I'm asking voters to cast their ballot for Jo Ann Baxter in House District 57. This seat in the state Legislature represents Garfield, Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
Jo Ann taught high school in Craig for 29 years, was twice elected to the Moffat County School Board, and now serves on Gov. Hickenlooper's Council on Educator Effectiveness. She worked closely with Russ George and former State Sen. Al White to improve state funding for rural school districts. She promises to make education funding and reform a priority as our state representative.
Jo Ann has sophisticated ideas about energy and the environment. She comes from Craig, home to a coal-fired power plant and extensive natural gas fields. She recognizes the importance energy plays in our region. She also understands the importance of agriculture, recreation, tourism and other economic activities.
What makes Jo Ann Baxter remarkable, and worthy of your vote, is her ability to consider views and ideas that are different from her own. She is a great listener, and has pledged to govern from the center by finding policy and legislative solutions that work for our region and the people who live here.
And finally, a word about her opponent. Two years ago, Bob Rankin was running for the state Senate against Snowmass Village resident Gail Schwartz. In that race, he claimed to live in Aspen. Now he is running for the state Legislature and claims he lives in Carbondale. Which is it?
Jo Ann has lived in Craig for nearly 40 years. She has committed her life to our region. We know who and what we're getting with Jo Ann.
Editor's note: In the interest of fairness, Dan Enright of Silt is also seeking this office as a Libertarian.
I was delighted to read the Post Independent's editorial of Oct. 15, which supports measure 1A, Protect Our Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy. This program is long overdue in Garfield County. It is a well-thought-out, very inexpensive way to preserve our high quality of life - the main reason I choose to live here.
Let's not mince words - it IS a tax increase, albeit a very minimal one. And, it is not taxed on food or prescription drugs. At 0.25 percent, the increase on your bill of $100 is a mere quarter - 25 cents! And, most of these quarters will not be paid by Garfield County residents. We, as county residents, only contribute 40 percent of the sales tax revenue for the county.
This meager tax, however, will produce about $2 million a year to conserve our beautiful land, protect working ranches, and provide a funding stream for worthy outdoor recreational amenities, like trail construction and maintenance.
The program is completely voluntary and will only work with willing landowners. There is a reasonable cap on administrative costs of 5 percent, and the program automatically ends in 10 years. To continue would require another vote of the electorate.
And, in this bitterly fought campaign season, how refreshing that there is an issue that is not a partisan one. Republicans and Democrats alike can support this wonderful program.
So, what's not to like? Nothing. For the benefit of our precious land and water, and to provide a legacy for generations to come, I urge everyone in Garfield County to please consider joining the Post Independent and me in supporting this measure by voting yes on 1A.
I have known Aleks Briedis for many years. I have known Mike Samson for many more years. I know both men to be decent and good individuals. I believe both men care about the future of Garfield County. The difference between the two lies in the philosophy and methodology used to arrive at that future.
Aleks Briedis has worked most recently in the nonpartisan world of municipal government. In Colorado, all municipalities are nonpartisan, where the primary criteria for decision making and forward progress is what is best for the people. That includes all of the people, not just a segment of the population.
Aleks has been involved in processes that take into account all ideas and philosophies and melds them together into action using the best from ALL sources. Aleks is a man of the people, for the people.
Sonja Linman has a background that has dealt with and understands the strength in divergent ideas. Sonja has worked in the development of the future with her background in education. Sonja Linman has the same qualities of leadership as Aleks Briedis. Please vote for Aleks Briedis and Sonja Linman for Garfield County commissioner.
Many voter-related issues in the news include ineligible voters, fraudulent registration drives, mobile app problems, identification requirements, casting ballots in more than one jurisdiction and our secretary of state spending $850,000 on a voter registration initiative to "improve the accuracy of voter rolls."
Amid speculation in previous elections that there were voters who cast ballots in Garfield County and another Colorado county or state, I researched the criminal acts, if such happened. I found nothing on our secretary of state's website, just "subject to the penalties provided by law" self-affirmation on the voter registration. To delineate the penalties on the form would be a way to deter fraud.
