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October 31, 2012
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Letters to the Editor - Nov. 1, 2012

The 2012 election is wrapping up. For those who are undecided about the race for House District 57 - a newly drawn district that includes Rio Blanco, Moffat and Garfield counties - I wholeheartedly suggest you cast your ballot for Jo Ann Baxter. Baxter has many assets we need at the state legislature. Above all, she listens and understands those issues that are dear to us that choose to live in this region of the state.She has lived, worked and raised a family here. She has a network of connections throughout the state and easily garners respect from others. She is real and cares about the real people of this district and truly understands how to work well with others. Be sure to vote and know that Jo Ann Baxter is the best choose for voters of House District 57.Lois WymoreCraig

As I speak with voters during this campaign, I am often asked about my position regarding the oil and gas industry. There is no simple answer. Supply and demand, and a commitment to domestic energy production, have increased the entire country's focus on sustainable energy development. Many of my friends and former students work in oil and gas, and I appreciate how important these jobs are to them and to our region.As the United States struggles to balance exploration, production and environmental concerns, Garfield County can be positioned as a national leader. We all want clean air and pure, abundant water. We all want to be assured our families are living and working in a healthy and safe environment. We all want a strong and diverse local economy that supersedes the volatile shifts of international cycles. We must provide a stable business environment, while harnessing the industry's most progressive techniques, and we need to set the bar high to ensure best practices. Imagine the boost to our economy if other communities looked to Garfield County as a model.I believe local government must analyze all variables, which may differ between communities. Only by working for solutions, can we achieve this balance. Baseline health and environmental studies are essential, as are sensible regulations. Likewise, our vital watersheds must be protected.I will fiercely protect our health, air, water, and land, while supporting individual communities' right to preserve their quality of life. I will work with the industry to lead our community forward and I will respect the many people whose livelihoods depend upon it. I encourage you to contact me directly if you have further questions. Sonja LinmanGlenwood Springs

The end is near! As long and arduous as this election season has been, it will be done next Tuesday. Now is the time for some last minute thoughts and hopes for the future. 1A.... The ballot measure to protect our Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy is important for Garfield County. The program has been designed with care and concern for the citizens, landowners and tourists who come to Garfield County. We live in an incredible place and now we have the ability to look to the future and vote yes in favor of this proposal.A yes vote:• Works with willing landowners to preserve the county's water, wildlife and working lands,• Provides landowners a viable financial option for preservation,• Affords communities the ability to fund projects of their own (trails, parks, boat ramps) and leverage millions in other funds in the process,• Makes good economic sense to invest in the economic stability and continued growth and health of Garfield County.Vote yes on 1A, vote for the future. Vote today.Mary NooneGlenwood Springs

I have voted for Jo Ann Baxter for Colorado House District 57, and here is why. Ms.. Baxter has lived and worked on the Western Slope for 38 years, with many years of experience in teaching and managing. She clearly cares about the education of our children. This is vitally important as these children are our future. Her doctorate in education makes her uniquely qualified to take Colorado into the 21st century, a century that will revolve around our citizens' capabilities to handle the ever-changing jobs of the future and to compete not only within Colorado and the U.S., but with the world.I have discussed the future with Jo Ann and know she is concerned about the balance of economic development and environmental protection. Her passion revolves around the future of the people of the Western Slope.Jo Ann Baxter is a voice for all of us. Please consider voting for her in this election. Thank you. Colleen Kennedy RutledgeGlenwood Springs

Do you have a seat at the table? All of us would like to be involved in decisions that directly affect us and our children. We all want to ensure a future in which we and our children are prosperous and fulfilled.There are many aspects of our lives where we do not have direct control of our destiny, so it is especially important to be able to exercise some level of control in the areas we can influence. One such area is county government. However, we are at a disadvantage when we lack information regarding the issues that are being decided by government officials. This is where we need a paradigm change in Garfield County government. Contemporary information and communication technology make it easily possible for our county commissioners to communicate directly with the public regarding the major issues before us. Yet they are silent. Yes, the county operates an informational web site, but it is neither up to date nor easy to navigate.Imagine being able to subscribe to a monthly email from your county commissioner highlighting the important upcoming issues and decisions. Would this help you stay in touch with what's happening in Garfield County? Would this create a more engaged citizenry?Instead of having to pry information from our county government, it should be washing over us in a refreshing, cleansing wave.As candidate for county commissioner, Sonja Linman is a new generation, a new breed of politician. Transparency, openness and outreach are at the heart of her campaign. She understands, lives and breathes technology in the service of the public. And she can get things done. A new generation, a new paradigm, a new county commissioner. I'm voting for her.Michael LarimeGlenwood Springs

