Letters to the Editor | PostIndependent.com

Letters to the Editor

Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

I am responding to Betty Scranton’s letter to the editor of Aug. 31, concerning the Aug. 15 Garfield Board of County Commissioners meeting.

Ms. Scranton stated, “There was no protest. No one objected to the vote.” I attended and participated in this meeting. I listened to everyone, and I spoke twice. I expressed my belief that this and future boards consider the desires of the citizenry when making their decisions. Combined, I think I spoke for about 15 minutes.

I encourage anyone to watch the video recording of this meeting for yourself. Visit the county website (www.garfield-county.com) and witness the verbatim testimony given at the meeting. Contact Marian Clayton or Kathi Rozzi to receive an email copy of verbatim minutes from any meeting.

I attended and testified at this important meeting, driven to engage in a dialogue with others on an issue that has an effect on the current and future quality of life in Garfield County.

I entered the chambers with the thoughts of Lisa Delpit, an educational researcher, on my mind: “We do not really see through our eyes or hear through our ears, but through our beliefs. To put our beliefs on hold is to cease to exist as ourselves for a moment – and that is not easy – but it is the only way to learn what it might feel like to be someone else, and the only way to start the dialogue.”

Mary Russell

Glenwood Springs

We have an opportunity this November to help our schools. The Roaring Fork School District Re-1 is seeking a mill levy override.

In the past three years, funding reductions have taken $5.2 million from the valley’s schools. This mill levy override asks voters for $4.8 million to: keep class sizes small; attract and retain quality staff; provide quality texts, technology and materials; maintain and improve facilities; and ensure that our students are prepared for life after high school.

As parents of a first-grader at Sopris Elementary, we have experienced firsthand the amazing teachers that our district has employed. However, if neighboring districts are able to raise salaries and increase benefits (Re-1 has had a three-year salary freeze for teachers), as they already have passed or are also considering mill levy increases, and our district is not, we run the risk that these amazing teachers and staff will take jobs elsewhere.

All of the first-grade classes at Sopris Elementary have 24 to 25 students. These class sizes are too large, and if they remain so, research is clear that the students’ learning will suffer and the teachers will be overwhelmed.

Funding from the state level is not promising. Colorado is currently 49th in state spending on public schools. Giving our students the best education possible will continue to help our economy recover, as they will be better able to succeed in the workplace.

So, please vote yes on the mill levy ballot question from the Roaring Fork School District Re-1 this November.

Mary Elizabeth and Chris Geiger

Glenwood Springs

Once again, Post Independent readers were treated on Sept. 6 to more radical views from columnist James Kellogg. This time he was slamming the concept of sustainability and the organizations that support it.

However, if we don’t achieve sustainability in the world, what do we have left? Water and food shortages (famine), polluted air, diminished health conditions, and eventual environmental collapse.

So how can Kellogg claim that sustainability is a “plague” designed “to erode American independence, liberty and prosperity?” If we don’t adapt a sustainable way of living, we can just forget about independence, constitutional rights and prosperity.

The organization Kellogg targets is ICLEI, Local Governments for Sustainability. This is not a government-sponsored organization, but an association of greater than 1,220 local governments from 70 different countries.

This world-famous organization provides technical consulting, training and information services for sustainability measures and development at the local level on a volunteer basis. It is funded by numerous private foundations (about 18), the European Union, and several U.S. governmental agencies. Its partners include 39 nonprofit and other organizations.

ICLEI’s mission is to build and serve a worldwide movement of local governments to achieve improvements in global sustainability through climate mitigation and adaptation, renewable energy and energy efficiency.

The U.S. Green Building Council, a supporter of ICLEI, leads the field in the private sector for its voluntary Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification and rating program. The cost to taxpayers is minimal. For Glenwood Springs to join ICLEI would cost the city the whopping sum of $600.

The fact is that if people are left to their own volition, they would continue down the path of least resistance – an unsustainable path with continued destruction of the earth’s precious resources. Let’s follow the notable examples of King County, Wash., Chicago, New York, and many European countries (most notably the Netherlands), to leave a sustainable world for future generations. We live in a global community. Let’s act like we are part of it.

Bob Millette and Maggie Pedersen

Glenwood Springs

This letter is in response to Jan Walker’s letter of Aug. 28, “Garfield Re-2 should look to spending cuts first.”

My husband is an employee of the Garfield Re-2 School District. Ms. Walker states that she “witnessed a party for all Re-2 and their spouses in Grand Junction with lodging for the night included. This was courtesy of the taxpayers.”

I can attest firsthand that this is not the case. The Two Rivers Convention Center in Grand Junction donated the use of their grand ballroom for the occasion and all prizes that were given away were donated by private businesses and many were earmarked specifically for this use.

Tax dollars were not used for this party, and lodging was not included. Rooms were offered at a discounted price for those who wanted to stay the night. In fact, all persons attending this end-of-the-year party were required to pay $5 per plate of food.

A question that Ms. Walker has is, “How many unnecessary administrative assistants have been retained with no cut in wages or given a CSL increase?”

The vacant position of assistant superintendent was not filled last year and remains unfilled because of budget cuts. The school my husband works at only has one administrator; no assistants. No one this year was given a salary increase in the district, no one.

I commend the school district for being very transparent and informative with their finances. Their website has easy-to-find access to the district’s finances and budgets. The district has also cut teacher positions and numerous ones have gone unfilled. Because of the efforts of the entire district in fiscal year 2011, they have saved $245,000 in electricity and natural gas.

Last year Colorado reduced per-pupil funding for the current school year and it is expected that they will reduce it again next year. The proposed increase for Re-2 taxpayers would be approximately $18 per $100,000 of assessed valuation on residential property. The bottom line is the proposed mill levy override needs to pass this November in order to keep our local economy viable.

Deborah Palmer

New Castle

Heard about the $4 million rabbit? Here’s the story.

In the town of Nixa, Mo., Mr. and Mrs. John Dollarhites bought a couple of rabbits for their son to raise, hoping to instill some responsibility in him. Although the rabbits quickly multiplied, it wasn’t long before he lost interest, sold the rabbits back to his parents for a couple of hundred bucks and the Dollarhites continued the operation and thus in 2010 sold enough rabbits to profit by $4,600.

Of course the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture found out about it, visited the operation, and informed these evildoers it was illegal to sell more than $500 worth of rabbits in one year. It wasn’t long before they received a registered letter informing them they owed $90,643 in fines for the violation. If they did not immediately pay with a certified check, they could face up to $4 million in additional fines.

Who in their right mind would start up any business (rabbits or otherwise) with these kinds of stupid regulations hanging over them?

Or how about Gibson Guitars, which was raided by armed federal agents who then confiscated over $1 million of imported wood they use to make the guitar finger boards? No charges filed, no explanation other than the wood was imported. They were told if the work on the boards was done in India where the wood comes from, there would be no issue. In other words, lay off their 580 workers and outsource the work. More dumb regulations.

How about the Amish farmer who was bankrupted by the Food and Drug Administration for selling nonpasteurized milk to a consumer who wanted raw milk.

Or the Idaho man who killed a grizzly bear that was threatening his children, but because grizzlies are an endangered species, the feds are going to lock him up for protecting his family.

The common denominator here is the government protects its interests, not yours. The bottom line is: Government, get out of our lives and leave us alone.

Bob Anderson

Glenwood Springs

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