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Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

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November 4, 2012
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I recently read a letter to the editor that said, "Change is not an option." My experience is that change is constant. I observed Sonja Linman's approach to change: research, evaluate and teach others. Ms. Linman has the heart of an entrepreneur, helping co-found Yampah Mountain High School when she observed the need. Ms. Linman talks about schlepping data and information around as she goes from one debate to another. She has this incredible need to know the data, to understand the problem, to review the solutions with others. Ms. Linman is perfectly suited to professionally manage a county where change has become the norm, not the exception.

Ms. Linman talks passionately about her need to create relationships. Relationship-building is critical to forming a team between citizens and county staff. Our county has already gone through unbelievable changes. The energy boom and bust has created tremendous discontinuity in a county that was focused on tourism, ranching, farming, and living the good life in a beautiful mountain setting prized for it's clean water and air and bountiful wildlife.

Ms. Linman will professionally manage change using the comprehensive plan and land-use plans as tools. She has a rigorous regard for truth and input of the citizens of the county. I love listening to her when her passion for the county takes over the conversation. She is passionate about having an educated county, about the environment and improving the relationship between economic developments, and maintaining our quality of life. Her passion for access to information, her desire to study every issue, while keeping the public informed, are all necessary for this changing environment.

We can't afford to make mistakes that will compromise our water, air, and land for the foreseeable future. Change will be forced upon us by outside influences and we must be willing to mold change so that it is good for Garfield County citizens.

Vote for Sonja Linman, who will lead the citizens of Garfield County through the change that is inevitable.

Tom Rutledge

Glenwood Springs

I support a yes vote for Question 1A on the Garfield County ballot as an investment that will help build property values for everybody in the county in the long term. The Ranchlands, Rivers and Recreation Economy measure establishes the Garfield Open Lands Program and Fund to conserve and protect working farms and ranches and to protect natural areas important for recreation and wildlife.

In short, it helps protect what I like to see and what I like to do. The $3 or so a month extra I will pay in sales taxes is a small investment to maintain Garfield as a special place.

Economic development is not all about new business and construction. It is about creating and protecting a naturally blessed place and keeping it from looking like everywhere else, making it an attractive location where people want to live and do business. It's all part of the same equation.

Let's not ignore 1A's contribution to improving the economy, a subject so much in the local and national headlines.

There are many more reasons to support 1A. But this is the cold, economic view of it.

Jim Pokrandt

Glenwood Springs

Eagle County and its northern neighbor, Routt, together make up newly redistricted House District 26, a surprisingly politically balanced region in our very important swing state.

As of Halloween, Democrats within Eagle County have requested 5,034 mail-in ballots, compared to Republicans' 4,974, making Eagle into what looks like Colorado's most balanced county, according to this measure of partisanship. However, Republican ballot returns are still leading Democrats by 3,007 to 2,696.

The past four election cycles have made Democratic Party candidates into winners in Eagle County, and will do so again this year after Democrats return all their mail-in ballots directly to clerk's offices or appear to vote on Election Day.

Also, we can expect unaffiliated voters to mark their ballots with their thinking caps on and their own best interests in mind. Registered Democrats like myself may tend towards the liberal, but our candidates are squarely in the middle of the political spectrum where a lot of unaffiliated voters prefer them to be. That is why Democrats regularly win elections in "balanced" Eagle County.

Republican spin machines claim the GOP can do more for the economy, but facts flat out contradict this wishful thinking.

Local Ken Ransford's excellent new website, PresidentialEconomics.com, will show how Democratic presidents have far outperformed Republican administrations on a variety of unbiased economic indicators from annual growth in GDP to stock market performance. The Democratic economic advantage shows up over short and long term analysis.

Vote and vote wisely, for producers of provable economic benefits: our excellent Democratic candidates.

Harvie Branscomb

El Jebel

Many editorials have already been written urging voters to vote no on Amendment 64. One of the main concerns is that the amendment is to our state Constitution, which would require another amendment or a state vote to make any changes. Even before this has been put to a vote, two major issues have been highlighted.

Amendment 64 does not entail a residency requirement to purchase marijuana, and out-of-state citizens could take the substance across state lines.

Even Amsterdam recently implemented a residency requirement to limit their exposure, according to UCD Advocate, Oct. 24.

Also, "The provisions for the constitutional amendment legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal uses conflict with some of the provisions in Amendment 64. Bringing them into sync will require expensive litigation that a cash-strapped state cannot afford - or, even worse, another constitutional amendment," stated Roger Sherman in Denver's Westword, Oct. 25.