Here are some things to think about, if you're still thinking about whom to elect president. One of Mr. Romney's criticisms about the president is the loss of certain "green" businesses that the administration backed. Of those receiving funds, about 8 percent went into bankruptcy. The Wall Street Journal, aiming for a comprehensive assessment, examined 77 businesses Bain invested in while Mr. Romney led the firm from its 1984 start until early 1999, to see how they fared during Bain's involvement and shortly afterward.Among the findings: 22 percent either filed for bankruptcy reorganization or closed their doors by the end of the eighth year after Bain first invested, sometimes with substantial job losses. An additional 8 percent ran into so much trouble that all of the money Bain invested was lost. So much for business acumen. Mitt's claim of saving the Olympics neglects to mention the $1.5 billion in federal funds he requested. Mitt's claim about turning around Massachusetts fails to mention its 47th place ranking in job creation, or his 38 percent approval rating. But if you're still undecided, based on documented speeches and policy statements, a vote for the GOP will (in no particular order, except for Day One): Eliminate the Environmental Protection Agency, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Departments of Energy and Education. ObamaCare will be thrown out, as will Dodd-Frank (Wall Street regulations) and pesky drilling regulations. Despite their claims, women's rights, gay rights, worker's rights will all be under attack.Vote for Romney/Ryan if you agree more war and military spending is a good thing. Or if you believe Iran is landlocked. Vote for President Obama because you understand we are headed in the right direction. Because we are. Craig S. ChisesiRifle

Jo Ann Baxter was my history teacher in high school. She made history interesting to her students because of her enthusiasm, passion and knowledge of history. This intensity that Jo Ann brought to the class room is the same devotion I feel she will bring to representing the citizens of District 57. I have called Jo Ann several times over the past few years to ask her questions about the American system of government and her answers were accurate and compelling. Our discussion over the phone about the Electoral College versus the popular vote was my favorite, and she explained to me the advantages of the electoral system. We need a representative from our community that has studied history and government for a lifetime and who has earned a PhD in educational leadership, further demonstrating her energy and work ethic.In one of our conversations, she stated we need a well-educated populace in order to improve our economic status. My father was a teacher in Craig for over 25 years and he always stressed the importance of a good education and improving our schools. This same spirit is alive and well in Jo Ann Baxter.We also talked about the importance of coal in our area and in the state of Colorado. Jo Ann said that without coal, Craig and the surrounding area would not be as prosperous as it is today, and that coal is very important to our energy needs. She also said the mines provide coal miners with permanent work, and these individuals contribute to, and build, a strong community. It is time we have a well-informed, energetic candidate represent us from our community in Craig. Vote Jo Ann Baxter in District 57.Greg CortezCraig

I desire to address an important issue. Please do not believe the negative, mean-spirited, politically-motivated allegations in the letters to the editor or from other sources. Please judge John Martin and Mike Samson on their character, integrity and work ethic. I believe we have always run good, positive campaigns and we will continue to do so. Garfield County is in good shape. If we are re-elected, you can expect to see the county continue to progress on the right track, as it has for the past four years. Now for the really important part: Please remember to vote for solid candidates and encourage all to do so, from the national to the local levels.Mike SamsonGarfield County Commissioner, District 3Rifle

