Your column ("Rec center history shows issue faces a bumpy ride," Feb. 21) suggested that if we took a ride from Parachute to Gypsum we would find that every town has some sort of recreation center.
That is the case in Fort Worth, where I live, too. We have many 24-hour fitness facilities, YMCAs and other for-profit gyms and training centers. All of these are paid for by the people who use them.
If there is a need in Rifle, private entrepreneurship will discover it, do a feasibility study, sell the idea to investors and then build it, if it all makes sense. Which of the communities along I-70 that you mentioned have what Rifle has: new parks, a wonderful library and City Hall with underground parking, a subsidized multi-screen movie facility, a great fairgrounds facility, a mountain park, and tons of new infrastructure, including sidewalks, attractive street lights, good roads, an attractive entrance to the city and many great schools. Should all these other communities go into debt in an effort to keep up with Rifle?
Private enterprise will invest where there is a real need, accompanied by the needers' willing to pay. Give private enterprise a chance to meet the need, if it is real. City charters are not in place to compete with private enterprise.
By the way, the city of Fort Worth is scratching its head about what to do with a large golf course (Boaz) it can no longer afford to operate. Private enterprise has supplied many beautiful golf courses in our city.
I'm speaking not just as a Texas resident but as a property tax, sales tax, and bedroom taxpayer in Rifle for the past 37 years.
Fort Worth, Texas
Editor's note: The following two letters were addressed to David Kubeczko, oil and gas specialist with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.
I live, work, recreate, and will someday procreate in and around the Thompson Divide area. I grow a garden, drink the water, breathe the air, and generally live a healthy life. All of these activities require clean water and air. Hydraulic fracturing, as it stands today, has a well-documented atrocious environmental track record.
I am asking that you please do everything in your power to stop fracking efforts in Thompson Divide. I beg you.
Thank you for honoring our deepest concerns for protecting our pristine wilderness in the Thompson Divide area, as well as the clean water supply for our rivers, fish, our ranchers, food growers, wildlife and our thriving community that depends on the preservation of our wild lands and the vitality of our valley. Our community is very supportive of maintaining the quality of life we have worked hard to grow and develop for generations to come.
Please hear the voices of those of us who depend on our environment for our economic well-being. As a resident of the Roaring Fork Valley for more than 40 years, I have lived through the boom and bust type of economy in oil and gas exploration, as well as coal production in this valley and on the Western Slope. The temporary gain does not outweigh the long-term issues and sacrifices. Thank you for preserving our limited resources.
This headline of a Feb. 20 Forbes article, written by Angelo M. Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University and a Fellow of the Claremont Institute, really got my attention:
"As country club Republicans link up with the Democrat ruling class, millions of voters are orphaned"
As one of the "orphaned voters," this term resonated and prompted my interest, as I hope it may with others who feel betrayed by many of our leaders:
"On Jan. 1, one third of Republican congressmen, following their leaders, joined with nearly all Democrats to legislate higher taxes and more subsidies for Democratic constituencies. Two thirds voted no, following the people who had elected them.
"For generations, the Republican Party had presented itself as the political vehicle for Americans whose opposition to ever-bigger government financed by ever-higher taxes makes them a 'country class.' Yet modern Republican leaders, with the exception of the Reagan administration, have been partners in the expansion of government, indeed in the growth of a government-based 'ruling class.' They have relished that role despite their voters.
"Thus these leaders gradually solidified their choice to no longer represent what had been their constituency, but to openly adopt the identity of junior partners in that ruling class. By repeatedly passing bills that contradict the identity of Republican voters and of the majority of Republican elected representatives, the Republican leadership has made political orphans of millions of Americans. In short, at the outset of 2013, a substantial portion of America finds itself un-represented, while Republican leaders increasingly represent only themselves."
It is long, but very meaningful and enlightening. I hope you will read it online. Needless to say, you'll not find this in the liberal press.