Holding ADU plan to the flame

To the editor,

I noted in your Dec. 3 article that city officials are really flummoxed about ADU’s – starting with the “math is hard” part about counting them. Fortunately, folks (outside of government) have already counted them and even put them on map, so that hard part is done. Perhaps the officials should thank those folks with extra toes and fingers who could do this hard part of looking and counting.

Now the really hard part: “How do we handle this?” asked City Planner Scott Shine, quoted in your recent article. “We don’t want to go in and aggressively kick people out of their unit.”

Well, the answer lies in history. Some of us recall a few restaurants in Durango burned down, for lack of code enforcement and adequate inspections. Then, code inspection changed a bit, giving us fewer and smaller restaurant fires.

So, to answer the “how do we handle this” question, per City of Durango practices, the answer is we wait till one or more ADU’s burn down, perhaps toasting some folks, or, perhaps, till their illegal sewer and water hookups generate a pollution or water-quality issue through some malfunctions in their substandard plumbing.

One also might question the City of Durango’s hesitation to “kick people out of their unit” as an ADU dweller isn’t an owner. By definition, the unit belongs to a landlord, who hopefully has a better place to live and a checkbook that will cover the expenses needed to bring their ADU’s into regulatory compliance, and thus, be safe to live in.

Marie Antoinette is badly thought of for suggesting the poor eat brioche; the City of Durango is suggesting that they be toast.

– Robert C. Evans, Durango

Vote Bernie, vote for middle class

To the editor,

Before I made Durango my home, I was born and raised in the deep South, Louisiana to be specific.
In Louisiana, I noticed an alarming amount of wealth inequality, political corruption, poor schools, roads that were never repaired, etc. Passing through Durango in the summer of 1997, I instantly felt like I was really home. We moved here two years later, and my family has thrived in this progressive college town with the most beautiful scenery and great community. Ah Durango, I love you.

Alas, we struggle to make it here.

We are the middle class and we feel the constant pressure of trying to financially raise a family here. I believe that Bernie Sanders is the only presidential candidate who speaks the truth. He is optimistic and he is ready to continue the fight for the middle class which he has been doing for the past 16 years as a U.S. senator.

I am an Independent, but I have registered as a Democrat in order to choose Bernie as the Democratic candidate over Hillary Clinton. I want transparency in politics and I want big money out of politics so that it can once again become a government of the people, not just of a few select.

Look at Bernie’s record. He is not a hypocrite. He has been working for and standing up for the middle class for over 40 years. Look at how he votes. Look at who he stands up for. Listen to him debate. Fact check what he says.

In past elections, I voted for the candidate that was the “lesser of two evils.” This election, I am voting for the candidate who I think is the best and most effective candidate.

If you are registered as an Independent or a Republican, it is necessary to switch your registration status to Democrat in order to vote for Bernie Sanders in the Colorado Presidential Primary election on March 1. You can change your affiliation back after this primary election. Go to www.govotecolorado.com to register as a Democrat in order to choose Bernie. Deadline is Dec. 31, 2015.

– Dana Fontenot, Durango

Keeping us in the DARK on GMOs

To the editor,

After huge pressure and gigantic campaign donations, the House has passed the DARK act (Denying Americans the Right to Know), making it illegal for states to label GMO foods. Vermont was set to be the first state to institute such labeling in the summer of 2016. This law passed legislatively and has been signed by Vermont’s governor. It’s what the citizens want. In fact, surveys have consistently shown that over 90 percent of Americans want GMO foods labeled.

GMOs are banned in some countries due to safety and health concerns and labeled in at least 64 countries. But in America, the industry refuses to label GMOs, instead choosing to only label NON GMO foods, citing GMO foods pose no health threats, have never been proven unsafe (they’ve really never even been tested in any objective way by our agencies) and are “substantially equivalent.” That’s right after they leave the patent office with their patent for something so unique it gets one.

Now the Senate and House, on the verge of having to pass a gigantic omnibus spending bill, is considering various riders to this bill, which has to be passed and be passed soon. The Senate Agricultural Committee, of which Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., is a member, is considering adding the DARK act rider to this bill as well. This is preposterous and shows so transparently what is wrong with this country. Money buys politicians (who don’t even care what the public wants anymore) and corporations get what they want. Please contact Bennet and the other Ag Committee members (agriculture.senate.gov) and tell them we demand the right to know what’s in our food, and they do NOT have the right to trample states’ rights to label GMOs by passing this bill as a rider attached to another bill.

– Julie C. Meadows, Durango

Forest helps grieving families

To the editor,

The Peter Carver Memorial Forest and Geologic Overlook has been an ongoing project for the last few years following the untimely passing of Peter Carver in 2013 in an avalanche north of Silverton. Sixty-five trees were planted at the top of Chapman in 2013 and 2014. Last month, an additional 18 were planted at the Geologic Overlook to enhance the interpretive displays, which will be completed in 2016. None of this would be possible without the support of the City of Durango, Fort Lewis College, Great Outdoors Colorado and Trails 2000. This project has helped Peter’s family and friends come together to heal through the therapeutic practice of planting trees. This year, three other families, whom have also lost a son or daughter, have come together to plant a grove within the forest. We want to thank the Buchanans, Gordons and McLeans for their contributions with the hope that the forest will provide them with as much comfort as it has the Carver family. 

We want to thank the numerous local people and businesses that have helped us with the Geologic Overlook portion of the project through the donation of materials or their time and expertise. Often these donations have come without us even asking; it is incredible to have such a supportive community. We also want to give an enormous thank you to our 50+ volunteers for their time and effort and to everyone who has donated to this project.

– Claire Carver and Paul Wilbert, Durango