We need a representative like Bob Rankin in Denver who can help get our economy on track and also solve some big issues facing our state.Our legislators have to deal with a myriad of technical issues and a difficult budget. Hundreds of bills pass through the Colorado Legislature every year but we still don't have solutions to school financing or a way to fund our roads and bridges. Health care alone can break the state budget. We have structural problems, brought on by constitutional amendments that need to be addressed. Bob will be a unique representative for our district. He has been a corporate president responsible for thousands of employees. He has founded and operated several small businesses in Colorado. He works hard to understand our western Colorado industries of agriculture, tourism and energy. His efforts have earned him endorsements from the Colorado Contractors Association, the Colorado Farm Bureau, the Colorado Association of Commerce and Industry, the National Federation of Independent business and the Associated Builders and Contractors. These business endorsements add to those from the medical community, automotive industry and others.These endorsements are not given lightly and they indicate that Bob Rankin is trusted to create jobs and help get our economy moving. He knows that private sector job creation is the only way to develop the revenue to pay for the services that Colorado citizens expect. And while he's helping private sector job creators, he can look at the big picture of Colorado's future, providing much needed leadership for the state. I support Bob and look forward to working with him. Gregg RippyGlenwood Springs

Friday night, I attended the Rifle vs. Delta football game. It was a well-played game and the Rifle team was impressive. What impressed me more than their play was their sportsmanship. Many times, they would help the Delta players up of the ground. They were respectful to the officials, handing them the ball and shagging balls for them. I heard many comments from the people in the stands about how Rifles' boys were doing the right thing.Rifle should be proud of the way their football team represents them. Aaron ClayDelta

I am asking for your vote to be your state representative. Redistricting has opened this seat to the possibility of having a long time resident of this area to represent you on matters of education funding, water resource management, economic development and the environment.My opponent and I have very different values on a number of issues important to this district. With education funding, for instance. I am a strong supporter of our public schools and will work hard to find ways to bolster the state's financial support for education. My opponent has called for committing your tax dollars toward vouchers for private schools.On energy, economic development and the environment, I support traditional and alternative energy development, but am intensely aware of the need to protect our environment and economic activities, such as agriculture, outfitting, tourism and recreation. I will work hard to find a balance that benefits residents throughout the district.I am a native Coloradan and 38-year resident of Moffat County. I raised my family here, taught school for many years and was elected twice to the Moffat County Board of Education. Governor Hickenlooper recently re-appointed me to the State Council for Educator Effectiveness. I am a Democrat who has worked hard to collaborate with my fellow board members and teachers over the years, and understand the need to take different views into account when setting policy and making decisions.I believe participation matters, that government matters and that democracy matters. That is why I am running to be your representative.For more information about me and my stand on several issues, visit my website, I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 6.Jo Ann BaxterCandidate for House District 57

I recently attended Rifle's "Tour de Downtown" event, where conceptual designs for a variety of small projects to attract development and investment in the downtown were on display at the library. One idea looked at expanding Centennial Park by creating a trail on the east side of Rifle Creek. Ideas presented earlier this spring included adding trails to connect our downtown to residential areas, the Colorado River and the historic (unused) bridge, which fits well with plans to create a new boat ramp and trails on the south side of the river. As I consider these projects, and Rifle's future, two things strike me. One, they will all take money to build. Two, question 1A provides an obvious source of funding for these and similar projects, if it is passed by the voters this fall. The Ranchlands, Rivers, and Recreation Economy Sales Tax would create a county-wide fund to (1) purchase development rights from willing landowners, providing an incentive for preserving agricultural land and wildlife habitat while keeping private lands in private hands; (2) provide grants to municipalities or the county to purchase land from willing landowners to create parks, trails and other public recreation projects. Costing the average household $3.25 per month, about as much as fancy coffee, 1A will make investments that diversify our economy and enhance our quality of life. Western Garfield County in particular has much to gain from 1A. In addition to expanding opportunities in Rifle, 1A could fund projects and amenities in communities throughout the county. Invest in our future, our economy and our quality of life. Vote yes on question 1A. Skye SieberRifle

