Knowing what you’re eating

To the editor,
Labeling genetically engineered (GE) foods is long overdue, yet well within reach. This November, Coloradans have the opportunity to vote “Yes” on Proposition 105, which requires labeling on some genetically engineered (GE) foods. It’s a reasonable first step toward labeling all GE foods. There’s been much confusion about why Prop 105 doesn’t include all GE foods. Different types of GE foods fall under different statutes, and Colorado law requires that each category be addressed separately. Proposition 105 covers the majority of GE foods (processed and raw foods). Other categories such as restaurant food, alcohol and animal products will have to be addressed in future elections.
Washington and California were unable to pass similar initiatives because the biotech industry, giant food manufacturers and chemical companies spent millions to block labeling. Not surprisingly, this is occurring now in our state. The grassroots campaign here is being outspent 30:1, so you are only hearing one highly biased point of view if you rely on the media. If GE foods have all the benefits the biotech industry claims, why wouldn’t the industry want labeling to promote them? These companies are concerned about their bottom-line, not you. Sixty-four other countries, including those in the European Union, already have labeling. We have the right to know, too.
Much fear has been stirred up about the possibility of increases in food costs. There have been no reported spikes in food prices related to labeling in the 64 countries who have it. In addition, the Consumers Union (the policy division of Consumer Reports) recently performed an analysis that showed the median cost of labeling to a consumer would be $2.42 per year. No increased tax revenue would be needed for implementation. Prop 105 would be enforced under current state statutes with monies from the General Fund.
GE foods have not been proven safe. Genetic engineering forces together genes from viruses, plants and bacteria, a process that results in a product foreign to our immune systems. When the FDA policy regarding GE crops was drafted, scientists within the agency voiced concerns about possible allergens, toxins, nutritional deficiencies and new diseases. Disturbingly, there have been no human clinical trials to determine whether GE foods adversely affect us. One can only hope that the health problems we’re seeing in some animal studies, like breast tumors, infertility, precancerous growths in the stomach and intestines, and liver and kidney damage, do not translate over to us.
We need labeling so doctors can track what people are eating and determine whether GE foods are linked to food allergies and other health problems. The right to know what’s in our food is an issue that affects ALL of us, whether Republican or Democrat. Many organizations are advocating for more safety studies including: the American Medical Association, the European Network of Scientists for Environmental and Social Responsibility, and the American Academy of Environmental Medicine.
One example of why these crops are concerning is genetically engineered Bt corn. It’s been noted that the amount of Bt pesticide being sprayed has decreased since the introduction of GE foods, and one reason is every cell in Bt corn produces its own pesticide (Bt toxin). This Bt corn is actually registered as a pesticide by the EPA. Bt toxin has been found in the blood of pregnant women and their fetuses. Is this something you really want to eat or feed to your children?
The debate around labeling genetically engineered foods is being deliberately blown up into something far more complicated than need be. Proposition 105 is just a label, not a ban. The safety of GE foods is not only unproven, but, in fact, there is plenty of evidence indicating that they are harmful. We have a right to know whether we’re eating them. Please join me in voting “Yes” on Proposition 105.
– Dr. Laura Lasater, Denver

Blake doesn’t know government

To the editor,
The Durango Herald, in its infinite wisdom, just endorsed Brad Blake to ensure “diversity” on the Board of County Commissioners. “Diversity” is what we have in the federal government – a Dem president, a Dem Senate, and a right wing House hell bent on creating an absolute stalemate.
Brad Blake is Tea Party; he founded the Durango chapter in 2010. Brad Blake is part of the “vocal opposition” that caused the county Comp Plan to be shelved in 2011 at great cost. Blake has gone to almost no meetings of the county this year; he does not know how our county government runs, he just knows he wants less of it. The Herald says elect Blake because he’s pro business. Even the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is withdrawing support for Tea Party candidates because they realize that the Tea Party is bad for business. Elect Cynthia Roebuck, the “well-qualified candidate,” the person with actual expertise to be useful to us all.
– Jan Masse, Durango

Beware Blake’s far-right tendencies

To the editor,
Let me put this plainly, in terms even the Durango Herald’s editorial board should understand. County commissioner candidate Brad Blake is more than conservative: he founded the Durango Tea Party in 2010. He founded it because he feels that local “government has stepped on our necks.” He is a conspiracy monger, equating long-range county planning with a UN takeover of La Plata County. In a recent article, he was quoted as saying he would “try to keep the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Colorado Department of Transportation from interfering in the county.”
Blake is a supporter of Cliven Bundy, the guy who forced an armed standoff with the BLM this spring. Blake is very far right.
He is running against Cynthia Roebuck, a professional land-use planning consultant who understands this county and our business needs for pragmatic, simplified regulations. Please, vote for Cynthia Roebuck.
– Anne Markward, Durango

