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August 10, 2010
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The Korean War began 60 years ago this summer with an unprovoked invasion of South Korea by North Korean forces. The subsequent action by the United States and other countries acting in the name of the United Nations has sometimes been referred to as "the forgotten war," despite it costing the lives of some 37,000 U.S. service personnel and probably more than 2 million Koreans.

Even before the devastation caused by the war, South Korea was a fairly typical "undeveloped" country, characterized by general poverty and a corrupt, authoritarian government. But time has demonstrated that U.S. defense of South Korea has been much more of a success than anyone in the 1950s would have dreamed. In the years since the war unofficially ended in 1953, South Korea has become one of the world's greatest political and economic successes. In stark contrast, the north's commitment to the quagmire of Stalinist era Communism has kept it one of the poorest and most oppressive nations on earth.

As one indicator, the gross domestic product (GDP) per capita in South Korea is about $20,000, which is respectably about 44 percent of that in the U.S. This figure for North Korea might be around $1,500 per capita, but much of it is devoted to military expenditures that contribute nothing to the people's standard of living.

South Korea's success is a credit to the innate energy, intelligence, and civility of the Korean people. But the societal failure of the same ethnic group of people in North Korea demonstrates the enormous benefit of democratic political practices, market-oriented economics, and public education that emphasizes truth over political orthodoxy. The U.S. deserves great credit for the military and economic support that has enabled South Korea to develop these hallmarks of modern civilization.

History never repeats itself precisely, but it does demonstrate outcomes that are possible. In assessing whether "nation building" is possible - or worth the cost - in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan, we should not forget the example of South Korea, where "nation building" has been slow and costly, but indisputably a shining success.

Carl Ted Stude

Carbondale

Homelessness does not just "go away." I am ashamed and disappointed at people's reaction to panhandlers, especially the Carbondale community. I always viewed Carbondale as a very accepting community, people caring and respecting people, just for being people.

When you have nothing and have had to resort to panhandling - rather than, let's say, crime - I imagine you're pretty down and out, at the bottom. Imagine, if you will, having no money, no food, no shelter and no job, so no income coming in. Not much hope there. Feel what that feels like. I think at that point, you'd just be "working" to get through the day.

If you can and want to help, help. And if you don't, don't. But the last thing these unfortunate, fellow Americans need is to be kicked when they're down. When you can't even fly a sign anymore, there's nothing but crime to turn to.

"They" don't look good out there? "They" give folks the wrong idea of Carbondale? It takes every kind of person to make the world go around, people.

Nobody has a lot right now. Times are tough for a lot of people. The whole world doesn't live in your individual, personal box. You need to come out of your box and join the rest of the world. Homelessness, panhandling, hunger - these things are not pleasant to look at. It's depressing, scary, maddening.

Well, this is the world we live in, people. And everybody's just trying to get by and hopefully make it. Why would you deny somebody their chance? Or not give them money/help, hoping they'll just "go away"?

If this issue is not something you as an individual are ready or able to accept, face, or deal with, you don't have to. Look the other way, close your eyes, go another way into Carbondale, do what you need to do, to not be bothered by these "eyesores" who are not hurting you.

Don't expect the world to change around you. It is what it is. Learn to deal with it, don't mess with other people's lives.

Taryn Baldizan-Kramp

Rifle

After meeting Lou Vallario, I must admit he has a pleasant personality. I even led a small but hearty round of applause when he said he wanted all illegal aliens deported. Too bad he only talks the talk.

Unfortunately, all the controversies from taser use to tanks; it's Lou's way or the highway. As Lou said in the ACLU suit, "If you don't like my policies, the courthouse is over there"; so far, that decision has cost almost 1 million tax payer dollars.

With our economy in the toilet, Lou couldn't live without a $300K armored tank. Just in case.

Renting out unused jail space was dismissed by Lou as not worth the "hassle." No cost study, just Lou's infallible opinion.

Don't count the e-mails soliciting campaign contributions from employees or delivering aspirin with a S.W.A.T. team or promoting his former underling lover over a 20-year veteran with a spotless record.

Disregard all that stuff, and vote for Lou Vallario. Not.

Bruno Kirchenwitz

Silt

As the voice of 250 Realtors and affiliates across Garfield County, and with property owners and buyers in mind, the Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors (GSAR) is following the drafting of the new Garfield County Comprehensive Plan. We applaud the county's commitment to make this the right document for our citizens.

Comprehensive plans are traditionally used as advisory documents with land use codes serving as the regulatory documents. The current draft raises questions as to whether this is true. County Commissioners John Martin and Mike Samson have voiced concerns with a comp plan that usurps the authority of the land use code and takes decision-making authority away from the commissioners to do what is right for Garfield County citizens. Future development may require costly text amendments passing on these costs to developers and homebuyers at a time when local economies are struggling. GSAR believes that it must be made clear in the document that the comp plan is an advisory document to guide policy, not an additional strict layer of regulation.

Another worrisome change would be in the Colorado River Valley (CRV), where the underlying zoning is currently 2 acres per dwelling. The new plan will change the zoning to 2-6 acres per dwelling with incentives for "clustering" to control sprawl in rural areas. GSAR supports "clustering" to incentivize smart growth in rural areas, but doesn't believe that 6-acre lots will reduce sprawl. Instead, GSAR believes it would create more sprawl while eating up valuable agricultural land, making affordable rural living unattainable. Leaving the current zoning in place will not prevent clustering, which encourages reduced sprawl and increased open space. The underlying density of 2 acres per dwelling unit should stay in place for the CRV.

Jack Pretti, chair

Glenwood Springs Association of Realtors

I am writing to respond to a letter posted recently from a reader regarding HB1328. This bill provides for the formation of a new energy improvement district that will assist homeowners that choose to join the district.

What the letter writer conveniently chose to omit from her letter is the fact that homeowners must apply to join and that their membership is purely voluntary. Her statements about property seizure relate to homeowners that default on their obligation to pay assessments after they received benefits from the district.

This bill is set up to help homeowners with the costs of installing energy improvements - if they want to join the district.

The more we can move toward energy efficiency the more secure we will be as a nation. I voted to give people the option to reduce their energy expenditures during these really tough economic times.

Kathleen Curry

Gunnison

I am responding to a letter in the Post Independent on Sunday, Aug 8.

My name is Karen Peppers, and I did not write the letter, I approved the content of the letter, but it is not my words.

The letter was written by a friend of one of our clients. Her name is Anita, and she lives in D.C.

Feed My Sheep Ministry thanks the volunteers and all those that support this ministry.

Karen Peppers

Feed My Sheep Ministry

volunteer


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The Post Independent Updated Aug 10, 2010 02:17AM Published Aug 10, 2010 02:15AM Copyright 2010 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.