Similarly, spurred by the news a Maryland Democratic Congressional candidate dropped out of the race because she voted twice in two different states, I researched if there were national efforts to ensure accurate voting. The Pew Center for the States February 2012 report, "Inaccurate, Costly and Inefficient," estimates 24 million "significantly inaccurate or no longer valid" registrations, 1.8 million deceased individuals listed as voters and 2.75 million voters registered in more than one state.
We would be better served if our secretary of state advocated for a national voter technology effort, rather than ferreting out the less than 0.004 percent of Colorado ineligible voters. He believes his critics are "willing to lie" and "play the racism card" with voter registrations, even amid recent allegations of Republican Party-associated efforts of such fraud in Florida, Colorado, and Nevada.
Enough of such tactics and attacks. A model is in place with commercial driver's licenses, where methods are in place to ensure drivers are not disqualified or hold CDLs in more than one state.
Every vote counts, hopefully accurately and in only one jurisdiction.
It's easy to miss the race for the University of Colorado regents in a hotly contested election like this one. Please don't do it.
We have two contests on our ballot this year. One is for regent at large and the other is regent for the Third Congressional District. In the educational scheme we have today, critical thinking skills are seemingly becoming the exclusive purview of our higher educational institutions, like CU. We need to have people in the regent positions that believe this. This year, we are very fortunate to have two such people vying for your vote.
Keep in mind, these are unpaid positions. Jessica Garrow, candidate in the third district, has spent her entire summer traveling the district. At last count, 15,000 miles. Her commitment to working for the betterment of CU and higher education convinces me she is the person we need in this position. By the way, she has continued with her full time job while doing this. You can learn more about her at www.JessicaGarrow.com.
In the at large race, we have Stephen Ludwig, an incumbent. This race is statewide, and I have no doubt that Regent Ludwig has an equally impressive travel resume, I met him in Rifle one early morning in September. His record as regent is impressive. He has fought for things like collaboration with other institutions so students can transfer credits easily and has worked tirelessly to acquire private funds to support CU with research, facilities and tuition help. You can learn more about Stephen at www.VoteRegentLudwig.com.
These candidates are a credit to our state and to CU and deserve all our votes.
Re: Two letters in the Monday, Oct. 8, Glenwood Springs Post Independent. One was titled "Commissioners should represent all citizens" and the other "Will BOCC stand up for landowners?"
I, too, am fighting a battle with Garfield County as a private property owner. For almost two years, I have tried to get the county to fix an enormous sinkhole that started on a strip of land bordering my back yard. This 49-foot by 149-foot strip is clearly an extension of Colt Drive in Rifle Village South. It does not belong to any surrounding property owners and has not been taxed by the county since 1964. Yet the county says it's not theirs.
My two appeals in front of the county commissioners left me in the hands of the county attorney's office, where I have been ignored for nine months. My yard continues to disappear and they maintain that it is still NOT their problem. Well, just whose problem is it then?
The county accepted the subdivision as originally platted. Commissioner Samson, after visiting my home, said that "mistakes were made," and that "houses never should have been built there."
County Attorney Gorgay read a letter that stated "such properties containing sinkholes and voids could be extremely dangerous. You are advised to remain off said property." This letter specifically lists my lot and yet, 10 years later, Commissioner Martin approved the building of my house.
My house was also allowed to be built over objections from one of the current adjacent landowners regarding potential drainage and erosion problems. And this whole mess is NOT their problem?
I can't help but concur with Mr. Wilks and Mr. Mollica: Our board of commissioners do NOT have the interest of individual taxpayers and property owners at heart.
So, you may be thinking, what can the New Ute Event Center offer until the money is raised and the building completed? How about a street dance and concert?