Editor's note: This letter was originally addressed to members and supporters of The New Ute Theatre Society.We would to thank you for your membership and your continued support of the New Ute Event Center. We have made wonderful progress as we enter into the next phase for the center. We would like to take this time to update you on the current obstacles we are facing. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Rifle City Council met to review the 2013 budget. Many of the NUTS board members were present to encourage them to move forward with beginning interior construction. We asked council to allocate the funds from the 2013 budget. The council decided to included the project in the draft 2013 budget, which will be up for consideration at the Nov. 7 council meeting. Apparently, as some of the money will come out of the capital fund, it takes more than a majority vote (at least 5 out of 7) to pass. The major obstacle is the cost of operations and management after it is built. They have asked NUTS to come up with a transition plan for O&M and present it at the council meeting. We are working hard on that plan and will have it ready by Nov. 7. This is where you, as a member, can help. We encourage all of you to show your presence at the Nov. 7 city council meeting. We strongly believe that if our community shows their overwhelming support for the Ute, they will have no reason not to pass the vote. Please spread the word. We cannot stress how important this meeting is for the future of The New Ute Events Center. Again, we are very grateful for your support.Board of DirectorsNew Ute Theatre Society Rifle

Many of us received a political postcard designed to convince us not to vote for a particular candidate. The candidate the authors of this postcard are trying to discredit is Sonja Linman, a candidate for Garfield County Commissioner. The card features an unfocused picture of Ms. Linman with the word "FAIL" scrawled in red. It is an amateur, desperate and pathetic example of attempted political character assassination.This postcard was not sent by Ms. Linman's opponent, John Martin, but rather by a Grand Junction-based outside political group with their own agenda for Garfield County.The text in the card asserts that a property tax increase is a major part of Ms. Linman's political objectives. Nothing could be further from the truth. As a member of Ms. Linman's campaign staff, I can tell you there are no proposed tax increases in her platform.The untruthful assertion regarding Ms. Linman's tax policy is not the only factual inaccuracy in this card. The card encourages you to call Ms. Linman at a phone number which, in fact, is not hers. I know because it is my phone number. This may give you some indication of how rigorously the authors of this card have checked their facts.And if you want to check the facts, Ms. Linman's positions and platform are laid out publicly, in full sight, on her web site, Clearly the authors of this card chose to ignore all the information publicly available in regard to Ms. Linman's candidacy.Don't let outside political or economic interests sway your vote. Check the facts. Vote your convictions, not someone else's.Michael LarimeGlenwood Springs

As the owner of Glenwood Springs Ford, I encourage you to vote for Bob Rankin for House District 57. As an outdoor recreation enthusiast, I appreciate that Bob is encouraging access to public lands. He has taken the time to listen to the needs of small business owners and has been one himself, so he understands what we need to revitalize our Colorado economy. The Colorado Automobile Association joins numerous organizations in endorsing Bob to work for us in Denver. Help ensure the health of businesses throughout the Western Slope by joining me in voting for Bob Rankin.Zach CarlsonGlenwood Springs

If you hunt or fish, I urge you to vote "yes" on question 1A, the Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy measure. 1A creates a local source of revenue to enable willing landowners to preserve lands that provide habitat for game and support healthy fisheries. Rifle is regularly recognized as one of the best places to hunt and fish in the country. It's a big part of our economy. We're fortunate to have a number of large, well-managed ranch properties that provide habitat and migration corridors for wildlife. Anglers know that healthy fisheries also rely on healthy riparian corridors. 1A will create a non-regulatory program to invest in areas that our fish and game rely upon. Landowners gain equity from their land through conservation. For our communities, it creates a pool of funds for new parks and trails, like Rifle's Centennial Park. The cost is a minimal 0.25 percent sales tax that isn't collected on food or prescription drugs. It will cost the average family less than $3.25 a month. That is a worthwhile investment for anyone serious about diversifying our economy. 1A is streamlined and efficient and has accountability measures built in. A maximum of 5 percent of the revenue can be used for administrative costs; any leftover will go back into the program. 1A does not create a new county department or require new staff. It will be administered by an appointed board of people from throughout the county. And, the program is temporary. It automatically expires in 10 years. Now is the time to put this type of program in place. If you don't hunt and fish, but care about our economy and quality of life, 1A deserves your vote. Raymond LangstaffRifle