Another issue I see is that the regulatory unit for medial marijuana is already set to be closed for lack of funds, so "the burden of now regulating it is being thrown on our local police departments across the state and your tax dollars are paying for that currently," stated Dan May, El Paso District Attorney.

At the Oct. 9 Carbondale Board of Trustees meeting, three trustees voted yes to approve the license of a medical marijuana business within 1,000 feet of a school. One trustee stated that he believes the town should leave enforcement of the distance from a center or grow operation to a school up to the feds. Can we trust that marijuana sales will be regulated in the best interest of our community?

Thanks for considering my viewpoint. Please vote responsibly.

Nicki Cannon

Carbondale

Forty-two years ago, my brother and two friends (also brothers) were in the basement of our house in Chicago. They were all going on a vacation trip for the summer after their graduation from high school. One of the friends pulled out a baggie of marijuana. They were afraid to take it with them on their drive to New Orleans, and asked me to hold it for them. As two of them, including my brother, were younger than I was, I was a little surprised. I was in college in Greeley, and while marijuana was pretty common on campus, I was surprised that they were part of the culture. When I asked them about this, they said that "pot" was readily available, and they had been smoking it for quite a while.

Fast forward to 2012. The exposure to marijuana did not have a terribly bad effect on the four young men from 42 years ago, (except, some may argue, on me, having turned into a full-blown progressive.) The two friends went on to earn doctorates, one in biology and one in physics. Both have taught for decades. My brother went on to a successful business career, sold his business and recently, at age 60, earned a PhD in economics. He is teaching now at an exclusive private university.

Now this does not mean that using marijuana will help you earn a doctorate in something. It does show, however, that marijuana has been available for decades. Yes, even to high school kids.

This will never end. I know about a dozen medical marijuana cardholders, all over the age of 50. Many of your friends and associates have or use marijuana. I've known dozens, if not hundreds of users. Readers probably do also, including 13 presidents including the last three.

The War on Drugs started 40 years ago. It has been a total failure, except for the privatized prison industry. It is time for reasonable people to allow adults to make their own decisions about marijuana. Vote yes on Amendment 64.

Craig S. Chisesi

Rifle

I am the mom of a U.S. Army soldier who is currently serving in Afghanistan. On Oct. 29, I learned that no outgoing mail is leaving from his location. My son's voting rights may be denied.

Since there is no fax nor email at his location, there is no other way for him to vote except by paper ballot. Now it seems the ballot cannot be returned in time to be counted.

After contacting my state representative, Randy Baumgardner, he replied immediately, giving me the correct information needed to contact Secretary of State Scott Gessler.

The wheels have already begun turning in an effort to find a solution and save a soldier's vote, along with the ballots of many other soldiers on hold in Afghanistan.

Thanks so much to Rep. Baumgardner and the Secretary of State's office for their help.

Jeanie Durham

Moffat County

As a homeowner in Glenwood Park, I am thrilled to see the Garfield Board of County Commissioners oppose using Four Mile as a route for the gas and oil trucks. As my thrill dissipated, the thought came to me that Tom Jankovsky would not want his Sunlight Mountain skiers impacted in any way from efficiently being able to drive up and down Four Mile. Hmmm.

Sandy Haber

Glenwood Springs

In these last few days before the election concludes, I want to sincerely and humbly thank community members for your support, encouragement and confidence in my ability to represent our community.

Representational democracy is one of the standing principles that make this country great. It is my privilege to have this opportunity to serve, and I take it very seriously.

I believe deeply in the principles of democracy; the right of the people to make decisions for themselves by accessing clear and thorough information, the right of the people to protect their property and the right of the people to speak their minds. I believe it is the government's responsibility to protect these inalienable rights, such as the right to equal protection under law, and the right to safety and security. Our country is strong when our people are strong.

The job of county commissioner is a tough job, and I sincerely thank John Martin for his willingness to serve all these years. Although I believe it is time for a new vision and a more balanced local government, I am grateful for those who are willing to step forward to represent the people.

I ask for your vote at this critical time in our history, and I sincerely pledge to stand beside you and for you as we walk together into the future.

Sonja Linman

Glenwood Springs

After being the subject of countless attack ads, negative election publications, misleading and questionable letters to editors over the past 16 years, I not only understand how these approaches can affect the lives of others, their families and the candidates, I am living through them. I have also seen what it does to the people who believe they have something to offer, as it adds to their unwillingness to enter into elected public life. But most of all, I see and live with how it destroys relationships between lifelong friends and how it divides communities.

