.
 If the laws apply to everybody but Smith, is he really ready to lead the Sheriff’s Office?
– Sandra L. Matusek, Durango

Trust matters, but so does skill

To the editor,
The La Plata County Treasurer’s position is not just a matter of trust, it’s more importantly a matter of having the skills and knowledge of the technical aspects of this position. That is, competence to do the job. The treasurer ensures that the county pays its bills on time and correctly as well as investing county money to ensure sufficient cash flow. (Last year, Bernalillo County in New Mexico learned the hard way when its treasurer did not manage the county’s finances well.)
Allison Morrissey has those skills, which will ensure that this important public service is done competently and in a trustworthy manner. I have worked with Allison preparing taxes for low-income individuals, a volunteer position she has done for many years with VITA.  Her knowledge and skill in the tax area are excellent and her ability to work with others quite remarkable. Clearly, she demonstrates what is necessary to be an effective county treasurer. Trust matters, but competence and trust are both necessary in this position.
– Mike Todt, Durango