On Saturday, Oct. 20, the Johnny O Band will perform across the street from the event center. Yes, it is weather dependent, and with the beautiful fall weather we've been having so far, it should be fabulous!
It is so much fun to get a large part of the community together, like a big family party. Getting to see people you haven't seen in a while, or meet people you've never had the chance to get to know. Just think how nice it would be to plan an event like this and not have to worry about the weather. If mother nature didn't cooperate, we could just move indoors to the event center and party on.
The street dance will be a continuation of the Fall Festival that will start in Centennial Park at noon - lots of music, food, and other activities. At 5 p.m., the festivities will move to East Fourth Street for lots more music, food, and entertainment. In addition to the Johnny O Band, other performances include Rock Ridge, Sol de Mexico, ArtillumA Dance Company, and Boom Town Players.
Members of the New Ute Theater Society, or NUTS, will be there in cool black shirts with our logo to answer questions about the event center, serve beer and popcorn, take donations toward the building's completion and provide applications for membership in NUTS.
We hope to see all of you there. It should be a truly enjoyable end of summer/ beginning of the holiday season event. Positive thoughts on beautiful weather much appreciated.
You know it is a topsy-turvy world when your congressman:
• Votes to deeply defund government support for those who need help the most and protect largesse for those who need it the least. Like slashing prenatal and childhood nutrition programs in poor neighborhoods, while voting 18 times to protect the subsidies and tax loopholes for Big Oil.
• Calls himself an "environmental steward," while voting more than 100 times to either defund or otherwise weaken protections for our air and water, like throwing open our roadless and wilderness study areas to logging and any other exploitation the corporate mind can imagine. Like stripping any environmental review from the mine permitting process. Like ignoring or opposing any effort to deal with global warming.
• Joins the popular call for monument status for Chimney Rock, but would not fund it. Like asking the president to declare it, while at the same time working on legislation to prevent his being able to make that declaration.
• Constantly objects to the presence of government in our lives, then votes to have government monitor the private lives of women, with a new, narrow definition of rape.
• Promises to represent us, but then ignores the fact that democracy requires constructive compromise. Like bringing debate to an acrimonious standstill, so the current Congress rates the least productive in 70 years, and with the lowest approval rating of all time.
We must stop this topsy-turvy standing on our heads before serious brain damage occurs. It is time to replace Scott Tipton with Sal Pace, a man of moderate world view who has already demonstrated he can, and would, replace rigid ideology with careful analysis and constructive compromise.
The Oct. 4 edition of the Meeker Herald Times reported three auto accidents had occurred along Colorado Highway 64 between Meeker and Rangely in a week and a half, resulting in two serious injuries and others less serious.
Driver's actions preceding each accident were similar, including possible lack of attention, and, in one case, excessive speed. However, Highway 64 is very unforgiving, where a small mistake can lead to tragedy.
Not having had significant safety improvements for 60 years or so, the highway lacks shoulders, guardrail, wide lanes, and includes surprise curves and short sight distances. A few miles of the highway could classified "paved wagon road."
Unfortunately, this is the story for hundreds of miles of rural highways in Colorado, which have not been significantly improved since constructed in the 1930's and 40's. Highway users are being injured and killed unnecessarily.
Similar tragedies can happen any day along Colorado Highway 13 from Meeker to Rifle, especially between the intersection with Rio Blanco County Road 5 (Piceance Creek) south to Rifle, some 18 miles. There could be a multi-fatal accident at any time. Heavy, slow truck traffic and few opportunities for passing make drivers take chances. More passing lanes are needed.
Our spineless legislators, who care more about getting reelected than about solving real problems, are partly to blame, but the finger also needs to be pointed at the Colorado Department of Transportation.
By accepting priorities set by Transportation Planning Regions instead of by CDOT professionals, roundabouts at Edwards (about $10 million) are being built instead of real problems being solved. Poor design decisions resulted in a documented waste of nearly $1 million on a Highway 13 project about two years ago.
Highway problems are being ignored, but the carnage continues.