This style of attacking is, in itself, a method to control our freedoms, maculate people and the political system. I have never used such approaches, supported nor encouraged this type of campaigning style.

I have witnessed some who find this approach exciting, necessary and the only way to win. I see it as being hateful, bullying and disrespectful.

Now, for those who worry about me through your letters to the editor: I have never promoted, requested nor supported negative campaigning. I do not have cronies to do my bidding; I do not solicit for money from anyone: I never say bad things about anyone. It's not an act, as some try to portray, it's from my heart, my true beliefs and my lifestyle. I know there is always some good in everyone.

I get plenty of sleep. I like hard work. I believe in having clean air and water. I believe in fair, open, honest public process and open government. I don't waste taxpayer money. I have not sold out to anyone.

So, I request from all my supporters to stay positive and ask those who have differing views to speak with fairness and respect about the issue or person you support, as I have done and will always do.

This election period has been long and many have grown weary of the ads and negativity. Let's set a much better standard than what is out there in today's media, and remain civil. If we differ on issues, so be it. But remain positive with the other point of view, live up to the example of the good people we truly are, at least for the generations coming up and watching. Let's stop the belittling and trying to bully one another.

John Martin

Glenwood Springs

I'm writing in support of Garfield County measure 1A, and I wanted to expand on the benefits as they relate to tourism.

As an avid outdoor enthusiast, an average year for me includes probably eight to 10 weekend trips away from this valley, all focused on outdoor recreation. My favorite destinations include Fruita/Grand Junction, Moab, Crested Butte, Durango, Steamboat and Telluride. The world-class biking and hiking opportunities bring me to these destinations, and as a result, the tourism-based businesses in these towns get shares of my business.

Measure 1A got me thinking about what exactly brings me to these destinations, and I came to the conclusion that it relates mostly to the well organized open space and trail systems. A well organized open space program (which all of these destinations have) directly contributes to quality trail systems that draw people in from afar.

It seems that I often come back home to the Roaring Fork Valley and feel a little disappointed. Even though we have an abundance of amenities (including a hot springs pool, a local ski area and an adventure park), we also have public lands that I believe are underutilized.

Many people from the Front Range and central Rocky Mountains pass through Garfield County to get to these same weekend destinations that I enjoy. The growing population of outdoor enthusiasts (spanning almost all age groups) have money to spend, and will willingly spend it while they're enjoying world-class outdoor recreation. Every mountain biker, trail runner and hiker who's making a weekend trip is spending money on gas, dining, hotels/campsites, supplies and even other tourist necessities.

I urge all of my fellow Roaring Fork Valley residents to consider the future benefits of measure 1A. The open-space component of the legislation is a critical component to further growing our reputation as a world-class outdoor destination, as well as growing the market for our existing amenities. In my opinion, a well-organized open space and trails program is one of the best forms of marketing there is for a county like ours.

Brian Pearson

Glenwood Springs

The slogan for the Obama campaign is "Forward." Let's look at where "Forward" is taking us.

Unemployment went up in October to 7.9 percent; unemployment among blacks went up from 13.4 to 14.3 percent. Long-term unemployment has risen to 40.6 percent - that's unemployment lasting for 27 consecutive months or longer - this according to a report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics issued on Nov. 2.

The Center for Immigration Studies reported that two-thirds of those who have found employment under President Obama are immigrants, both legal and illegal. Is it any wonder why the left is fighting voter ID laws?

Since June of 2009, median household incomes have fallen 4.8 percent adjusted for inflation, according to a report by the Census Bureau.

A Senate Budget Committee report showed food stamp growth in America is 75 times greater than job growth under the Obama administration.

How about a little closer to home? In seven counties in Colorado, the unemployment rate is close to or exceeding 20 percent, this according to a letter sent Aug. 29 from the chief economist of the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Overall, Colorado was at 8 percent in September, slightly higher than the rest of the country. Does anyone find this acceptable?

Here's another example of "Forward." According to the Social Security Administration, the number of Americans collecting disability hit another record in October, with 8,803,335 disabled workers collecting benefits, up from the previous high of 8,786,049 set in September. In February 2009, the first full month after Obama took office, there were 7,469,240 workers collecting federal disability insurance. So far in Obama's term, the number of workers collecting disability has increased by 1,334,095. That works out to a net increase of about 29,646 per month. In June 2012, more workers joined the federal government disability program than got new jobs.

The federal debt is over the $16 trillion mark for the first time. That's more than $50,000 for every man, woman and child in the U.S.