This letter is not for everyone, just a select audience, those intending to vote for Obama, those still undecided, and those registered, but not intending to vote.By constitutional provision, Joe Biden becomes president if - heaven forbid - the vacancy occurs. Between 1901 and 1974, five vice presidents have presided due to four presidential deaths and one resignation. Considering his conduct in office certainly raises serious questions, especially regarding his lack of leadership skills and questionable judgment. Biden's proclivity for bloviating is well documented by his many gaffes.Is this a racial innuendo referring to Obama? "I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man." Is this a loose canon remark? "In Delaware, the largest growth of population is Indian Americans, moving from India. You cannot go to a 7-11 or a Dunkin' Donuts unless you have a slight Indian accent. I'm not joking." Is this mindless befuddlement? "Stand up, Chuck, let 'em see ya." (To Missouri State Senator Chuck Graham, who's confined to a wheelchair).Is this off the wall denigration? "They're going to put y'all back in chains."Is this out-of-touch ignorance? "How many of you know someone who's served in Iraq and Iran?" He asked this twice at a Nevada rally on Oct. 18. Many Democratic drones, along with Harry Reid, raised their hands. Do they not know, we do not have troops stationed in Iran. Yet.Just a heartbeat away from the office of president, Biden is hardly "presidential" and actually an embarrassment to many in his party. Please help safeguard America. Vote for Romney and Ryan.Richard DoranParachute

Over the past several weeks, the Checks and Balances "bipartisan" survey has been mentioned many times. In Ms. Sherman's Oct. 5 letter to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent and the same paper's endorsement of Linman and Samson a few days later, for example.What has not been mentioned is that the survey is not as "bipartisan" as some make it out to be.The survey was funded by the Checks and Balances Project. When one studies their organization closely, it's clear to see they are no friend of the energy industry, with clear left-wing ideologies.Regarding the survey, they built their case based on biased question wording leading to answers that align with their political views.In addition to providing leading questions, the survey also failed to randomize the statements that followed each action of the Garfield County Commissioners (with the exception of question #8). Although instructions were given to randomize the actions (i.e. survey questions) of the commissioners, the supporting statements below each question were not randomized; the critical viewpoint was always stated first, further biasing the respondents answers. These small details can make a difference. Leading questions provide biased answers. Given the stated purpose of the Checks and Balances Project, such bias is not a surprise. As such, it is all the more remarkable that 53 percent of respondents approve of the commissioners' governance, while only 26 percent disapprove. Conclusions drawn from such a survey and presented as fact mislead the public and provide an inaccurate picture of true public sentiment. John CooperTreasurer, Campaign To Elect John Martin County CommissionerCedaredge

Jo Ann Baxter has the experience and ideas we need for a healthy future in Colorado. Baxter has extensive experience in education. More than 30 years as a teacher, 8 years on the Moffat County School Board and a PhD in educational leadership. She raises critical questions about our school system, such as whether standardized test scores should be the ultimate measure of our children's progress. In contrast, her opponent, Bob Rankin, has zero experience in public education. He wants to move Colorado to a voucher system, trusting the education of our children to "free market" competition. Didn't the collapse of Wall Street teach us that even our economy cannot be left to an unregulated free market system?Regarding the economy, Rankin is putting all his eggs in one basket: The oil and gas industry. One of his highest priorities is to "push back" against federal regulations of the industry. In contrast, Baxter recognizes that enticing businesses to locate (and remain) in Colorado requires that we maintain a high level of livability in our communities, and that we must balance the various economic drivers in our state.Baxter has been elected twice to public office and was appointed to the State Council on Educator Effectiveness. She has extensive experience in collaboration and consensus-building. Rankin has never been elected to public office and has no legislative experience.The one area in which Rankin has Baxter beat is in campaign finances, collecting over three times the amount of campaign funds as Baxter, including contributions from over 10 times as many political action committees as Baxter. Do we want this election to be determined by whichever candidate has the most money and receives funds from the most number of PACs?Please vote for Jo Ann Baxter for House District 57. Debbie BruellCarbondale