(Editor’s note: In the interest of fairness, La Plata County commissioner candidate Brad Blake was allowed to respond to the previous letter in time for voters to make an informed decision prior to the Nov. 4 election. )

Tea Partier, not Bundy supporter

To the editor,
Yes. I was one of four cofounders of the Durango Tea Party. Some of the concerns that came out of the Tea Party movement are even more relevant today than they were four years ago. We continue to see government that is out of control on many fronts. There are still many that are disenfranchised with government now.
I am not a supporter of Cliven Bundy. The interest in the story for me was the government response. No U.S. citizen should be attacked with military force (even if he does owe a tax or a fee.) The BLM is a land management arm of government and does not have military authority, nor should it. The BLM killed Bundy’s livestock and would most likely have killed some of the family and that is wrong whether you are a liberal or a conservative. I feel that the no branch of government should be able to search and seize without a warrant.
I do support long-range planning for the County. I feel it would be helpful if it protects personal property rights and helps people in the county prosper. The “comprehensive plan and land use code” that were proposed and failed were bad for the people of La Plata County. The commissioners that voted against it are to be commended for their integrity and foresight despite the personal attacks. I do NOT feel that “Agenda 21” is a factor. The people who sent this letter don’t believe there is an Agenda 21. All you have to do is look it up.
I am very positive about La Plata County. The county needs good positive leadership that looks forward and thinks. The other side seems to want to look back on all candidates but their own. That’s hypocrisy at its worst.
– Brad Blake, via email

Sifting though Gardner’s B.S.

To the editor,
There are some things that do not require a lot of analysis to understand. Choose bull manure for one. No one needs to tell you to avoid it, but Cory Gardner is feeding us a steaming heap of it.  Consider his mission statement:  “economy, energy, education and a pristine environment.” A pristine environment!
Mr. Gardner, you can’t give a damn about our environment if you:
- Received a 4 percent approval rating from the League of Conservation Voters
- Put forth an amendment that would slash funding for statewide water projects by $112 million
- Are heavily funded by out-of-state oil interests, and you put forth bills such as HR 2021, that guts what little regulation there is for offshore drilling, both in the Atlantic and Artic oceans
- Urged the Tea Party to defund the Environmental Protection Agency
-Vowed to eliminate funding for climate change research
- Voted to overturn the EPA’s finding that climate change endangers human welfare
- Voted to require the approval of both houses of congress before a federal agency can enact any rule, even to protect the environment and public health
-Are a climate science denier
- Voted to shut the government down when Colorado most needed help with two simultaneous environmental disasters
Mr. Gardner, I suspect it would be hard for you, but we sure would appreciate a little honesty in place of the bull manure.
– Christopher Isensee, Durango

Is Lieb’s self-funding ‘job buying’?

To the Editor:
How can anyone endorse Bobby Lieb for Treasurer when the following is fact? Look up Robert Lieb on the Secretary of State’s elections web site ( you will find expenditures for his campaign, but no donors.
So where is the money coming from for his campaign? “Paid for by Bobby Lieb” with a phone number is not generally the way advertising expenditures are made known. Does he have a campaign treasurer? If he is loaning his campaign money, that must be disclosed. Money for Bobby’s campaign has to come from some place. Is the money for his campaign coming from his deep pockets or someone else’s?
How can Bobby Lieb say with a straight face he is running to represent the community at large and yet have not one single donor shown on the campaign disclosures filed with the Secretary of State for contributions and expenditures? And not just for the most recent filing but for every single one? A self-funded campaign to get the Treasurer’s job seems a bit narcissistic. All other Republican candidates in La Plata County show money from the local party. Apparently Bobby feels no need and thinks the public will be OK with him buying a public position with his own money. There is no way anyone should trust a person who does not seek broad-based support when seeking the chief financial oversight position for La Plata County, let alone cast a vote for him!  
Contrast that with Allison Morrissey. She has broad support from a wide spectrum of the community represented in her campaign. She is running to serve, not looking for a job!
Vote for integrity. Vote for Allison Morrissey.
– David Black,  Bayfield

Vote out GOP obstructionists

To the Editor,
So, now we are apparently worried about the Ebola virus and possible epidemic here in America. Yet we have no Surgeon General because the Republican cartel of obstructionists refuses to support President Obama’s nominee, Vivek Murthy, a well-respected physician and public-health expert. But the NRA doesn’t like him because he stated the obvious: guns are a public health issue. So the Republican obstructionists fall into lockstep behind the NRA and refuse to approve his appointment. Really? Isn’t it time that the NRA and gun lovers do not rule this country? Please vote for Democratic candidates, especially Sen. Mark Udall, who actually have some common sense and are not lock step ideologues.
– Ed Lehner, 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