Bottom line is American cannot survive Obama moving us "Forward." Vote him out.

Doug Meyers

Glenwood Springs

Today's choices are tomorrow's consequences. We elected Barack Obama and got a $16 trillion debt. We elected John Martin and we got a $125 million surplus. You do the math.

In a few days, the election will be over and we will live with the elected officials.

I am amazed at how self-appointed community organizers from out of state can come into Garfield County and start dictating in a pugnacious fashion how the government should be run. They accuse Commissioner Martin of "not getting enough sleep in order to perform his commissioner's duties effectively." Other excuses for Martin's replacement is that he has a ranch in Eckert that demands too much of his time. Who are these timekeepers, and who provided them with the time cards?

Others complain that some meeting in Utah wasn't properly posted. Then, in a bellicose spirit, they seek to justify the replacement of Commissioner Martin with these foolish excuses.

Frankly, there are no sound reasons for the replacement of Commissioner Martin. Some have said that he doesn't listen. I know of no one who Commissioner Martin will not take time out of his busy schedule and listen to. These repugnant excuses are extricated from the reckless and nefarious minds of those who are the antithesis of sound government.

We have been blessed with an extraordinary servant of Garfield County, a man dedicated not only to the community but to the extremely complicated details of running the largest business in the county. To abrogate his commissionership would be a collective mistake on behalf of the voters.

Today's choices are tomorrow's consequences. There is but one sound choice that can bring balance to both sides of government, and that is John Martin for Garfield County commissioner.

Dave Moore

Silt

My name is Bob Rankin. I'm a Carbondale resident and I'm running for your Colorado House seat to represent Garfield, Rio Blanco, and Moffat counties. Our area is unique and politically challenging. I will be proud to serve and be accountable to you, its citizens.

I can contribute uniquely to the state Legislature. My life experience includes being an electrical engineer, army officer, project manager, and a vice president at Ford Motor Co.'s aerospace subsidiary and a division president at Computer Sciences Corp.

In the last few years, I've been a small business entrepreneur, owner and operator in the Roaring Fork Valley. I've hired employees, and I've had to lay off friends when times were bad.

I'll support a new school finance model that insures equal education opportunity for our rural students. I'll support continued revision of our accountability standards for schools, and I'll support our dedicated teachers and administrators by helping free them from burdensome mandates and reporting.

Public lands make up the majority of our land space. Citizens groups are unifying public opinion and affecting federal decisions. I support these efforts and I want the state of Colorado to take a more active role by analyzing the impacts of federal decisions and supporting citizens groups.

Water is critical to the support of our agricultural and recreation heritage. Eastern Slope interests believe that we have excess water that should be used to fuel urban growth on the Front Range. We have to make a different case.

I believe that energy independence for our country is possible. I'll be part of the effort to protect our environment as we produce coal and natural gas until renewable sources develop. I will support new energy research and actively help our regulatory structure evolve. I will support baseline measurements of air and water quality so that we can objectively assess future impacts.

I'm not backed by any single special interest, but I am supported by all of the business associations, the majority of the medical and health care industry and other job creators.

Thank you for your support and your vote.

Bob Rankin

Carbondale

I am very aware of the massive value of intact and functioning watersheds and ecosystems. We have these natural advantages here and we should keep them as intact as possible, not just for the wildlife and recreation value, but for the larger benefits they provide as natural filters for the air and water that we all share.

Question 1A gives us all a chance to participate in sound land stewardship that has already been taking places in other parts of the country for years now, and has been very successful. Regional and national land stewardship projects have been able to not only help communities regain the priceless benefits that responsible land stewardship provide; they also educate in a way that helps instill pride in the fact that we can get together as a community and take care of the plants, wildlife and water.

Voting yes on 1A allows for careful stewardship of the most fragile areas, so that conservation easements can be used in the most optimal way to keep these systems intact while still allowing responsible development to take place. This way we can build our homes and businesses while maintaining our clean air, water and abundant wildlife. We can have it both ways, but we need to cooperate, and 1A is the way to do it.

I ask anyone who may be skeptical of 1A to take a few minutes to go to www.RRRE.org and read about the measure. The math alone should convince even the shrewdest of you that this is the best way to go for everyone involved. This is a completely voluntary program, and the benefits outweigh the costs 10 to one. I also invite anyone who would like to directly take part in this community-based project to vote yes on 1A.

Patrick Murphy

Glenwood Springs


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The Post Independent Updated Nov 4, 2012 01:00AM Published Nov 4, 2012 12:51AM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.