If you are like me, you're very happy this election season is finally ending.The most important decisions to me are our county commissioner races. What you need to remember is that you and everyone living in Garfield County for the last 20 years are experts in the subject of energy extraction. The BLM made a very important and correct decision to limit leasing for research on oil shale to give time to see if there is a way to feasibly get the oil from the rocks. Our commissioners, in a hidden and illegal meeting, decided to protest that decision. That decision has been rescinded, but we must still question why it was made in the first place.Aleks Briedis and Sonja Linman will not do this to you, Garfield County. These people are approachable and not prone to deception. We need them.I am a Democrat, and as such I'll urge you to vote my ticket. I am also a lifelong resident of Garfield County. I love this place. We have had a diverse economy here forever. Extraction has come and gone more times than I can count in my lifetime. Aleks and Sonja will take advantage of our economic diversity, not because it is new, but because it has always been here. There was no gas drilling when I grew up here, yet we survived, and so did you. From Obama/Biden, to Sal Pace, to Emily Tracy, to Jo Ann Baxter, to Regent Ludwig and Jessica Garrow, and to Sherry Caloia and to Aleks Briedis and Sonja Linman, your interests are ours. Vote for yourself, vote Democratic.David MeadRifle

I read that the Glenwood Springs Post Independent has endorsed a single issue educator as its candidate for House District 57. They characterized Bob Rankin as "too far right." What is the Post Independent's definition of too far right? He is pro business and jobs. Does that mean that pro business and jobs is too far right? In addition to business and jobs, education has always been a key part of Bob Rankin's platform. He is committed to helping our dedicated teachers and principals deliver a higher level of education to our children and be rewarded for their efforts.Bob Rankin is the only candidate who has the experience to aggressively represent both our business and education needs. We need leadership, not another lobbyist for teacher's unions.Jon WarnickCarbondale

A vote on question 1A is a vote for our children's future. We have a chance to preserve more of our county's invaluable natural assets for future generations. Ranchlands, rivers, and recreation are central to our quality of life, and underpin our recreation-based economy. These natural amenities attract and retain investors, employees, and entrepreneurs, which ultimately fuel our economy, bolster our housing values, and afford a better quality of life for us and our children. As a sportsman, I'm impressed with the broad base of support for question 1A, which includes endorsements from the Holy Cross Cattlemen's Association, West Slope Oil and Gas Association, Bull Moose Sportsmen's Coalition, and the Ferdinand Hayden Chapter of Trout Unlimited.As an avid skier, hunter, and fly fisherman, I'm excited about the new access to public lands this will provide. As a father, I look forward to sharing these open spaces with my son in the future.Most of all, however, I support the voluntary nature of this program. Rather than exact open space from otherwise enthusiastic developers or unwilling landowners, 1A creates a pot of funds which can only be used to enter into voluntary conservation agreements with willing landowners. Funds will be used to create parks, trails, and recreation opportunities, as well as preserve working ranches, wildlife habitat, and valuable riparian corridors.As an unaffiliated voter, I oppose any increase in the size or influence of government. But this program is a well-designed, lean, and temporary program that will reap far more in rewards than it costs citizens, creating the greatest amount of good of the greatest number in the long run. Please join me in voting yes on 1A to support or economy, and our quality of life.Chad LeeGlenwood Springs

I have had the privilege to live all over Garfield County for the last eight years. I am also blessed to work in an industry that allows me to interact with a diverse group of business owners. I have noticed the amazing impact one industry has on our local economies. Have we learned nothing from our past? Garfield County cannot risk being a one-industry county. Our leadership has a responsibility to advocate for small businesses and key industries in the area to ensure a diverse economy. We need an economy that is not subject to the whims of one or two international corporations.Aleks Briedis has repeatedly used health and recreation industries as an example of where our county can diversify its economic interests. His stated goal is to make Garfield County the healthiest in the state. The nerve of him. How dare he want to build an active, healthy community for our children to grow up in? How could he possibly believe that is reasonable, or even possible? What could he possibly be thinking?Aleks brings a different leadership style as a county commissioner. He believes in this radical idea of listening first, then deciding the right course of action. Far too often, we have heard the commissioners make up their minds before public input is considered, dismiss the people they work for and suppress the voice they should advocate for.Aleks Briedis is the right leader for Garfield County.Tim StolleyCarbondale

Jo Ann Baxter is an attentive listener who will truly represent constituents. She is a master of consensus building through cooperation, and compromise, committed to finding quality solutions to tough issues. Vote Baxter for a better Colorado.Pete BergmannFormer superintendentMoffat County School DistrictCraig

The Ranchlands, Rivers, and Recreation economy measure, question 1A, is an opportunity we as a county cannot afford to pass up. Garfield County's greatest assets are our lands and rivers. For generations, these lands have been used for ranching and recreation, and they remain critical cogs in our local economy. It only makes sense to invest in our greatest assets. Vacationers travel from all over to enjoy the natural beauty, recreational opportunities and quality of life that this county provides. This sustains local business and provides valuable jobs. Hunters and anglers understand the value of healthy wildlife habitat and river corridors, and the businesses that cater to them do, too. With a 10-year sunset clause and an affordable sales tax amounting to roughly $3.25 per family per month (a little more than a cup of coffee) this a no-brainer. Not only will a program like this support our economy, it supports our quality of life. If you love the beautiful views, enjoying time by the river, walking on a trail, or catching a glimpse of wildlife, this measure is for you.Recently, I was in the lobby of Colorado Mountain College's Glenwood Center when a picture caught my eye. It showed the Roaring Fork Valley near Glenwood Springs in 1925. It was a stark contrast to the valley we know today. I had to stop and wonder what our valley might look like 100 years from now, if we don't act to protect the place that we love. Or looking forward, what will Garfield County be like for my children? Will they have the same quality of life that we do today? Vote yes on 1A to stimulate our economy and protect the beautiful place that we call home. Philip HalliwellGlenwood Springs

As a resident of State Senate District 8, I hope to elect a senator I can be proud of. I do not believe Randy Baumgardner will fill this expectation. Three events reflect poorly on our current state representative.First, when faced with a possible change in district boundaries, Rep. Baumgardner claimed he resided in Jackson County where he said he leased grazing land. His residence, according to residents of Hot Sulphur Springs, continued to be in Grand County. Second, the Denver Post reported Rep. Baumgardner had a registered sex offender living in his Hot Sulphur Springs home, a 32-year-old man who victimized a 14-year-old girl when he was 24. According to the paper, Baumgardner did not report the man was living in his home, as required by Colorado law. When questioned, he related that everyone makes mistakes when they are younger. We trust most do not make the mistake of abusing juvenile girls. His cavalier statement also shows a lack of respect for assault victims.Third, his primary campaign against a respected member of our community revealed his true nature. A campaign mailer showed a picture of two men kissing, with the headline "State Senator Jean White's idea of 'family values?'" The intelligent voters of Northwest Colorado do not wish to be pandered to. I hope to elect a state senator who is a valued member of our community. Randy Baumgardner is not that community member. His record reveals a man who will do anything to hold onto his political position, including appealing to the lowest common voter denominator. I believe his opponent, Emily Tracy, will be a Colorado State Senator we can all be proud of.Andrew MillerFraser

Be prepared for last-minute election campaign shenanigans from John Martin's supporters. Listen for it on your local radio stations and look for it in your mailbox. The deep-pocket, oil and gas industry-supported, PACs and 527 groups are sure to be sending you negative messages about Sonja Linman, John Martin's challenger for Garfield County Commissioner. These tactics have boosted Martin's campaigns in the past, but please don't be fooled this time. Sonja Linman brings integrity and compassion for our county's citizens, unlike the industry PACs who support Martin, who will do anything to expand corporate profits.John Martin may claim he has nothing to do with the oil and gas PACs, but I believe his record speaks for itself: He participated in secret meetings to support oil shale industry interests, he pulled the plug on a community health assessment when the industry became nervous that the truth about industry impacts might come to light, and he fired longtime, dedicated county employees who had the audacity to serve the county with integrity.Sixteen years is enough. Garfield County deserves better. Sonja has demonstrated strong and consistent leadership while building a track record of successful collaborative partnerships stretching from Parachute to Carbondale. She will bring true representation and full-time professional management to the office, which we all deserve.Please join me in voting for Sonja Linman for Garfield County Commissioner.George WearGlenwood Springs

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The Post Independent Updated Oct 31, 2012 05:46PM Published Oct 31, 2012 05:34PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.